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Top 5 Awesome Psychopaths on TV Shows

Updated on September 9, 2016

Before we begin exploring a list of awesome psychopaths on TV, let me define the term "psychopath" for those of us who think that psychopaths are deranged killers who kill for pleasure.

For starters, psychopathy is simply a clinical condition in which the person lacks emotions and empathy to varying degrees, therefore their thought process is dominated by logical and objective reasoning, rather than emotional thinking. However, around 1% or less among such people have homicidal tendencies and may or may not kill.

To summarize, a serial killer is always a psychopath, but the converse need not be true. Psychopathy is just a broad spectrum within which many of us fall under the "low" or "negligible" category while the remaining people range from "borderline" to "severe", homicidal being the most acute form. Now that we have defined the term "psychopath", let us begin the list.

1. Dexter Morgan - Dexter

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Dexter Morgan is a forensic expert working for the Miami Police Department who moonlights as a serial killer during his free time. To be more accurate, he is a serial killer who hides in plain sight by working for the homicide division of Miami's busiest law enforcement organization.

Why Dexter is Awesome

  • Dexter Morgan is not your typical serial killer who kills random people. He follows a strict moral code formulated by his adoptive police officer father Harry Morgan - he only kills other killers who have escaped the law. The vigilante side of Dexter is what makes him everyone's favourite killer.

  • While we all know that psychopaths are expected to be charming, glib, super-manipulative and sharply intelligent, Dexter takes resourcefulness to a whole new level. He has the most perfect cover that not only helps hide his double life, his law enforcement job facilitates him to look up potential victims, track them down and dispose evidence after each kill is done.

  • Dexter efficiently manages to multi-task between his regular job of a forensic analyst and his hobby as a killer, right under the nose of his cop sister Debra Morgan and his other colleagues.

  • Dexter's killing routine makes us admire him all the more. Aside from the diligent research that he does by stalking his victims and making sure that they fit his moral code, he takes the time and effort to set up the kill room with photos of all the people his victim has killed, just to let them know that why they are about to be killed. When you see Dexter commit a murder, you see something beyond the killing, you see justice.

  • Even though Dexter himself admits that he feels empty inside, that he completely lacks emotions, his love for his sister Debra and his son Harrison is more than evident and he shows fierce protectiveness for both of them. He also takes great risks to protect his on-and-off girlfriend Hanna McKay, clearly showing that he is not incapable of love and loyalty.

2. Petyr Baelish - Game of Thrones

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Petyr Baelish aka Littlefinger is the master player in Game of Thrones, who single-handedly triggers a series of dangerous events that lead gradual destruction of the most powerful families of Westeros.

Petyr Baelish lost his love Catelyn Tully to Ned Stark of Winterfell. Defeated and humiliated by the Starks, he vowed to become the most wealthy and powerful man in Westeros so that he would never be insulted again.

With cold patience, incomparable foresight and superior intelligence, his brilliant mind orchestrated every major chaos in the Game of Thrones, each of them leading him a step closer to his true objective.

Why Petyr Baelish is Awesome

  • Petyr Baelish rose from a very humble background and worked his way to a very powerful position in King's Landing, relying solely on his wit, intelligence and ability to manipulate information to his own advantage.

  • He is the classic example of a charming, smooth-talking, cold, manipulative villain, the very definition of a high-functioning psychopath, who uses chaos as a ladder to sway the most difficult situations to his own advantage.

  • Petyr Baelish managed to bring down the three most powerful families of Westeros with his web of conspiracies - first the Starks and then the Lannisters and the Tyrells, with none of them getting an inkling of his involvement.

  • He successfully executed every single plan he ever made, each of them bringing the exact outcome he desired. If you have watched Game of Thrones, you will know how impossible it is to even survive it, leave alone thrive in it, with every other character either dying off or falling victim to someone. This made Petyr Baelish's feats all the more admirable.

  • For those of you who hated Lysa Arryn, you will cheer for that the spilt second decision that Petyr Baelish took to push off the jealous, annoying, selfish and psychotic bitch through her own castle's moon-door. Lysa was a treacherous woman who didn't hesitate to poison her own husband and refused to help her sister Catelyn Stark in hours of need. She was even ready to murder her teenage niece Sansa out of jealousy. Her murder was just good riddance and I love Petyr Baelish for it.

  • Last but not the least, Petyr Baelish shows his human side with Sansa Stark by taking risks for her more than once. Even though Sansa was a major pawn in his game of thrones, Petyr's weakness for her cannot be denied. He took a huge risk smuggling her out of King's Landing at the very moment of Joffrey's death, and then again, when he took the impulsive decision to kill Lysa, knowing that Sansa would never be safe with her again. Sansa Stark is the only person to whom Petyr Baelish revealed his true nature.

3. Klaus Mikaelson - The Originals

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Niklaus or Klaus Mikaelson is an Original vampire and a werewolf, making him a hybrid - a part vampire and part werewolf who cannot be killed by anything and anyone, except for a specially made white oak stake. His collective power as an vampire and a werewolf makes him the most formidable supernatural being and a deadly enemy to all who dare to cross him.

Klaus fears only one person in his eternal life, his non-biological father Mikhael, a vampire slayer who possesses a white oak stake and can break his immortality. Mikhael hates his bastard son and thinks that hybrids are an abomination.

Klaus is a classic psychopath who manipulates and double-crosses his way to get what he wants - "what he wants" being the desire to take back his city New Orleans. He is happy to kill anyone who gets in his way and shows no remorse for his deeds. He lacks a conscience and does not even hesitate to occasionally stake his sister Rebekkah or his elder brother Elijah, though he justifies his actions saying he only wants to protect them or teach them a lesson for their mistakes.

Why Klaus is Awesome

So, what makes this deadly no-conscience psychopath awesome? Here are a few things which may justify your admiration:

  • In spite of everything, Klaus does love his family - Rebekkah and Elijah, though he doesn't show it very well. When Klaus learns that Rebekkah had betrayed him in the past by plotting with her lover Marcel and summoning their father Mikhael, Klaus feels enraged and furiously chases after her to kill her. However, when he gets the actual chance to kill her after staking Elijah, Klaus decides to forgive Rebekkah and banishes her from New Orleans.

  • Apart from his latent love for his family, Klaus shows a deep-rooted affection for Marcel, a slave boy he had rescued many centuries back. Marcel was a bastard son of a wealthy lord who enslaved him and abused him regularly. Reminded of his own suffering at the hands of his father Mikhael, Klaus took pity on Marcel and mentored him like a son, until one day, Marcel got shot and Klaus converted him to a vampire to save his life.

  • You will also love Klaus for his undeniable love for Camille aka Cami, a bartender and psychology degree holder, who came to town to investigate her dead brother's sudden insanity leading to a murder spree and suicide.

  • While Klaus shows great promiscuity with women, living examples being Hayley and Genevieve, and treats them as means to an end, he never makes a move on Cami and even tries to make her leave town for her own safety. He tracks down the witch who had hexed her brother and also goes out of his way several times to rescue her from life-threatening situations. Cami is the only person Klaus really opens up to, and the only person for whom Klaus shows even the remotest bit of morality and respect.

4. Walter White - Breaking Bad

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Walter White is a soft-spoken, mild-mannered chemistry genius who is diagnosed with lung cancer and has hardly enough insurance to cover his treatments or his family's future. Desperate to make some money, he enlists the help of his ex-student and college drop-out Jesse to cook meth-amphetamine or crystal meth to earn some quick bucks.

With his amazing knowledge in chemistry and Jesse's drug dealing experience, the duo starts producing the highest quality meth in New Mexico, landing them in serious trouble with existing drug lords - few wants to destroy him while others want to recruit him.

Why Walter White is Awesome

  • Antagonized and threatened at every step by deadly people, we see the meek chemistry professor Walter White evolve into a hard-core bad-ass drug lord named Heisenberg, who takes down all his enemies one by one.

  • The fact that a simple family man and cancer patient is able to pursue his double life as a drug manufacturer, while keeping it a secret from his family, right under the nose of his DEA agent brother-in-law, is just fabulous.

  • Walter White proves to be a gritty and witty man, never giving up even in impossible situations where he has death staring at him in the face - remember the scene where Gus Fring points his gun nozzle at Walter and Jesse in the middle of nowhere, or the scene where Walter uses a brilliant chemistry trick to escape the den of the psychotic drug dealer Tuco Salamanca and his goons.

  • While Walter White shows ruthlessness and complete lack of guilt at killing anyone who threatens him or his secret business, he does demonstrate instances of strict principles. For example, he goes out of his way protect his brother-in-law Hank Schrader till the end, in spite of knowing that the DEA agent would not rest until he got arrested and convicted.

  • If you still find it impossible to forgive all the heinous crimes that Walter White committed, recall the climax scene of the Breaking Bad finale, where Walter single-handedly takes down the entire White Supremacist Gang using an automated machine gun. Thus he avenges the gang's betrayal and the death of his brother-in-law Hank Schrader, one of the best finale in the history of TV shows.

5. Sherlock - BBC's Sherlock

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Sherlock Holmes is the ace detective residing at Baker Street in London, who needs no introduction to lovers of fiction and detective novels. He sniffs out evidence overlooked by the finest of the fine Scotland Yard cops and has the capacity to connect incidents that nobody else could ever connect, solving the most difficult of cases. He is assisted by his room-mate and friend (or what you can call closest to a friend) Dr. Watson, a war veteran.

On various occasions, Watson is shocked by his cold and detached attitude towards the gruesomeness of a crime and compares him to a psychopath. Sherlock corrects him with his famous quote - I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath. Do your research.

Why Sherlock is Awesome

  • Sherlock Holmes is not just an ace detective, his analytical reasoning is simply mind boggling. He is able to visualize and recreate a crime in his mind, relying purely on observation and inference, rather than conventional interrogation methods.

  • While assisting the law, Sherlock has no qualms about breaking the law himself. In fact, he takes great pleasure in doing so, much to the chagrin of Watson. He loves to consume drugs for experimental purposes and has no problem breaking into places to get ahead with investigation

  • Sherlock enjoys mocking the mistakes of the cops right in front of them, and derives great amusement at their embarrassment and discomfort.

  • Sherlock's sense of humour is dark and hilarious, though most people around him consider him to have a bad comic timing. His witty and sarcastic remarks at the crime scenes will leave you guffawing with laughter, despite the grimness of the situation.

  • Sherlock's flare for drama is entertaining and even enraging at times. His ability to spring upon someone, while masked in the most unidentifiable of disguises is both brilliant and comical. The fact that he faked his own death and followed Watson for several months, watching him mourn his beloved friend, and then revealing himself to Watson one day at a bakery is a comical moment you simply can't miss. The way Watson's disbelief changes into complete fury at extent of Sherlock's insensitivity is too entertaining to miss.

Who is your favourite psychopath on TV?

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© 2015 Ritu Temptor

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    • temptor94 profile image
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      Ritu Temptor 23 months ago from India

      Thanks Larry. Psychos like Dexter and Sherlock are indeed good for the world, they do much more service to society that normal people. If only even a few psychos in real life were like these fictional characters..

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 23 months ago from Oklahoma

      Wonderful list. For whatever reason, psychopaths captivate our imaginations. To me atypical psychos like Dexter and Sherlock are especially compelling characters because they try to do good in the world.