The 25 Greatest TV Villains of All Time

5. Vic Mackey, The Shield

Played By: Michael Chiklis

In terms of TV history, it is likely that corrupt cop Vic Mackey will be overshadowed by the similarly balding, larger-than-life cable badass who came around at the same time. You know, HBO's mobster from New Jersey. And that would be a shame.

From the first moment we meet the brutal, corrupt Mackey, we know he's not a man to be messed with. It's also easy to see just how many people are going to try messing with him, but the choice is obvious: Always bet on Mackey.

It's been said so many times that attributing the quote is almost impossible, but that doesn't make it less true: every great villain sees themselves as a hero. Mackey's firm belief that the ends justify the means is what makes him one of the most compelling villains in TV history. Even as his life unravels in the wake of his laundry list of crimes, he still views himself as doing what he had to do, despite everything he sacrifices in the process.

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