5 Genius TV Villains Whose Brilliance Was Their Most Dangerous Weapon
Brute villains have been out of fashion for years; brilliant and charming ones rule over the world now, and these five iconic antagonists are prime examples of that.
5. Gus Fring from Breaking Bad
One of the most genius and formidable antagonists in Breaking Bad, Gus Fring was a brand of his own. Unlike the old-fashioned cartels, Fring built his massive drug empire behind the doors of his restaurant business — and while hiding his operation, he still remained a ruthless drug lord with no compassion for his competition.
Cunning and sharp, Gus Fring became one of the biggest dealers in the USA which takes quite some wits, especially since he went against his original cartel. Fring has always been one of the villains you can’t help but respect despite their sheer lack of humanity, and he made for a great antagonist until his death in Breaking Bad.
4. Petyr Baelish from Game of Thrones
Primarily known as Littlefinger, Petyr Baelish was a great political mastermind with an insatiable lust for power. Littlefinger has been at the center of most Game of Thrones storylines and conflicts without anyone realizing, and the sheer scale of his plays was overwhelming. Baelish knew exactly how to use others’ ignorance.
It was he who destabilized the Seven Kingdoms and unleashed chaos upon Westeros, to begin with, and most Great House wars were in one way or another caused by Littlefinger’s operations. Alas, Petyr Baelish made the terrible mistake of trusting Sansa and that cost him everything — but he was a spectacular villain.
3. Jim Moriarty from Sherlock
In all iterations of Sherlock Holmes’s story, there’s always one villain smarter than the legendary detective: Moriarty. The rivalry between the two masterminds leads to them becoming obsessed with defeating each other, but while Holmes tries to take down a worldwide criminal operation of his foe, Moriarty is just…having fun.
In Sherlock BBC, the modern version of Jim Moriarty came out brilliant: the spider in the center of his international web, he controls the world’s most dangerous people and coordinates their crimes in a way that benefits him and his empire. Despite his defeat, Moriarty was taken down by brute force as Holmes could not outsmart him.
2. Hannibal Lecter from Hannibal
As viewers, we might find it hard to believe that no one traced cannibalistic murders to a man whose name rhymes so well with “cannibal” — but only until we see Dr. Lecter in action. Hannibal’s dark brilliance defines him as a person as he pulls off terrifying crimes himself while also solving numerous other serial killer cases.
An immaculately intellectual gentleman, Hannibal Lecter finds salvation in beauty, and his charm and manners are enough to almost make you forget that he, well, eats people. Seeing how Lecter manages to juggle his own sadistic nature and heinous acts and his helpful public appearance, he’s among the smartest TV villains ever.
1. George Foyet from Criminal Minds
Speaking about serial killers, it’s impossible to exclude George Foyet from the list — especially when it’s a list of the most brilliant antagonists in TV show history. Unstoppable in his bloodlust, Foyet proved to also be an extremely calculating and cautious killer with a knack for misleading and fooling the special forces after him.
The Behavioral Analysis Unit has taken down many scary criminals thanks to its well-trained and intelligent agents, but it still took them ages to finally rid the people of George Foyet’s tyranny. Even after his death, the serial killer proceeded to torment the BAU agents! Foyet’s intellect was his main weapon, not his weapons and tools.