Bad since: June 27, 2014
It may seem like the hero of steerage (Chris Evans) is on a noble mission, but living in horrific poverty for years will take its toll on anyone, and Curtis’s take-no-prisoners approach to liberating his fellow lower-class passengers belies a darkness to his backstory.
Idris Elba, Idris Elba: King of Speed
Bad since: July 14, 2014
After winning a Golden Globe playing the haunted John Luther in BBC America’s Luther, Elba returns to the Beeb’s Stateside satellite in a docuseries about underground racing— a bad-boy hobby if there ever was one.
The Joker, The Dark Knight
Bad since: July 18, 2008
Reinvented by Heath Ledger in a career-defining role that earned the troubled actor a posthumous Oscar, the green-haired ghoul of Gotham is one of cinema’s most vile villains, if only for his absolute glee in anarchy.
Eric Northman, True Blood
Bad since: Sept. 28, 2008
The test of true badassery? Have you ever had to be clean-slated by amnesia to embrace your softer side? Whether Eric’s (Alexander Skarsgård) badness came in the form of that unfortunate season 1 wig or his lack of scruples about ripping out Wiccan hearts, no one would ever consider the former Swedish Viking warrior a goody-two-shoes.
The men of Club Xquisite, Magic Mike
Bad since: June 29, 2012
Sex, drugs, and stripper tales: Though Mike (Channing Tatum) dreamed of a more straight-and-narrow life populated by fire-hydrant furniture, most of the men at Tampa’s sexiest strip club lived life faster and looser.
Stephen Holder, The Killing
Bad since: April 3, 2011
Though he seemingly overcame his drug addiction and settled down with a lady, an unexpected murder at the end of season 3 put Holder (Joel Kinnaman) in cover-up mode and once again compromised his walk on the mild side. Good thing he’s got a wry sense of humor to see him through all the tough times.
Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Bad since: June 4, 2004
A roaring, crazy-eyed maniac, Sirius (Gary Oldman) was the bane of the wizard world when Azkaban hit theaters in June 2004. Thanks to years in the notorious prison, his dental hygiene was nearly as frightening as his purported criminal acts. And, sure, it turned out Sirius had been set up, but that didn’t make him—or his infamous family tree—any less intimidating. You don’t keep your wits about you under that much Dementor torment without harboring some serious darkness.
Nate Fisher, Six Feet Under
Bad since: Aug. 21, 2005
The first time we met Nate (Peter Krause), the Fisher clan’s prodigal son was hooking up with a complete stranger he met while flying home to his father’s funeral. Talk about a layover.
John Connor, Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Bad since: July 3, 1991
The most literal bad boy on this list, John (Edward Furlong) never shied away from stirring up trouble with a hoodlum twice his age and three times his size. Trained in rebellion by his hardcore mother, the teen terror would make good use of his misspent youth as the future leader of the rebellion against machines.
Omar Little, The Wire
Bad since: June 16, 2002
A real Renaissance man—if you count thievery, murder, lying, and abject corruption as talents. And in David Simon’s Baltimore, they were. Omar (Michael K. Williams) was a survivor on streets where goodness was a detriment, not a virtue.