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Top 10 Most Badass TV Characters of All Time

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Spencer Sher
These cats play by their own rules; and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 TV Badasses. For this list, we’ll be taking a look at the baddest characters to have ever graced the small screen.
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These cats play by their own rules; and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 TV Badasses.



For this list, we’ll be taking a look at the baddest characters to have ever graced the small screen.


#10: Omar Little “The Wire” (2002-08)


On the spectrum of badass professions, robbing drug dealers is somewhere between Navy SEAL and space pirate. And yet for Omar Little, it isn’t just a job, it’s his life. For the better part of five seasons, “The Wire’s” resident rip and runner rained terror upon those that crossed him, using anything at his disposal to dispatch of his enemies. He outsmarted Stringer Bell, wreaked havoc upon Marlo Stanfield and generally scared the living daylights out of Baltimore’s drug pushing community. You know you’re a badass when people literally flee in terror at the sight of you whistling your way down the street. Though it certainly helps when you’re packing a loaded shotgun.






#9: Jackson ‘Jax’ Teller “Sons of Anarchy” (2008-14)


Jax Teller is the gun- toting, tattoo-sporting president of SAMCRO, a vicious motorcycle gang peddling guns to like-minded organizations all over California. Need we say more? He believes in two things: his family and his club. And he’ll do whatever’s necessary to ensure their survival. He’s used his wit to outsmart everyone from the FBI to the IRA and when that doesn’t work he’s more than happy to take out his enemies in a more personal fashion. That includes killing cops, prison guards, rival gangsters and occasionally, his own crewmembers. This is one TV character whose bad side you do not want to be on.






#8: Arya Stark “Game of Thrones” (2011-)


“Game of Thrones” is overflowing in badass characters, from Daenerys Targaryen and Brienne of Tarth to Ygritte and Cersei Lannister. And that’s just the ladies! Of course, la crème de la crème when it comes to badass “GOT” characters is Arya Stark. She’s not only survived numerous treacheries, a prison stint in Harrenhal and a brutal internship at the House of Black and White, she’s actually grown stronger because of it! You know who makes a list of every single person whose every betrayed them or their family and makes it their life goal to see them end up deader than dead? A badass, that’s who. Never stop being you, Arya.


#7: Dean Winchester “Supernatural” (2005-)


It takes a badass to hunt down demons, spirits and all other manner of monster; and that’s exactly what Dean Winchester is. With the help of his equally badass brother Sam, Dean does his best to rid the world of evil. And he often keeps a witty one liner locked and loaded, in the event that he needs to look even cooler while doing it. Sure his badassery is aided by the fact that he drives a black 1967 Chevrolet Impala, but we like to think of it as an accessory to his own lofty levels of rebelliousness.






#6: Buffy Summers “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003)


Buffy Summers was just your typical high school cheerleader. If the typical high school cheerleader was a vampire slaying heroine whose hometown just happened to be built atop a portal to hell, that is. Over the course of seven seasons, Buffy took out everything from werewolves and demons to a truly vicious mayor and freaking Dracula. Her bravery and intelligence knew no bounds and she used both in the seemingly never-ending battle against the evildoers who flocked to the not-so-quiet town of Sunnydale. Buffy had an uncanny ability to turn anything into a weapon while still looking insanely cool, making her one of the deadliest and most badass TV characters of all time.






#5: Jack Bauer “24” (2001-10; 2014)


Death should be Jack Bauer’s middle name. Over the course of eight seasons, and a limited event TV series – which in the world of “24” amounts to just nine days - the character had 309 reported onscreen kills; and when you’re doing it in the name of national security, that makes you a badass. Bauer has an unquenchable thirst for doing whatever it takes to save the day, regardless of cost. Sure his interrogation techniques can be a little…what’s the word…illegal. But you can’t deny that he gets the job done! Oh, and if saving the world wasn’t already hard enough, Bauer ups the ante by doing it while raising a teenage daughter. Badass dad alert!




#4: Tony Soprano “The Sopranos” (1999-2007)


The words gangster and badass may as well be synonyms, especially when it comes to characters like Tony Soprano. Soprano was a bonafide anti-hero, a morally ambiguous Mafioso who is just as likely to kill you with his bare hands as he is to spend quality time with his family on a lazy Sunday afternoon. He’s the kind of character whose reputation demands respect from friend and foe alike. He can order your death with the snap of his fingers, but has no problem, and even appears to enjoy doing the deed himself. A badass doesn’t always strike fear into the hearts of his enemies, but this one certainly does.






#3: Mike Ehrmantraut “Breaking Bad” (2008-13)


In a show littered with badass characters, Mike not only stands out, but he also sets the bar for what a badass truly is. During his time on the show, Mike exemplified all the qualities of a badass. He’s professional, cool headed and always in control. Even when he’s in the presence of loose cannons like Jesse and Walter, he manages to keep things on an even keel. As a dirty cop turned drug enforcer, Mike has the skills to handle any situation thrown his way. Sure, he didn’t exactly come out on top, but in the world of “Breaking Bad,” who does?








#2: Lorne Malvo “Fargo” (2014-)





Brilliantly brought to life by Academy Award winner Billy Bob Thornton, Lorne Malvo is easily one of the most intriguing characters to have invaded the small screen. A contract killer and con man, Malvo is a master manipulator, able to use his compelling demeanor and extensive background knowledge to bend anyone and everyone to his will. His ruthlessness knows no bounds. Need proof? Watch that Las Vegas hotel scene, wherein he executed an entire elevator full of people simply to prove a point. Lorne Malvo is a stone cold badass, no doubt about it.







Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:



Malcolm ‘Mal’ Reynolds

“Firefly” (2002)







James ‘Sawyer’ Ford

“Lost” (2004-10)







Khal Drogo

“Game of Thrones” (2011-)






#1: Daryl Dixon "The Walking Dead” (2010-)





Landing at numero uno is Daryl Dixon, the crossbow wielding redneck who, along with Rick and the gang, struggles to survive in a world overrun by zombies and homicidal maniacs. Daryl has put his badassery on display multiple times, from blowing up Negan’s men with a rocket launcher to single-handedly taking out a tank during the Governor’s assault on the prison. What he lacks in southern charm he makes up for in hilarious one-liners, often delivered after he’s dispatched of a horde of walkers or an unscrupulous human. To be blunt, the day Daryl stops kicking ass and taking names is the day we stop watching.
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