Bad Guys Gone Good: Our Favorite TV Villains Who Turned Over a New Leaf

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Photo: HBO

Everybody loves a good redemption story. These TV villains had a change of heart, left the dark side, and are now just plain ol’ good guys.

There’s just something about a villain that audiences love to hate. We need our characters to be complicated, dark and twisty, and just downright volatile sometimes. Otherwise, we can’t relate. We crave those seedy pasts, sordid secrets, and desperate cover-ups, so we can feel okay about rooting for them to change.

Even better than just a downright bad guy is the former brute who has had a change of heart. We can’t feel good about loving someone who is all bad, so we gravitate to characters that have had a change of heart. Because we all love a redemption story, we root for these folks with a dodgy past and we tune into watch them week after week.

Whether they’ve changed their ways for love, fortune, or just for the greater good in general, we’re all holding our breath to watch them slip right back over to the dark side. Until then, we’re satisfied to watch them claw their way back into our good graces while we remain skeptical of their true intentions. TV audiences are fickle sort, and we need our shows to feed our cynicism.

Here are 25 of our favorite TV villains who didn’t turn out so bad after all.