2. Marlo Stanfield, 'The Wire'
And now an object lesson in evil, courtesy of a purloined lollipop. By the time Marlo Stanfield waltzed out of a convenience store with a stolen sucker, he'd already been established as the crime drama's most ruthless gangster yet — an underworld wunderkind capable of giving both the Barksdale organization and the Baltimore P.D. a run for their collective money. But we wouldn't learn how ruthless until the shop's guard, half-apologetically, told Stanfield he couldn't let that kind of brazen rule-breaking slide. Marlo has the man executed. His crime: the audacity of expecting to be able to do your job without criminals, white-collar or otherwise, enriching themselves by destroying you for it. "You want it to be one way," Marlo tells him. "But it's the other way." If there's an epigraph for David Simon's entire lament for the American city, there you have it.