40 Greatest TV Villains of All Time

From serial killers to cylons, mobsters to murderous moms — counting down the TV characters you love to hate

Thomas Barrow, 'Downton Abbey'
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38/40

38. Thomas Barrow, 'Downton Abbey'

Of course, the show's greatest villain is the British aristocracy itself. But if we limit ourselves to actual human beings, then scheming, sneering footman Thomas Barrow takes top billing. Embittered by both life in the closet and the underappreciated existence of the servant class, Thomas takes it out on his fellow employees with DGAF devilishness. Striking actor Rob James-Collier imbues his every scheme with a vibe that's half snake charmer, half snake. But over time, as Thomas' plight deepens — cowardice during the Great War, countless social-climbing attempts gone wrong, his attempts to "cure" his homosexuality — so does our sympathy.

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