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10 Wicked ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Villains

We count down the HBO series’ most notorious baddies

Boardwalk Empire

In the world of Boardwalk Empire, there's no such thing as clear-cut "good guys" and "bad guys." One of the most sympathetic characters to date, Richard Harrow, is a skilled marksman who has lost count of the number of people he's killed. Married Northside leader Chalky White has sullied his reputation and that of his family by running around with jazz singer Daughter Maitland, his true love. And we'd need a separate article to name every time series protagonist Nucky Thompson has lied, cheated and killed in the space of four seasons. But like Don Draper, Walter White and Tony Soprano before him, we're rooting for Nucky to come out on top, which is why, regardless of his murderous tendencies (at times), he can't necessarily be considered "evil." Still, Atlantic City has been graced with a substantial number of contemptible, charismatic and utterly incendiary gangsters that embody the very definition of the word "villain." As the fourth season wraps up this Sunday, check out our list of Boardwalk Empire's most vile residents, past and present. Sarene Leeds

Bobby Cannavale Boardwalk Empire

Macall B. Polay/Courtesy of HBO


Gyp Rosetti

When New York sociopath Gyp Rosetti's reign of terror was finally brought to a screeching halt in the Season Three finale, everyone – not just Nucky – breathed a huge sigh of relief. Just look at this guy the wrong way and you could find yourself drenched in gasoline and lit on fire, while Gyp numbly stares you down. A second-rate gangster consistently emasculated by his wife, daughters and Joe Masseria, Gyp's hotheaded behavior was understandable, although certainly not forgivable. His life on the Boardwalk didn't last more than 12 episodes, with him getting stabbed in the back – literally – by his right-hand man, Tonino Sandrelli. But Bobby Cannavale's stellar, frightening performance solidified Gyp's exalted place in the series' history as he picked up a Best Supporting Actor Emmy (the only acting award given for Boardwalk to date) earlier this fall.

Jeffrey Wright Boardwalk Empire

Macall B. Polay/Courtesy of HBO


Dr. Valentin Narcisse

The most dangerous villains are also the most charismatic, and newcomer Dr. Valentin Narcisse is no exception. The Trinidad native and Marcus Garvey supporter presents himself as an early proponent of African-American civil rights, but in reality, he's a merciless killer who deeply lacks any sort of empathy. He brutally lynched a bigoted white woman who displeased him, and in one of the season's biggest twists, it's revealed that Narcisse murdered Daughter Maitland's prostitute mother before taking the eventual blues singer under his wing. Narcisse's grasp of Atlantic City's Northside – and his subsequent war with Chalky White – has been one of the most riveting story lines of the season, and the Season Four finale is certain to be a real nail-biter as the two men prepare for a showdown.