Magazine article Variety

Antiheroes

Magazine article Variety

Antiheroes

Article excerpt

The greatest characters ever

Television's top roles fall into distinct categories, transcending era and genre

Breaking the rules doesn't matter much to TV's great antiheroes, and in many ways, it's why their journeys feel more human to us and why we're sometimes ashamed to admit we love them. Blue-collar bigot Archie Bunker was intended to be horrifying, remember? Or were you laughing too much to notice?

What kind of serial killer could you stomach, then? Enter Dexter Morgan, committed to taking out murderers. What type of thief might you root for? A Baltimore tough like Omar Little, with a strict code to steal only the ill-gotten gains of drug lords.

Sometimes it's the moral turbulence of the life that fascinates. Tony Soprano might be a ruthless New Jersey mob boss, but he's also a family man seeing a shrink for his neuroses. Means don't matter much to ends-oriented L.A. cop Vic Mackey, which gives every one of his criminalbusting victories a queasy aftertaste. Ditto brass-knuckle defense lawyer Patty Hewes: her machinations thrill, but the human cost is everapparent. …

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