The Walking Dead returned this month for its eighth season of post-apocalyptic survival and celebrated its 100th episode of zombie butt-kicking action.
Across the last seven seasons, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his gang of survivors have come across some of the worst of humanity, losing friends and family members along the way.
To celebrate the release of new episodes every week in the BT TV Store, here is our ranking of the most dastardly and downright evil characters in The Walking Dead’s history.
9. The Infected
They appear in every episode and they’ve killed off more fan favourite characters than any other villain, but it’s hard to get too angry or mad at the flesh-hungry walkers.
Even after eight seasons, they are still terrifying and have us watching through our fingers during certain scenes, but it always feels like they would be manageable and controllable if only there weren’t so many terrible humans around.
8. Merle Dixon
A misogynist, a racist and an accomplice for The Governor, there were plenty of reasons to hate on Daryl’s bully of an older brother.
However, partly because of Michael Rooker’s terrific performance and partly because of his redemption in season 3, Merle remains very low on our list.
7. The Prisoners
Setting up camp in a prison is always going to be dangerous and so it proved for Rick and the gang as the untrustworthy inmates didn’t take a chance to redeem themselves and lived up to their criminal backgrounds.
The surviving inmates made numerous attempts to kill off Rick and ultimately cost the lives of T-Dog (We’re still not over it) and Lori.
6. Lt Dawn Lerner
In charge of Grady Memorial Hospital, Dawn ruled an authoritarian and unpleasant regime and turned a blind eye to the worst mistreatment of patients from her officers.
She didn’t pose as big a threat to the survivors as many on this list, but for killing Beth and breaking the heart of Daryl and Maggie in the process, she more than earns her spot.
One of the show’s most intriguing and much-missed characters is Jon Bernthal’s Shane. He quickly went from Rick’s pal and sidekick in season 1 to his jealous and unhinged enemy in season 2, seemingly unable to cope with the changed world and his obsession with Rick’s wife Lori.
Eventually Rick had to take direct action to stop his dangerous friend.
4. Joe from The Claimers
Played by Jeff Kober, Joe’s gang caused trouble for Rick’s survivors at the end of season 4. His plans to rape Michonne and Carl showed a truly dark side to this unpleasant gang and he forced Rick into his most violent and brutal actions possibly ever.
Ah Terminus, we’ll be safe there. Wrong! The nightmare destination for the survivors in season five was controlled by Gareth and his disturbing cannibal gang. The sickening leader was only stopped from killing off Rick by Carol’s one-woman rescue mission in season five.
Bob got the sweetest revenge on the Terminus group when they fed on his leg, only for him to surprise them with the news that he was infected. But ultimately it was left to Rick to end Gareth’s rule of terror in the most brutal and bloody fashion.
2. The Governor
Merle, Andrea and Hershel all fell victim to the psychotic Governor of Woodbury. David Morrissey’s portrayal of the classic comic villain was truly terrifying as his grip on reality slowly slipped away and he became more dangerous with it.
He kept his zombie daughter locked up along with a fish tank full of zombie heads and regularly executed large groups of survivors to maintain control of his community. A truly menacing villain, who could only be beaten in our list by one man and his bat.
From the moment Jeffrey Dean Morgan strutted onto the show in season 6 and first wielded Lucille in season 7, Negan cemented himself as the show’s ultimate villain, so far.
Brutally killing off Glenn and Abraham in the season 7 opener was the most gut-wrenching and violent sequence in the show’s history and it is Negan’s pitch-black humour and lack of remorse that is truly horrifying.
A stomach-churning bad guy, we may not yet have seen the worst of the Saviors leader.