Give it up for the small screen’s most notable nutters.
Ralph Cifaretto – Sopranos
So difficult to single out just one psycho from a programme positively littered with them. I could have gone for Richie Aprille for his gun based sexual proclivities or Paulie or Tony for virtually any reason you care to name, but I reckon Ralph ‘Ralphie’ Cifaretto is the prick of the crop. Not because of the random acts of violence (remember the poor, pregnant lap dancer he dispatched behind the Bing? Proper horrible) but because of his bizarre sexual fetish involving a dildo, his chuff and Tony’s sister Janice barking demoralising insults as she rams one into the other. Most disturbing.
Francis Wolcott – Deadwood
Jesus, what a lunatic. For my money easily the maddest bastard TV has ever known. He was a ‘geologist’ who paid for a gang of prostitutes to be brought to Deadwood and proceeded to murder each of them in the most brutally sadistic manner possible. He then started doing the same to other available prostitutes before being discovered and stringing himself up, not through remorse, mind, but because it lost him his job. Hanging was absolutely too good for this nasty little shit. Rather worryingly a lot of female fans of the show found him sexy. Bless ‘em.
Davros – Dr Who
Another programme with potentially dozens of psychos but this dustbin Hitler is a real stand-out. Obviously he’s had a few woes in his life, what with his Cyclops eye, one hand, bad complexion and metallic death rattle voice (assuming he wasn’t born like that) but is there really any excuse for taking a race of people mutated by nuclear war and biological weapons, accelerating their mutations, removing their emotions, cladding them in metal and forcing them to ruthlessly fight their enemies for a thousand years? No wonder he ended up just a head in a box.
Snoop – The Wire
With all respect to actress Felicia Pearson, I really couldn’t tell whether Snoop was a man or a woman or what the bloody hell he/ she was saying for the first few episodes the character appeared. Didn’t stop her becoming ‘the most terrifying female villain to ever appear in a TV series’ according to Stephen King (and he should know a thing or two about it). It was Snoop’s ability to kill as many people as possible with little fuss as possible that leaves you determined never to go out in Baltimore after dark. Interestingly, Felicia Pearson is probably the only actor to have been convicted for murder in real life before going on to portray a murderer on TV. Except Leslie Grantham.
Bob – Twin Peaks
Get this. Bob is ‘a demonic entity who feeds on fear and pain. He possesses human beings and then commits acts of rape and murder in order to feast upon his victims’. Not my words, they’re lifted straight off his CV.
Interestingly, Felicia Pearson is probably the only actor to have been convicted for murder in real life before going on to portray a murderer on TV. Except Leslie Grantham.
Dexter Morgan – Dexter
A forensic analyst for the police who’s also a serial killer killing other killers once he’s proved to himself that they are guilty. At first I thought that he can’t really be classed as a psycho because he’s too post-modern and that knowing what he’s doing and being ‘reasonable’ about it would exempt him from this list. But then I re-watched an episode and remembered that he’s a fucking nutter.
Stewie Griffin – Family Guy
Very difficult to pick just one animated pycho – there’s Sideshow Bob, Eric Cartman and Evil Edna (a witch who’s a TV set with the voice of Kenneth Williams, hers was destined to be a life lived on the margins). Winner, based on potential alone, is Stewie. Only one year old but already a multi-skilled genius obsessed with matricide, sexually attracted to his teddy bear, prone to acts of robbery, forgery and carjacking, with the voice of Rex Harrison and seemingly limitless access to an array of artillery. If he ever comes to puberty he’ll inevitably make Charles Manson look about as dangerous as Charles Hawtrey.
Sylar – Heroes
Bit of a bugger, this fella. He eats people’s brains in order to ‘digest their powers’. Not a line of defence that will go down well with the judge.
Tracy Barlow – Coronation Street
Corrie currently has a surfeit of psychos, what with all-round nasty knobhead David Platt and can’t-put-the-kettle-on-without-murdering-someone John Stape both cruising the cobbles. But convicted murderess and grade A super-bitch Tracy steals the crown not for extortion, baby selling, or trying to get Gail sent down for murder (which would actually have done the world a favour) but for a recent scene where she prevented her 9-year old daughter attending a birthday party by deliberately and openly throwing wine over her dress. There were startled gasps and cries of ‘you evil twat’ in our house when that happened. We don’t get out much.
The Spirit – Dark and Lonely Water
Who? You’re thinking. You might not know the name but you know the character. He’s the shadowy Grim Reaper-y cape bloke from that 70’s public information film about not pissing about near ponds – ‘I’ll be back, back, back’, that’s him. He was played by Donald Pleasance, you know. Not a psycho? He gets his kicks hanging around abandoned quarries and pools of water, in a state of high arousal waiting for sky-larking kids to fall in and he then watches and revels as they drown. Both a perv and a fruitcake.
Obviously there’s plenty more TV psychos out there – Edward, Tubbs or Papa Lazarou from League of Gentleman, the Vampire King from True Blood, Vic Mackey from The Shield, Jimmy Saville - feel free to let us know who you’d like to see in the list. Please, no pedantic Dr Who fans, though.
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