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The killers that really captured the TV screen

Written by TV

Most depictions of killers within the media come from TV shows. Whether they’re based on real people or entirely fictional, they’re terrifying, either way. Our writers, in the spirit of Halloween, discuss the most iconic killers that came to our screens.

Walter White- Breaking Bad

When you think of TV serial killers, Walter White is likely not the first name that springs to mind. Seen as more of a drug dealer than a serial killer, the Methamphetamine kingpin is one of TV’s most divisive characters, with the character directly involved in 199 deaths throughout the course of Breaking Bad.

Walter White’s thirst for power led to countless lost lives.
Credit: IMDb, Ursula Coyote/AMC

Walt is undeniably one of the most iconic and intelligent characters of all time, going from a teacher with wasted potential to being one of the most powerful men in the meth game. The cost of this? His family, his morality, and his humanity.

Walt became engrossed with the Heisenberg persona. One of the darkest moments in Breaking Bad is when Walt lets Jesse’s girlfriend, Jane, die of a heroin overdose due to the threat she posed to his relationship with Jesse, and therefore his power.

He’s reckless, doesn’t care for his family and is power hungry.

The self-proclaimed family man finally admits why he continued to sell meth and tore his family apart in the final episode:

“I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really — I was alive.” (Walt to Skyler)

Meth. Not even once.

Andrew White

Joe Goldberg- You

Given the intense level of creepiness that surrounded the show You, it really is not a surprise that Joe is on a list of great TV serial killers.

Joe appears to be average, but there’s more than what meets the eye. Credit: IMDb

Not only did he kill eight people over the course of only two seasons, but he somehow managed to justify it every single time. The character of Joe Goldberg is such a great example of a terrifying TV serial killer because he appears so normal. The guy worked in a bookshop, seemingly one of the least dangerous places a person can be, and yet hidden was a state-of-the-art book cage perfect for those human captives.

No matter the situation, this guy found a reason to justify murder

It’s one of those TV shows where you think no way could this happen, and then suddenly its 2am and you’re checking the locks on your doors; maybe that person you met in Tesco’s was actually a little sketchy and Joe-like. It is a terrifyingly realistic scenario. Girl goes to the shop, meets a boy, dates boy, the boy turns out to be a killer.

I had to include Joe Goldberg on this list after seeing inside his head for two seasons, sitting on the edge of my seat to see what was going to happen next. No matter the situation, this guy found a reason to justify murder.

Caitie Woolridge

Jaqen H’ghar- Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones might seem like a distant memory at this point, but despite the absolute garbage last season, it’s undeniable the show had something to it. It was the biggest TV show throughout its run, and people would just not stop talking about it. Personally, I enjoyed what I watched, and I watched everything but the last season.

Jaqen and the entire faceless men plotline was cool as hell

Jaqen H’ghar deserved more on-screen time. Credit: IMDb

In a show filled with a lot of people you’d consider killers, Jaqen H’ghar seemed to be one of the few that stood out. Member of the mysterious cult of faceless men, Jaqen showed up in the early seasons, confused the hell out of the viewers, and then came back at the tail end of the show to tie together Arya’s plotline.

Despite being severely under-utilised as a character, Jaqen and the entire faceless men plotline were cool as hell. I mean, an old stone temple called the ‘House of Black and White’ begs all kinds of questions as to what wacky band of killers reside in it. In a series stuffed with characters killing for power or for wealth, Jaqen shines through as someone serving something beyond themselves, which makes him one of the best characters in the show. Also, he’s a mysterious shapeshifter that speaks in the third person. What could be cooler? Not to mention, the actor is an absolute gem.

Muslim Taseer

Edmund Kemper – Mindhunter

While the term ‘best’ may be a bit too lighthearted to describe him, Cameron Britter’s portrayal of Edmund Kemper, the notorious Co-Ed Killer, is nothing short of extraordinary.

Cameron Britter is able to portray the serial kill perfectly, Credit: IMDb

Through a vigorous transformation which includes slick combed hair, a dark and straight-forward demeanor and his cold icy spectacles, Britter is able to portray the American serial killer to a T (there’s even an insightful video on their YouTube in which he analyses his steps to becoming the ‘Ogre of Aptos’).

Mindhunter details his extensive work with the FBI’s criminal profiling unit and his significant role in what would become the future of FBI investigations. Kemper’s 6’9’’ frame, an IQ of 145 and 10 murders to his name, including that of his paternal grandparents and mother, helped mold the canvas which would become perhaps the most captivating TV killer of all time.

Tom Moorcroft

Featured image credit: Credit: IMDb, Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC, Wikimedia Commons

Last modified: 23rd October 2020

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