The Bad Guys: Shows About Criminals

This list is comprised of shows where the criminals are the main characters.  If a show features criminal characters, but revolves mainly around law enforcement, it is not on the list.

The Kill Point (2007)

The Kill Point (2007)

Network: Spike TV
Watch On: Get creative
Starring: Donnie Wahlberg, John Leguizamo, Leo Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Ferrin, Frank Grillo

8 episode miniseries from Spike TV. A team of Iraqi war veterans attempt to pull of a bank heist that turns into a hostage situation. Donnie Wahlberg leads the SWAT team going head to head with the heist leader John Leguizamo.

Magic City (2012-2013)

Magic City (2012-2013)

Network: Starz
Watch On: iTunes, Google Play
Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Olga Kurylenko, Steven Strait, Jessica Marais, Danny Houston

Starz's period piece takes place in 1959 Miami, where Ike Evans (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) owns the swankiest hotel in South Beach. The criminal element comes into play because he is forced to make a deal with mob boss/psychopath Ben Diamond. Ran for two seasons.

The Black Donnellys (2007)

The Black Donnellys (2007)

Network: NBC
Watch On: Netflix
Starring: Jonathan Tucker, Olivia Wilde, Tom Guiry, Billy Lush, Kirk Acevedo

A rare network television effort depicting the lives of criminals, "The Black Donnellys" core characters are four brothers living in the Irish dominated Hell's Kitchen part of NYC. Features a young Olivia Wilde.

Brotherhood

Brotherhood

Network: Showtime
Watch On: Amazon Prime, Showtime Anytime
Starring: Jason Isaacs, Jason Clarke, Fionnula Flanagan, Annabeth Gish, Kevin Chapman, Ethan Embry, Brían F. O'Byrne

Inspired by the real life Bulger Brothers , Tommy Caffee is a family man and career politician while his brother Michael is a lifelong criminal affiliated with the Irish mob. The story takes place in Providence and starts when Michael returns home after a 7 year hiatus. Received critical acclaim, but failed to catch on with a mainstream audience and ended after 3 seasons.

Weeds (2005-2012)

Weeds (2005-2012)

Network: Showtime
Watch On: Netflix
Starring: Mary-Louise Parker, Hunter Parrish, Kevin Nealon, Justin Kirk, Romany Malco, Elizabeth Perkins

In the wake of her husband's tragic death, Nancy Botwin begins selling marijuana to support her family. The upperclass suburban housewife quickly learns it is not as easy at it looks. Ran way too long (9 seasons), but is quality for the first 3-4.

Hustle (2004-2012)

Hustle (2004-2012)

Network: BBC One
Watch On: Hulu Plus
Starring: Adrian Lester, Robert Glenister, Matt Di Angelo, Kelly Adams, Robert Vaughn, Jaime Murray

Follows a team of con artists as they showcase the art of the long con. Was a hit for BBC One, running for 8 seasons.

Underbelly (2008- )

Underbelly (2008- )

Network: Nine Network (Australia)
Watch On: Netflix
Starring: Gyton Grantley, Kat Stewart, Rodger Corser, Peter O'Brien, Paul Tassone

An anthology that chronicles different time periods of the Australian underworld. Quality is inconsistent season to season, but the first is worth a watch. It is based on the Melbourne gangland war. The show was actually hit with an injuction from the Victorian Supreme Court due to its potential interference with an ongoing trial.

Peaky Blinders (2013- )

Peaky Blinders (2013- )

Network: BBC Two
Watch On: BBC Two
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill, Helen McCrory, Annabelle Wallis, Iddo Goldberg

Set in post WWI Birmingham and based on the infamous Peaky Blinders gang, BBC Two's gangster series could be called the British version of "Boardwalk Empire." Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) and his family face off against a no holds barred Chief Inspector played by Sam Neill. Very solid so far after one season.

Banshee

Banshee

Network: Cinemax
Watch On: MAXGO
Starring: Antony Starr, Ivana Milicevic, Ulrich Thomsen, Frankie Faison, Hoon Lee

Lucas Hood (Antony Starr), a gifted thief, gets out of prison and assumes the I.D. of a local sheriff in the small, Amish town of Banshee. He immediately creates a shit storm with entrenched crime lord Kai Proctor, the Native Americans, his ex-wife, and local law enforcement. A violent, pulpy series that is over-the-top but knows it.

Sons of Anarchy (2008- )

Sons of Anarchy (2008- )

Network: FX
Watch On: Netflix
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Tommy Flanagan, Maggie Siff, Ron Perlman, Dayton Callie

Focuses on the outlaw motorcycle gang "Sons of Anarchy" and the relationship between the leader Clay Morrow and his step son Jax Teller. Morally conflicted, Jax struggles to navigate the biker underworld while adjusting his life to the birth of his son. First two seasons are must see.

Love/Hate (2010- )

Love/Hate (2010- )

Network: RTE (Ireland)
Watch On: Netflix
Starring: Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Robert Sheehan, Aiden Gillen, Charlie Murphy, Peter Coonan, Brian Gleeson

A gritty look into the lives of a group of young (21-35) criminals in gangland Dublin. Their main source of income comes from drug dealing, their man source of conflict comes from everyone being out for themselves. And partying, screwing around, fighting, killing, etc. An un-glamorous portrayal of criminals. Definitely worth a watch.

Boardwalk Empire (2010- )

Boardwalk Empire (2010- )

Network: HBO
Watch On: HBOGO
Starring: Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham, Vincent Piazza, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Shannon, Shea Whigham, Michael K. Williams

Based on stories and characters from the United States prohibition era. Nucky Thompson is Atlantic City's best bootlegger, racketeer, and crooked politician. Also features depictions of historical gangsters: Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Arnold Rothstein, and Meyer Lansky. Slow starter, but ends up very good.

The Sopranos (1999-2007)

The Sopranos (1999-2007)

Network: HBO
Watch On: HBOGO
Starring: James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli

Tony Soprano attempts to balance running both his New Jersey mafia crime family and his real family. Widely considered one of the greatest TV series of all time.

Breaking Bad (2008-2013)

Breaking Bad (2008-2013)

Network: AMC
Watch On: Netflix
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gun, Dean Norris, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Giancarlo Esposito

Walter White is a passive, underachieving high school chemistry teacher recently diagnosed with cancer. He begins to use his skill set to manufacture meth and teams up with his former burnout student Jesse Pinkman. The five seasons chronicle their journey to power and personal transformations. By the end of its run, "Breaking Bad" had become a national phenomenon and must see television.

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