Ranking Netflix’s Best Original Series Villains

Jacob Robinson What's on Netflix Avatar

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Since the first Netflix Original in 2013 there has been a countless number of villains appear on our screens. From dastardly criminals, to other worldly beings there has been a very colourful gallery of rogues. We’ve selected the best of the bunch and ranked them into who we think are the best Original TV villains on Netflix.

Please note that the villains selected from the list below belong purely to full Netflix Originals. Licensed content such as Peaky Blinders isn’t part of our selection.

Honorable Mentions

Before we proceed to the main list, first we’ve added in some honorable mentions that almost made the cut.

Michael – Lucifer

best netflix tv villains michael lucifer

Archangel Michael as portrayed by Tom Ellis in Lucifer – Copyright. Netflix

The older twin-brother of the devil himself, Michael was up to no good in the fifth season of Lucifer. Thanks to his Incredible jealousy of his younger sibling, Michael sought to take over Lucifer’s life on Earth.

Michael failed to reach the top ten because sibling jealousy wasn’t enough to deem him a top tier villain. There’s still time for the archangel to show to impress us, but for now its the honorable mentions for him.

Ed Kemper – Mindhunter

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Ed Kemper as portayed by Cameron Britton in Mindhunter – Copyright. Netflix

The incredible intelligence of one Ed Kemper was portrayed excellently by Cameron Britton. Another cold and calculating killer, his self awareness of his own motivations were particulary frightening.

Despite the fact he left a long lasting impression on the veiwers of Mindhunter we didn’t see enough of Ed for him to crack the top ten. Not a villain in the tradional sense as he was never seen as a series antagonist, but his crimes certainly made him villainous which was more than good enough to qualify for an honorable mention.

Bryce Walker – 13 Reasons Why

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Bryce Walker as portayed by Justin Prentice in 13 Reasons Why – Copyright. Netflix

On actions and motivations alone Bryce Walker certainly belongs in a list like this. But thanks to poor writing and one of the weirdest redemption arcs ever attempted by a TV series we cannot justify placing Bryce into the top ten.

10. Count Olaf – A Series of Unfortunate Events

best netflix tv villains count olaf series of unfortunate events

Count Olaf as portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris in a Series of Unfortunate Events – Copyright. Netflix

Other than his predecessor Jim Carrey, was there ever a more charismatic actor than Neil Patrick Harris born to play the role of Count Olaf? Zany, camp, and extremely whimsical, NPH portrayed Count Olaf to perfection.

Across three seasons, 25 episodes, and thirteen books Count Olaf chased the Baudelaire children, trying to steal their inheritance. Leading his diabolical friends from one disaster to the next, Olaf was typically one step ahead of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny. Little did Olaf know that his greatest adversaries would be the children he sought to take everything from.

9. Darlene Snell – Ozark

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Darlene Snell as portrayed by Lisa Emery in Ozark – Copyright. Netflix

It takes one hell of an actress to portray a woman as psychotic as Darlene Snell, and Lisa Emery is as good as they come. If it wasn’t for Julia Garner’s incredible performance as Ruth Langmore, then Lisa Emery would have been a shoo-in for own Emmy nomination. Each performance as good as its last, we can’t wait to see her climactic showdown in the upcoming fourth season of Ozark.

When a woman kills her own husband just to keep the family integrity in check, you know not to mess with her. As dangerous as they come, Darlene Snell is the wild card of Ozark. When she’s not busy orchestrating murder, being a mother to her stolen child, or, seducing a teenager into her bed, Darlene is busy operating the Snell’s manufacturing of the Class A narcotic heroin. A constant thorn in the Byrde’s side, Darlene could ultimately prove to be their downfall.

8. The Mindflayer – Stranger Things

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The Mindflayer as seen in Stranger Things – Copyright. Netflix

It was almost a hard decision between choosing the Mindflayer and the Demogorgon, but we decided to go with the former. The “Mindflayer’ is the true mastermind behind the unatural invasion and corruption of the Upside Down into Hawkins. Lurking in the shadows, always plotting, the Mindflayer terrorised poor Will Byers in season 2. The town of Hawkins suffered heavily at the hands of the Mindflayer in season 3, with many residents losing their lives, including Billy, so the beast could take on its monstrous form. Despite its defeat, the Mindflayer isn’t dead, and will look to take advantage of when the gap between the Upside Down and our world opens once more.

7. Kilgrave / Purple Man – Jessica Jones

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Kilgrave as portrayed by David Tennant in Jessica Jones – Copyright. Netflix

Prior to his appeareance on Jessica Jones, David Tennant hadn’t established himself as an enigmatic villain. That all changed with Kilgrave. A character’s who’s power revolves around his speech certainly needed an actor with gravitas and the charisma to match it, you got that all and more with David Tennant.

Kilgrave is one of the most deplorable and selfish villains to have existed within Marvel’s gallery of Rogue’s. Taking anything he wants with so much of a whisper, lead Kilgrave to become a deeply selfish and evil individual. Despite the evil actions that he  committed against her, Jessica Jones tried in vein to change Kilgrave’s heart, but ultimately Kilgrave would take his evil and selfish nature to the grave. The psycholigcal and physical scars left upon Jessica by Kilgrave would scar her soul forever.

6. Nurse Mildred Ratched – Ratched

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Nurse Mildred Ratched as portrayed by Sarah Paulson in Ratched – Copyright. Netflix

It’s a match made in heaven, or hell, when you consider the number of times that actress Sarah Paulson has starred in Ryan Murphy’s horror/thriller projects. A truly terrifying performance, Paulson’s portryal of Nurse Ratched is far too good, and we’ve not even seen the best, or worse, of her yet. Louise Fletcher won an Academy Award for her portryal of Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, is there a future emmy waiting for Sarah Paulson? We hope so!

Is anyone more evil than a person whose job is meant to care, and provide help for those in desperate need? Nurse Ratched is already one of the most famous villains in fictional history, and we finally get to see the origin of the monster inside. With only one season down, we’re yet to see the true monster emerge from within her. By time Randle McMurphy takes his first steps inside of Lucia State Hospital, Nurse Ratched may have climbed up the list.

5. The House – The Haunting of Hill House

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Hill House as seen in The Haunting of Hill House – Copyright. Netflix

The home that tore apart the Crain family. The Crains weren’t the first family to be torn asunder by Hill House, and tragically they weren’t the last either. Hill House had claimed the lives of its previous occupants, the Hills, keeping their souls in a constant state within the home. In the end it took the combined effort of the Crain siblings to overcome the power of Hill House. Despite their victory, the scars left by Hill House will live with the Crains forever, remaining as a constant monument to their pain and suffering.

4. President Frank Underwood – House of Cards

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President Frank Underwood as portrayed by Kevin Spacey in House of Cards – Copyright. Netflix

Personal scandals aside, Kevin Spacey was truely excellent for his portrayal of Frank Underwood. Cold and incredibly calculating, Spacey was able to hide the veil of the true monster that Frank really was.

With enough ambition there’s nothing you wouldn’t do to make it to the top. Frank Underwood embodied that and more, seeking nothing less than becoming leader of the freeworld. Never a man to be trusted he’d soon as ally with you as he would to throw you under a bus, or train for that matter, if it meant his politcal ambitions were met.

3. Wilson Fisk / Kingpin – Daredevil

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The Kingpin as portrayed by Vincent D’Onofrio in Daredevil – Copyright. Netflix

The second MCU villain to appear on this list, Vincent D’Onofrio was perfectly cast in the role of Kingpin. Not only was his portryal of a comic book character one of the best in the MCU, it was one of the best, period. From cold-and calculating businessman, to rage induced monster, D’Onofrio has some serious range, making his performance as the Kingpin one of the best on Netflix.

Every bad guy is a hero in their story, and Kingpin’s rise to power within the city of New York examplified that. A man who respected loyalty, but detested incompetence, from one moment to the next you wouldn’t know if you were going to be praised or brained by the giant boss. Even when he was behind bars, Kingpin continued to orchestrate his empire. Not a man to be trifled with, Daredevil near lost his life on multiple occasions when he crossed paths with Kingpin.

2. The Skeksis – Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

best netflix tv villains skeksis the dark crystal age of resistance

The Skeksis as seen in Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance – Copyright. Netflix

Of all of the villains on this list the Skesis are truely despiacable and wretched beings. Without a shred of deceny within their ancient bones, all the Skesis did was take from the land of Thra, effectively enslaving its inhabitants to meet their every whim.

The Skesis monstrous greed and desire to live forever lead them to the creation of “the Essence,” the life force taken forceably from their Gelfling servants, and when consumed, made the user younger. Nothing incited more rage than watching such deplorable and despicable beings like the Skeksis consume unparreled quanities of poor innocent little Gelflings.

1. Pablo Escobar – Narcos

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Pablo Escobar as portrayed by Wagner Moura in Narcos – Copyright. Netflix

Earning a well deserved Golden Globe nomination for his portryal of Pablo Escobar, Brazilian actor Wagner Moura was magnetic in the role, constantly demanding your attention whenever on screen. Narcos has since become one of the best Original series on Netflix, and much of the credit can go towards Wagner’s epic portryal of Escobar.

No one has seemingly come close to matching the overwhelmingly powerful drug empire of Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel. The Colombian national was to many a hero in the eyes of the people, but his influence was felt, and continues to be felt throughout the world today. A drug empire with the reach to impact the USA, and Europe, it takes a particular kind of man to run such an organisation. At the helm of the cartel, Pablo Escobar orchastrated thousands of assassinations within Columbia, and across the world. While many may have seen Escobar as more anti-hero than villain, you cannot get away with the fact that running a criminal drug empire is nothing short of villainous.

Who is your favorite Netflix Original TV villain? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by

Jacob joined What's on Netflix in 2018 as a fulltime writer having worked in numerous other industries until that point. Jacob covers all things Netflix whether that's TV or movies but specializes in covering new anime and K-dramas. Resides in Norwich in the United Kingdom.