The Sopranos' mob boss Tony Soprano, performed to perfection by the late James Gandolfini, was the first TV character we just loved to hate, aka the anti-hero. He was a villain that audiences could get behind, even though we watched him week in and week out perform unspeakable acts of violence.
If you can't get enough of Sergeant Brody (Damien Lewis) on Homeland or Hugh Laurie's cantankerous but brilliant Dr. House, then you should thank Tony Soprano. To honor the legacy of Gandolfini, we present five other TV anti-heroes who would just not exist in our small screen world without Tony:
1. Dexter Morgan, Dexter: Michael C. Hall's character is a serial killer, and yet we are always rooting for him. You can't get more anti-hero than that. It helps that the blood spatter pattern analyst stalks other serial killers, but he's also a flawed specimen who we can't help but fall in love with. And with the final season of Dexter upon us, it's safe to say that our favorite murderer will definitely get an ending worthy of his legacy.
2. Dr. Gregory House, House: Sure, he saves lives, but that doesn't mean he's pleasant while doing it. He pops painkillers, breaks rules and frequently lies to patients, all in the name of figuring out the diagnosis. But Hugh Laurie is just so charming (even without using his British accent!), and his brilliance in a life-or-death situation is undeniable. His favorite phrase is "everybody lies," but we aren't fibbing when we say we miss good ol' Dr. House on our TV screens every week.
3. Walter White, Breaking Bad: Probably one of the most beloved anti-heroes on television right now, Walt (Bryan Cranston) the chemistry teacher just wanted to make sure his family would survive financially after his death from lung cancer. But his dealings within the world of meth have turned him into a darker and unapologetic character who we would follow into the depths of hell because we love him so much. Our journey with Walt will soon be over, as Breaking Bad's final episodes begin airing this August.
4. Don Draper, Mad Men: We knew there was more to ad whiz Don Draper (Jon Hamm) in the pilot episode when he went home to his family after a day of fawning over other women. A double life! And we didn't mind either one of his personas, because even after six seasons, we are still obsessed with the one and only Don Draper. He loves, he suffers, and he's quite stylish. What's not to love to hate?
5. Nicholas Brody, Homeland: We fell in love with a terrorist over the first season of Homeland. How does that even happen? With amazing writing, and a remarkable anti-hero, of course. It helps that we got to know him before we were 100 percent sure that he was the terrorist Carrie (Claire Danes) was looking for, and by the time it was revealed that he was indeed a threat to America, it was too late.