A young man tore apart the world’s economy, caused a corporate executive to commit suicide, and plunged our society into utter anarchy the night of Wednesday, Sept. 2 — and fans loved it.
The Season 1 finale of “Mr. Robot” brought to an end the first act of a story that turned Rami Malek’s hoodie-clad Elliot into a modern-day Robin Hood who wields not a bow and arrow, but a keyboard and mouse. In this so-called “golden age” of television, the anti-hero rules, and Elliot’s living proof of that.
But what sets Elliot apart from the likes of Walter White and Rachel Goldberg is that he’s an antihero with a cool factor that makes the audience want to be his friend, and he’s not the only one of that ilk on TV right now. With that in mind, here are five modern anti-heroes who could hang with Elliot.
1. Crazy Eyes from ‘Orange is the New Black’
Suzanne Warren is a mentally unstable inmate with a violent history and a tendency to not only beat up others at Litchfield Penitentiary, but also force them to become her “prison wife.” She’s also quite possibly the most beloved character on “Orange is the New Black.” Like the others on this list, it is the human elements that only hours of TV can bestow upon a character — Suzanne’s writing ability, her stage fright, her childlike innocence — that give actress Uzo Aduba so much marrow to extract from Crazy Eyes’ bones.
2. Omar from ‘The Wire’
On the streets of Baltimore, nothing strikes fear in the hearts of cops and criminals like the familiar cry: “Yo! Omar coming!” How Michael K. Williams didn’t win all the acting awards during this landmark show’s 2002-08 run makes about as much sense as why drug dealers kept beefing up the security thugs at the safe houses, expecting to stop this juggernaut with a shotgun. Omar Little blew away enough people to possibly qualify as a serial killer, and he did it with glee. But somehow, Little remained as irresistable and sugary sweet as a big bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios.
3. Hannibal Lecter from ‘Hannibal’
When Mads Mikkelson took on the role of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, he seemed to be attempting a Herculean task: Stepping into one of the most iconic movie characters of all time, a role that won Anthony Hopkins an Oscar. But the Danish actor was able to amplify Hopkins’ endearing psychotic/seductive personality and win over audiences. Mikkelson made the character so endearing that you’d want to invite him over for dinner — even if you were the main course.
4. Don Draper from ‘Mad Men’
Quite possibly the only person on this list who didn’t kill anybody — well, if you don’t count helping to drive Lane Pryce to suicide or accidentally blowing up his commanding officer and then not accidentally stealing his identity — Dick Whitman/Don Draper nevertheless proved himself over seven seasons to be a petty despicable guy. Ask yourself this: Would you want someone in your life who is a chronic liar, sleeps with any woman he can get his hands on, sells out his friends for his career in a heartbeat, and manipulates emotions for personal gain? Now, if you want to understand the wonders of Jon Hamm’s layered performance, ask yourself this: How awesome would it be to grab a drink with Don Draper?
5. Homer Simpson, ‘The Simpsons’
Long before any of the other characters on our list came this substance-abusing, child-beating, suspected adulterer. He was a key element in the deaths of Maude Flanders, Frank Grimes, and Captain Tenille — and that’s not even counting his carnage in the “Treehouse of Horror” episodes. Yet despite all the hard-drinking, near-nuclear-meltdowns and generally disgusting behavior, audiences of multiple generations have adored the yellow-skinned patriarch of “The Simpsons” clan, quite possibly television’s greatest anti-hero. And don’t even get us started on his psychotic little son.