The Evilest Villains In The Walking Dead, Ranked

By Rick Gonzales | Published

Most Evil Walking Dead Villains

For 11 seasons, The Walking Dead has entertained audiences without fail. Besides the gory zombie fun, what made the series truly tick were the villains, many of whose moral compass left little to be desired. Most of these villains were larger-than-life characters with a dark side that was brutal and uncompromising.

Let’s take a look at the eight most evil villains that walked through the zombie apocalypse in The Walking Dead.

8. Dawn Lerner

The two faces of Dawn Lerner. Christine Woods played Lerner skillfully, first as a sympathetic leader of the police officers at Grady Memorial Hospital. Her attempts to maintain peace in a broken system had fans believing in her. But as time went on, the caring individual went by the wayside, and her evilness was revealed. Power-hungry and abusive, Dawn made the ultimate mistake of killing Beth (Emily Kinney), a mistake that Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) would remedy.

7. The Wolves

This particular Walking Dead villain is not just one, but a group calling themselves the Wolves. Introduced near the end of season 5, the Wolves were a particularly nasty and barbaric group of survivors who identified themselves with a “W” carved into their foreheads. For the first half of season 6, the Wolves preyed on Rick’s group, causing a number of deaths, before his group made their stand. 

6. Joe

Actor Jeff Korber has always been good at working the villain role and in The Walking Dead, he nails it once again. As Joe, the leader of the Claimers, he arrives during the second half of season 4 with a particularly nasty agenda. Truly sadistic, he has fun taunting Rick, explaining to him the pain he intends to inflict. “First we’re gonna beat Daryl to death, then we’ll have the girl, then the boy, then I’m gonna shoot you and then we’ll be square.” They get square, alright.

5. Gareth

Not only does Rick’s group have to deal with the human flesh-eating zombies, but late in season 4 and well into season 5, they must also deal with Gareth (Andrew West), the leader of Terminus. When Rick’s group first meets Gareth, he appears to be a friendly sort. By the end, when he tells one unfortunate survivor, “a man’s gotta eat…you taste much better than we thought,” while munching on his leg, we understand the full intentions of the cannibalistic Gareth.

4. Shane Walsh

So, we have to admit, Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal) was not the traditional villain we eventually became accustomed to in The Walking Dead. His turn from good to bad took time, but eventually, he became the unstable and manipulative man that finally went mano-y-mano with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln). It was an ending fit for a man who was trying to eliminate Rick and take over not only as the group leader, but as husband and father to Rick’s wife Lori, his son Carl, and the baby Lori was carrying that was Shane’s.

3. Alpha

Alpha was the psychopathic yet highly intelligent leader of the Whisperers, who arrived on The Walking Dead in season 9. Very calculating, Alpha and her group survived by wearing masks made of human skin, which allowed them free reign among the zombies. Samantha Morton shaved her head and eyebrows to play the part of the cold and vicious Alpha.

2. The Governor

Like many of the villains in The Walking Dead, the Governor, aka Philip Blake, is first portrayed as a sympathetic man. It wasn’t long after, though, that his true nature was revealed, and audiences got to see his brutal and savage side. The Governor was a smooth-talker and also psychotic in every sense of the word. He had no redeeming qualities and for a season and a half was the most evil villain, that is, until season 7.

1. Negan

It was an introduction that had audiences on the edge of their seat with anticipation. Negan and Lucille were a dynamic duo, if there ever was one. As season 6 ended, Negan was dropping his barbed-wire bat, Lucille, on the head of an unseen member of Rick’s group. When Season 7 premiered, we finally got to see who the victim was (Abraham Ford), but we were completely unprepared for what came next. The head-smashing of Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun). It immediately put Negan at the top of the most evil villain in The Walking Dead.