10 Smartest Villain Plans In TV Shows

These bad guys seriously put the work in.

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Alright, we get it.

People like big, meaty villains in their content like Thanos or Darkseid or Buford from Phineas and Ferb. But haven't you heard that brain is better than brawn?

Muscles are nice and all, and everyone would love to have a chest like a cheese grater, but there's no substitute for the old grey matter. Strength and physical power might win someone a fight, but intellect can win someone the war.

That's where this lot comes in.

TV history is littered with all sorts of evil geniuses attempting to misuse their gifts for their own selfish needs. Criminals, gangsters, thieves, con men, the very lowest of the low are often the ones with the highest IQs.

But who amongst TV's evil elite would make it into a bad guy version of Mensa? Which villains have come up with the best and biggest plots in the land of television?

We've got cult leaders, money launderers, corrupt officials, and even a tyrannical king on this list. Not all of these genius plans paid off, but they were all very clever and you gotta give them points for trying.

10. Pulling The Strings - Joe Carroll (The Following)

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Usually in a TV show, a villain's story comes to an end as soon as they are caught by the good guy and thrown in jail.

In the case of The Following, this is where cult leader and serial killer Joe Carroll's journey begins.

A former English teacher, Carroll was put behind bars for murdering fourteen of his students. The man who sent him away was former FBI Agent Ryan Hardy, played by Kevin Bacon.

Catching killers, dancing, selling phone contracts, is there anything that man can't do?

Carroll's intelligence and charisma allows him to amass a group of fanatical followers from inside his jail cell. Whilst incarcerated, he orchestrates a series of terrible events in order to escape prison, reunite with his wife, and mentally torture his captor.

The plan brilliantly tows the line between intricate and complicated, never straying over into unbelievable. It also plays perfectly to Carroll's strengths as a persuasive leader.

It doesn't end well for the criminal - he gets blown up outside a lighthouse at the end of the first season - but you know what they say, it's the thought that counts.


Jacob Simmons has a great many passions, including rock music, giving acclaimed films three-and-a-half stars, watching random clips from The Simpsons on YouTube at 3am, and writing about himself in the third person.