The beauty of TV over film is that we as fans get years and years to invest ourselves in a series' characters - both the heroes and the villains.
This allows audiences to forge deep connections with the central characters and, in the case of the antagonists, it can make their eventual demise or defeat that much more satisfying.
Yet villains don't always end up getting their just deserts, and sometimes it's executed slyly enough that you might not even realise just how lightly they got off the hook.
These TV villains didn't just slink out by the skin of their teeth, they categorically came out on top compared to the heroes in every way that matters.
From unbearable bureaucratic blow-hards who politicked their way to the top, to serial killers who evaded justice forever more, and an especially petty villain who got to see the heroes punished, these 10 TV antagonists all got handed a giant W.
Yet it's easy to lose sight of that fact due to the show downplaying it, or because the villains just quietly slid out of the picture when they knew they'd won...
10. Stan Valchek - The Wire
The entire point of HBO's seminal crime drama series The Wire is that nobody really wins - life simply goes on or, as the case often might be, it doesn't.
As such, definitive happy endings were in desperately short supply when the show came to a close, yet there is one character whose ultimate success isn't mentioned enough.
And that's Stan Valchek (Al Brown), the commander of the Baltimore Police Department's Southeastern district.
Nobody in the show proved quite as politically ruthless or hilariously petty as Valchek while managing to emerge unscathed every single time.
This is a man who ordered an investigation into corruption at the docks because of a disagreement about a stained glass window, causing a pile of dead bodies in the process.
Valchek played human chess better than anyone, and in the series finale even ended up promoted to the role of Commissioner for all of his weasel-work.
While the fates of most other surviving characters were left ambiguous at best, there was no doubt that Valchek would keep bounding upwards for the rest of his career. He came out more enriched and firmly positioned than anyone else in the show.