Our television screens are home to a whole strew of villainous scumbags, thieving scoundrels and cold, calculated killers, but these menaces to society rarely answer for their long list of crimes.
Whether they plummet to their death, get drilled full of bullet holes, bumped off with poison or inexplicably survive a hurricane and escape to live life as a lumberjack (here’s looking at you, Dexter Morgan), more often than not, our favourite villains quite literally get away with murder.
But wait, what if they did answer for their crimes? What would they stand accused of? How vast would their long list of sentences be?
Our team here at Cheaney Shoes have looked into your favourite well-heeled anti-heroes and calculated just how long they’d be in the clink for. From sharp-dressed Tommy Shelby of Peaker Blinder's fame to Tony Soprano, discover the time and their crimes.
Brummy bad boy DI Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan boasts a chequered past, to say the least. Whether he was covering the crimes of Birmingham’s most notorious criminals or framing fellow colleagues, this self-motivated individual was most certainly missing his moral compass. From dabbling in some dangerous driving to full-on treason, this bent copper was riddled with bullets before he could answer to the very same justice system he apparently served.
Idris Elba’s portrayal of a drug kingpin’s immoral second-in-command earned him many plaudits. Largely involved in money laundering, Russell ‘Stringer’ Bell was a business-savvy individual who used his knowledge to try and legitimise the “business” of his childhood friend, Avon Barksdale. This wasn’t to say that Stringer Bell was afraid to get his hands dirty though; Barksdale's right-hand man was involved in a long list of crimes including the production of controlled substances, possession with intent to supply and attempted murder before coming to a sticky end on a building site.
Alice Morgan was introduced to our screens in shocking fashion, first appearing in a gruesome murder scene that involved not only her parents but also, perhaps more shockingly, the family dog. A celebrated child genius who attended Oxford University at the age of 13, Alice used her cerebral skills for far more sinister purposes. Hold the Nobel Prize, because this butter-wouldn’t-melt TV beauty was directly responsible for 2 counts of parricide, multiple murders and kidnapping among many more unanswered crimes.
Considered a consulting criminal, Jim Moriarty is the ultimate villainous mastermind and a man with a moral code murkier than the waters of The Thames. He’s the darkness to the light of the famous Sherlock Holmes and his detective work. Traditionally referred to as the “Napoleon of Crime”, this notorious offender uses his superior intelligence and distinct lack of remorse for more nefarious activities. At the top of the tree, you’ll find a hefty sentence for terrorism, along with some good old-fashioned treason, conspiracy, racketeering and smuggling for good measure.
Don’t let the smart attire and fancy shoes fool you, Tommy Shelby is not a man to be messed with. Patriarch of the infamous Shelby family and leader of the equally infamous Peaky Blinders, this Birmingham-based criminal has a historical background in crime and killing. A tunneler during the First World War, Tommy had experienced his fair share of death and destruction before even lacing up his trademark Peaker Blinder's ankle boots, and as the figurehead of the notorious gang, he racked up a number of crimes ranging from murder and robbery to extortion and fraud.
Italian-American anti-hero Tony Soprano is a complicated character and a man of multiple layers. As much as he loves feeding the ducks by his pool and enjoying a spot of fishing, you’ll also find him frequently breaking the law in various degrees of severity. Tony has racked up an impressive number of murder counts during his time running the criminal underground of Newark, New Jersey, and he didn’t stop there. You can count conspiracy and racketeering, money laundering and intimidation among his many other crimes.
This multi-lingual murderess certainly doesn’t need much of a motive for victims to end up on the receiving end of her blade. Arguably, her only motive is earning contract money to keep herself living a lavish lifestyle with a wardrobe to die for. The hired assassin lacks any human moral code, and some might say she enjoys killing, doing so with a certain flair for the dramatic. As well as multiple counts of murder, you can add tax evasion, escaping from lawful custody and a spot of stalking to Villanelle’s long list of misdemeanours.
There’s certain chemistry to Walter White’s kill count. The former teacher fell into crime after a shock cancer diagnosis, initially turning to methamphetamine production with lab partner Jesse Pinkman in order to amass money for his family. However, pride and ego soon took place, and Walter soon realises that the drug underworld can afford him not only a better lifestyle - but also the respect he craves… Thus Heisenberg is born. Heisenberg built up a feared reputation in New Mexico, to the point where the mere mention of his name would be enough to decide a drug deal. As well as various murder counts, you can add possession with intent to supply, kidnapping and of course money laundering to his extensive list of crimes.
A notorious biker gang isn’t the best place to try and stay out of trouble, and evidently, their nefarious activities can get the better of even the most moral of men. Jax Teller was once this man, owner of a strong compass, he tried to make the best decisions for SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood) and was a brave and loyal leader. As opposed as he was to the gang’s violent nature, it wasn’t long before he found himself with blood on his hands. Jax racked up an impressive rap sheet, which includes murder, possession with intent to supply and smuggling among many other criminal activities.
If you want to be a “successful” serial killer and stay at large, arguably the best place to pick up your pay slip is as a blood spatter analyst. Miami Metro Police Department’s loyal lab rat Dexter Morgan is the ever-elusive ‘Bay Harbour Butcher’ in his spare time, and though he is a self-confessed psychopath, he still kills by a code. Dexter considers himself above other serial killers, and using the police department’s resources, he tracks down, hunts and eventually kills an endless list of criminals who are still at large. As well as the hundreds of people that Dexter has body bagged, the Bay Harbour Butcher can also count breaking and entering, intimidation and theft among his many crimes.
Fansites were used to find the crimes of these fictional criminals. We then calculated the prison sentences for each character based on the sentencing guidelines published by the Sentencing Council of England and Wales, the Crown Prosecution Service, and further sources. Sentencing for murders was based on mimimum time served for a life sentence, 15 years, and murders were counted individually based on those we’ve seen these committed on screen. Other sentences were based on an average between minimum and maximum serving times - this information is purely for entertainment purposes and may not be 100% accurate.