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The Anti-Hero and His Hat

I’ve been compulsively watching James Spader’s performance in “The Blacklist” these past two weeks– and man, has this “Pretty in Pink” villain grown up. His comedic timing and sudden esoteric rants belie his ill intentions and powerful control over the F.B.I. Raymond Reddington, Spader’s character, is not a good guy. And yet, I like him. I can’t help but laugh at his jokes and defend his actions. For some reason, no matter how bad Reddington is, no matter what he does, I sympathize with him on some level.

I think the same goes for most anti-heroes on television. The human capacity for compassion is great, as well as the human fascination with misfortune (schadenfreude).  From Walter White to Raymond Reddington, these anti-heroes all seem to have one thing in common: their love of hats. Regardless of their methods for committing crimes, defying traditional morals and flouting fidelity, the anti-hero likes a good hat.

Don’t believe me? Just watch. (All forms of headgear are included– flat brims, bowler hats, cowboy hats, crowns, newsboy caps, etc.)


Walter White, “Breaking Bad”


Don Draper, “Mad Men”


Jax Teller, “Sons of Anarchy”


Raymond Reddington, “The Blacklist”


Tom Shelby, “Peaky Blinders”


Sherlock Holmes, “Sherlock Holmes”

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Nucky Thompson, “Boardwalk Empire”

Honorable Mention, i.e. straight up villains in hats:


Alex, “A Clockwork Orange”

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Joffrey, “Game of Thrones”


The Wicked Witch, “The Wizard of Oz”


Bane, “Batman”

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