Film

The Joker

Jack Nicholson was hard to outdo as this leering, overdressed creep from Batman lore, but Heath Ledger drove that crazy train right over the top. One of his best lines (of many great ones) in “The Dark Knight”: “I believe whatever doesn’t kill you, simply makes you … stranger.” Chilling and broken and funny, all at once.

Melissa Davis, NWArts&Life editor

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TV

Gustavo ‘Gus’ Fring

The “Breaking Bad” wiki sums it up well: “Los Pollos Hermanos co-founder, entrepreneur, philanthropist, drug kingpin.” As played by Giancarlo Esposito, the gentlemanly restaurateur in wire-rim glasses and a crisp button-down shirt who also happened to be a ruthless killer icily stole his every scene. Alas, Fring met an explosive end, so he’s not around as this great AMC drama nears its end this final season, but his malevolent influence lingers.

Agnes Torres Al-Shibibi, Seattle Times desk editor

Books

Fagin

Fagin, the leader of the band of child thieves in Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” is unforgettably comic, creepy and villainous. A recent Australian documentary, “The First Fagin,” documents the life of Isaac “Ikey” Solomon, a famous criminal of his age believed to be Dickens’ inspiration for Fagin, and a considerably more sympathetic character than his fictional counterpart.

Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times book editor