Black Mirror is an anthology of technological concerns and possible futures, with episodes more often than not ending on a pretty grim note. It's a show that's notorious for leaving you with that unsettling feeling your stomach, and usually with at least one evil character in every episode. Since each story is so different, it can be a challenge determining which antagonists are worse than others.
Nevertheless, we've prepared a list of Black Mirror's most evil characters, ranging from blackmailers to mass-murderers. Spoilers ahead!
Carlton Bloom is an artist and Turner Prize winner, and the antagonist of Black Mirror's first episode. When the much-loved member of the Royal Family Princess Susannah is captured, her abductor demands that the British Prime Minister Michael Callow (Rory Kinnear) has live intercourse with a pig on national TV. The public initially didn't expect their PM to go through with the demand until the villain released a video of him seemingly severing the Princess's finger. When realizing that his family and the Princess won't be safe if he doesn't comply, the PM reluctantly agrees to the blackmailer's demand, and gravely has intercourse with the pig while an audience of 1.3 billion watches—some disgusted, and some amused.
We later learn that the villain was Carlton Bloom, and all this was an artistic expression to convey peoples' obsession with the media. To make matters worse for the PM, Bloom released the Princess unharmed, and before the intercourse had even happened. As far as blackmailing goes, this one was pretty evil.
When Joe Potter (Rafe Spall) awakes in a remote cabin on a snowy Christmas day, he finds a man in the kitchen—seemingly, an old friend called Matt—with whom he shares stories about how they both ended up there. As we learn, Joe was legally 'blocked' by his former partner, Beth, who became a colorless silhouette to Joe and heard only as a distorted stream of noise. Beth also gave birth to a little girl that Joe assumed was his, but couldn't see since the block carried over.
Upon learning Beth had died, Joe went to Beth's father's cabin (the same cabin he and Matt are talking in) to see his daughter without the block, only to discover that Beth had an affair and the child isn't his. Stunned by this revelation, Joe struck Beth's father, killing him, and left the little girl home alone. Two days later, the child went to get help but died in the snow—although Joe is remorseful, he never came forward.
Before he got Joe to open up, Matt Trent (John Hamm) tells Joe stories of how he ended up in the mysterious cabin. In the first story, we learn that Matt used to run an online group where each member watches each other become intimate with women. Matt's life changes drastically one evening when he witnesses one of the members die in a murder-suicide—in an attempt to destroy the evidence, the group are found out, and Matt's wife leaves and legally blocks him.
In the second story, Matt explains his day job. When an affluent woman, Greta, undergoes surgery to make a "cookie" of herself—a digital clone stored in an egg-shaped object—her copy awakes inside the egg and is greeted by Matt. Upon refusing to accept what she is (a personal assistant to the real Greta), Matt makes Greta's cookie experience six months of solitary confinement, which passes in only seconds to him. Desperate to avoid isolation again, Greta's cookie then concedes. After hearing the stories, Joe explains how such slavery is "barbaric", appearing to empathise with Greta. What makes Matt just as bad as Joe (if not, worse) is that he is unable to display the same empathy or remorse for his actions.
In the opening of 'White Bear', Victoria Skillane (Lenora Crichlow) wakes up in someone else's house, disoriented and without memory. She is then attacked outside by sadistic masked people while others stand back and record her on their smartphones. Although unnamed and appearing as a victim for most the episode, we learn that Victoria previously took part in the abduction and murder of a six-year-old girl—Victoria filmed her then-fiancé killing the child (who owned a stuffed white bear that symbolised the crime to the nation).
Towards the end of the episode, Victoria discovers that the masked people were only actors—she is actually part of a staged production in which she is attacked and filmed every day. Whilst shown footage of the murdered child, Victoria has her memory wiped and is forced to live through the terror again as her psychological punishment.
Baxter (Michael Smiley) crosses paths with Victoria when she is escaping her masked attackers. Although it's all an act, Baxter tries to torture Victoria in the production, but she is saved by another woman who urges that the pair reach the 'transmitter'—a device Victoria is led to believe responsible for the 'affected' attackers. When the women reach their destination, Victoria shoots at an attacker, but the gun only sprays confetti and the walls around her open up to reveal a stage and an audience—after being strapped to a chair, Victoria appears remorseful as her crime is explained.
At the end of each day, Victoria is driven to the compound in which she woke, where she is shown footage of the murdered six-year-old girl. Baxter then places electrodes on Victoria's head, wiping her memory of the day's events in what looks as though would be seriously painful. Although Victoria took part in the murder, Baxter (and the nation) unlawfully sentence her to a lifetime of psychological torture, especially since Victoria has no knowledge her crime until the very end of each day.
Robert Daly (Jesse Plemons) is the reclusive tech genius and co-founder of a virtual reality company which produces the hit multiplayer game, Infinity. Despite his title at Callister Inc., Daly is disrespected and unpopular among his colleagues, causing a bullied-becomes-bully situation in which Daly's inner megalomaniacal monster is revealed. Every co-worker that dissed Daily is digitally cloned into his very own modified version of Infinity in what appears to be a spoof on Star Trek.
In the game, Daly's co-workers are sentient code, meaning they are fully aware of their real lives and can feel every bit of cruel, never-ending torture and abuse. In one instance, Daly punishes his colleague by bringing his son into the game, only to throw him out of the spaceship's airlock. Although it's only code and no one actually dies, murdering a child who is every bit sentient in the game as he is in real life is seriously evil.
In arguably the most controversial Black Mirror episode, Rolo Haynes (Douglas Hodge) plays the proprietor of the 'Black Museum'—an unpopular roadside exhibit that houses a collection of all the techno- and criminological artefacts from previous Black Mirror episodes. The museum gains a visitor, Nish (Letitia Wright) who explains she is just passing through in her travels but, as we learn towards the end of the episode, has a motive: to rescue the wrongfully imprisoned hologram of her father, whose consciousness inside the hologram is endlessly tortured by visitors and Haynes himself—sadly, this has become the museum's main attraction.
At the end of the episode, Nish avenges her late father by transferring Haynes' consciousness into her father's virtual body, executes him, and sets fire to the museum.
Filmed in Iceland, the series' darkest episode centres on Mia Nolan (Andrea Riseborough), whose successful career and family life is put on the line when she is visited by her former partner, Rob—fifteen years after a hit-and-run incident in which they're both complicit. When Rob explains he wants to confess their crime, a distressed Mia murders Rob in her hotel room; shortly after, she also witnesses a road accident between a self-driving vehicle and a pedestrian.
Insurance investigator, Shazia, then joins the plot, and probes every witness to the incident using a 'recaller'—a device that scans the recent memories of those she interviews. After tracking her down, Shazia connects Mia to the recaller and learns of Rob's murder. As you might've guessed, Mia feels threatened once again and murders Shazia, along with her husband and child to make sure there are no loose ends. Though she displayed some remorse in the final scene, Mia took it way too far—her desperation for freedom, no matter the cost, shows just how evil she can really be.
Arquette (Michael Kelly) is a military psychologist who plays a pivotal role in the genocide against those believed to be genetically inferior, in what the military and civilians call "roaches". Set in a post-apocalyptic future, the episode centres on one of the soldiers, "Stripe" Koinange (Malachi Kirby) whose MASS—a neural implant in each soldier designed to enhance their senses—becomes glitched; soon after, Stripe no longer sees roaches but regular human beings instead. Upon realizing his deception, Stripe is locked away in a military prison cell—here, Arquette reveals the secret purpose of the MASS implants is to dehumanize the appearance of "the enemy", allowing soldiers to kill them without feeling remorseful.
As it turns out, Stripe is working for a global eugenics program to "protect the bloodline" of humanity—a genocide orchestrated by the government. Not only does Arquette participate in the program, but also leaves Stripe with two choices: to erase his memory of the last few days, or to accept imprisonment.
The only solo mass-murderer in all four seasons, Garrett Scholes, sits in his rightful spot at number 1. In the series' longest episode, Garrett (Duncan Pow) is the mysterious yet deranged mastermind behind a series of deaths caused by 'Autonomous Drone Insects'—tiny robot honeybees created by a private tech company to sustain the colony's sudden extinction. Since Garrett believes that people should face the consequences of what they do and say online, his murders are linked to a viral Twitter game, the Game of Consequences, which crowdsources death by asking users to (unknowingly) choose the robot bees' next victim using the hashtag #DeathTo.
What detectives discover a little too late is that Garrett's master plan was to murder all those who used #DeathTo—making him the most prolific mass murderer in the Black Mirror series.