Councilman Kane of won't just throw people out of The Ark for no reason. Instead, he'll do it through the law.
Bellamy was willing to risk innocent lives to save himself, but objected to his Dragon Murphy taking on Wells unless the fight was fair and also took issue with Murphy trying to execute a child, despite knowing that the child in question had murdered Wells.
Senator Powell:(After haranguing Dragon about the violence and sexual content in his movies) You have a young daughter, named Georgia, who is about 10 years old. Has little Georgia seen your film entitled "Ripcord", which contains 357 acts of violence, 175 profanities, and 4 scenes of lesbian sex? She proud of her daddy for that one?! How can you look that sweet little girl in the eye?
Peter Dragon: I manage. I never voted to subsidize the growing of tobacco, while turning my back on food programs for starving kids. I've never vetoed a gun control bill. All my guns are fake, Senator! I've never rushed to the defense of Kuwaiti oil fields, while ignoring genocide in Africa, because big oil companies that line your fat pockets aren't concerned with black Africa. Those are all productions of your company Senator, this company right here!
Alcatraz: The Villain of the Week in one episode was a child-killer who was frequently assaulted and almost killed by the other inmates. This is Truth in Television since, in the prison hierarchy, sex offenders and child killers/molesters/abusers are the bottom of the heap and often targeted. In a lot of prisons in the US it's now standard procedure to isolate pedophiles from the general population for their own safety.
American Gothic: In the episode "Strong Arm of the Law", Sheriff Buck is shown tormenting, manipulating, and eventually killing or running out of Trinity a foursome of out-of-town criminals. The thing that makes this an example of the trope is that even though Buck is, nominally, a lawman, we never see him upholding the law, merely subverting and twisting it to his own ends. While getting rid of the criminals smacks very much of "This is my turf, only I get to run roughshod over my people," the simple fact is Buck is in the right in this episode, and is shown to have standards, albeit warped ones: while he will haunt, corrupt, blackmail, and drive people insane, he won't come out and be an outright criminal, or allow any real ones to hurt the innocent in Trinity.
Played straight with the Ethros demon who possessed a young boy, only to discover that he had "no humanity, no conscience, just a black void." The demon was unable to get out, and tried to kill the boy even if it meant killing himself. A different kind of Even Evil Has Standards - the Ethros demon committed evil out of a belief in evil, whereas the boy had no reason whatsoever.
Lindsey decided that he "wanted out" of Wolfram & Hart when they tried to get him to defend a woman for killing three blind children and their teacher. And again later when he discovered that they kept people in storage for spare parts. When Lindsey stands up to the firm and comes out on top, the firm rewards his guts and cleverness. They know they'd be far better with him on their side.
The evil behind Wolfram and Hart seems to operate on this principle with regards to Angel. They are insistent that they want to recruit 'Angel', soul and all, not his pure evil alter ego Angelus. They want some one with standards to embrace evil, not evil being evil just For the Evulz.
Arrow: Ra's Al-Ghul leads the League of Assassins, which does everything the name implies. But even he was disgusted by The Undertaking, Malcolm Merlyn's plan in the first season to destroy the Glades in order to save Starling City from itself. To the point that he now wants to kill Malcolm personally.
The A-Team: In one two-part episode, the titular team go on a mission to rescue someone from some pirates who were hired by a gangster. Later, the pirates end up teaming up with the A-Team when the gangster turns out to be a Nazi.
Babylon 5: Londo Mollari is this in some ways. Among other examples, even though he was in favor of retaking the Narn homeworld, he objected to the use of MassDrivers to bombard the planet. Although his objection is purely a diplomatic one (treaties banning mass drivers) and not humanitarian issues, there are still lines that he thinks shouldn't be crossed, even in service of the Centauri Republic.
The Big Bang Theory: Not quite Evil as much as Perverts, but there was a Subverted Trope instance regarding Howard Wolowitz: Howard was feeling depressed that he couldn't find a girl, so Raj and Leonard go to Las Vegas and hire a prostitute to act as a Jewish woman for him to sleep with in order to make him feel better. When talking with her, Howard excuses himself, and tells Leonard and Raj that he knows they hired a prostitute and that she wasn't actually Jewish in a tone that implied that he was angered that they did that, which likewise implied that he wouldn't have stooped that low. However, he then thanks them quietly but enthusiastically after he learns from them that they paid in full, revealing that he actually would stoop as low as to sleep with a prostitute faking her ethnicity/religion that was hired by his friends as long as she was already paid beforehand.
Blake's 7: Terran Federation officers sometimes namecheck this one. War criminal Space Commander Travis objects (half-heartedly) to Servalan declaring a dead surgeon to be a deserter because his family will become slaves as punishment (he also saved Travis' life), and another officer is horrified when he learns Servalan released a pandemic on a planet to force the inhabitants to allow her to use their cloning facility to clone herself. They both still follow their orders afterwards.
Bones: Temperance was counting on this when she was stuck inside a prison while visiting when a prison riot breaks out; she was counting on the unwritten prisoner code of ethics that harming a pregnant woman is heavily frowned upon. She walks right through the thick of it; the few rioters that do attempt to make a run at her are quickly consumed again into the riot by other rioters who take notice.
Although Jesse is an Anti-Villain at worst in general, he's extremely disturbed when innocent people are hurt, and when those innocent people are kids this unease turns into violent anger.
Mike might be a cold-blooded killer, but it's just a job and he does try to avoid as much unnecessary death as possible - in season 5 when a character suggests that he hit ten people who could potentially talk to the police, he tells them outright that in the real world people don't just kill ten people like that. He was fairly disgusted when Todd shot and killed a child, and threatened him against the wall that he would never bring a gun on a heist ever again.
Walt insists to the end that he would never, ever hurt his family, though he starts having to do some pretty impressive mental gymnastics to keep justifying what he's doing in spite of this principle later on.
Jack's crew are a neo-Nazi gang who have even less qualms than Mike about killing, but they absolutely despise rats and Jack is pretty insulted when Walt suggests they lied to him in the finale. This lead's to Jack's death, as his attempt to prove he has not partnered himself with Jesse in producing meth gives Walt the time to retrieve the trigger for the machine gun trap he has in his car boot parked outside the room they're in.
When Walt orders a hit on Jesse, Jack points out that he respects Walt for demanding that the kill be quick and painless, arguing that it is more civilized that way.
Spike is appalled by Angelus' actions in Angel episode "Destiny". William the Bloody (the future Spike), newly vamped, confides in Angelus about how he is completely in love with Drusilla, and he even considers her his "destiny". Angelus then goes and sleeps with Drusilla, just to piss William off. William is shocked and appalled by both Angelus and Drusilla, who taunt him and tell him that being a vampire means Even Evil Has Standards goes out the window.
Vampires and demons are supposed take Halloween off. Spike treats those who violates this rule with disdain.
Spike also genuinely liked Buffy's mother, and is upset at her death.
Mayor Wilkins says that he married his wife in '03 and that he was with her to the end, which was "not a pretty picture." He suggests that the immortal Angel and the mortal Buffy will have the same problem. Wilkins gets in Angel's face, saying that he's selfish for keeping Buffy from the life she should have. "Is that what you came back from hell for? Is that your greater purpose?" Receiving a blank stare for an answer, Wilkins disgustedly turns his back on him. And the episode "Gingerbread" has him genuinely horrified at the child murders, though it's also entirely possible he was just doing what the townspeople expected of him. The fact he looks worried when the dark forces of the town are brought up only muddies things further. The Mayor does love kids, so he probably doesn't like seeing them get killed if he's not the one eating them himself. He's also a big believer in keeping his word and doesn't like when he is made to look dishonest. In fact, the only time we see say or do anything that might be considered threatening to his henchmen is when Mr Trick says he did him a favor by accidentally getting Lurconis, the demon the Mayor had pledged a sacrifice too, killed by the gang. He tells him that he should be very careful what favors he does for him in the future.
Anya was completely freaked out by witnessing an Evil Sorcerer become an Eldritch Abomination and go on a rampage via performing a ritual similar to the one the Mayor planned on using.
It would be a real stretch to call Jonathan "evil" (at his worst, he's simply a source of annoyance), but he is visibly shaken and horrified by Warren's cold-hearted nature and monstrous sadism.
By the time of Faith's first run on the show she is a psychotic, evil, served as The Dragon, multiple rapist (Xander, Buffy, Riley,) murderer, body snatcher and all round Jerk Ass, then she hears about hostages being taken at a church. The sort of thing, at this point, fans would think she would do. No, she finds that she can let that happen and heads off to save them.
Casualty: The Farmead Crew is a council estate gang that deals drugs, among other things. Anton, the gang leader, is horrified that one of his subordinates set up the gang-rape of a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl in order to keep her boyfriend quiet about a failed shooting.
The Chaser's War On Everything: Played with in an advertisement which parodied a Government ad in which men try to rationalise their physical or sexual abuse of women and are responded to in text ("it's never acceptable" and other such things). In the Chaser version, the men lament that people think they're rapists and thugs because they appeared on the aforementioned ad and the text says things like "you should have thought of that". Finally, one man says "it's not as bad as appearing in one of those Work Choices ads, is it?" (referring to the then Government's controversial workplace legislation), which is followed by the text "no, nothing's that bad".
Serial killer George Marks abducts women disguised as a cop, takes them to a secluded wood, has them strip and then hunts them all night. When he discovers that one of his victims has her 9 year old daughter in the car with her he backs off and waits until he can kidnap his victim without the little girl around.
Seeing as how one of his victims was a 14-year old girl and that he implies that he did in fact threaten to harm the 9 year old if her mother didn't come with him, it's more likely that he didn't want any witnesses.
CSI NY: A hitman turns himself in and spills the beans on his client when said client switched targets from a man to a woman. This hitman doesn't do women.
Damages: Arthur Frobisher reacts with horror when he is offered the chance to kill a dangerous witness, and initially declines. He goes ahead with it in the end, but the reaction fits the trope before he goes Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
Deadwood: Subverted Trope by Al Swearengen. Swearengen begins the series by stepping on a woman's throat, then goes though three seasons of Pet the Dog moments. In season three, he delivers a avenging beatdown on one of Hearst's mooks, berating the man for trying to hurt women and children. Moments later, Swearengen admits that he was only putting on a show. He himself has no qualms about killing women and children, and is torturing the mook simply because he enjoys it.
Serial Killer for Justice Dexter Morgan has a strict code he adheres to driving him to kill only people who have somehow escaped justice. Said code was placed upon by his cop father, who recognized that Dexter was going to be a serial killer. It's shown that had this code not been placed, he would end up just as monstrous as other serial killers. When he confronts a Serial Killer of children, Dexter states his revulsion for his crimes with the claim, "I have standards."
See also his response to the "coyote" couple who are involved in human trafficking, sneaking immigrants across the border only to kill them if their relatives don't pay an extra fee: in this case, he's more intrigued that they can love each other, being as monstrous as he is, and wants to know how they do it.
His response to seeing videos of 13 young women being tortured and raped to death plays this more straight: "Despite having considered myself a monster for as long as I can remember, it still comes as a shock when I'm confronted with the depths of evil that exists in this world."
Dexter is always sure to kill quickly, the release is in the killing. When he discovers that the Trinity Killer has been psychologically terrorizing and physically torturing his own family for years Dexter is completely horrified.
Deconstructed Trope in the episode "Boom Town", which features the return of the Slitheen, aliens who had previously appeared in "Aliens of London" and "World War III." This time the only surviving character from those episodes has had herself installed as mayor of Cardiff and is planning to destroy the city to get herself home. However, when she is about to kill a reporter who is getting too close to the truth, she stops when she learns that the intended victim is pregnant. It leads to this exchange between her and the Doctor:
Margaret: "I promise you I've changed since we last met, Doctor. There was this girl, just today, a young thing, something of a danger. She was getting too close. I felt the bloodlust rising, just as the family had taught me, I was going to kill her without a thought...and then, I stopped. She's alive somewhere right now, she's walking around this city because I can change, I did change. I know I can't prove it—" The Doctor: "I believe you." Margaret: "Then you know I'm capable of better." The Doctor: "It doesn't mean anything." Margaret: "I spared her life." The Doctor: "You let one of them go, but that's nothing new. Every now and then a little victim is spared because she smiled, 'cause he's got freckles, 'cause they begged...and that's how you live with yourself. That's how you slaughter millions, because once in a while, on a whim, if the wind's in the right direction, you happen to be kind."
In any case, she was actually planning on destroying the whole planet anyway.
Played straight in "Journey's End", where a Dalek actually pulls a Heel-Face Turn. Said Dalek, Dalek Caan, had been exposed to the time vortex and was witness to literally every act the Daleks have and ever would commit. This perspective made him decide that it was time for all Daleks to die. Note that Caan was actually one of the more "conservative" (read: stubbornly genocidal) members of the Skaro Cult and initially had no hesitation in destroying an entire species.
The Master also finds his limits in Rassilon intentionally inflicting madness upon the Master back when he was a child. The Master had literally remade humanity in his image not an hour before.
A Dalek in "The Power of the Daleks" is incapable of understanding why a human would kill another member of its race. (It's important to remember that every time Daleks have fought each other, it's been between "pure" Daleks and mutated Daleks.)
The Dollhouse's operators — whose organization is based on mind control, prostitution and illegal activities including murder — are nevertheless horrified to learn one of their employees has been raping one of the Dolls in her Wiped state (which means she had the mind of a child and couldn't resist).
The episode "Belonging" shows what happens when the character of Topher, a man identified as having no morals who views other human beings as playthings, discovers that there indeed is a line he will not cross. In the previous episode, Topher having a moral problem imprinting a serial killer VIP onto Victor is used as evidence that it's probably not a good idea.
Similarly, the normally cold and professional DeWitt has no problem with renting out Dolls for sexual or even hazardous engagements, but she reacts with disapproval when, midway through season 2, her Dollhouse, now under a new management, start renting the Dolls out to sadists, and is horrified and/or disgusted in "Epitaph One" when she finds out that the Dollhouse will be selling the bodies of Dolls to the highest bidders to permanently imprint their minds into and in "Belonging" when she finds out how Sierra was entered into the Dollhouse.
Drrt: The main character Lucy Spiller has a reputation of being evil incarnate. However, she holds journalistic integrity above all else; she's only interested in the truth, not gossip (no matter how big it may be), and she always protects her sources.
Dukes Of Hazzard: Hazzard County's Boss Hogg may be so crooked he makes Al Capone look honest, but he draws the line at actions that might actually physically harm someone and refuses to work with anyone who supports that sort of thing. (One episode that dealt with marijuana had Boss Hogg vehemently declare that he would never sell drugs for any type of money.) His would-be partners don't take kindly to such an attitude, and Boss Hogg often needs the Dukes to pull his bacon out of the fire when this happens.
Ironic, in that Boss Hogg started his criminal career moonshining with Uncle Jesse (who eventually went straight). But drugs are bad, m'kay? There was one episode where Boss Hogg had no problem with trying to sell off a large truck of firearms (which included a Browning Machine Gun) that he stumbled across, perhaps making this character trait an example of Depending on the Writer. It could also have been earlier in the show's run, when Boss was a more malevolent character than he later became.
ER: In one episode, African rebels didn't hesitate to shoot their hostages who had absolutely nothing to do with the war (some being doctors and a geologist) in cold blood and rape a woman, but they won't kill a man they believe to be a priest.
In the episode "Objects in Space", Bounty Hunter Jubal Early tries to pull this on River during their exchange. However, she pretty quickly and bluntly shoots that notion down by revealing what a cruel and sadistic bastard he really is.
Straight example in "Train job". Even though they are hired by a psychotic ganglord known for punishing failure with horrible death, Mal is still unwilling to carry on with the heist and returns the stolen medicine which the whole town would suffer terribly without.
Token Evil Teammate Jayne is in general considered to be on the side of Firefly's crew until someone makes him a better offer (which is how Mal recruited him in the first place). However, he has shown that some things are too much for him. In the episode "Ariel", he had already told Alliance authorities where to get the Tams (as they had bounties on their heads), but he seems to have a sudden change of heart when Simon explains to him just how they cut out pieces of River's brain. At the end of the same episode Mal is on the verge of tossing Jayne out the airlock, and his foremost concern in the face of impending death is that others would not remember him as a traitor. Also, do not insult his mom.
Forever Knight: Lucien LaCroix, despite being quite the sociopath, wouldn't turn a young Adolf Hitler into a vampire because he felt too much evil from him. And a near word-for-word invoking of this trope comes when LaCroix's daughter / maker Divia shows back up and reminds him of his refusing her long-ago wish (she wanted him to have sex with her, which LaCroix refused to do, as she was his 11 year old daughter. LaCroix's feelings, however, haven't changed:
LaCroix: I always thought evil was a finite entity until you showed me otherwise. Even I have my limits, Divia!
In Fringe, Walternate has no problem with human experimentation, breeding shapeshifting cyborg assassins, encasing people in amber, and killing hundreds or even millions if it will save his world. But he will not allow experiments to be run on children. This draws a stark parallel to his "good" counterpart, who does experiment on children, albeit with good intentions, reinforcing the grey on grey nature of the conflict.
Frontline: Marty DiStasio is as unethical as any other reporter on the team, but even he balks at his executive producer's decision to air an unsubstantiated story about a priest accused of rape. When Emma asks, he admits to being a (lapsed) Catholic.
Game of Thrones: Invoked and mocked by Theon's torturer Ramsay Snow. He castrates Theon, and in a later scene he eats a suspiciously-looking piece of meat in front of a cringing Theon. He pretends to be shocked at the suggestion that Theon would think him a cannibalistic savage and confirms it's just pork sausage. He is obviously just messing with his prisoner's mind out of cruelty but it's very doubtful if he would really have such a standard.
Sylar calls Mohinder for help when he has a prophetic vision that he will cause an explosion that will destroy much of New York, killing hundreds of thousands of people for no apparent reason; Sylar had until now viewed his killings as "evolutionary imperative", taking powers from those who didn't deserve them, and considered the destruction of New York to be meaningless and therefore "evil".
In a later season he helps Micah (who's only a kid) escape from Danko's men because rebel or not, he considers killing a kid to be too evil, even for him.
Later, in the Volume Three episode "Villains", it is revealed that Arthur Petrelli's attempt to kill his own son is what prompted Angela and Linderman to betray him and (attempt to) kill him. While this makes sense for Angela (Nathan is her son too, after all), Linderman seemed to have no motivation beyond considering killing one's own child to be too evil for even him.
In Volume Four, after Tracey Strauss briefly escaped and killed a member of the group that was rounding up supers before being recaptured again, Strauss accused Nathan of deliberately setting her up to escape to allow the policy to work when a government inspector arrived with the implied intent to shut it down. Turns out, not only did Nathan not know about it being done, but he later confronted the real person who deliberately made it possible for her to escape, Danko, in private and scolded him for it, indicating that while Nathan is content with rounding up evolved people to be relocated from regular people, he will not stoop as low as to orchestrate an escape of one of the evolved humans and sacrifice one of his men to prove a point to why their organization must continue.
Hogan's Heroes: For all that Colonel Klink likes to think he's a tyrant, the attitudes of the more sadistic Nazi officers have occasionally revolted him.
House of Anubis: Victor Rodenmaar. No matter how badly he himself may act towards the students, when they are in danger, he responds protectively over them, arguing with his own partner and love interest when she harmed one of them without any sign of regret, and when he chose to save Joy's life rather than use his last tear of gold for himself.
Though he's not evil by any means, Barney Stinson is a sexual deviant in the purest form. He's slept with hundreds of hot women, betraying them, lying to them, and stealing from them in the process. However, he revealed that even sexual deviants have standards in "The Bracket": as low as he's sunk when it comes to women, he is not the type of guy to have sex with a girl and forget her name or what she looked like. When he is led to believe that he slept with a girl but doesn't remember her, he immediately goes up and gives what may be his first whole-hearted apology ever.
Then there's the extreme guilt when he first slept with Robin because she's Ted's ex. Granted, it's because it violated one article of his own "Bro Code," but it also means that Barney believes in practicing what he preaches and truly values Ted's friendship.
On another occasion, he's seen running one of his plays, which involves knocking on a random woman's door and telling her his wife has been having an affair with her husband, hinting they might get revenge by sleeping together. With a crazed light in her eye, she suggests killing them instead. He walks away and tries it on someone else. Admittedly, this may have been less standards and more worry that she would stab him after learning he'd played her false.
He also won't sleep with anyone under the age of 18. Whether it's for moral or legal reasons is unclear.
iCarly. Sam may be a criminal and abuse Freddie and Gibby to no ends, but when Freddie's boss in "iPear Store" strips Freddie of his uniform in a rough fashion, she decides not to work for her anymore.
Again in "iSave Carly". She gets rather upset with her juvenile friend when she hits a nerdy kid with her butter sock and tells her that she uses it on people who deserve a beating.
The IT Crowd: Played for Laughs: owing to a convoluted series of events, Moss and Roy have agreed to allow a German cannibal to consume some of their limbs if he lets them watch a movie Roy's been desperate to see on his swanky home entertainment system. The same episode has also featured a parody of the standard over-the-top and slightly hysterical anti-piracy adverts. They put the DVD, the advert starts, and the cannibal immediately shouts out "Oh, these piracy warnings!" in frustration and disgust.
Kamen Rider Double: Saeko Sonozaki killed her husband Kirihiko, who was on the verge of a Heel-Face Turn, and betrayed her own family at the behest of Isaka. Neverless, she refuses to aid Kazu in the Assimilation Plot involving her sister, if only because she no longer feels the need to prove herself superior.
In the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Homo Homini Lupus", an otherwise-ruthless loan shark is horrified when he discovers that the guy he's been sending after people who fail to pay back the money is a Serbian war criminal and rapist... and that he's enabled the bastard to rape a teenaged girl.
A rather odd example occurs in season 3 with serial killer Matthew Brodus: he smugly brags about his crimes, and recounts in detail how he raped, tortured and killed his victims, yet becomes outraged when the detectives accuse him of necrophilia.
A priest is beat up, and two of our heroes go looking for the "local talent" involved. When they question a Hispanic gang, the leader goes "We're not monsters." It turns out one of the gang members was involved, whereupon the leader asks for his gun back so he can point it at the guy's head. "You have a long penance ahead of you. Start by answering the man's question. NOW!"
In another episode, Hardison, the team's computer expert is listening to a live feed of a Corrupt Corporate Executive discussing the benefits of owning a US Congressman. His response is, "I'm a professional criminal and I find that disturbing."
Displayed amusingly by Parker in The Bank Shot Job. She's likely stolen anything and everything under the sun, but even she thinks illegal downloading is wrong (much to Hardison's confusion.)
Also in "The Boys Night Out Job", two hitters for the Irish mob chase Nate and Hurely into a church. One is already to go in but the other refuses go kill someone in a church.
Thug 1: The church! They're in the church. Thug 2: I'm not just busting into a church to kill two men. Thug 1: What if they're in the church basement? If they're in the church basement then we can kill 'em. Thug 2: So you're implying that the church is holy, but the church basement isn't? Thug 1: You don't say mass in the basement. The church basement is not holy ground. Thug 2: So what, it goes: Holy ground. Uuumm, the basement. Holy ground? Thug 1: The Boy Scouts meet in the basement and they're not a religious group. Thug 2: A Boy Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Reverent is there at the end because it is, if not a faith based organisation, not entirely secular!
And then their boss shows up, demanding to know why they haven't finished the job yet. Upon hearing their reasoning, he agrees...to a point.
Mob Boss: I see your point. We can't be shootin' people inside a church. So go in there and drag 'em out to the parking lot, and then shoot them!
Nick Cocks (a child killer who once brutally slaughtered a 3 year old baby in cold blood while its weeping mother watched as well as then raping said mother before killing her husband then drowning her) is shocked and horrified when he hears about a man who went on holiday while leaving his cat without food for a 2 day break. Nick even goes as far as to kill the man before taking the cat to a animal shelter stating:
"How dare you starve a innocent cat! I love cats and now you're dead!"
As well as this in one episode, a criminal is taken to court on suspicion of killing his friend. As the trial proceeds it is revealed that the lawyer of the man, raped a woman however the trial proceeds anyway. Just as a not-guilty verdict is about to be pronounced, the man steals a guards gun and shots the lawyer in the head before being tackled the ground. When asked why he did so he replies by saying:
"I can't get of the hook by a man who raped a woman! I may be paying the ultimate price, but it was either I get of the hook by a bastard, or I kill the bastard. Either way I get punished somehow..."
Another episode involves a group of terrorists whose ultimate goal is to destroy both American and British spirits. They have been behind multiple major attacks evening once flying a plane into a nursery, however what one thing makes then so utterly shocked and disgusted that they end up shooting themselves to stop the painful thoughts that it provokes? The story of a man throwing a crisps packet on the ground. As they put it:
"We may be terrorists, but we don't do litter!"
Little House on the Prairie: Mrs. Oleson and Nellie surely were the most vile, wicked characters in the series. Nellie has played plenty of cruel tricks, mainly on Laura, but it was mostly to assert herself and her family's prominence in the community; she never would stoop to such things as assault or putting people's lives in danger, as her adopted sister, Nancy, would later do. As for Harriet, while she has spread lots of vile gossip about people she didn't like or get along with – largely, the Ingalls family, the Garveys, Mr. Edwards, Doc Baker, Rev. Alden and any of the schoolteachers – she drew the line at outright racism (although she is bigoted, it's largely her being a product of her time), theft, murder and hatred for children. She notably admitted in one episode she made a mistake in having schoolteacher Miss Beadle fired and replaced by someone who hated all children (especially after hearing the new teacher's rant about how children disgust him), and told a racist farmer to shut up when he went on a tirade about white and black people being seen together.
Benjamin Linus: As retribution for his daughter's death, Ben decides to kill Widmore's daughter, Penny. But when he finally has Penny at gunpoint, he lowers his weapon when he sees Penny's young son Charlie. Having never known his own mother and been abused by his father, Ben couldn't bring himself to orphan another child.
Ben also refuses to kill baby Alex, and instead kidnaps her and ends up raising her. This has added significance because the other Big Bad of the show, Charles Widmore, was the one who had ordered him to kill the baby, so it makes Ben look more like an anti-hero than a villain in comparison.
DHARMA member Stuart Radzinsky has no trouble beating Sawyer senseless for refusing to tell him where Kate is going, but as soon as his colleague Phil comes in and starts doing the same to Juliet, Radzinsky begins to look horrified.
Luther: In one episode, a forger double-crosses a criminal who tries to buy fake passports from him after seeing just how many fake identities the man in question wants. The forger reasons that only a terrorist would need that many fake passports, and states that he has no desire to see his beloved London destroyed.
The episode "Evacuation", where, even in school gym where the neighborhood is staying (because Hal's couch accidentally tipped over a train carrying radioactive waste), Malcolm is still grounded, despite not being at home. When Malcolm has had enough and sarcastically asks Lois if she's going to spank him, she puts Malcolm over her knee and... lightly taps him on the butt. EVERYONE IN THE GYM reacts with silent shock as if it's the worst thing ever and Lois is banished outside along with Hal, Reese and Dewey, while Malcolm finally gets peace (meaning for once, Malcolm actually wins). Though Reese was banished for setting up a black market, Hal for causing the problem, and Dewey and been telling people his family was dead to get sympathy (and toys).
Reese has a lack of empathy towards people, is the class bully, and has absolutely no qualms about bullying his brothers, even freely confirming that he is the worst brother ever after Dewey labels him as such after Reese bought a plane for Dewey just to see his face when he smashed it. However, aside from certain instances, he deliberately avoids picking on/bullying Stevie specifically because he is a paraplegic, and declares him off limits. And the one time he wanted to settle a feud with Stevie, he paralyzed his own legs so that he can allow a fair fight.
Lois might be an Abusive Parent, but Ida Kenzel is so downright cruel to her children that Lois called her off for it. You know your a monster of a parent if Malcom's mother calls you one. Oh, & by the way, Lois is her daughter!
Martial Law: In season two, a crooked guard has no problem with threatening a city with a binary nerve gas to get a huge pay-off. When he finds out his partner plans to use it on the city whether or not they pay, he tries try to stop him.
Max Headroom: In the episode "Baby Gro-Bags" Corrupt Corporate Executive Grossberg swears on his ratings (the highest oath a TV executive can make) that he is not involved in illegal human cloning.
Red John does NOT tolerate "poor imitations" of his work, and is even kind enough to spare the life of the patsy the main perpetrators of the plot blackmailed into it (with his mother's life no less) with merely a shot to the leg.
In the Season 4 episode Pink Champagne on Ice a Women who is planning to rob a casino kills her accomplice, finding him too evil as he laughs about killing the room-mate of the girl he kidnapped as a hostage. The Women, Trish, is prepared to kill the hostage and two people who can recognise her despite them giving her the money. She says she would have felt terrible about it though.
This trope brings down Arc Villain Tommy Volker, a Mega Corp. owner whom Lisbon opens an investigation into on suspicion having an Amazon village slaughtered, and who kills several witnesses. One witness is a ten-year-old boy, and two different hitmen refuse to kill him: the first gives the kid to a relative to hide him, the second tells Volker to get stuffed. Volker tries to do the kid himself and is caught in the act.
Midsomer Murders: One of the murderers took a young boy who was a witness to one of his crimes out on his boat. When Barnaby shows up to arrest him, the child is unharmed, with the murderer admitting that he couldn't bring himself to kill a child (who happened to be his great-nephew). He strangled a woman to death, killed a doctor and burned down his office, and ran over another woman and injected her with nicotine to protect his company's reputation.
Mission: Impossible: Usually averted - even when the IM Force's targets aren't out to kill anyone they're still portrayed as being people with no concept of morals (such as the Hagars in "Charity," who are happy to exploit blind children in their bid to rip off people who think they're giving to... well, see the title) - but in "The Train," the chosen successor to a terminally ill prime minister (who plans to be a much less benevolent ruler than his mentor) hates the idea of executing his enemies and wishes there was an alternative. Tellingly, he does not try and hasten the PM's demise.
Vince from Mongrels is a vicious fellow, and at one point sings a Villain Song detailing some of the murder, theft, mutilation and rape that he gets up to. It does, however, include the following line as a Take That to one of the UK's most infamous political parties:
Nelson: Why don't you join the BNP? I think you'd fit in fine.
Vince: You must be f***ing joking, I know where to draw the line!
Although not quite "evil" (with the exception of their ringleader, Max Hudson, who murdered his wife), the shock jock team members J.J. and Little Willie (who is as small as his name implies) were very obnoxious and often play very cruel jokes. However, when Hudson mocks Trudy's death on the air when Monk admits that his wife was killed via a carbomb, even they were horrified at Hudson's actions, telling Hudson to go easy on Monk.
Also, in an episode about an anti-military extremist bombing a power generator to keep his identity undercover (he earlier faked his death), one of his friends, a literal tree-hugger, was initially supportive of his efforts in bombing recruitment stations. However, when he learned that his recent actions of bombing a power station had led to three deaths (all people who were in a hospital at the time of a blackout), he drew the line and told his friend off in secret. This led to his friend turning on him by knocking the tree down with a bulldozer with him still on it.
The Montel Williams Show: One episode had psychic Sylvia Brown answer questions from the audience. One audience member expressed concerns about her health problems. Brown gave the usual psychic BS about chakras being out of line, etc. When the audience member said her doctor suspected multiple sclerosis, Montel cut to a commercial. Montel has MS himself and obviously wasn't going to have this woman played with.
Plays this trope straight. In "Manos" The Hands of Fate, both Dr. Forrestor and TV's Frank realize and admit they went too far picking the movie, though apparently they just can't stop the movie, so Joel and the Bots still have to suffer.
Later in the series, Pearl compliments the then-recently-deceased Raul Julia despite the fact that he was the star of the terrible movie she was about to inflict upon Mike and the Bots.
NCIS: Los Angeles: A black market dealer in one episode entered into an arrangement with a person of interest in NCIS's case of the week. He thought the guy was a drug dealer, but when it turned out the man was an Islamic terrorist he hired a contract killer to take the guy out.
Night Gallery: From "The Devil Is Not Mocked": The Nazis arrive at a castle in Transylvania hunting a group of partisans. It turns out that the partisans are a vampire coven under the command of Count Dracula himself. Apparently even vampires hate genocidal assholes.
The absurd levels this can sometimes reach is pointed out in this miniseries. A high-ranking Nazi official and the American soldier who's supposed to be guarding his cell discuss their respective childhoods, and the Nazi mentions how much he loved hunting with his father. The American asks if Hitler hunted at all, and the Nazi responds "No, the Führer considered killing animals unethical." Both burst out laughing.
Rudolf Höss, the former commandant of Auschwitz, provides another truly bizarre example to highlight his sociopathy. After describing the extermination process he pioneered in the camp with a mixture of pride and emotional detachment, he stresses to the court that he didn't tolerate gratuitous cruelty from his guards towards the prisoners because they were "simply" trying to exterminate them, not pointlessly torment them.
While Captain Hook has no problem extracting Aurora's heart and using it to control her to get what he wants, he pulls an impressive Matrix-y maneuver to retrieve it when it's nearly knocked into a portal, explaining that he "bristles at the thought of a woman losing her heart...unless it's over me."
Borderline case later in the season, when Greg and Tamara are about to torture Regina. He says he will have no part in it and leaves, but does nothing to help her either.
Maleficent is against Regina using the dark curse. She tells Regina "Whoever invented that monstrosity makes us look practically moral". She also warns Regina "There are lines even we shouldn't cross."
Rumpelstiltskin, for all his evil doings, will not hurt children. He also refuses to kill Robin Hood (who stole a wand from him) after learning that Robin and Marian are expecting a child, since he doesn't want to leave the boy fatherless. Given that the two defining moments of his backstory are being abandoned by his father and subsequently abandoning his own son (which he considers his biggest regret), it's understandable that this would be a moral line he'd refuse to cross. note He did cross it once with Geppetto's parents, but it's not confirmed that he knew that would be the outcome.
The Outer Limits: The episode "Rule of Law" features an alien being put on trial for murdering a human. The prosecuting attorney is racist against aliens and pushes for an execution, but when everybody learns why the alien killed the guy ( the guy smashed the alien's unhatched eggs with full knowledge of what they were), he sides with the protagonists.
Simon Adebisi is the biggest, meanest, most frightening inmate in the whole prison, and seems to have no soul at all most of the time. However, even he balks at the suggestion that his gang steal the money that has been painstakingly raised to send another inmate's dying grandson to Disney World, saying "Sometimes it's good to be human."
Verne Schillinger orders the kidnapping of Tobias Beecher's daughter and one of his sons and then has one of them killed and the body dumped near their grandparents' house. The prison's priest Ray Mukada pleads with Schillinger to spare the second victim. Schillinger says nothing, then phones his accomplice and says "it's time to deliver the second package", pauses and adds "deliver it alive". Schillinger also contributed to the fund mentioned above.
Ryan O'Reilly, ostensibly a sociopath, confesses to having his brain damaged brother Cyril kill Gloria Nathan's husband, even though it means another 40 years added to his sentence. Nathan later finds herself falling in love with him and hates herself for it. She is raped soon after and O'Reilly confesses to having orchestrated this as well. However, Sister Pete figures out that he was lying in an attempt to allow Nathan to hate him as she should (he wasn't lying about having her husband killed). In fact, O'Reily kills Nathan's actual rapist, Patrick Keenan.
Ryan: You know how I said that I always get someone to kill for me?
Ryan: Well, in your case, I'm gonna make an exception. (Bashes Keenan's head in with a dumbbell, spits on him, steals his shamrock necklace, and leaves.)
Being set in a prison, the series naturally views its convicts in a softer light. Tricia Miller, for example, may be a homeless junkie, but she is not a thief. In fact, she keeps a detailed log of everything she's "borrowed" and plans to pay it all back someday.
While Mendez may abuse his power at any opportunity, even he is disturbed by Healy sending Piper to solitary confinement for essentially no reason.
Power Rangers has had plenty of villains who followed this trope:
In Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, Villamax, who had proven earlier in the series to have a code of honor, questions Trakeena's desire for revenge on the Rangers for destroying her father when she attempts to destroy all of Terra Venture. After saving a little girl from death and he is ordered to attack a shuttle full of innocent people, he disobeys. Refusing to fight back, he is killed by Trakeena.
Trakeena: You taught me to fight too well, it seems.
In Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, Diabolico, a literal Noble Demon, swears off his loyalty to Bansheera when she tricks his best friend, Loki, into fighting the rangers and forcing the former to attack them, resulting in Loki's death. He starts helping the Rangers, showing that even though he hated them, he hated Bansheera more. This is a creature who saved a man's son so he can keep him for years while turning him against his father, sent monsters to destroy a city, considered killing the infant prince to keep his place as second-in-command, but the loss of his best friend caused him to go renegade. In the final episode, his ghost arrives and saves Carter (the Red Ranger) from Bansheera, resulting in the latter to fall in a pit where several monsters presumably torture her for eternity, fulfilling his revenge. Diabolico was also disgusted by the fact Bansheera cares more about conquering Earth than about her own son and that she absorbed Vypra just to gain a fully functional body.
Ransik is a human-hating mutant bent on killing every last one. His daughter Nadira, after witnessing a baby born and spending time with kids, causes her to question her father's hate for them. After the loss of Frax and much destruction, she tries to convince her father that enough is enough, but he refuses to listen. During his final battle with the Rangers, he attacks Nadira, mistaking her for Jen (the pink ranger) while she was saving a baby. The shock of almost killing his daughter causes Ransik to realize what his hate has caused him to become, and willingly surrenders.
There's also a minor case with Sixth Ranger Eric, a morally gray character and Aloof Ally to the Rangers from the time he gets his powers. That aside, it's shown several times that he does have a good heart, most notably when he spares the good mutant Noticon after Green Ranger Trip stands between them.
Power Rangers Wild Force has a similar example to Diabolico with the season's Those Two Bad Guys, Jindrax and Toxica. At the start, they were Co-Dragons to the Big Bad, loyal to the point of death to their master, but when Mandilok tricks Toxica into doing something that will kill her and then uses her as a shield, destroying her, Jindrax's loyalty goes out the window. He later brings Toxica back to life, and then both of them help the Rangers rescue their kidnapped mentor, Princess Shayla. This gives them Redemption Earns Life, and with Master Org seemingly destroyed, they depart to do some soul-searching, and are not seen again.
One of the Big Bad's Co-Dragons, Koragg, is shown to be a Noble Demon from the start, and several times spares the Rangers due to them being unable to fight back or else not a challenge. The most notable case is when his less honorable "ally", Imperious, uses a genie to wish that the Rangers never existed, and he leads them to the only ones who can reverse the spell, claiming that there was no honor in that victory…not to mention the fact that Imperious had tried to have him killed. It's later revealed that he has this code of honor because he's really Leanbow, the first Red Mystic Warrior who sealed the Master away the first time, but was brainwashed into Koragg.
The other Co-Dragon, Necrolai, is shown to be notably less honorable, but nonetheless as loyal to the master as Koragg. She had no qualms about destroying the human world, but she still had standards in the form of her daughter, Leelee; she at first prioritized her duties to the Master over Leelee, but when her life was put in danger, and the Master's elite henchman refused to spare her, her Heel-Face Turn was slowly set in motion.
Power Rangers Samurai: Deker reveals he has standards too, in "Stroke of Fate." When Serrator asks him to make the swordstroke that will split open the world and promises him that will end his curse, he instead brings his sword down on Serrator, proclaiming that he doesn't share Serrator's hatred of humanity - by Serrator's own doing, he cares only for the sword and will thus end his curse on his own terms, in a duel.
Profit: Jim Profit is utterly disgusted by Arthur MacClane, who molested his niece Nora Gracen when she was a little girl. Profit fully admits that he's a manipulative sociopath himself who has no problem with destroying people's lives to get ahead or even flat-out murder, but he considers MacClane plain Evil and gives Nora the opportunity to get some well-deserved revenge on the bastard.
Episode 6 makes it clear that Nate Walker/Jason Neville has this sort of mentality regarding Sergeant Strausser. Strausser is a bloodthirsty psychopath and torturer, and Jason (and most people) really does not like to be anywhere near that guy.
Episode 11 reveals that while Jason doesn't mind killing people in a fight, he really doesn't like the idea of slaughtering whole groups without even giving them a chance to fight back. He ends up refusing to call in the air strike, resulting in his own father beating him up and throwing him out. Jason then warns Charlie about the air strike coming in 12 hours.
Episode 17 has Tom Neville telling his son Jason that while he has done just about every bad thing in The Good Book, he draws the line at letting his son die all alone. However, it's hard to say if that really earns any sympathy for Tom Neville.
The first season finale reveals that Monroe murdered a rebel and his entire family in retaliation for the rebel's bombing injuring Miles Matheson. Miles would have executed just the rebel, but killing off the offender's entire family along with him is going too far. This galvanized Miles into trying to kill Monroe. But when he couldn't do it, Miles and Nora left the Monroe Republic.
Rome: Erastes Fulmen, crime boss of the Aventine Hill, is sitting in his den of scum and villainy when he hears an account of Mark Anthony's rabble-rousing at Caesar's funeral. This provokes him to an indignant and foul-mouthed rant on standards of public behaviour:
Erastes Fulmen: No excuse! It's a consular fucking funeral, innit?. Y'supposed to show some fucking respect! Not run around looting and burning. Animals. An' that Anthony's a cunt too. Mark me now, any one of you cunnies join in this disgrace, you'll be disjointed - quick as Pan. We observe the fucking decencies! Right?!
Room 101: Played for Laughs in one episode of a programme in which celebrities discuss their pet hates. Ian Hislop had just argued the case for Piers Morgan being put into the titular room, and host Paul Merton pulled the lever... at which point the room vomited Piers up on the grounds he was 'too toxic for Room 101'.
In one Weekend Update segment, the Devil (played by Jason Sudeikis) appeared to talk about how the Catholic Church sex abuse scandals made him sick, and to assure viewers that there was in fact, "a special place in hell" for these pedophiles.
Another skit on Weekend Update involved The Devil talking about the Westboro Baptist Church, saying even he didn't support them and their views on homosexuals. But the major tipping point was when he heard about the Penn State scandal and got so enraged over the cover-up and how nothing was done to bring down Jerry Sandusky that the Devil decided to quit his job as Prince of Darkness and go back to his old job as Time-Warner Cable's customer service representative.
Hilariously lampshaded in another SNL skit which had a brave knight (Jimmy Fallon) trying to rescue his love from a monster (played by episode host Jack Black) who had demanded that a virgin be sacrificed to him once a year. However, it turns out that the monster actually wants a slut since virgins don't have the enthusiasm or experience.
Knight: Is that why you let the last girl go? Because she was a virgin?
Monster: No, man, it's because she was thirteen! I may be a monster, but that's just sick!
The Secret Circle: Charles is horrified when Dawn suggests that they kill his mother and the other witch hunters are genuinely afraid of Eben.
Seinfeld: In the episode "The Limo," George accidentally impersonates an up and coming white supremacist named Donald O'Brien, whose manifesto includes the Jews stealing money to help the Blacks buy drugs, and further oppress "our white minority subcultures." A reporter at the scene mentions that real life Ku Klux Klan member David Duke has denounced O'Brien as a dangerous extremist.
Shark: Sebastian Stark from this TV series wasn't exactly "evil", but some of his clients came close. When called in to the murder of a sleazy pornography producer, Stark remembers him:
Stark: Right, he came to me for representation on an embezzlement charge a couple years ago. Isaac: You turned him down? Stark: Guy made Larry Flynt look like Mary Poppins. Even I have standards.
The Shield: Pointedly acknowledged this towards the end of the series, when corrupt cop Ronnie Gardocki is horrified at the fact that his partner/mentor Vic Mackey is willing to kill not only turncoat cop Shane Vendrell but also his wife, in front of their own son. Given that Ronnie was obsessed with killing Shane to avenge the murder of Detective Curtis "Lem" Lemanski, it was a moment where the writers quite clearly were drawing a line towards Ronnie being shocked and appalled by Vic's downward spiral towards villainy.
Smallville: Many Mooks of the Luthors has some kind of standards, but their bosses don't. Even after his supposed Heel-Face Turn, Lionel threatens to kill Clark to make Lana marry Lex.
Sons of Anarchy: Barosky is crooked to the core, but is sickened by a torture porn operation and another that exploits children and helps the Sons shut down both.
Stargate SG-1: Anubis was once expelled by the other Goa'uld System Lords for committing "crimes unspeakable even for a Goa'uld". What these are is never mentioned, but considering that the average Goa'uld thinks nothing of slavery and genocide, and are quite capable of torturing even their own kind to death only to resurrect them and start over again (and again and again and again and again...) this says quite a lot.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Ferengi Grand Nagus (their leader) is replaced by Brunt, a recurring antagonist of Quark. They object to him being the Nagus not because he's greedy (Greed is considered a virtue), but because he puts his own personal greed before the collective greed of the Ferengi Alliance.
Star Trek: Enterprise: In one Alternate History episode, it is all but openly stated that the American Resistance movement against the Nazis in a timeline where they held the East Coast is made up entirely of gangsters and other mafia-types.
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Both times that DaiMon Bok tries to get revenge on Captain Picard for the death of his son, Bok's crew mutinies. Not because they find his schemes to be morally wrong, but because there is no profit to be made from them.
A Show Within a Show example in the episode "Living Witness", when the Kyrian civilization uses historical revisionism to depict a centuries-earlier run-in with Voyager. The biased depiction of the neighbouring Vaskan leader has him going to war with the Kyrians simply to steal their land. He contracts Voyager as mercenaries to accomplish this, but even he objects on moral grounds and tries to cancel the deal when evil Janeway decides to effect massive genocide of the Kyrians as the best solution.
A bizarre example in The Killing Game, involving one of the series' more effective alien antagonists, the Hirogen. After capturing Voyager, the Hirogin strip the crew of their identities and force them to reenact the more brutal wars in history in the ship's holodecks—including the Nazi occupation of Paris. Whenever a crew member is critically injured, they force the Doctor to treat them so they can immediately return to battle. Even as they preside over a bloodsport, the Hirogen show clear distaste for their holographic Nazi allies.
The Storyteller: Jim Henson's series has a good example in "The Heartless Giant". The eponymous Sealed Evil in a Can tricks a prince into letting him escape and proceeds to go on a rampage throughout the kingdom. However, he conspicuously never harms the prince and is actually quite friendly to him even as he knows that the prince is trying to kill him to undo his mistake. Much like the similarly heartless Davy Jones of Pirates of the Caribbean, the giant embodies the Tin Man trope and is presented sympathetically.
Crowley is disgusted when one of his allies betrays a temporary alliance they made to cut him out of their deal completely and gives him the option of dying or fleeing, despite all the help that Crowley provided to accomplish their goal. Crowley notes that not even he would commit such a blatant backstab (or rather, frontstab, since the betrayer announces his intentions upfront). There's also his line, "This isn't Wall Street, this is Hell! We have a little something called integrity."
Balthazaar is a rogue, hedonist angel, who takes up the demons' hobby of making deals with humans for their souls. However, when he learns that his part-time employer and friend, Castiel, is working with Crowley to locate Purgatory and take control of its souls, he's so horrified that he switches sides and teams up with the Winchesters to stop them. This ends up costing him.
Teen Wolf: Chris Argent who follows the Hunter's Code and believe that werewolves should only be eliminated if they pose a clear and viable threat to humans.
Antonia Gavilan de Logroño may be a homicidal, slightly deranged Knight Templar witch spirit, but the deaths of innocent people as collateral damage from her attacks on vampires are not acceptable to her. She tries relating this to Marnie, the medium whose body she is possessing, but Marnie shows no sympathy, tells her the dead humans "aren't innocent" because they are vampire sympathizers and proceeds to forcefully bind Antonia's spirit into her body. One hell of a way to show the viewers who the realBig Bad was in this scenario.
J.D. Carson, the violently insane werewolf pack leader in season 5, tries to stop Russell Edgington from taking Luna's daughter, 8-year old Emma, as a pet. It doesn't work out very well, obviously.
Tara's abusivemother may not be exactly evil, but she is a monstrous and violent person who made Tara's life a living hell. When Maryann steps into the picture, though, she immediately sides with Tara's friends and helps them to plot to take Tara away from Maryann.
That '70s Show: Eric's older sister Laurie is generally a callous Jerk AssMagnificent Bitch who takes sadistic pleasure in getting her little brother in trouble, as well as the fact that their father pays a lot more attention to her than he does Eric. However, when she finds out that Eric saw their parents having an *ahem* intimate moment, she's legitimately horrified and genuinely tries to help him cope with the shock.
Despite how far he is willing to go to get laid, Charlie draws the line at sleeping with his possible sister.
He also does not like it when he sleeps with someone who is either married or is dating someone else/about to get married to someone else. In fact, most times he does these things, he usually doesn't even know that they were this until after the fact.
Eleanor Dupres catches Donovan breaking into her house and threatens to shoot him as he's escaping out the window. Donovan just laughs. "You'd shoot your own son? Not even you're that cold, mother." He's right; as he runs off Eleanor fires the gun in the air and rips her dress to make it appear she'd been overpowered.
Supreme Commander John ultimately detests irradiating the entire Earth by deploying their ship as an atomic bomb and tells Diana to concede defeat. She demands John's key at gunpoint and tries to do it anyway just to spite her enemy.
Veronica Mars: Aaron Echolls is a statutory rapist and murderer who physically and emotionally abuses his son. He still beats the crap out of his adopted daughter's abusive boyfriend, though, giving us a weird cross between a Kick the Dog and Pet the Dog moment.
Walker, Texas Ranger: One episode had a group of criminals escape from prison and hide out in a church, taking the people there hostage. One of the gang members is extremely uncomfortable with this and keeps saying so. The ringleader tells him to shut up... and two seconds later, punches out another gang member who has begun to make sleazy advances towards one of the nuns.
Weeds: Though calling her evil may be a stretch, Nancy Botwin is a suburban mother that deals pot for a living who refuses to deal to kids and confronts one of her buyers in the pilot episode when she learns of a ten-year-old caught with pot in his lunch box. She also refuses to deal with hard drugs and participate in other mafia-activities.
Omar is a badass shotgun-wielding terror of the streets, preying on drug dealers and stealing their money. He's very careful, though, to make sure that nobody who's not in the game gets hurt...in other words, civilians and citizens who don't deal drugs. He also brings his grannie to church once a month while never letting her know what he really does for a living.
When two hitmen try to kill Omar on a Sunday while he's in the middle of taking his grandmother to church, the Baltimore underworld reacts in uproar. Business is business, but Sundays are sacred. Even Avon Barksdale, a Blood Knight supreme who disdains things like cooperation and truces between drug gangs in favor of bloody gang wars, and who has a violent grudge against Omar, is taken aback by this.
The Sunday truce been around as long as The Game itself man, I mean you know what I'm saying? You can do some shit and be like, "What the fuck", but hey, just never on no Sunday, man.
Bodie isn't necessarily painted as evil, but he's still an unrepentant drug dealer who has murdered and gone to war with other gangs in the street without question when ordered. Even as someone who has been in the drug trade since he was 12 and is totally hardened to it, he is still disgusted by the amount of people that drug kingpin Marlo Stanfield has had murdered and how little justification there was for many of those murders.
Oh, this motherfucker be killing niggas just to do it. See? Nigga kill motherfuckers just 'cause he can. Not cause they snitchin', not 'cause it's business, 'cause... this shit just come natural to him. I mean, Little Kevin is GONE! And this nigga don't feel nothin'. And all them motherfuckers in them row-houses - nobody means a fucking thing to him! FUCK Marlo, man, FUCK him! And anybody that thinks it's alright to do people this way!
Chris, one of Marlo Stanfield's most lethal assassins is cold and calculating when it comes to murdering, and shows no remorse for his actions, but when Michael told him about his step father who molested him, Chris snaps and brutally beats him to death with nothing but his fists. Although the show never suggested whether Chris's disgust came from child rapists in general or because he was raped himself, David Simon implied that it was the latter.
Brother Mouzone has a well-earned reputation as a cold-hearted and lethal enforcer, but when Omar attacks him, believing that he was behind the brutal torture and murder of Brandon in the first season, he denies his involvement, saying that torture "Isn't my style".
Xena: Warrior Princess: Xena refuses to kill those who can't defend themselves long before she turns good. In fact, saving a baby is why her army turns on her. They're warriors, not barbarians....
The X-Files: Has (given the set-up) quite a realistic example in "Our Town". Walter Chaco, who led the town into the practice of serial killing and cannibalism of random people passing through for the purpose of keeping themselves youthful gives a rather heroic-sounding speech about the virtues of sticking together as a town and not harming each other. His standards get him killed.
Zorro: In the 90's series The Alcalde is initially pleased to see Colonel Palomarez and his goal of capturing Zorro, but is stunned and horrified to find that Palomarez plans to locate Zorro by having an innocent inhabitant of the pueblo hanged each morning until Zorro is found. While he may flog criminals and try to make himself rich by taxing the people, he would never kill those who haven't committed a crime.