"I needed someone who acts like a friend but secretly delights in the misery of all people."
"I've adopted a strategy of pleasantness. It turns out that one can perpetrate all manner of heinous villainy under a cloak of courtesy and good cheer. It seems a man will forfeit all sensible self-interest if he finds you affable enough to share your company over a flagon of ale."
A villain whose polite mannerisms only serve to enhance
They lack a villainous demeanor, yet they are truly, wholly, and unrepentantly evil regardless. This kind of villain maintains a friendly, courteous mask
even as they commit incredibly heinous acts
. Unlike Affably Evil
characters, whose niceness is genuine despite their malice, Faux Affably Evil villains adopt
this pleasant persona. An Affably Evil
villain will treat The Hero like a friend
, and will be reluctant to make an enemy of them. A Faux Affably Evil villain will throw in a jolly "Ooh, my friend, aren't we having a lot of fun?" as they are torturing
A Faux Affably Evil character's demeanor is an act. At heart, they're utterly soulless, but they mask it with a pleasant, polite, "normal" attitude, perhaps because they have social standards
to live up to or because their pleasantness reflects their sheer enjoyment of evil
. Or maybe they're just unbearably full of themselves
. It's anyone's guess what this kind of villain will do if they suffer a Villainous Breakdown
; maybe they will drop all pretenses and find that they are Not So Above It All
or maybe they will fall into a state of Dissonant Serenity
, blabbering off-kilter pseudo-mannerisms as they lapse into their final and greatest puppy-murdering spree
Do not confuse with Laughably Evil
, which is a villain who is funny rather than polite. While many Faux Affably Evil villains are also Laughably Evil
, many other villains are one but not the other. Compare and contrast Affably Evil
(whose niceness is sincere) and this Trope's opposite
, Noble Demon
(whose demeanor is evil in contrast to their actions). For the Evulz
is a common motivation, though using this trope as a form of Obfuscating Stupidity
is also possible. Also see its downplayed
counterpart Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
, where a Jerkass
is hiding behind a Nice Guy
facade, and Stepford Smiler
, when a miserable or mentally unstable person is hiding behind a cheery and sweet facade. May also overlap with Soft-Spoken Sadist
. Contrast with Good Is Not Nice
, which is a good character that just isn't polite. Not to be confused with Sophisticated as Hell
where the affable demeanour hides a coarser personality.
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Anime and Manga
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure gives us Dio Brando. He's a smooth talker with legions of crazy-devoted followers, but at his core, he's completely self-centered and evil.
- Kakyoin notes this in the case of Terence T. D'Arby: "You give the impression of a gentleman... but you are the worst kind of madman."
- Muska from the Studio Ghibli movie Castle in the Sky fits this trope to a T. He pretends to be an affable, trustworthy man in service of the government, until he reveals he intended to use Laputa as his personal battle ship to dominate the world. He turns downright scary when the protagonists appear to foil his plot.
- Dr. Hell from Mazinger Z has a good helping of It's All About Me, but always keeps an educated, polite behavior and mannerisms, even when he is going to dissect someone to turn him or her into his next enslaved Cyborg.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! has Yami Bakura. Unrepentantly evil, Sadistic, Deadpan Snarker, and extremely charismatic.
- Yami Marik would also count. In the original Japanese moreso.
- Tobi likes to play the trickster archetype, which is why it's so disconcerting every time he reaffirms how much of a horrible, horrible person he is.
- Hidan from the Akatsuki, especially his anime rendition. Snarky, prone to weird faces, hammy, almost childish sometimes, and so fun to watch as he hammily pounces over the Moral Event Horizon. Too bad some fans took it in another way.
- Deidara. Just as loud as Hidan and more flamboyant, yet he is stated by Pain to have joined Akatsuki only for shits and giggles.
- In fact, Deidara was forced to join Akatsuki after losing a bet against Itachi. It doesn't make him any less of an example of this trope, however - while really desperately trying to pass off as a "cool" villain he has to put up a humungous effort to hide his rampant insanity. That is, until the very end.
- Light Yagami of Death Note remains polite even during his confrontations with L. In reality, he looks down on everyone around him and sees them as nothing but pawns to be manipulated and then disposed of.
- Genma from the new season of Darker Than Black is a pretty laid back guy who initially seems to be Plucky Comic Relief and keeps that attitude even after it becomes clear that he is a vicious psychopath. The first indication of his Faux Affably Evil nature is a train hijacking he does, wherein to create a distraction, he runs down tons of people and shouts out something like (paraphrased) "All aboard" with the mangled corpse of the actual conductor beside him. Also fitting this trope is the fact that while he's clearly a Depraved Bisexual pedophile, he expresses this through behavior and commentary that is disturbingly similar to your typical Lovable Sex Maniac.
- Izaya Orihara of Durarara!! is a manipulative, arrogant prick who nevertheless manages to maintain a facade of politeness with almost everyone, even while discussing how best to screw over the maximum number of people possible for the maximum amount of enjoyment possible.
- Gauron from Full Metal Panic! has a very quirky, highly amusing personality - while going around rampaging and killing people. Including his employers and co-workers. He has no redeeming qualities and has almost every vice and evil you can think of (being an Ax-Crazy, pedophilic rapist and necrophiliac that will kill anyone and everyone, just because, and gets jealous of and tries to kill a 16-year-old girl just because she's the girl Sousuke likes). But let's face it - it is very amusing to watch him mass murder while he cracks horrible jokes and acts all happy.
- Kekkaishi's Mudou. He's fun to watch!
- From earlier on, there's Kaguro. He styles himself as a Magnificent Bastard and is conversational with Yoshimori when they fight. He's more towards the Ax-Crazy end of the Blood Knight spectrum. And he murdered Gen and is only an ayakashi because he was so completely insane as a human.
- Dragon Ball Z:
- Frieza is fairly polite, when he's in a good mood... and an Omnicidal Maniac Evil Overlord, who will kill anyone who he feels is a threat to his power, in fear that someone will surpass him, going as far as driving entire species to extinction or blowing up planets just because he feels like it.
Hello. Allow us to introduce ourselves. My name is Freeza and we're a traveling improv group. Here, let me give you a demonstration: My men shall play a group of drunken sailors, and you're a bunch of baby seals. And... Go!
- His father king Cold fits this trope even better. He calmly congradulates Trunks on destroying his son, offers to let him take his son's place, when told "no", asks to examine his sword... and than tries to kill him with it.
- Perfect Cell was also a rather good sport in battle... Until he started losing, that is.
- Muruta Azrael of Gundam SEED. His charismatic nature and excitable personality lead to a lot of morbidly funny scenes (and who can forget the infamous 'YATTA!' scene), but he's also a genocidal sociopath bent on wiping out every Coordinator that exists.
- Code Geass brings us Schneizel. He seems like a nice, charming man. Of course, he's a Britannian Prince, so not so much. He's introduced when authorizing the death of his sister's politically inconvenient, racial minority, Knight Of Honor, and proceeds to become the final villain, manipulating a mentally unstable genius into developing a nuclear weapon, then displays no particular concern as to how it is used, or who it kills, plans to destroy all the world capitals, and successfully destroys two Britannian cities. That's right. Britannian. As in, his own country. One of them was held by his self-declared enemy, and the other... well, just because his enemy was there.
- Kyubey in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. As the series progresses, we see him slowly morph from helpful (if you are lucky enough to get your questions right) Mentor Mascot to uncaring Manipulative Bastard. Worse, he stays polite and helpful (again, if you are lucky enough to get your questions right) the entire time. It's eventually stated that he's simply unable to understand why what he's doing is monstrous.
- InuYasha: Naraku speaks politely, but it's obvious that it's merely a sign of mockery, somewhat justified as his current disguise was a noble who used royal dialect. After Mount Hakurei, he drops the act completely in favor of being a Smug Super.
- Yuno Gasai from Future Diary. She is seen by the school as a School Idol and is very nice to everyone around her. In actuality, however, she is a Sociopathic, manipulative, Ax-Crazy Yandere.
- From Black Lagoon,
- Chang, who is openly friendly with the Lagoon Company. During his Breaking Speech moment with Rock, he reveals that his friendliness doesn't mean a thing.
- Envy of Fullmetal Alchemist can sometimes be fairly amusing and seem like a Friendly Enemy, but it's all an act, and Envy is by far one of the most cruel and sadistic characters in the series. Father also might qualify. He can seem polite and reasonable and is even kind of goofy in his first meeting with the Elric brothers, but beneath it all, he's devoid of empathy and sees himself as so far above humans that he literally feels nothing, not even hate or contempt, towards them.
- Solf J. Kimblee most certainly qualifies, too. He's shown many shades of Wicked Cultured and can be polite, charming, and an all-around charismatic fellow...when he's not making bombs out of women, children, and any other poor saps within arm's length.
- Fuhrer King Bradley comes off at first as a charming family man and Reasonable Authority Figure. He's actually a ruthless homunculus, Wrath, who ordered the war in Ishval.
- Even worse in the 2003 Anime where he is revealed to be Pride, where he ordered that war gleefully, and remorselessly killed his own son
- Shaman King's Hao Asakura seems to go back and forth between this and being a genuinely goodhearted guy, who commits monstrous acts for the greater good. A complex character, to be sure, but no matter how you view him, he's undeniably entertaining to watch.
- Diva kills lots of people, drinks others' blood, rapes and kills a boy to impregnate herself, all while singing, prancing around in a white dress, and laughing childishly.
- Karl Fei-Ong can also be quite polite and cordial, particularly in his public persona as the Chairman of Le Lycee du Cinq Fleches, but beneath it all is an Ax-Crazy beast.
- Big Bad Aizen. Sure, he pretends to be a charming, laid-back guy, but in reality, he's just being condescending; other people are insignificant insects to him and he doesn't hesitate to tell them this, when he doesn't need them anymore. When he realizes Urahara's smarter than he is and Ichigo's a lot stronger than he is, the Mr. Nice Guy -act goes right out the window.
- Tsukishima, in contrast to his Card-Carrying Villain partner, Ginjo. He acts polite and serene almost all the time, even while he Mind Rapes people with Fake Memories. When someone suffers a mental breakdown due to conflicting memories, the facade drops, revealing a sadistic monster.
- Also Quilge Opie from the Wandenreich arc, a sadistic Quincy commander who, in the Japanese version, talks in polite speech when addressing his opponents and talking about the bad things he plans to do.
- Gargoyle from Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. He's willing to kill anyone so that his plans could go accordingly, yet he is so polite and refined towards his foes. Especially with Nemo and Nadia (who he calls Princess).
- Trigun's Legato Bluesummers does a bit of this, although he is as freaky-evil as possible in his first meeting with Vash, specifically.
- The anime version of Knives does a bit of this whenever interacting with Vash. Notably, his cheerful "yo, Vash!" upon their reunion in July, while sitting on a desk next to the just-murdered corpse of its owner, whom Vash was coming to visit. A similar but more elegant friendly greeting appears when Vash arrives for the final battle. However, because this demeanor only applies to his brother, and because he would probably not do anything to said brother if Vash just got out of his way, this may be more of a single-target Affably Evil.
- Johan, the title character of Monster, has this as his specialty. He charms, he smiles, he seems to care and he's such a beautiful and brilliant young man... as he uses you and kills you and if he takes enough of an interest in you, he will probably take the time to kill all your hopes and dreams, first.
- Quattro from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha affects a cute, friendly persona most of the time, but she's actually an unrepentantly evil Smug Snake.
- Michio, the protagonist of MW, really has a friendly personality, but is really a criminal who commits atrocious crimes for fun.
- The Caster/master pair in Fate/Zero usually act like normal people, even while shredding little children to bits with Combat Tentacles because they were bored. Caster himself enjoys pretending to be nice before horribly murdering someone for the extra shock value; his master seems to be just completely desensitized. Oddly enough, they also have the best relationship of all the master/servant pairings, despite the master having no magic.
- The good relationship is justified in-universe: When a master summons a servant without a catalyst (for example Kiritsugu used Avalon to summon Saber), the grail picks the Heroic Spirit who's personality is most similar to the master's.
- Nightmare from Kirby: Right Back at Ya! is an oddly laid-back sort of tyrant. He respects his employees and prefers to amuse himself with watching current events... and at the same time creates Demon Beasts/monsters, terrorizes planets, levels or enslaves civilizations, and tortures others by entering their sleep and giving them nightmares just for the fun of it. Oh, and not only did his army slaughter a La Résistance unit, he also sped up an asteroid's course to crash into Popstar. Whoa.
- Picodevimon from Digimon Adventure presents himself as a friend to several of the heroes and proceeds to utterly deceive them, all with an oily polite demeanor. He drops this facade when his plans go awry, though.
- Joker from Smile Pretty Cure! acts like a fun guy, is almost always smiling, and speaks to Pretty Cure as if they're just having casual conversation...while he drives them to soul-crushing despair and laughs how they'll never defeat the Bad End Kingdom or revive the queen.
- Regina from DokiDoki! Precure just want to be friends with Mana. It would have been fine if not for the fact that she's openly trying to destroy everything and kill everyone that stands between Mana and her. The fact that she's the daughter of the Eldritch Abomination Big Bad doesn't help.
- Keith White of Project ARMS has shades of this. He is very calm and polite towards the protagonists, before trying to kill them in the most violent, horrific way possible. In a flashback, it's shown that he spoke kindly to Alice when she asked him for a special present for her birthday and, upon hearing her request was to go outside with the other experimental children, he calmly hit her.
- Rosario + Vampire gives us Hokuto Kaneshiro. He makes friends with Tsukune, supports peace at Yokai Academy, is a strong, determined leader, and has a close friend... in the form of dancing-mad Kiriya Yoshi, and only because Kiriya is the one who gave him monstrel blood so he could fend for himself. Go on, Tsukune. Look away for a moment. You'll find everyone beaten to the ground, and Hokuto standing there with a stick in his hand, insisting that emotions are pointless. Oh, and don't expect him to be any better a year after you and Moka kick his ass - sure, he might have helped you stop his own plan, but he's still going to strangle you with his inconsistently-changing monstrel hand, gloating that you can't protect your girlfriend. Ouch.
- In Attack on Titan, the Beast Titan politely asks Mike about his equipment and removes it without harming him. He then proceeds to tell the other Titans that they may have their way with him, since he's finished with his business.
- Sugou from the ALO arc of Sword Art Online. He talks to both Kirito and Asuna as if they're friends, but both of them, as well as readers know right off the bat of just what an asshole he is. He threw it away sometime after.
- One Piece has quite a few examples:
- Arlong keeps a calm tone even as he slaughters humans out of sheer racist superiority, calmly lying to Nami for 8 years that if she gets enough money he'll let her go, then hires a corrupt marine to steal all the treasure she gathered just as she reached her goal, and calmly telling her to just start over as he just laughs at her!
- Crocodile seems like a calm and reasonable enough guy, but the second he gets (or fails to get) what he wants or finds out you've failed him in ANY way he drops the politeness and orders your death in the same calm tone.
- Blackbeard is this and a bit genuinely Affably Evil. He might at first come off as a friendly sort of guy with a big smile on his face, but could quickly turn to killing and mocking you, all while wearing the same exact smile. Though for all his unpleasantness he does seem to genuinely care about his crew, despite gaming all of his newer members by making them fight to the death and taking the survivors. Granted they were among the most evil and unrepentant criminals in all of Impel Down but still. Plus his friendly demeanor whenever it shows for the most part IS genuine, which makes him all the more evil.
- Caesar Clown is even worse, He managed to sucessfully manipulate various prisoners and Brownbeard's Crew into becoming his underlings by coming off as a great scientific hero to them "curing" them of their afflictions (with Help from Trafalgar Law) when in fact He's the one who poisoned them. The guy also came off as a kind caring "Master" to many children who ended up on Punk Hazard for his treatment of their diseases, when in reality he's been lying to their faces, they were kidnapped to be his Guinea Pigs, he's been drugging them for well over a year with his Fantastic Drug candy turning them into giants, worst part is that many of them might not live for 5 more years because of all the drugs they've ingested Caesar has done all of this without so much as breaking his polite facade even once around them, he's basically a mix of Frieza and The Joker. Funny enough he's played by Ryūsei Nakao.
- Nui Harime from Kill la Kill acts like she a particularly saccharine schoolgirl, keeps complementing people, and flirts with all the pretty girls around her. And yet, she is pure evil, and thrives in it. Probably the most telling instance of this is Nui's reaction to when The Hero, Ryuko, tries to start a fight her without even activating her battle transformation:
"But enough about me! Show me your Godrobe!
Are you holding back because I'm dressed like this? Didn't you see what short work I made of that Goku Uniform back there? You shouldn't hold back with that Godrobe of yours.
Still not convinced? Well, I'll show you something neat. Here we go! Ta-dah!
Yup, it's the other half of your Sword Scissor! Fresh off your father's corpse!"
- Ranma ½: Nabiki Tendo is generally pleasant and easy to get along with, but she doesn't even try to hide her true colors: a completely amoral, ruthless, and greedy bitch with a complete Lack of Empathy and a Money Fetish that almost makes Mr. Krabs look tame by comparison.
- The dark wizard Lung from the Jackie Chan Adventures fic Queen Of All Oni starts out seemingly polite, if a bit condescending. Then he starts torturing Jade in order to try and break her to his will.
- Pinkie Pie from Cupcakes. She maintains her trademark Genki Girl attitude even while torturing and killing other ponies.
- Radcliffe from Keepers of the Elements is this. He blows up a planet, kidnaps, tortures with spells just because, and enslaves someone with mind control, and certainly isn't above brutal murder, yet acts rather calm and charming most of the time.
- Yuuka Kazami in the Touhou fanfiction Imperfect Metamorphosis takes great pride in being a gracious host and pleasant conversationalist, and is completely unapologetic about her passion for torture, rape, and mass murder. Indeed, part of the reason everyone finds her so terrifying is that no one knows how much of her pleasantry is an act, and she is just as likely to affectionately pat someone on the head as she is to casually crush their skull.
- Mr.Evil's Original Character Lord fits this to a T. He hardly goes a sentences without a ridiculous rant and crazy laugh, all whilst he is mind raping his victims, slaughtering over a billion people, and thinking of killing an innocent girl as a good way to pass the time.
- His other Original Character Alexander Sovereign comes close, as he can talk about a grand war that would make the first two look like child's play, all while speaking in a polite tone. The only reason he bypasses this is because he has no emotions to begin with.
- Alex from an Adventure Time fanfic named after her is really on polite terms even when it comes to hurting both Marceline and Princess Bubblegum.
- The Pony POV Series has Discord, of course, as per canon. However, the Dark World arc also adds in the Valeyard, who has all of the Doctor's personality quirks, but none of his morals.
- One of the leaders of the HCS, in Human Curiosity. When he finds that England has escaped confinement, he smiles, politely addresses him, and then beats the ever-loving tar out of him. He then has England dragged downstairs and forces him to look at the frozen corpse of Portugal and, when England tries to attack him, calmly says to not act out or else he'll be killed and frozen next.
- Marble from Equestrylvania begins as a sweet, sensitive, stuttering mare. Later on, she still has a very pleasant and perky attitude, but has poisoned many foals with a deadly toxin that will kill them in a few hours, extorts Twilight Sparkle for the cure, and threatens and torments her friends. And she does it all with a smile! Then it turns out she was being possessed by Actrise, so this trope applies more to the latter.
- My Little Wesker sends Albert Wesker to Ponyville as a magical equine right after the events of Kijuju. He remains incredibly polite and verbose, even as he delivers threats and insults and plots to overthrow Equestria's leaders and ascend to Physical Godhood, with the Elements of Harmony as his first goal to either conquer or destroy.
- The Grand Highblood in Hivefled can be quite personable while answering reader questions and talking about art or spirituality. He's also a murderous, incestuous Monster Clown who likes to sexually abuse and murder teenagers and then collect their ghosts.
- Voodoo King Damballa of Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, or rather the side story Month of Sundays, laughs and makes smart talk with the Cosmic Hunting Dogs and is such a jovial guy... who's currently under contract with Shotaro and revived him as a crazy marionette with nails for teeth and is currently doing that to Haruto Souma and Eiji Hino.
- Ceylon of Necessary to Win speaks very formally, even when insulting her own subordinates or her enemies. It's indicated that her refined manner of speech is yet another means of her acting superior to others.
- Daymare Sun/Queen Celestia, the Big Bad of Sunshine And Fire. As the Evil Counterpart to Princess Celestia, she has the same kind tone when she talks to her underlings, but it is clear she is manipulating them, and toys with Daylight Sparkle's (Twilight's Evil Counterpart) emotions. And she calls multiversal conquest "making new friends."
- The Land Before Time fanfiction The Seven Hunters introduces Calin, a fastbiter who puts on a smug, yet cordial demeanor. He even waves and talks in a conversational tone as he is discussing how his pack is going to kill the dinosaurs that he is conversing with.
- Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: Jovian and Jacqueline Kikion often act polite and sweet, but are openly sadistic Psycho Lesbians and Blood Knights who thrive on causing people pain, doing such things as sexually abusing Felucia and Kyouko while holding them hostage and blowing up Tsukune's house right in front of him for shits and giggles.
Films — Animated
- Rumpelstiltskin in Shrek Forever After. Right up until his victims sign the Deal with the Devil, he is all politeness and sweet talk. Then he laughs manically at their doomed fate.
- Rothbart from The Swan Princess: He killed the king and kidnapped the titular princess in order to gain control of the kingdom - because he learned the first time around that stealing it was not the way to go, and constantly remains one step ahead of the heroes. If not for blind luck, the main characters would be dead. He's also a Deadpan Snarker of sorts and never loses his temper.
- Many Disney villains:
- Yzma from The Emperor's New Groove.
- Jafar from Aladdin is closer to this than to the Affably Evil he's sometimes listed as. Affably Evil might kill you, but it couldn't hurt to sing about humiliating you and make your girlfriend watch, right?
- In Aladdin: The Series there's Mozenrath, Disney's most charmingly diabolical teenager. "Okay, then. Everybody else expires at dawn, while I blow away Agrabah. Then, say, noon-ish, I return and devise some way to destroy you."
- Shan-Yu from Mulan, depending on how you take his mild tone of voice. When the Huns catch two Imperial scouts, he kneels down and adjusts one of their scarves and compliments them for finding the Hun Army. He even lets them go, to tell the Emperor he's coming. And then has one of them shot In the Back. Also when he says that they should go through the village to 'return' a doll to a little girl.
Shan Yu: Go! Tell your Emperor to send his strongest armies. I'm ready.
The two soldiers scurry off, one after the other.
Shan Yu: How many men does it take to deliver a message?
Hun Archer: One.
"Baboom. Name is Hades
, lord of the dead. Hi, howya doin'?"
"My dear Bartholomew, you've... gone and upset me."
- Cinderella: Lady Tremaine. She doesn't often raise her voice and can seem quite pleasant, but she loves the use of Exact Words, is a Manipulative Bastard when it comes to setting her daughters on Cinderella, and is Dangerously Genre Savvy to boot.
- Wreck-It Ralph: King Candy. Oh, King Candy. At first glance, this little Mad Hatter knockoff seems about as harmful as a cube of taffy. But it becomes slowly clear that he's infinitely more malicious than he lets on. It also helps that he's an excellent liar, and Dangerously Genre Savvy enough to have everyone, up to and including the audience, eating out of his palm.
- Frozen: Prince Hans, as part of his status as The Sociopath. Again, he's good enough to fool the audience.
- The Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood is quite cheerful and polite on the surface, but it's just to toy with people. He'll take from the church's poor box, a blind beggar's cup, or a crying child's birthday present, and he'll enjoy every rotten moment of it.
- Tangled: Mother Gothel's domineering mother act and her general manipulative personality is this in spades.
- Shere Khan of The Jungle Book has a mock gentleman personality, speaking politely with Kaa while not so subtly threatening him. When he meets Mowgli, he mockingly gives him a 10 second head start because "that makes the chase more interesting... for me."
- The Thief and the Cobbler: Zigzag, the Evil Chancellor. He gives the king a "bountiful maiden" and a massage, and speaks in rhyme - but his "friendly" actions are just for manipulation and to keep the king busy.
- Rock & Rule: Anyone want a beer?
- Charles Muntz from Up. He's polite and friendly to any visitors he may find...as long as he doesn't think they're after the bird. At that point, he shows just how off his rocker he is.
- Lotso, from Toy Story 3, anyone?
- Bradley Uppercrust III from An Extremely Goofy Movie. He's polite to team prospects (though passive-aggressive to non-prospects and others) but never means any of it. He's ruthless enough to deliberately endanger his opponents and leave his own right hand man to die.
- Nigel, the sadistic Dragon-in-Chief in Rio. He rarely outright insults someone, and tends to talk in a calm, friendly manner...while relishing in his villainy and "convincing" someone to be his Mook by dropping them from several hundred feet.
- Lord Business, the main antagonist in The LEGO Movie, is a practical embodiment of this trope. It is truly creepy how he can be completely conversational one minute, before descending into pure twisted evil without having to change his mood due to his sheer enjoyment of people's suffering. Of course, seeing as there's always something behind that expression, you can't trust this guy at all as anything he says is either dripping with sick joy at his manipulation of others or crushing wrath if you ever disappoint him. So plenty of treading on an incredibly fine line around him. Just because he's a LEGO figure...
- The scene involving Good Cop Bad Cop's parents and the inevitable erasure of Good Cop is full-blooded evidence of Lord Business' basis in this trope. Just watch his expressions and behaviour - you will not be able to argue differently.
- The Grand Duke Of Owls in Rock-a-doodle. As a grand duke, he tries to act sophestocated, but his Hair-Trigger Temper ruins it. Even when calm it's clair his politeness is a façade.
- "Hello, kitty? It's the duke. I'm afraid I have some bad news. Ahem, when the batteries on your friends flashlites expire, so will they. Good luck with that, cheerio, bye".
Films — Live-Action
- Mr. Potter (no, not that Potter) from It's a Wonderful Life acts all friendly in a Smug Snake kind of a way, especially when he tries to get George arrested for fraud.
- Frank from Once Upon a Time in the West is a great example. He is a ruthless and sadistic murderer who behaves in a likeable and reasonable way when is not angry or killing people.
- Mitch Leary (John Malkovich) in In the Line of Fire, who slyly pretends that Agent Frank Horrigan (Clint Eastwood) is his friend in their phone conversations, but is really sneering at him most of the time.
- M. Bison in the live action Street Fighter film. Raul Julia is just grand; the way he talks about World Domination makes it clear that he thinks it's the most natural thing in the world.
- Peter Stormare as Lucifer, in what's easily the best scene of Constantine. Lucifer manages to be hilarious and genuinely creepy at the same time.
- Freddy Krueger, the main monster of A Nightmare on Elm Street. He's good at making a sardonic joke every now and then, but he's scary, at least partially because of it. This is more apparent in the sequels — in the first film, he doesn't talk much.
- The Sheriff of Nottingham, as played by Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, embodies this trope to such an extent that he more or less uses the line as a skipping rope. He makes Attempted Rape look funny!
- Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange.
- Alan Rickman also does this beautifully in Die Hard. "Mr. Takagi. I could talk about industrialization and men's fashions all day, but I'm afraid work must intrude, and my associate here has some questions for you."
- Nero from Star Trek has his share of killer lines, despite, for the most part, being a humourless Omnicidal Maniac. For example, his response after giving Starfleet a whooping:
Pike: This is Captain Christopher Pike of the Federation Starship Enterprise.
Nero: Hi, Christopher. I'm Nero.
- Referred to, in some circles, as the "Speed-dating moment." It's oddly fitting.
- Jason Lee as Azrael in Dogma. "I'll have a...Holy Bartender."
- Eddit Quist of The Howling. "Go on, bright boy. Call it a gift."
- Max Zorin in A View to a Kill. He gives a knowing wink to his Femme Fatale when she's killed someone. Completely coldly gun down her associates later. Laughs when he realises he's about to die. Is played by Christopher Walken, with all the hamminess it brings. Might have been played by none other than David Bowie.
- A lot of James Bond villains are this. They have an outwardly cheerful, friendly and/or suave personality, yet when things don't go their way, their true colors are revealed - be it Auric Goldfinger having Jill Matherson killed by painting her goldnote after Bond catches him cheating at cards, Franz Sanchez beating his girlfriend and ruthlessly killing those he thinks have betrayed him and Le Chiffre becoming a desperate wreck and torturing Bond in order to get his money back.
- Even Zorin might have been creeped out by one of Walken's lesser-known but still memorably malevolent characters: James Houston, the Manipulative Bastard of the direct-to-video low-budget film Vendetta. A filthy rich New Orleans plantation owner in the 1890s who desires to become even richer, Houston has no qualms - absolutely none - about (secretly) instigating two incidents of ethnically charged street violence (namely, the assassination of the city's police chief and a mass lynching of Italians) just so he can take over the profitable immigrant businesses down on Decatur Street. Completely shameless and with about as much emotional capacity as a mannequin - and gets a literal Kick the Dog moment as he watches a staged dog fight and takes an almost scientific interest in how the weaker dog realizes it is beaten and rolls onto its back to allow its throat to be torn out. The worst part? James Houston was a real person...and never got any sort of comeuppance for his part in one of the bloodiest race wars in U.S. history, as the movie's epilogue explains.
- Kathryn Merteuil of Cruel Intentions. She's like the Lady Macbeth of the Upper East Side. Makes smug little pronouncements that make you want to strangle her in the most demure, ladylike tones imaginable.
- Virtuosity's Sid 6.7 is a better Joker than most portrayals of the Joker (and has a natty purple suit to match). At one point, he decides to make music from the assorted screams of his terrified hostages. Loves his work.
- Inglourious Basterds has Col. Hans Landa. "Oooh! That's a Bingo! Is that how you say it? That's a Bingo?"
- Actually, Landa is one of the most thorough implementations of this trope in cinema. In every situation where he showcases his (extremely exaggerated) politeness and cheerful disposition, both he and his counterpart are perfectly aware that Landa is a clear and present danger. Landa is a master interrogator, and his prime technique is to put his victim in a number of the most uncomfortable situations possible, all the while blocking their "escape" by behaving as if his companion is thoroughly enjoying the conversation. He pointedly ignores any non-verbal signs of distress from his victim, while forcing him or her to respond in kind - thus preventing any form of retreat, either polite or defiant. Should the victim try to break off the conversation, it would be the victim who transgressed - and that would sink him/her even deeper. Landa even pushes his method to the limits for his own enjoyment - such as when he laughs hysterically, mocking the explanation of von Hammersmark's broken leg (only to apologize a second later), or pours a round of wine, perfectly amiably and as a gesture of peace... to his handcuffed charges. In the latter case, he doesn't even have to savor the wine - quite the opposite, that would make him a petty villain; the fact he didn't even touch his glass makes the gesture even more disconcerting. Not only does his affable manner lets him drive the knife as deep as he wants - it allows him to utterly confuse his victim and make every new strike a complete surprise.
- Jules in Pulp Fiction plays this trope to the hilt in the scene in which he acquires the briefcase. Jules acts chipper and polite toward a bunch of young men who are clearly terrified of him and know that he's there to do horrible things. He starts politely imposing himself, aware that they have to agree to his requests to continue his friendly facade. Even after shooting one of the men, he continues acting polite until he finally breaks into scenery-chewing villainy.
- Timothy in The Long Kiss Goodnight.
Mook (over the radio): I'm hurt real bad, I think I'm dying...
Timothy (annoyed): Continue dying. Out.
- Xander Drax, the Diabolical Mastermind of The Phantom movie. He really does seem to be Affably Evil...right up until he puts out an innocent man's eyes to teach him a lesson about not talking to reporters, then snaps the guy's glasses in half and laughingly says, "Well, won't be needing these anymore!"
- The main villain of The Spirit, the Octopus, has shades of this. He talks to the hero like an old friend, even while having him tied up and detailing his plans to torture him. His reactions to his own bizarre Mad Science is pretty mundane, too.
"Now that is just plain damn weird. Don't you think that's just plain damn weird?"
- Jack Nicholson's portrayal of The Joker in the Tim Burton Batman movie qualifies as this, like in his scene with Vicki at the museum and his scene with Bruce and Vicki at Vicki's apartment.
- The Villain Protagonist in The Killer Inside Me never loses his puppydog eyes, southern drawl and gentlemanly ways, even when he's beating someone to death.
- Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs happily chats along with the other members of the gang, cracks jokes, never raises his voice once or use many bad words in the same breath as he explains how he executed an unarmed 20-year old girl for touching the alarm of the jewelry store they were robbing, and sings and dances along to a song played while he's cutting someone's ears off for the hell of it. It underlines that he is The Sociopath and doesn't really care about his fellow robbers or any of the stuff he's doing.
- Maxim Horvath from The Sorcerer's Apprentice. He's polite. He's charming. He's impeccably dressed and well-mannered. He's witty, intelligent, clever, well-read, culturally literate, and erudite. And he's perfectly willing to slaughter much of the planet's population as part of his plan.
- Star Wars
- Chancellor Palpatine, until, suddenly, he isn't.
"Good, Anakin, good. Kill him."
- And when he's tempting Luke in Jedi:
"Oh, I'm afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive..."
- Also, Grand Moff Tarkin in the original:
"Charming to the last. You don't know how hard I found it, signing the order to terminate your life."
- A pretty blonde Southern woman in CSA: The Confederate States of America (which is based on the premise that the South won the Civil War and slavery has survived into the 21st century) hosts a slave auction on the Internet and delightfully coos over some cute "pickaninnies" - black children being placed on the auction block. Probably intended to be Affably Evil - or, come to think of it, just plain affable - in-universe, but due to Values Dissonance, it's more this trope for us.
- Magneto. If you aren't on his side, he can be downright terrifying and still sound unfailingly polite. When Pyro expresses disappointment that he wasn't the one to kill Professor X, Magneto gives him a rather grandfatherly talking-to...with an unspoken, but very real assurance that the next ill words Pyro speaks of Charles Xavier would be his last.
- In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Stryker is very polite and charming, often calling Wolverine "Old friend". This doesn't change the fact that he's unrepentantly homicidal and manipulative.
- X-Men: First Class:
- Shaw is impeccably polite even when he's going to kill your mom. When he murders people who have slighted him, it's based more on principle than any outright anger.
- Erik is also depicted as being a "nice" guy throughout, even after he fully becomes Magneto.
- The Wolverine:
- Viper talks in a polite and seductive tone when discussing her evil plans.
- Ichirō Yashida continues to discuss philosophy and talk like a kindly grandfather even as he is literally sucking out the life of Wolverine. He also seems to genuinely want Logan to find peace in death.
- Some of the best conversations in The Matrix trilogy are between Neo and Faux Affably Evil Agent Smith, who famously insists on calling Neo "Mr. Anderson" even in the thick of battle. One of the best, from Reloaded:
Smith: Now here I stand because of you, Mr. Anderson; because of you I'm no longer an Agent of the system, because of you I've changed, I'm unplugged, a new man, so to speak; like you, apparently free.
Smith: Thank you.
- Reno Smith is nice to Macreedy in the beginning of Bad Day at Black Rock.
- The Butcher in Alex Cross is very polite in his phone conversations with Cross, even addressing him as Dr. Cross. He never raises his voice, and he expresses admiration for one of his victims' ability to withstand pain under the torture he inflicted on her.
- In Chinatown, this is the facade that Noah Cross hides behind. Beneath, Cross is a living example of what a man is capable of doing if he had no moral scruples and no law to stop him.
Cross: See, Mr. Gittes, most people never have to face the fact that, at the right time, and the right place, they're capable of ANYTHING.
- In Taken 2 the Big Bad Murad has a trope-defining conversation with Lenora, where he politely tells her that he knows she is completely innocent in his grudge against her husband and that he admires her bravery, for which he is going to send her home...in pieces.
- Manfred von Karma is edged towards this in the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney live action movie. The murder trial against Edgeworth even starts out with him introducing himself to Phoenix and basically saying "May the best man win". And as anyone who played the game would know, it turns out the entire thing was one long plan to get revenge on Edgeworth.
- Bane, the villain in The Dark Knight Rises, is terrifyingly brutal and utterly merciless. But he sounds like Patrick Stewart after four martinis and a large dose of Ecstasy.
- He'd better. The actor did try to imitate Stewart in his role as Picard's clone in Star Trek: Nemesis.
- The Goblin King in The Hobbit An Un Expected Journey, while thoroughly unpleasant and evil, was rather jolly and articulate. Gollum was another example because no matter how cheerful and enthusiastic and adorable he is, he still intended to eat Bilbo.
- And of course, Smaug himself in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, true to his portrayal in the book: eloquent, intelligent, and actually a rather polite conversationalist. Though whatever you do, do not insult his vanity, because he is downright terrifying when angered.
- In most of the Wishmaster movies, the Djinn puts up a pleasant veneer towards his victims while preparing their agonizing deaths. He tends to drop the façade when he switches back into his true demonic form because then there's just no point in even pretending, especially towards the end, when he loses his patience with victory so close in his grasp.
- Calvin Candie of Django Unchained. Charming, cheerful, and all-around Southern Gentleman...and his Establishing Character Moment has him gleefully watching a pair of slaves beat each other to death. He's also freaking horrifying when he loses his cool. Comparing Candie from when he is happy to when he isn't illustrates the difference between Affably Evil and Faux Affably Evil; the latter is possibly best exemplified when, after Steven exposes Django and Schultz's scheme he maintains his demeanour in a rather more sinister tone to put them on edge, before flipping into Chewing the Scenery-level anger and threat-making, and then alternating between the two states to scare everyone, during all of which he is never actually rude, and he never fails to use "mister" or "doctor" when addressing his fellow white men. His Evil Gloating after his victory also takes this form, as he offers Schultz dessert and cites Southern courtesy as the reason for his insisting that Schultz shake his hand, but here his courtesy is clearly for the purpose of rubbing Schultz' defeat in his face.
- Two in Iron Man 2:
- Ivan Vanko. One can't help but chuckle at the casual, almost friendly way he talks as he threatens Tony over the phone.
Ivan: Hey, Tony! How you doin? Heh heh. I double cycle.
Ivan: You told me 'double cycle, more power'...Good advice.
Tony: You sound pretty sprightly for a dead guy.
Ivan: You too....Ha ha!
- Justin Hammer will act like your best friend when it's clear he can't stand your guts.
- Again in Iron Man 3. Aldritch Killian comes across as a classy guy, but all he cares about is getting back at Tony for standing him up 13 years ago.
- The Blank version of Oliver Chamberlain from The World's End.
- Pablo Chacon from We're the Millers, who tends to banter with the Millers at gunpoint, as if he might actually spare them, only to reveal he plans on killing them no matter what.
- Karl in Blackout 2008 film.
- Death Proof. While stalking his victims, Stuntman Mike takes the guise of a cheesy but occasionally charming guy to hide being a murderous pervert. After getting run off the road, he tries to give his second batch of would-be victims a cheery salute for surviving, but they're not playing around.
- Agent Kruger from Elysium can act pretty playful and chatty while stalking and brutally maiming his prey. That and when he interrogates Frey, he tells her to cover the eyes of her daughter, because he doesn't like to commit violence in front the kids.
- Reynauld de Chatillion (the leader of the Templars) from Kingdom of Heaven is always polite, even with a bloody sword in his hand, which doesn't keep him from being both a Jerkass and The Fundamentalist.
- In Cube Zero, Jax behaves like a jolly enforcer of the sinister government and maintains a pleasant but scornful demeanor while he murders people and hunts down his human lab rats.
- Mick in Wolf Creek. Don't let his welcoming Crocodile Dundeeish mannerism fool you. It's a trap. He's a Serial Killer and has got more in common with Hannibal Lector than with Crocodile Dundee.
- In Cabin by the Lake, Stanley is a reclusive but popular member of the community and acts like a good-humored horror fan at the local film club's movie screenings. It's a mask, as he's actually an emotionless psychopath who murders women for his own amusement.
- Richie in Killshot. Unlike the more calm and reserved Blackbird, Richie is playful and generally puts on a humorously cheerful front. This is all because he's utterly a perverted sadist and has no sense of nobility using killing as fun and game.
- Simon Phoenix from Demolition Man seems like a real fun guy to be around. Too bad he's a psychopath who'd probably maim you twice for shits and giggles. Think The Joker in the body of Ruby Rhod.
- In The Last King of Scotland, Ugandan dictator Idi Amin behaves like this after the protagonist impresses him. Over the course of the film he acts friendly to the man because he likes his Scottish ancestry (Amin is a bit of an Anglophobe) and generally seems like a visionary modernizer if also a boisterous fellow. However, his friendliness turns out to be a mask which gradually unravels, as he's slowly revealed to be a paranoid, psychopathic despot. Whatever affection he does show Garrigan is mixed with a godawful amount of emotional manipulation, and Garrigan eventually realizes that he's simply a pet to which Amin has momentarily taken a liking, not a friend. Amin tries to torture him to death when Garrigan betrays him for his atrocities.
- Idi Amin is also this way in Raid on Entebbe. He mainly gives the impression of being a ridiculous popinjay though.
- Probably because the real Idi Amin was noted for his 'big-grins and belly-laughs' sense of humor. It's just a pity his idea of fun revolved around testicle crushing, mass-murder and cannibalism, meaning said belly-laugh was the last thing a lot of his victims heard.
- Detective Mark Hoffman in the Saw series. His affable demeanor is fooling until you've witnessed his true colors under the Jigsaw persona which will pretty much show that his entire affable side's pretty much an act to lower suspicion.
- Creepshow: Richard (played by Leslie Nielson) from "Something to Tide You Over" puts on a friendly facade as he's extracting his revenge. He talks to Harry almost like he's meeting an old friend he hasn't seen in a while, while arranging to bury him alive and drown him and gloating about how he already murdered his wife.
- The Great White Hype: Sultan. But then he is a Don King Expy
- Sholay: Gabbar Singh will often toy with his victims for fun, all the while maintaining a grandiose veneer of affability. For instance, he'll loudly laugh along with the rest of his gang before spontaneously executing a group of them for messing up their mission.
- Die Hard: Hans Gruber puts on a friendly persona, but it's all an act. While he does get a couch for a pregnant lady giving birth, it's simply so he and his men do not have to deal with her screaming. He later forces the woman up to the rooftop with the other hostages to kill them, all for some money.
- Esther Coleman or better said, Leena Klammer from Orphan. She is a skilled actress, able to convince others she is a sweet, kind little girl. She's not.
- Halloween III: Season of the Witch: Conal Cochran is the owner of a mask company, and seems nice at first, but it turns out he wants to kill millions of children. nHe leaves the hero in a Death Trap to die, telling him "Happy Halloween". When he's defeated, he slowly claps his hands, hinting at being a Graceful Loser, however, it's revealed he left a little present for the main character.
- Despite his massive ego, God king Xerxes of 300 fancies himself as "kind". To this end, he tries to be genuinely Affably Evil. Xerxes even congratulates king Leonidas for his efforts and offers to let him keep his rule over Greece as long as he works for him. However, his act starts to slip when he as half his generals executed for a minor failure. Xerxxes act is broken for good after his Villainous Breakdown when Leonidas manages to make him bleed.
- Snow's previous interactions with Katniss were those of an extremely ruthless, but ultimately pragmatic man who really was trying to minimize bloodshed for everyone and had some level of respect for her. In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, in his video conversation with Katniss, he drops the façade, gloating and mocking her motivations while sneering and grinning, yet remains polite and formal.
- Se7en: John Doe is extremely polite for a Serial Killer, but this just highlights how creepy he is.
- Valentine from Kingsman: The Secret Service. He's actually a callous and vicious misanthrope who can appear charming when it's useful to him.
- In Paddington, Millicent maintains a soothing maternal tone, even when talking about how she is going to kill and stuff Paddington, who she is conversing with.
- In the movie version of Into the Woods, The Wolf. It's even lampshaded by Little Red Riding Hood's song later: "Nice is not the same as good!"
- The witches in The Witches. Overlapped with Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, they present themselves in a very ladylike fashion and disguised themselves as presentable in order to lure children. Of course the majority of the specie is hideous from inside out, hates children, and are overall morally repulsive.
- Jack the Ripper in Alex Grecian's The Devil's Workshop, who thinks that he's doing his victims a kind of favor, and sometimes expresses concerns about their comfort or state of mind.
- In Fool, a Perspective Flip retelling of King Lear, Edmund starts the play as a fairly open Jerk Ass, but partway through he has an offscreen epiphany that his attempts to be a Manipulative Bastard Chessmaster would probably be more successful if most people weren't repulsed by him and his company, leading to the page quote where he discusses this trope with the book's protagonist.
- President Snow of The Hunger Games. He speaks to Katness in a polite manner while threatening to have her and her loved ones killed if she makes a mistake.
- BlueBeard: The title character seems like a charming young gentleman... than we discover he is a Serial Killer.
- General Zaroff from The Most Dangerous Game actually starts off as genuinely Affably Evil, but he quickly slides into Faux Affably Evil. When the protagonist Rainsford arrives at his home, he lets him dine with him, complements him on his book, shows respect for a fellow big game hunter, and reveals he has turned to hunting humans. He forces Rainsford to be his next prey, and still acts polite the whole time.
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
- Raina. She manipulates, kidnaps, and tortures while never saying a single harsh word. The most egregious example is when she purposefully leaves Debbie to her death and says "I wish you all the best" as the elevator doors close between them.
- The Big Bad of the first season, The Clairvoyant, is eventually revealed to be this. He maintains the chummy attitude he's previously been using in a civilian disguise, even after his true identity is revealed. Even when The Dragon is experiencing a Villainous BSOD, he kept laughing and joking, not caring about what was happening. His charm and affability is only a charade though, and there's no one he won't sacrifice to further his goals.
- 'Allo 'Allo!: Essentially, any Nazi character in a lighthearted series could be considered this way, therefore implicitly being given a Villainy Discretion Shot. For example, Herr Flick of this show is the kind of character who, in a serious work, would be the Torture Technician, but is a very funny and likable parody of the stock "Hollywood Nazi" Secret Police officer. "You do have a soft side, Herr Flick!" "Yes, I almost failed my Gestapo exam because of it."
- Edward Fyers initially appears to be benevolent, offering Oliver some much-needed refreshment after his traumatic crash. When it turns out that Oliver is lying as to Yao Fei's location, however, he hands him over to Deathstroke for a brutal interrogation.
- Slade Wilson, by the time of his return in the present day. When he meets Oliver Queen's family, he acts incredibly polite and gentlemanly. Once he catches Oliver's sister Thea alone, the mask comes off and he reveals himself to be a psychopath who wants to ruin Oliver's life via his loved ones.
- Babylon 5:
- Lyndysty. She is a charming, sweet, and beautiful little Centauri, delighted to be engaged to Vir Cotto, and she personally put to death hundreds of Narns.
- Alfred Bester, the resident Magnificent Bastard, is almost always polite, though a lot of snarking is thrown in. He's still one of the most sinister and diabolical characters on the show.
- Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined):
- The Brother Cavil model (the Ones) of Cylon display this sort of behaviour. Cavil, despite being depicted as the most out and out evil of the Cylons (perhaps the only one), is continually making snarky asides and hilarious observations about his fellow Cylons and humanity. This was even brought up by one of the others when he cracked a joke after having been shot on the orders of the speaker.
Natalie (a Six): Is there anything that isn't fodder for a joke with you, or is that really how you see our very existence, as some sort of nihilistic punchline?
Cavil: Nihilistic punchline, I like that. But quite honestly, I'm feeling very serious. Getting riddled with bullets affects me that way.
- Also this exchange, which occurred before we found out:
Chief Tyrol: How do you know I'm not a Cylon?
Cavil: Well, because I'm a Cylon and I've never seen you at any of the meetings.
- It gets even funnier when we find out Tyrol is a Cylon, but neither he nor the "regular" Cylons, aside from Cavil who wanted the Final Five to not know they were Cylons, knew it. Even better when you realise that there were Cylon meetings happening aboard Galactica. Yes. He just admitted to being a Cylon and meeting other Cylons and got away with it!
- Being Human:
- Herrick would seem to fit. In the first episode, he spends the first half his introductory scene making nice with the hospital staff, and the second half talking about world domination and the hypothetical idea of turning terminally ill children into vampires. This is highlighted in the season finale when we see that he turned that mousy cafeteria worker, who is apparently now his lover.
- In a later season, he resurfaces with amnesia, and Nina takes the opportunity to take him in and try to teach him to live a better life. When he regains his memories, he threatens Nina with a knife, and then calms her down and says that he's very tempted to spare her for taking care of him and protecting him. Then, he stabs her anyway so people wouldn't think he went soft.
- Boardwalk Empire:
- The historical gangster Arnold Rothstein is a good example of this, as a contrast to the Affably Evil Villain Protagonist Nucky. Rothstein is cold, ruthless, and amoral, but has a polite and somewhat charming manner, and gets his fair share of good lines.
- Jewish gangster - and kosher butcher - Manny Horvitz. Friendly and charming... until you screw him over and try to have him killed. He tends to go nuclear. Cue the Roaring Rampage of Revenge and fridging.
- The Borgias:
- Cesare Borgia starts out as The Dutiful Son, but with each episode, he becomes more sadistic. He justifies his actions pretty easily but certainly takes pleasure in killing. He remains the most charming male character on the show.
- Rodrigo is somewhat Faux Affably Evil as well. He cares about his family, but with most other people he's figuring out how to manipulate and deceive them and is only polite as long as he has to be. (He also threatened to excommunicate a city.)
- However, particularly in season 2, Rodrigo's loyalty to the city and people of Rome is very sincere, and when he finds out that the cardinal responsible for charity has three palaces while the peasants starve, he is genuinely disgusted and tries to improve Rome for the benefit of the commoners rather than just himself. While it is true that he drops the mask of civility with people he needs to bully and manipulate, he is generally quite nice to people unless there is some real benefit to being nasty, and he never indulges in wanton cruelty with anyone who hasn't wronged him first. Rodrigo is a rare character who is both genuinely Affably Evil as well as Faux Affably Evil, depending on who he's dealing with at any given time.
- Breaking Bad:
- Gustavo "Gus" Fring. The owner of Los Pollos Hermanos will gladly refill your soda, wipe down your table, smiles with customer service, and makes generous donations to the police. What a great guy. Mess with his meth operation, though, and he "will kill your infant daughter."
- Walter, by Season 5, has become this, especially around Skyler where even the lines meant to sound loving sound more like a kidnapper speaking to his hostage, and just about everything he says to other people, including his partner, Jesse, and even his own son, is nothing but manipulation to achieve his own ends.
- Numerous villains in both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel fit the bill:
- Burn Notice:
- Larry Sizemore is a truly charming guy. If you met him at a party, you'd probably find him quite entertaining. Right up until he knifed you or poisoned you because he was paid to, because you were in his way, or just because he felt like it.
- There's also Vaughn, Michael's handler in season 4. He puts a lot of effort into the pretense of being a nice guy. He convinces Michael to work with him against worse people, tries to claim that other people from the Organization were just bad apples, he's always polite and doesn't seem to take offense to Michael going against him or even Michael kicking him out into a raging hurricane. But in the season 4 finale, he abruptly drops any pretense of being affable:
- Note that 10 seconds before this, he was cheerfully inviting Michael out for drinks with a smile on his face.
- Tyler Brennen is perhaps the show's best embodiment of this trope.
- Chuck: Aleksei Volkov. He can seem like a pretty nice guy, and is able to convince Chuck that he was one of the good guys until he outlived his usefulness. He's also perfectly willing to kill his Right Hand Man and love interest, just to keep her from living without being at his side.
- Dark Shadows: Barnabas Collins. Part of the fun with Barnabas was the Dramatic Irony between everyone believing him to be a perfect gentlemen while the audience knew that he was lying through his teeth.
- Doctor Who:
- While the Master varies Depending on the Writer and/or actor, one of the constant traits in his psychopathy is the ability to be charming and polite one moment, then ruthless and brutal the next, switching on a whim. Nowhere is this more evident than in his interactions with the Doctor, particularly the Roger Delgado incarnation, which would often be quite pleasant if one ignored how he would invariably be discussing his plans to cause widespread death and destruction.
- House. A Genius Loci, who kills Time Lords, stitches them back together, and screws around with the companions. Despite this, he's oddly polite and fun to watch.
- The Family of Bood would also count as this considering how proper and positive they always look, yet they have committed acts so terrible, they make the Doctor turn human by his own will, so they wouldn't detect him, and they were apparently so evil that the Doctor gave them fates worse than death.
- Dollhouse: Joss Whedon seems to like this trope. Alpha is likewise highly entertaining despite being unquestionably monstrous.
- The Escape Artist: Liam Foyle is a soft-spoken individual, who is mostly polite. However, he's not a pleasant person and he can easily drop the mask when he wants to. He shows he's fully aware of it during a few exchanges with Will.
- The Following: Joe Carroll often acts like a doddering former literature professor/author who's affable, a loving father figure to his family, and enjoys tweaking main character Ryan Hardy with teasing barbs. The reason why he's no longer a literature professor is because he was revealed to be a serial killer, his "family" is a literal death-worshiping cult of fellow serial killers, and Ryan Hardy is a former FBI agent whose life he's trying to make a living hell. Every second he acts Affably Evil is all the creepier for how much the show emphasizes how bad he is.
- Game of Thrones:
- Jaime Lannister, who spends most of the time smiling, making self-deprecating jokes and retaining his dignity in bad situations, and the remainder of it ruthlessly killing anyone, from children to his own distant cousins, who 'was in my way'. As the series progresses (and particularly in the books), Jaime is given more Character Development and becomes more of an overgrown jock who has never really properly grown up, but who is slavishly loyal to those few people he does love, namely Cersei and Tyrion. As the series progresses, his affability seems more and more to do with his hurt ego, and his attempt to injure Bran was more of a last ditch attempt to protect his sister/lover, who would have been killed along with her children if their affair had been caught by the king. He's still not heroic, but he's not a card-carrying villain, either.
- A much clearer example is Littlefinger. Soft-spoken, openly admits he's untrustworthy, all that Snark-to-Snark Combat with Varys, and he gives Ros to Joffery to have fun with.
- Ramsay Snow is rather playful and jocular while torturing Theon Greyjoy, much like a cat playing with its prey.
- Glee: Sue freaking Sylvester.
- Green Wing: It's all but stated that, of all people, Dr. Angela Hunter is this. This Clip sums it up.
- Hell on Wheels: The Swede. Sure he'll put on a good show and ham it up for audiences from time to time. But there hasn't been a character yet that he hasn't snitched about, knocked their tent down, tried to get hanged, or stabbed in the face with a fork.
- Heroes: Sylar, the smirking, hero-slaying, brain-stealing supervillain.
- Homicide Life On The Street: Luther Mahoney, one of the few recurring villains. He's a drug lord who poses as a community activist, and at first, his affable demeanor is all part of his Villain with Good Publicity facade. After a while, though, he's clearly doing it just to mock and enrage the detectives, rubbing their noses in the fact that they can't prove he's a child-murderer, rather than the lovable local hero he says he is.
- House of Anubis: Vera plays up the act of being the perfect Housemother...but is ruthless and Dangerously Genre Savvy in her efforts to get the Mask of Anubis for Rufus.
- Miss Denby takes it to a higher level. She seems like the perfect teacher, but is a skilled Manipulative Bastard who keeps her stepsister locked up, makes subtle threats towards Sibuna, and will hurt anyone to get what she wants- and was a whole lot more successful than Vera, and even more Dangerously Genre Savvy to boot.
- Jekyll: Benjamin affects mannerisms more appropriate for a goofy used car salesman than the kind of guy who buys a zoo just so he can throw a child into the lion pit.
- Kamen Rider Den-O: One of the things that makes Kai so frightening is his ability to keep a well meaning expression and tone of voice while being completely Ax-Crazy. When he finally snaps in the finale and sets loose a huge army of Imagin on the city while preparing to release a blast of temporal energy to erase it from time, he still keeps this personality, making him downright disturbing.
- The League of Gentlemen: Has the charmingly creepy butcher Hilary Briss, as well as Tubbs and Edward, a Serial Killer couple who also happen to be brother and sister, and whose relationship is portrayed as sort of sweet. Awwwww....
- Anthony Cooper, Locke's father. He gives off the impression of being polite, charming, and very fatherly, giving Locke the relationship he always wanted. But beneath it he is a thoroughly unrepentant, sociopathic monster who couldn't care less about the innumerable lives he has destroyed. His crimes include scamming countless people out of their money including Sawyer's parents leading to their deaths, murdering a young man who correctly identified him as a con artist, taking John's kidney and severing all ties with him, and pushing John out of a building, resulting in his paralysis. And he does it all with a sadistic grin and a charming word.
- Martin Keamy attempts to show to both Ben and Sayid on two different occasions that he's Affably Evil, but neither of them fall for it and see him for the completely unreasonable monster that he is.
- Dale "The Whale" Biederbeck from Monk is a disgustingly fat financier and crime lord. Though confined to his bed due to his massive size, he acts polite, genial, and downright pleasant at times. However, all of his episodes reveal that this "kind" attitude is a front—he's actually a cold, ruthless monster who, if he doesn't get his way, breaks down and starts screaming threats.
- Moses Jones: Matthias Mutukula from this BBC miniseries, whos is an African warlord-in-exile. Usually polite and well spoken, especially towards people he needs something from, but it only takes one wrong word for his pleasantries to become laced with threats. Threats he has no qualms in carrying out, such as having a restaurateur's teeth smashed in with a claw-hammer after the police speak with her. Then there's all the standard African Warlord atrocities he committed back when he was in power.
- Neverwhere: Croup and Vandemar. Croup lampshades this trope moments before stalking and killing the Marquis de Carabas.
Croup: You find us funny, Messire Marquis, do you not? A source of amusement. Is that not so? With our pretty clothes, and our convoluted circumlocutions—
Vandemar: I haven't got a circumlo—
Croup: —and our little silliness of manner and behavior. And perhaps we are funny. But you must never imagine that just because something is funny, Messire Marquis, it is not also dangerous.
- Once Upon a Time: Cora. She does everything she possibly can to corrupt her daughter and make her life miserable, all while claiming to do what she does out of love. Rumplestiltskin and Regina tend to this persona in their more calmly and sadistically evil moments, as well.
- Also, Zelena in her Storybrooke persona. She absolutely oozes friendliness and good cheer. Made really creepy by the fact that while the audience knows who she is, the rest of the characters don't and are easily taken in. Well played, Zelena. Well played.
- Person of Interest: Root, who likes to chat casually with people and torture them at the same time.
- Reaper: Satan. He's evil, but he's just so cheerful about it that you have to love him. Until you disappoint him.
- Every single militia member, except for Major Tom Neville, is this. Captain Jeremy Baker in "No Quarter" acts like he's your best pal...but he certainly doesn't hesitate to send loads of soldiers to get shot by a sniper rifle. Sergeant Will Strausser acts so polite, but this sociopath is a complete monster who has no qualms about rape, which is what he tried to do to Rachel Matheson in "Nobody's Fault But Mine". Sebastian "Bass" Monroe takes the cake in this trope though, like when in "Clue" he tried treating Nora Clayton to dinner...and when she tried to kill him, he sent her off to be tortured for 21 straight days, and actually says that she should remember that he tried asking her nicely.
- Drexel in "Sex and Drugs" qualifies. The first thing he does is to put a gun to Miles Matheson's head, pull the trigger, and then laugh his head off and claim that it was just a joke when it turns out that the gun isn't loaded. He tries to act like he's such a gracious and polite host, but he's actually violent, sadistic, sociopathic, Ax-Crazy, and politically incorrect. He is also a drug lord who deals in heroin.
- Robin Hood: The Sheriff of Nottingham in the BBC series kind of fits this, being a Smug Snake with an extremely cruel sense of humor, yet hard to loathe given the humorous way he goes about his crimes. Notably, his insults against Robin generally are accurate in identifying unpleasant aspects of his character, and similarly, the Sheriff is very effective in mocking his humorless and angsty Dragon, Guy of Guisbourne.
- Sherlock: Jim Moriarty. His often cheerful and very campy behavior doesn't really detract from his terrifying presence in the show.
- The Shield:
- Played straight with Detective Vic Mackey. Much is made toward the fact that over the course of the series, all of the police officers in the Farmington District Precinct turn a blind eye towards Vic's evil, largely because of his charisma, leadership skills, and fratboy humor. Even the ones who know Vic is a monster who shot a fellow police officer often fall victim to the spell, to such an extent that Claudette Wyms (Vic's "arch enemy") fires her hand-picked, 100% non-dirty cop replacement because he was too squeaky clean.
- Antwon Mitchell from season 4. The infamous scene where he kills a young girl to blackmail Shane Vendrell with the crime after Shane gets all uppity towards Antwon showcases actor Anthony Anderson's ability to mix unrelenting sadism with a sly sense of humor, as he humiliates Shane with his cruel actions.
- Sons of Anarchy: Ethan Zobell, the charming, nattily dressed Neo-Nazi businessman. Politely attending a business meeting one day, ordering a woman raped the next.
- Star Trek:
- Star Trek: The Original Series: The episode "Plato's Stepchildren" has Parmen, leader of the Platonians. He passes himself off as an enlightened student of Plato, when he's really just a sadistic coward who delights in torturing his servant Alexander and mind raping his "guests".
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: Gul Madred, Picard's Cardassian torturer from the two-part episode "Chain of Command". He tries to present himself as a noble man being forced to perform an ugly duty by torturing him; going into detail of how he was a young, starving boy living on the streets, once badly beaten up over food. Picard, however, doesn't buy into it, pointing out how in light of his past, he actually enjoys making others suffer in his position.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- Garak is a rare example of a Faux Affably Evil character on the side of the heroes. However, his Strange Bedfellows eventually turn him into more of an Affably Evil character, and eventually into an outright Anti-Hero. He's more Affably Evil when we first meet him, his Faux Affably Evil days having occurred off-screen before the series starts.
- Gul Dukat is a straight example. Because of their different values, most Cardassians are Affably Evil. However, Gul Dukat lacks the selflessness of most Cardassians. Whereas most Cardassians do what they do for the greater benefit of Cardassia, Dukat only cares about himself, taking his narcissism to hallucinatory and Ax-Crazy levels towards the end.
- Gul Dukat may have become this by the end, but he was genuinely troubled by some of the terrible things he did to the Bajoran people and had to construct elaborate Well-Intentioned Extremist justifications for his actions to make himself okay with them. And he did have a great deal of fondness for both his half-Cardassian bastard daughter and main protagonist Benjamin Sisko. At least at first, much of his affability was probably genuine. Then "Waltz" happened...
- Star Trek: Voyager:
- Kurros, the chipper dealmaker played by Jason Alexander in "Think Tank." He offers protection from a race of bounty hunters that are after Voyager, and a number of other services, asking in return only the chance to examine Seven of Nine's Borg implants. Except that he has no intention of returning Seven. And guess who took out the bounty in the first place?
- Alastair, aka "Picasso with a Razor", loves to smile and chat up his victims as he's carving them up. He also inverts the trope in the episode "On the Head of a Pin" (S04, E16), when he becomes Dean's torturee and spends the whole time dispensing advice, commenting on Dean's technique, or reminiscing about the good ol' days back in Hell, when he apprenticed Dean in the arts of mutilating people.
- Lucifer is another prime example. Apparently, being locked in a cage in Hell for a few millennia works up an appetite for conversation. He treats Sam with affection, and never insults his victims or even raises his voice. But, despite his charm, he's squarely in the Faux Affably Evil camp because...well...he's the devil. In the season 5 finale, "Swan Song", Dean finally manages to annoy him too much. He drops the act and shows just how affable he really is.
- Crowley is presented as an Affably Evil Noble Demon in series five, but season six reveals that he's more Faux Affably Evil, as he starts getting more and more into torture. He's obsessed with bargains and won't break a deal (as befits his "King of the Crossroads" status) but will take on any persona which will get the job done.
- Dick Roman, the leader of the Leviathans. Having stolen the identity of a billionaire businessman, he likes to talk in a friendly, forward-thinking fashion while planning the enslavement of mankind. Best exemplified by him talking to a subordinate about turning his failure into a "teachable moment" by making him eat himself.
- The angel Metatron poses as an ally of the heroes, only reluctant to get involved because he's not a fighter by nature. At the end of season 8 he's revealed as a scheming megalomaniac willing to sacrifice any human or angel to rule. Even after that he's always politely joshing the Winchesters and Castiel.
- The Thick of It: Malcolm Tucker is perfectly capable of being very polite when it suits him. It usually suits him as the setup for a string of abuse so painful you may find it psychologically impossible to move for several minutes afterward.
- Todd and the Book of Pure Evil: Atticus.
- The Tribe: The Techno leader Ram, while not really pleasant, maintains a humorous and playful demeanor while reveling in his own wickedness. For instance, he shoots one of his officers for a minor failure in front of the rest to set an example. When Siva walks in and screams in horror, Ram instantly changes tone and joyously asks her what her day was like.
- True Blood:
- Russell Edgington. While more of a True Neutral in the book series, he starts out as very Affably Evil in the series...up until his lover is killed and he progresses into insanity. Combined with his 3000 years of age, his mental instability makes him the most dangerous thing in the entire series.
- Marnie Stonebrook. At first, she hid in her shell of being shy and reclusive, then turned into Affably Evil territory...before she had her Villainous Breakdown.
- Maryann Forrester applies.
- The X-Files: The Cigarette Smoking Man is usually courteous when dealing with Mulder and/or Scully, speaking gently and making a show of concern over their problems. He drops the act and acts nasty toward Skinner, whom he basically considers hired help.
- Klaus of The Vampire Diaries is an Ax-Crazy megalomaniac who happens to be very soft-spoken, cultured and charming, and will smile politely (and probably call you "sweetheart") as he tortures, mind rapes, or brutally tears you to shreds.
- In Dilbert, Catbert, Evil Director of Human Resources, was hired precisely because he possesses this quality. The caption of the page image is a quote from the strip in which he was hired.
- So many examples that they would probably take up their own page. But just for starters...
- "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, who could sound folksy and charming even while deliberately cheating a little boy out of a chance to win some of his money.
- Eric Bischoff, his genuine baby face runs are few and far between and he's never the face by default, so he has no real motivation to be nice to anyone other than perhaps to save his own skin. Otherwise he's just stringing you along, don't listen.
- John Bradshaw Layfield, especially during his final angle against Rey Mysterio. You have never heard the word amigo delivered with so much dripping sarcasm.
- Raisha Saeed spoke as if she was a reasonable, level headed stoic looking out for the best interests of her clients, such as Awesome Kong. Her actions repeatedly proved her to be a sadist who at times went to far for Awesome Kong.
- Michelle McCool, who was so good at this trope that she called to mind the Uncanny Valley.
- Chris Jericho was this trope while performing his "Anton Chigurh" tribute gimmick from 2008 to 2010.
- Silvie Silver spoke in a patronizing manner to Santana Garrett in Ring Warriors while explaining all the moves she learned in Mexico and how much they would hurt. She dropped the act after Garrett pinned her.
- After being defeated by Mr. 450 at the World Wrestling League's Insurrection event, Sensacional Carlitos wanted a rematch at Navidad Corporativa and insisted he would be healthy by then even though he had a broken jaw at the time. 450 urged him not to do it, saying if Carlitos had no concern for his own health he should think about how friends and family.
Religion and Mythology
- It has been said that Satan doesn't come to you as a scary and intimidating devil, but rather, he will appear to you in a seemingly nice and appealing way. He's known as the Prince of Lies for a reason.
- Asmodeus in Dungeons & Dragons. Despite being probably the most evil being in the setting and responsible for countless acts of torture even against his closest allies, he's always portrayed as urbane, unflappable, and chillingly reasonable.
- Very common with Devils, who are Lawful Evil. In most cases, Devils usually want mortals to make agreements with them of their own free will, but they are an always Evil race for a reason.
- Also fairly common among Ravenloft darklords.
- The Dark Eldar in Warhammer 40,000 are surprisingly cheerful and fun-loving for a society based around torturing people and eating their souls. Given that their own souls are involuntarily devoted to an Eldritch Abomination that feeds on sensations, it's probably part of the job.
- Memetic Mutation and various fan works have the fans portray most Chaos devotees as this (except for Nurgle followers, who are genuinely Affably Evil). The most notable permutations of this are Cultist-chan and Kharn.
- In the Night Lords series, Abaddon the Despoiler is this during his conversation with Talos.
- Depending on your opinion on the alignment in the setting, Amberley Veil, Inquisitor of Ordo Xenos, is a particular example that might fit with the trope. More generally, any leader of the designated good guysnote who isn't too busy being an obvious jerk, a Large Ham or a genuine good guy (the later being very rare instance) fits the description as well. note
- The Crooked Man in The Wolf Among Us at first appears to be a genuinely nice person who was only trying to use his power and resources to care for the Fables that the apathetic government had left in the dust. However, once confronted with evidence from Nerissa saying that he personally ordered the executions of women who wished to escape owing debt to him, he physically attacks Wolf and attempts to throw the both of them down the Witching Well. He also has no qualms having an Ax-Crazy demon woman be his personal bodyguard.
- Reaver in Fable III is perhaps the best example for video games. As his voice actor stated in the third video diary:
"Reaver is not as much immoral as amoral; he has no morality whatsoever — he doesn't even have a concept of morality."
- HK-47 of Knights of the Old Republic is inordinately popular not simply because he is a ruthless assassin droid well versed in the art of death, but because of how much pleasure he receives from the task.
Statement: HK-47 is ready to serve, Master. Who would you like me to kill?
- In Star Wars: The Old Republic, most sith NPC's and many Imperial officials exhibit this trait. A few examples:
- One of the first missions for the Sith Inquisitor has them join a sith lord in torturing an acolyte for information. The sith lord in question would seem like an amiable personality were it not for the fact that he's instructing you in torture.
- Lord Drowl is very excited to try out a poison called quell.
- Arguably Lord Zash in the Sith Inquisitor story, but she may be genuinely nice (in her own opinion, anyway), depending on how you see her personality. True, she will try to hijack your body to extend her own life but it could be that she really just doesn't see a reason for you to object and thinks she's doing a favour for you as well, since, after all, you get to host her.
- And of course player characters can exhibit this behaviour as well; it would seem that the Imperial Agent and Sith Inquisitor have the most conversation options to that end, though it also depends on the player's own interpretation of the character, naturally. It works with all classes, though: due to the nature of the dialogue system, you can threaten the lives of innocent children one moment and make polite conversation the next.
- Charnel of Sacrifice, the amusingly bloodthirsty God of Death who also gets some great lines.
: "I am Charnel. God of Strife, God of Slaughter, God of DEATH
! Where there is pain, I'm there. Where there is suffering, I flourish. Where there is joy...Yes, well, one could hardly have joy without another's suffering, no?"
- Despite being relatively calm and collected, Dr. Eggman Nega, Eggman's alternate-dimension counterpartnote in the Sonic Rush Series, is much more vicious than the Affably Evil doctor we all know and love.
- In Super Mario RPG, when Mario and his entourage finally meet Smithy, he at first seems far more polite and civil than most villains in the game. This is a facade, however, as he quickly proves just as nasty as the rest of the Smithy Gang, AND have an uncontrollable temper as well.
- Tomb Raider (2013): Mathias feigns politeness and reason in his meetings with Lara and Sam, even managing to earn Sam's trust by bandaging her injured foot. In reality, he was bordering on sociopathic by the time of his first journal entry, in which he documents how he routinely tortures other people who wash up on Yamatai until they agree to join the Solarii, and kills those who don't agree.
- In BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, Hazama / Terumi is the Big Bad who set the plot in motion for an unclear reason, who takes delight in fucking with everybody for the sheer lulz of it all. At first, he is a straight example of Affably Evil, being polite and reasonable while clearly having something off about him, and then in the second game when his cover is blown, he drops the act and becomes this trope.
- Adachi of Persona 4 is Ax-Crazy and committed the murders for the fun of it, mocked his victims while recounting his killings, and, when he reveals his true personality, is pretty funny.
- About half the cast of Team Fortress 2 are either this or normal Affably Evil. The Scout is just an asshole, The Spy is coldly professional, and The Sniper and Engineer are nice people when not being paid to kill, but the rest would probably do this for free, whether it's because death is just a normal side-effect of their hobbies (Demoman, Medic), they're crazy (Pyro, Soldier), or they just plain like killing (Heavy, Scout).
- Sho Minamimoto of The World Ends with You: sadistic, utterly unpredictable, and Crazy Awesome.
- Waylon from Advance Wars: Days Of Ruin manages to avoid this despite the whole 'climbing his way to luxury on the back of everyone else' deal. Nothing says this trope like saying the army opposing him is "up in my business", while leaving his injured wingmen behind to keep from slowing him down in the same scene. (Luckily, the heroes took them in.)
- Baron Alexander from Amnesia: The Dark Descent is the portrait of courtesy when he hires Wilhelm to kidnap random people, all of whom Alexander tortures to death. He maintains his friendly veneer right until the moment he murders Wilhelm, mutilates his corpse, then brings him back to life as a mindless drone.
- GLaDOS of Portal fame, who gets progressively more entertaining as she reveals her psychopathic nature.
Burning people! He says what we're all thinking!
- Alpha Protocol has Konstantin Brayko, a brutal Russian mob boss who is a rather sadistic and brutal individual, but ends up more entertaining than disgusting due to a strange obsession with the 80s and just how plain loopy he is.
- Okage has Evil King Stanley Hihat Trinidad the XIV, a Living Shadow that spends most of the game attached to Ari. Despite being a Harmless Villain (most of the time), making it no secret that he intends to take over the world, he provides a majority of the hilarious dialogue found in the story. Mostly found in his interactions with fellow party member, the Hero Rosalyn.
- Professor Putricide from World of Warcraft is a funny, quirky old Mad Scientist who sewed his "children" together from a pile of corpses, and spends his time creating deadly plagues for the Scourge to use in their war against the living.
- The Joker acts this way in Batman: Arkham Asylum and again in Batman: Arkham City.
- Ace Attorney:
- April May in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - until her Villainous Breakdown.
- A better example would be Morgan Fey and Kristoph Gavin.
- The killer of the first case, Frank Sawhit acts nice and friendly during his testimony.
- There's also Aristotle Means from Dual Destinies, who remains perfectly polite even when accused of the murder. That is, until Athena insults his "ends justifies the means" philosophy, upon which he completley drops the feigned niceness and becomes, well just plain mean.
- From Dual Destinies also comes The Phantom. He's one evil motherfucker, but, in Blackquill's words, he "cannot talk without another man's face", many of which aren't nearly as bad. Thus, both the affability and quirks of whoever he's impersonating and his own ruthlessness and sociopathy mix and come off like this.
- Vincent from Silent Hill 3, who tends to flip-flop around in this area: yes, he's a jerk, subtly insults you, and is a member of The Order. But he also doesn't want to resurrect The Order's God, and sends you off on a quest to acquire an item to supposedly beat said God. Why does he help you? Because if God were to be resurrected, he wouldn't be able to make any more money.
- Walter Sullivan from Silent Hill 4 is this full force, the first time you meet him he's simply a soft-spoken man who sits on a flight of stairs and talks to you, leaving behind an item afterwards for you to take. You then find out that he's the serial killer who had chained you inside your apartment after he tries to kill your neighbor. Also, the item he gives you is useless and possesses your inventory box should you put it in there.
- Kerrigan becomes like this in Brood War. No longer just a bloodthirsty zealous slave to the Overmind, she develops a prepossessing, well-mannered, and regal demeanor to her guests and allies (that is, before she betrays them and lets them be devoured by the Swarm). Mengsk also qualifies.
- Alex / Arcanus from Golden Sun is starting to appear this way.
- At a fairly early juncture in Shin Megami Tensei, you encounter Ambassador Thorman, who is deeply concerned about JSDF leader Gotou's attempts to use demons to prevent the americans' peace efforts and wants your aid. He's actually the norse god Thor himself, acting on orders from the most holy YHVH Himself, and intends to drop his Mighty Hammer (that is, several ICBMs) on Tokyo to annihilate everything in it, including the JSDF, the demons, innocent civilians, american troops, and the heroes. Yes, even if you decide to take his side.
- The Illusive Man in Mass Effect is incredibly polite, classy, and cultured. Even when he gets pissed, he barely raises his voice at all. He does this just to make it very difficult for someone to tell whether he's lying or not.
- He drifts very clearly into this trope in the tie-in novels; while preparing a treacherous subordinate for a Fate Worse Than Death, he speaks in a regretful tone about how there is nothing personal in this, how much he enjoyed working with him, and how sorry he is that he must make this necessary sacrifice. What separates him from true Affably Evil in this exchange is that it is personal (he was furious when the man betrayed Cerberus), he deliberately puts the man through more pain than is strictly necessary for the experiment, and he acknowledges to himself later on in the book that he had allowed his desire to see the hideous retribution in person cloud his judgement.
- Several The Legend of Zelda villains fit the bill:
- Otani Yoshitsugu from Sengoku Basara, in the English dub (the Japanese version is Obviously Evil), is constantly affable and polite (provided you haven't pushed his Berserk Button) even as his overt misanthropy and ambitions to spread misery to every human on Earth makes it clear it's all just an act.
- Surprisingly, there's only one truly good example from the No More Heroes series. Destroyman adores causing pain and killing people, with a nasty Evil Laugh when he succeeds and a lot of Evil Gloating. Amazingly, he is really good at selling himself as a normal mailman. When he came back in the second game, however, one half of him was like his past self but more convincing...while the other half was Ax-Crazy, obviously angry but also really loving doing what he did.
- In L.A. Noire detective Roy Earle's smile never quite reaches his eyes; its part of the thin veneer of friendliness that covers a hateful, corrupt person underneath.
- In Ultima 7: The Black Gate, we have Batlin. A kindly sage and former druid, who is the head of the Fellowship and always working hard to help the people of Britannia. On the other hand, the Fellowship is a cult intended to subvert Britannia, spread distrust in the Virtues and Lord British, and pave the way for the Guardian to take everything over. In a hard-to-find dialogue (you have to cast the all-destroying Armageddon spell to get it) you find out that Batlin is driven by pure nihilism, having learned that (supposedly) nothing exists beyond death. (In the sequel, he is attempting to gain immortality for this reason.)
- FFX's Seymour Guado invites the heroes to his mansion, lays out food for them before seeing them, proposes to the heroine, and acts generally mild-mannered and soft-spoken. But when the heroes prove to be detrimental to his plan to kill everyone in the world, he holds no qualms about unleashing the terrors of hell against them. Even when preparing to engage your party members, he manages to sound affable:
"Ah, of course. "Protect the summoner even at the cost of one's life." The Code of the Guardian. How admirable. Well, if you're offering your lives, I will have to take them."
- The Boss may seem reasonable and even jovial at times, but if you cross him, he will not hesitate to end you utterly, no matter what the cost and regardless of how many lives are lost in the process - especially if you harm one of his lieutenants.
- Far Cry 3 has Hoyt Volker, who acts very friendly towards his men and enjoys a round of poker with them. He's also a ruthless slave trader who forces prisoners to run across a minefield, burns one of his men alive for disloyalty and generally kicks the dog at every opportunity he gets.
- This seems to be a trait of the villains in the game. Vaas is simultaneously humorous and horrifying, acting very personable with his victims, joking and talking plainly with underlying menace just before committing some new atrocity. Buck, meanwhile is a highly intelligent, witty individual who never the less revels in the fact that he is a completely depraved sociopath, such as making jokes about how he's going to rape one of Jason's friends while speaking to him.
- David from The Last of Us, a personable, soft-spoken man who leads a gang of cannibals and and attempts to rape Ellie at the end of his boss battle.
- Skull Face from Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is one of the most polite and well-spoken villains in the series. He is also quite possibly the most horrific, having done such things as having Paz tortured and gang-raped while forcing Chico to watch him do it.
- Lovrina of Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness projects a cutesy Valley Girl demeanor that belies a calculating, sadistic mindset that takes pride in torturing Pokémon and inflicting them with The Corruption. Best seen in her opening battle animation, which begins with her giving a cute wave with a winning smile that quickly morphs into a full-blown Psychotic Smirk.
- Danik from Dead Space 3 is a departure from the usual crazy, screaming psychopaths or undead alien horrors that are the usual enemies. He's still ruthless and remorseless, but he's soft-spoken and almost hilariously polite even in the worst of situations. For example, take his line after Isaac escapes from yet another attempt by Danik to have him killed: "Isaac? Is that you? You are unbelievably hard to kill. Are you aware of that?"
- Dr. Richard Tragger from Outlast takes this trope Up to Eleven, all the way to being a borderline Friendly Enemy. He speaks to you like a close friend, calling you "buddy" a lot. He always speaks to you like a friend, even while cutting two of your fingers off.
- Fallout 3:
- Mr. Burke acts polite even as he tries to convince the Lone Wanderer to blow up Megaton.
- Colin Moriarty is a better example, acting like he is your friend while charging an unfair amount of caps when you ask for information on your dad.
Lucas Simms: Just be careful. Moriarty is NOT your friend, no matter what he may say, so don't fall for his lies. And for god's sake, don't trust the man.
- The Big Bad of Impossible Mission, Dr. Elvin Atombender, tries his hand at this trope at the very beginning of the game:
- Kid Icarus: Uprising's Hades loves making jokes and almost always has a smile on his face. However, it takes all of half a chapter from his introduction for him to reveal his cruel, calculating nature.
- Castlevania: Chronicles of Sorrow Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow]] has Graham Jones. He seems to be a polite character inside the titular castle, visiting as a missionary from a church. However, his niceness turns out to be a ruse. His true motives are revealed when Soma reaches the Clock Tower, where he grows more aware of Soma and his allies.
- Heath Oslo in Grisaia No Meikyuu and Grisaia No Rakuen is polite, well dressed and fairly charming, but he's also an internationally wanted terrorist, a pedophile and performs experiments on children that give them all cancer or cause them to commit suicide. He also has a nasty temper, but he keeps it bottled up at all times, so it's hard to tell when he's angry.
- In The Order of the Stick:
- The Big Bad Xykon is a sadistic monster with no redeeming qualities, not to mention kind of a dick, but he can be very funny and charming (even Redcloak, who loathes Xykon and has been subtly manipulating him for years, admits that Xykon can be good company but warns Jirix that this does not mean that Xykon can be trusted one iota. Xykon's Breaking Speeches tend to be very conversational in tone if not subject matternote , and he "kindly" offers mercies when his enemies are plainly outmatched by him, like:
Bring the phylactery
back, and I'll let you keep two internal organs of your choice. Act fast, this offer is for a limited time! (Fires a Meteor Swarm at the fleeing heroes)
- Issac Jenner from Demonology 101, though gradually less so after meeting Madeline.
- Bangladesh Dupree from Girl Genius, who derives much endless glee from torture, murder, and mass destruction. Her upbeat personality and casual attitude only make her more likeable — to the audience, at least. Most other characters rather fear her. Contrast to the Other who showers cutesy and "darlings" all the time, but tries too hard.
- Also, Castle Heterodyne, which has an attitude rather like that of the aforementioned HK-47 and a fanatical devotion to the Heterodynes. Except it's the size of a vast, sprawling complex and a lot more creatively vicious.
- Used liberally in The Last Days Of FOXHOUND, where at least half the jokes are mostly Mantis and Ocelot making each other's life a living hell.
- The main cast of Narbonic, except Artie and early Dave.
- Yocchi from Yamara. There's hardly anything "redeeming" about her, as she happily plays villain, but...She manages to be so stylish and funny even in the To the Pain sequence that even her victim doesn't seem to hold too much of a grudge, and after all, she herself is known to be Too Kinky to Torture, cheerfully crazy, and The Chew Toy to boot, so it's somehow hard to blame her.
- Richard from Looking for Group slaughters entire villages on a regular basis and is very funny while doing it. Just watch "Slaughter The World", and find yourself laughing yourself sick as Richard drop-kicks puppies over the horizon.
Richard: You got Dick-roll'd.
- Black Hat Man from XKCD, he has no qualms with killing and actively attempts to hurt and humiliate random strangers, but will calmly and politely explain why most of the time.
- The evil wizard Faden from Exiern, like Mister J, is in the evil game as much for the lulz as anything else.
- Alaster Wight of Suppression treats everyone as his best buddy despite being a self proclaimed "sadistic badass bastard". He's got a smile that's equal parts Chesire and Slasher.
: Hey, buddy, since we got that sorted out, how about you just drive your stupid little bomb someplace else? (Beat
) Oh right, I killed you. Well, that doesn't mean you can't make yourself useful.
- Reiko and her sisters from Contemplating Reiko are Evilly Adorable.
- Cal V1n of Weapon Brown is charismatic, enjoys jokes (especially his own), and is quite friendly. Up until he decides that you need to die. For any reason, including "because it would be funny", "because you're annoying", and "because I can". Even leaders of The Syndicate are terrified of him, for the simple fact that he's an unstoppable killing machine who only does what he's told due to some severe mental conditioning, and that is of questionable effectiveness.
- Part of this comes from the fact that he was transformed into a living weapon at the age of seven, and his first actions upon gaining his powers were to kill every other test subject. He was impossible to control without mental conditioning, and it's implied that the conditioning won't hold for very long.
- Angelo, from Our Little Adventure. He's quite the little monster, but acts fairly polite and friendly most of the time. The main reasons he is so good to his minions are because they serve him on a pseudo-religious level and his husband Brian (whose kindess is quite a bit more genuine) advised him to.
- General Levaughn Matsui "Hugo" Xinchub from Schlock Mercenary can carry on polite conversations, but still has no problems with murder and other mayhem to serve his goals, smiling at the thoughts of death and destruction that serves his purpose.
- Devil in Sinfest can be very funny when he's in a good mood. And sometimes throws loud but harmless prima donna hissy fits or long rants, which sometimes has comedic effects too. Depending on the subject, his clownade can be more than sinister — still hilarious though, isn't? And when he's in a bad mood, there may be barely enough time to say "Oh, Crap".
- Doc Scratch from Homestuck pretends to be a pleasant old man with a soft spot for young ladies. In reality, he is a conniving, devious villain, who has imprisoned an innocent girl in his house who is now a Death Seeker because of it, is the cause of a previously peaceful planet becoming a Crapsack World, and in spite of never once lying, manages to convince every single one of the children that they are destroying the Green Sun, when in reality they were creating it. The kicker? His only reason for doing this was to prove that they are "S u c k e r s."
- In late Act 6, Aranea has unexpectedly shown this trait. She's just trying to help, guys! And if a few people get permanently killed or mindscrewed along the way, well, it's all for the greater good, right?
- Sluggy Freelance: K'Z'K is almost always outwardly cheerful, as well as polite in a way that could be considered sarcastic, even though his actions are perfectly in line with his status as a demon bent on stealing souls and Taking Over The World to cause The End of the World as We Know It.
"Howdy-ho neighbors! Could we borrow the Book of E-ville, and all of your souls? Don't get up, we'll help ourselves!"
- Dragon Ball Multiverse: U4 Buu. Even as he's absorbing the entire stadium, he doesn't fail to crack a few jokes, but it's clear from, well, the fact that he's absorbing the entire stadium shows that he has no remorse or desire to hold back.
- In the Transformers franchise:
- Saddam Hussein from South Park.
"Hey, buddy, relax, take a load off."
- Eric Cartman, full stop: He's a spoiled 10-year-old sociopath, but he's willing to pretend to be nice to get what he wants. The gloves come off the second he doesn't get what he wants.
- Due to their reliance on random humor and excessive Comedic Sociopathy, a lot of characters in Seth McFarlane's shows come off this way due to lacking consistant noble or redeeming qualities. Roger from American Dad! may be the king of this trope, however; he has an extreme Lack of Empathy that shows an indifference for his family and friends' well being, and frequently commits all sorts of callous or outright murderous acts for minor indulgences or offenses, and so it goes without saying that he is a fan favorite.
- This trope was also played perfectly with Steve's mentally retarded friend Barry turning out to be conniving, cunning and British; this is thus extended when he forces others to perform trivial things (such as play board games) at gunpoint. He is a completely different person with his meds.
- Two points go to Santa Clause in Christmas episodes. Still thinking of the Jolly Ol' Saint Nick when we hear that name? This version of the character is not so jolly, at all.
- Carter Pewterschmidt, father of Lois in Family Guy. Proud to be an asshole, he uses his mass fortune to be a Jerkass to people - yes, that includes orphans. Yet, he's a fun guy and a kid at heart.
- Let's not leave Peter Griffin out as well, he's a close second to Roger, with his mental disability as a poor excuse.
- Prior to the mass Flanderization of the cast, Stewie was cast a psychotic mastermind vehement on taking over the world and killing anyone who gets in his way (particularly his mother), usually making for some of the show's earliest laugh-out-loud moments. Granted, as time passed in the show, Stewie's personality calmed and he gained redeeming aspects, ironically making him one of the few genuinely sympathetic characters in the show.
- The Simpsons has Mr. Montgomery Burns. Though, granted, Depending on the Writer Mr. Burns can be Affably Evil.
- The version of the Green Goblin presented in The Spectacular Spider-Man. He's a playful character with an oddball sense of humor, but by the end of the second season, there's no doubt whatsoever that he's also the most ruthless and dangerous villain on the show. Until he takes the mask off, and he's just Norman Osborn, that is; despite being the same person, he acted completely different when out of costume.
- Codename: Kids Next Door: The Delightful Children are freaky insane children who, despite being well-behaved around adults, are incredibly cruel to other children. However, they end up providing some of the most hilarious lines on the show, and they are fan favorites.
- Lucius Heinous VII from Jimmy Two-Shoes.
- Marceline's dad in Adventure Time may be a soul-sucking Humanoid Abomination, but he's not above playing with his food.
- The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog version of Robotnik. Though his villainy is normally ineffective and taken quite lightly, some of his actions and schemes can seem pretty extreme when you think about it. If he were competent enough, he could possibly be rather hellish.
- Gibbs from Titan Maximum is irredeemably evil, but undeniably funny at the same time. Then again, the show comes from the creators of Robot Chicken, so it's practically a given.
- Darth Vader in the Robot Chicken sketches, especially in the "Dinner with Vader" sketch.
- Everyone in the Public Service Announcement The Return of Count Spirochete, especially The Grim Reaper.
- Spongebob Squarepants has one with Mr. Krabs, thanks to the show's Flanderization and the reliance on Comedic Sociopathy in later seasons. While he occasionally is still nice to Spongebob and acts as a mentor, like in the early seasons (when not swindling him), his greed went Up to Eleven. Such as serving his customers with spoiled or super-greasy food just to make an extra buck, torturing Plankton to the point where he is nearly Driven to Suicide, framing SpongeBob, and making Spongebob's pet, Gary, into a money magnet even though it's painful to the snail. All this said, he would have been labeled as a monster if it wasn't for the show's Negative Continuity and the Played for Laughs nature of the portrayal of his villainy.
- Chris McLean from Total Drama Island speaks with a casual and almost friendly tone, but is an unrepentant sadist who thoroughly enjoys putting the show's contestants through hell and back in the challenges and laughing at their pain.
- Season 2 villain Discord, in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. He keeps up the act even while he mind rapes the Mane cast! The first time it slips — and the only time in the first part of a two-part episode — is when Fluttershy proves too accepting of her own faults for this to work on her and he gets furious. And the sudden snap just made it all the more frightening. He lets it slip again twice in the second part, first by taking obvious sadistic glee in finally breaking Twilight — mind you, this isn't just being happy he won; he'd already won by that point, and is just delighted to see his last opponent emotionally devastated and utterly crushed on top of it. Later it slips in favor of fear rather than malice when he realizes that all his plans thus far have failed and he's about to be defeated by the Elements of Harmony.
- Taken a step further in "Keep Calm and Flutter On" when he's assigned to live with Fluttershy until he can prove he's been reformed. He makes nice, despite continuing to wreak havoc with the laws of reality because he claims he's more comfortable that way, and eventually pretends he's actually had a Heel-Face Turn. All the while trying to scheme his way out of being eventually turned back to stone when he drops the guise. Ironically, he ends up Becoming the Mask and becomes her genuine friend.
- Keep in mind, however, he's still a major trickster, is generally unhelpful and seems to play nice while wreaking some havoc on the side. It's just that he generally isn't as malicious while doing so.
- To a lesser extent, the minor antagonists Flim and Flam from later in the series fit this trope.
- The Venture Bros. has many examples, such as the Wicked Cultured Phantom Limb who will maintain a polite and gentle attitude while he murders you with a simple touch.
- M. Bison from Street Fighter'. At least he tries to be polite when talking about how he murdered everyone's fathers.
- Wile E. Coyote behaves like this when he goes after Bugs Bunny. A perfect example of this occurs in "Operation: Rabbit".
Wile E.: Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Wile E. Coyote, genius. I'm not selling anything nor am I working my way through college. So let's get down to cases: you are a rabbit, and I'm going to eat you for supper. Now, don't try to get away. I'm more muscular, more cunning, faster and larger than you are, and I'm a genius, while you could hardly pass the entrance examinations to kindergarten. (Bugs looks bored and yawns) So, I'll give you the customary two minutes to say your prayers.
Bugs: I'm sorry, mac, the lady of the house ain't home, and besides, we mailed you people a check last week. (goes down into his rabbit hole)
Wile E.: (returning to his den) Why do they always want to do it the hard way?
- In Reboot, Megabyte's sophisticated mannerisms and pretense of wanting to conquer Mainframe/the entire Net to establish order all hide his true predatory nature. The few times he drops the act, he's a snarling monster.
- In Danny Phantom, Vlad Masters/Plasmius has a polite facade, but underneath is a monster wanting world conquest and to bang the heroes mom.
- In Street Sharks, Dr. Paradigm manages to hide his various acts of kidnapping, thievery, unethical experimentation, and attempted murder by using a public image as the only one to save the town from the evil shark mutants running around. There's also the first episode, where he has the four protagonists kidnapped and Strapped to an Operating Table and tries to have a lighthearted conversation about what he'll be doing to them.
- Mom from Futurama is a ruthless corporate raider and abusive parent who puts on a sweet old lady routine and fat suit for her TV ads. In her first appearance in "A Fishful of Anchovies", she drops the act when she finishes cutting a TV ad, and again when Fry gets in her way.
- Gravity Falls: Calling Dipper "friend" while trying to cut out his tongue and kill him definitely qualifies Gideon Gleeful for this trope.
- Bill Cipher zig-zags this trope. He'll talk to you in the most cheerful tone possible, while mocking you and ripping a deer's teeth out. Then he puts the teeth back. When the Pines twins foil him he will snap. HARD. When the group defeats him in combat... He'll compliment you and let you off easy. He can be both this and Affably Evil.
- Despite being insane, Barry from Archer is actually friendly and polite, at least until things go wrong. The cheerfulness doesn't even go away while he kills Jakov, which makes him even creepier.
- Sylvester Sneekly puts on the facade of a kind and caring guardian to the titular heroine. Even as The Hooded Claw he never loses his cool and remains calm and composed even as he explains to Penelope in great detail how his perils work, using terms around her such as "my dear sweet Penelope" only breaking the calm when his perils fail or to take out his anger on his henchmen, and even then his snarky tone remains. Even as Sneekly he gives off very subtle hints to Penelope that HE IS The Hooded Claw and she still doesn't get it because she's a Wide-Eyed Idealist and would never think her guardian would be such a horrible man.
- Van Kleiss from Generator Rex.
- Princess Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender is perfectly capable of acting polite as a manipulation tactic, with the keyword being "acting", giving a far more sinister edge to almost everything she says. This actually is shown off as both an advantage and a crippling flaw, as outside of situations where she needs to play her opponents like puppets, she is utterly clueless as to how to act.
- Kuvira from Last Airbender's Sequel Series The Legend of Korra is the quintessential Villain with Good Publicity and acts stern but infallibly polite in public, often to keep that good publicity. She even acts like A Mother to Her Men to her troops, telling them that she wouldn't put them through things she wouldn't go through herself. However, the facade only holds as long as things go her way or her subordinates do what she says. The moment something goes wrong or someone slights her, her temper disintegrates, the mask comes off, and out come the threats of a re-education camp. Bolin and Varrick learn this the hard way, as does her fiancé Baatar Jr.