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Even Evil Has Standards / Live-Action TV

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  • The antagonist of the mini-series Thirteen (2016) is a particularly twisted example; he's a rapist, kidnapper, and murderer who has little regard for society's rules, but adheres fanatically to his own personal code of morality. For instance, his primary victim is certain he won't sexually abuse a ten-year-old girl he's kidnapped — because he doesn't consider it "proper" to have sexual contact with a girl under sixteen. However, once a girl is what he considers old enough, he sees her as available to do anything he likes and couldn't care less if she consents or not.
  • 24: The Drazens agree to spare Kim Bauer's life in exchange for Jack surrendering himself to them after originally planning to kill them both.
  • Action: The short lived series has this memorable scene where an amoral director and a hypocritical senator argue over which of them has standards and which is truly repulsive.
    Senator Powell: (After haranguing Dragon about the violence and sexual content in his movies) You have a young daughter, named Georgia, who is about 10 years old. Has little Georgia seen your film entitled "Ripcord", which contains 357 acts of violence, 175 profanities, and 4 scenes of lesbian sex? She proud of her daddy for that one?! How can you look that sweet little girl in the eye?
    Peter Dragon: I manage. I never voted to subsidize the growing of tobacco, while turning my back on food programs for starving kids. I've never vetoed a gun control bill. All my guns are fake, Senator! I've never rushed to the defense of Kuwaiti oil fields, while ignoring genocide in Africa, because big oil companies that line your fat pockets aren't concerned with black Africa. Those are all productions of your company Senator, this company right here!
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: It's implied that HYDRA has distanced itself from its Nazi origins. Not only does the Season 1 Big Bad ridicule a mook when he does their classic two-arm salute as seen in Captain America: The First Avenger ("Put your arms down, you look like a West Texas cheerleader at pep rally."), but when Skye angrily calls one of their moles a Nazi, he's genuinely offended and insists that he's not. And a Season 2 flashback to the day of their uprising in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, another mook shows disgust when a newscaster also refers to them as Nazis ("Always with the Nazi thing.").
    • The reason for this becomes clear in Season 3 when it's revealed HYDRA is an Ancient Conspiracy dating back millennia and really has nothing to do with the Nazis except the Red Skull using them for his own purposes.
  • Alcatraz: The Villain of the Week in one episode was a child-killer who was frequently assaulted and almost killed by the other inmates. This is Truth in Television since, in the prison hierarchy, sex offenders and child killers/molesters/abusers are the bottom of the heap and often targeted. In a lot of prisons in the US it's now standard procedure to isolate pedophiles from the general population for their own safety.
  • American Gothic (1995): In the episode "Strong Arm of the Law", Sheriff Buck is shown tormenting, manipulating, and eventually killing or running out of Trinity a foursome of out-of-town criminals. The thing that makes this an example of the trope is that even though Buck is, nominally, a lawman, we never see him upholding the law, merely subverting and twisting it to his own ends. While getting rid of the criminals smacks very much of "This is my turf, only I get to run roughshod over my people," the simple fact is Buck is in the right in this episode, and is shown to have standards, albeit warped ones: while he will haunt, corrupt, blackmail, and drive people insane, he won't come out and be an outright criminal, or allow any real ones to hurt the innocent in Trinity.
  • American Horror Story:
    • Zigzagged with Marie Laveau in Coven. She doesn't bat an eye at sacrificing infant children every year to maintain her immortality, but balks at the prospect of torturing Delphine's daughter, since the girl had never done anything to her.
  • Angel:
    • Inverted Trope: Kate describes Wolfram & Hart as "the law firm Johnny Cochran was too ethical to join."
    • Played straight with the Ethros demon who possessed a young boy, only to discover that he had "no humanity, no conscience, just a black void." The demon was unable to get out, and tried to kill the boy even if it meant killing himself. A different kind of Even Evil Has Standards — the Ethros demon committed evil out of a belief in evil, whereas the boy had no reason whatsoever.
    • Lindsey decided that he "wanted out" of Wolfram & Hart when they tried to get him to defend a woman for killing three blind children and their teacher. And again later when he discovered that they kept people in storage for spare parts. When Lindsey stands up to the firm and comes out on top, the firm rewards his guts and cleverness. They know they'd be far better with him on their side.
    • Spike meets a slayer in the fifth season who was kidnapped as small child. Her kidnapper brutally murdered her family, and then tormented her until she became mentally ill. At the end of the episode, Spike notes that for a demon, he himself had surprisingly little inkling of true evil.
    • Spike is appalled by Angelus' actions in Angel episode "Destiny". William the Bloody (the future Spike), newly vamped, confides in Angelus about how he is completely in love with Drusilla, and he even considers her his "destiny". Angelus then goes and sleeps with Drusilla, just to piss William off. William is shocked and appalled by both Angelus and Drusilla, who taunt him and tell him that being a vampire means Even Evil Has Standards goes out the window.
    • The half-demon Billy Blim was a misogynist who used his telepathic powers to trick men into killing women close to them. Skip, being a demon himself, is visibly disgusted of him and his actions, and asks Angel if he knows what repulsive things someone has to do in order to be hold prisoner by Skip. It could be that it was just a cover though, since Skip was pretending to be a good demon at this time.
  • The Arbitrator: On the Israeli crime drama, the criminals have a strict law against harming children and uninvolved women. When the eponymous character accidentally kills an enemy’s child, he is completely distraught, shutting down for a while, and his wife tells him never to touch her again. They both come around later on, though.
  • Arrow:
    • Malcolm Merlyn spends a lot of his time in the Heel–Face Revolving Door thanks to this trope.
      • While he also uses it to bring his daughter to his side, he genuinely opposes Slade's siege because he doesn't want to see the entire city destroyed.
      • His actions may only make logical sense to him, but his love for his daughter is genuine. The fastest way to end up at the top of his kill list is to threaten Thea's life, and he even ends up sacrificing himself to save her life without hesitation.
      • He sides with Damien Darhk as a way to protect Thea, but once it's clear that Darhk has completely lost his mind and is now determined to destroy the entire world, he quickly switches back. Even then, despite being his ally, he never reveals Oliver's identity to him.
    • Ra's al Ghul leads the League of Assassins, which does everything the name implies, but even he was disgusted by The Undertaking, Malcolm Merlyn's plan in the first season to destroy the Glades in order to save Starling City from itself. The act is such a violation of the League's code that he now wants to kill Malcolm personally.
    • Black Siren is a ruthless mercenary who enjoys killing, but even she is repulsed and terrified by Ricardo Diaz setting his childhood bully on fire as revenge. Diaz’s actions also cause his ally Anatoly to abandon him, as he believes that Diaz will only bring destruction if he takes control of the city.
    • The series' version of Amanda Waller gets a bridge dropped on her via Boom, Headshot! in the Season 4 episode "A.W.O.L." when a team of Shadowspire agents take her and several A.R.G.U.S. employees hostage and the leader of the Shadowspire team notices that Waller will allow all of her employees to perish rather than accept his demands (or even try to pretend she will). As a result, he blows her away in disgust and starts to talk to the next-best agent.
  • The A-Team: In one two-part episode, the titular team go on a mission to rescue someone from some pirates who were hired by a gangster. Later, the pirates end up teaming up with the A-Team when the gangster turns out to be a Nazi.
  • Babylon 5: Londo Mollari is this in some ways. Among other examples, even though he was in favor of retaking the Narn homeworld, he objected to the use of Mass Drivers to bombard the planet. Although his objection is purely a diplomatic one (treaties banning mass drivers) and not humanitarian issues, there are still lines that he thinks shouldn't be crossed, even in service of the Centauri Republic.
  • Better Call Saul: Much like its predecessor series, it's an underlying theme.
    • Nacho Varga is a career criminal, but he begins to find the real graveness of the criminal underworld to be disturbing and actively seeks a way out. In a more particular example, he's greatly perturbed by having to beat down Krazy-8 on Hector Salamanca's orders.
    • Hector Salamanca may be the only aversion in the entire series. Not only does he have no standards, he's a prideful, unfeeling, petty asshole who murders innocent people indiscriminately and has no problem threatening children, either.
  • The Blacklist: Raymond Reddington seems to be made of this trope. Most of the criminals Red helps the F.B.I. catch are sadistic, insane, or hurt innocent people. The few blacklisters that are merely Punch-Clock Villains or only guilty of Pay Evil unto Evil, Red usually helps them avoid punishment and adds them to his own criminal network.
  • Blake's 7:
    • Terran Federation officers sometimes namecheck this one. War criminal Space Commander Travis objects (half-heartedly) to Servalan declaring a dead surgeon to be a deserter because his family will become slaves as punishment (he also saved Travis' life), and another officer is horrified when he learns Servalan released a pandemic on a planet to force the inhabitants to allow her to use their cloning facility to clone herself. They both still follow their orders afterwards.
    • In a more humorous example, career criminal Bayban the Butcher grumbles about Blake edging him out of the #1 spot on the Federation's "Most Wanted" list by resorting to quick n' easy politics.
  • Bones: Temperance was counting on this when she was stuck inside a prison while visiting when a prison riot breaks out; she was counting on the unwritten prisoner code of ethics that harming a pregnant woman is heavily frowned upon. She walks right through the thick of it; the few rioters that do attempt to make a run at her are quickly consumed again into the riot by other rioters who take notice.
  • The Boys:
    • Homelander is a narcissistic mass-murderer and rapist and even he looks concerned and geuinely uncomfortable when Stormfront teaches his son about "white genocide"... although not for the right reasons.
    Homelander: No, no! How many times do I have to tell you? We don't need a fucking Master Race, I'm the master race, that's the point. That's the whole point.
    • Besides Homelander, A-Train and head of Vought Stan Edgar, both contemptible men for various reasons but both loathe Stormfront for her racism (being black men themselves) with A-Train even helping out the heroes to put her horribleness out in the open. The Deep, a sex pest, looked sickened when he learned about her true nature and even the general employees of Vought treated Stormfront with horror and digust upon her Nazism being revealed.
  • Breaking Bad: Several characters.
    • Although Jesse Pinkman is an Anti-Villain at worst in general, he's extremely disturbed when innocent people are hurt, and when those innocent people are kids this unease turns into violent anger.
      • He also dislikes killing people, only killing Gale to ensure both his and Walt's survival, killing Joaquin Salamanca for self-defense, and killing Todd because he murdered Drew Sharp and Andrea in cold blood.
    • Mike Ehrmantraut is this trope personified. He might be a cold-blooded killer, but it's just a job and he extremely dislikes endangering the lives of innocent civilians. When Gus kills Victor in Season 4, Mike turns his gun on Gus due to being horrified.
      • In Season 5, when a character suggests that he hit ten people who could potentially talk to the police, he tells them outright that in the real world people don't just kill ten people like that. When he believes Walt is suggesting to pull off a heist that would leave several innocent people dead, he's very quick to tell him off for it. Walt bombing a nursing home and Todd shooting a child also piss him off, and the latter combined with increased DEA surveillance on him convinces him to finally retire from the meth trade.
    • Walter White still manages to have a few standards by the end, even when he's at his highest point of "Heisenberg":
      • While he insists to the end that he would never, ever hurt his family, he starts having to do some pretty impressive mental gymnastics to keep justifying what he's doing in spite of this principle later on. On the other hand, when forced to go directly against his family, he proves that this trope is in full effect: given the choice between surrendering peacefully or fighting/killing Hank, he decides to surrender himself and tries to call Jack's gang off. When Jack's gang arrives anyway and hold Hank hostage, he begins to genuinely beg for Hank's life and offers all of his money to spare Hank, which is notable because Hank himself refuses to grovel and instead tells Jack to get it over with. Upon Hank's death, Walt breaks down crying and falls to the ground, genuinely distraught.
      • There is absolutely no lost love between Walter White and Hector Salamanca, what with Walt having gotten Hector's nephew killed, but Walt still gives Hector the chance to back out of their plan to kill Gus. It's only once Hector makes it clear that he really is ready to die if it means taking Gus down with him that they go ahead.
      • Walt may be willing to order the deaths of ten prisoners and poison a child, but he never kills anyone who isn't somehow connected to the criminal underworld. He also gives a non-lethal dose to Brock, the said child, so that Brock will never truly be in any life-threatening condition.
      • Walt also makes every conceivable effort to ensure that his wife will not go down for his crimes. In his fake confession tape that he uses to frame Hank, he makes a point to mention that his wife knew nothing about his double life until after Gus's death and was horrified to find out, in "Ozymandias" he plays up his abusive tendencies to make the police (as well as Walt Jr and Marie) believe she was forced into helping him and when Saul tells him in the next episode that Walt's little stunt put Skyler in further danger and scrutiny due to the DEA doing their utmost to draw out Walt, he is horrified showing he didn't expect this to happen, and in "Felina" he gives her the lottery ticket that will lead the police to Hank and Gomez's bodies, hoping that the bargaining chip she now has will get her exonerated from the charges against her.
      • While Word of God confirmed that Walt was planning to kill Jesse in the finale, upon seeing the horrible state Jesse is in, he can't bring himself to do it, choosing instead to tackle him out of the way of the incoming machine gun fire and taking a lethal bullet for him instead.
    • Saul Goodman is an Amoral Attorney and proud of it, but even he's disturbed when he realizes Walt poisoned and hospitalized a child during the Season 4 finale. From then on, he only continues working for Walt out of fear and greed. The second Saul no longer has cause to fear Walt, he walks out on him, while still attempting to convince Walt to turn himself in, as the best thing he can do for his family. He also firmly protects his clients and will never sell them out no matter what: even when threatened with a vicious beating at Mike's hands, he still feeds him false information.
    • Hector "Tio" Salamanca is a member of the Juarez Cartel's old guard. While he has no love for Walter or Jesse, he has even less love for the authorities and refuses to cooperate with them under any circumstance, even when he has Jesse dead to rights in the second season when he is brought in to be a witness against him; he instead elects to soil himself to spite the DEA. Even when he's dealing with Gus, the man who literally murdered everyone he ever knew, he still would rather blow himself up than turn him in to the feds.
    • Jack Welker and his crew are a neo-Nazi gang who have even less qualms than Mike about killing, but they absolutely despise rats and Jack is a serious believer in I Gave My Word. Suggesting that Jack would break his word or an agreement that he's made will result in him being insulted and genuinely furious. This leads to Jack's death, as his attempt to prove he has not broken his agreement with Walt and partnered himself with Jesse in producing meth allows Walt the time needed to trigger a trap that wipes out Jack's entire gang.
    • Also, when Walt orders a hit on Jesse, Jack says that he respects Walt for demanding that the kill be quick and painless, arguing that it is more civilized that way.
    • Todd spares Skyler's life when she makes it clear that she will never tell anyone anything about the gang, later telling Lydia that she was clearly being honest and he wasn't going to murder the woman when she was genuinely worrying about her children.
    • Gus is horrified when Walt indirectly insinuates he had a hand in murdering Tomas, a young boy who had become a low level member of a drug gang. Later episodes subvert it as Gus threatens to kill Walt's entire family down to his infant daughter, proving he either did have a hand in murdering Tomas or at least wasn’t bothered by it on a moral level. (There’s a chance that he may have disliked the act of killing Tomas for pragmatic reasons, but there’s almost no chance that he has actual moral qualms about it.)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Vampires and demons are supposed take Halloween off; they consider it tacky. Spike treats those who violate this rule with disdain.
    • Mayor Wilkins says that he married his wife in 1903 and that he was with her to the end, which was "not a pretty picture." He suggests that the immortal Angel and the mortal Buffy will have the same problem. Wilkins gets in Angel's face, saying that he's selfish for keeping Buffy from the life she should have. "Is that what you came back from hell for? Is that your greater purpose?" Receiving a blank stare for an answer, Wilkins disgustedly turns his back on him. And the episode "Gingerbread" has him genuinely horrified at the child murders, though it's also entirely possible he was just doing what the townspeople expected of him. The fact he looks worried when the dark forces of the town are brought up only muddies things further. The Mayor does love kids, so he probably doesn't like seeing them get killed if he's not the one eating them himself. He's also a big believer in keeping his word and doesn't like when he is made to look dishonest. In fact, the only time we see him say or do anything that might be considered threatening to his henchmen is when Mr. Trick says he did him a favor by accidentally getting Lurconis, the demon the Mayor had pledged a sacrifice to, killed by the gang. He tells him that he should be very careful what favors he does for him in the future. His belief in having polite language carries over to his demon transformation, as his last words are “Well, gosh”.
    • Anya was completely freaked out by witnessing an Evil Sorcerer become an Eldritch Abomination and go on a rampage via performing a ritual similar to the one the Mayor planned on using.
    • It would be a real stretch to call Jonathan "evil" (at his worst, he's simply a source of annoyance), but he is visibly shaken and horrified by Warren's cold-hearted nature and monstrous sadism. He had signed up for James Bond villain style shenanigans to fuel his nerdy interests, not murder and worse.
    • At the end of the second season, Spike is angry because Angelus killed Jenny Calendar and draped her body at Giles' house. It could also play a role that these actions by Angelus make Buffy want to kill them all. But a few episodes later, he is more than willing to team up with Buffy to stop Angelus from destroying the world. Spike is still evil, but he convinces Buffy that Angelus is even more evil.
  • Castle: In “Sucker Punch”, gangster Finn Rourke tells Beckett that he might be a thief and a killer, but he draws the line at running drugs. When he found out about a dealer in his territory, he sent his knife man (the Victim of the Week) to deal with it.
  • Casualty: The Farmead Crew is a council estate gang that deals drugs, among other things. Anton, the gang leader, is horrified that one of his subordinates set up the gang-rape of a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl in order to keep her boyfriend quiet about a failed shooting.
  • Charité at War: Professor de Crinis has never been portrayed as anything but an irredeemable, self-satisfied Nazi. When the end is near and a Nazi official declares that the entire medical staff of the hospital will be armed, in violation of the Geneva Conventions that demand them to remain neutral, even de Crinis seems disgusted. And there is one time when he looks truly, utterly shaken: When Magda Goebbels asks him for cyanide to poison her children.
  • The Chaser's War on Everything: Played with in an advertisement which parodied a Government ad in which men try to rationalise their physical or sexual abuse of women and are responded to in text ("it's never acceptable" and other such things). In the Chaser version, the men lament that people think they're rapists and thugs because they appeared on the aforementioned ad and the text says things like "you should have thought of that". Finally, one man says "it's not as bad as appearing in one of those Work Choices ads, is it?" (referring to the then Government's controversial workplace legislation), which is followed by the text "no, nothing's that bad".
  • In Cobra Kai, while Johnny is (at first) completely unrepentant over his past schoolyard bullying, he finds cyberbullying utterly spineless.
    Back in my day, if you wanted to tease someone, you did it to their face! There was honor, respect! These geeks hide behind their computers, what a bunch of spineless losers.
    • Johnny also draws the line at bullying women into having sex, telling Miguel that it's wrong.
    • He wants his students to fight honorably and punishes them when they cheat in the All Valley.
    • Sid is a cruel Abusive Parent but he took his promise to Laura that he'd look out for Johnny very seriously. Even when he cuts Johnny off, he gives him a large amount of money first.
    • Ironically, Kreese is shown to have more respect for women than Johnny and doesn't like seeing them be targeted by aggressive men.
  • Cold Case: Serial killer George Marks abducts women disguised as a cop, takes them to a secluded place in the woods, has them strip and then hunts them all night. When he discovers that one of his victims has her 9-year-old daughter in the car with her, he backs off and waits until he can kidnap his victim without the little girl around. (Although given that one of his victims was a 14-year-old girl and he implies that he did in fact threaten to harm the 9-year-old if her mother didn't come with him, it may have been more about not leaving a witness.)
  • Colony: For all that Proxy Snyder is corrupt and willing to torture people for information, he's the only Bloc governor who's attempting to actively improve the lot of the residents of his bloc, not just rule over them.
  • Control Z:
    • In 1.03, Pablo was forced by Gerry, Darío and Ernesto to drive them over to Luis's house and get revenge on him after he had falsely admitted to being the hacker in a bid to free himself from their extreme bullying. He seemed to be completely reluctant to follow suit and asked Gerry not to do anything stupid. After Luis got hospitalized by Gerry, Pablo was quick to blame Darío and Ernesto for their friend's actions, despite them suggesting otherwise that the hard blow did not happen until the end. He even stops Gerry from picking a fight at Raúl's party after he calmly told him to leave since nobody wanted to see or talk to him after what he did to Luis. Downplayed in season 2 after Raúl was publicly exposed as the hacker.
    • In 2.02, when Raúl admits to having followed Sofía to the graveyard where Darío and Ernesto were buried alive and he violently attacked Javier before escaping (basically the first if not only brutal crime he commits, although out of personal gain), he truthfully denies being the Avenger. Sofía is quick to accept this as the truth, saying that while he is still a stalker, he isn't a murderer.
  • Criminal Minds: When his prison gang finds that Carl Buford was a child molester, they kill him. Truth in Television, as prisoners do NOT like child molesters.
  • CSI NY:
    • In "Enough", three Amoral Attorney's usually have no problem when witnesses testifying against their clients end up dead because those witnesses are usually other criminals. However, when their clients threatened an innocent woman who saw them commit murder, the lawyers conspire to murder their own clients. "Even scumbag lawyers have a heart."
    • In "Greater Good." a hitman turns himself in and spills the beans on his client when said client switched targets from a man to a woman. This hitman doesn't do women or kids.
    • In "Unspoken," a would-be killer changes his mind about offing Lindsay in the hospital even though he knows she can identify him. He sees a picture Lucy drew for "Mommy" and, because he has a thing about not hurting kids, he lets Lindsay live for her daughter's sake.

  • On The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Darth Vader once showed up to complain about Jon Stewart's comparison of Dick Cheney to him. Apparently shooting your friend in the face is something worse than the dark side.
  • On The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Trevor points out that when Ted Cruz made derogatory remarks about "New York values", even Donald Trump took offense and used a 9/11 barb to force Cruz to applaud for him.
    • In a web-only clip of Trevor chatting with the audience, he comes to the conclusion that Trump is even worse than the African dictators he compared Trump to because at least they were more tactful in their cruelty.
  • Damages: Arthur Frobisher reacts with horror when he is offered the chance to kill a dangerous witness, and initially declines. He goes ahead with it in the end, but the reaction fits the trope before he goes Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
  • Dead Man's Gun: Sam's partner in "Buryin' Sam" is fine with robbing the dead and setting up disreputable people to be killed in gunfights, but balks at the idea of personally killing an innocent person just to get the fee for the funeral.
  • Deadwood: Subverted Trope by Al Swearengen. Swearengen begins the series by stepping on a woman's throat, then goes though three seasons of Pet the Dog moments. In Season 3, he delivers a avenging beatdown on one of Hearst's mooks, berating the man for trying to hurt women and children. Moments later, Swearengen admits that he was only putting on a show. He himself has no qualms about killing women and children, and is torturing the mook simply because he enjoys it.
  • The Defenders (2017):
    • Daredevil (2015):
      • In "Speak of the Devil", Father Lantom recounts to Matt Murdock an event that he witnessed in the Rwanda genocides of 1994. A militia tried to kill a village elder by cutting his head off with a machete. Then after seeing how much his followers loved him, they couldn't go through with it and just wanted to give him a quick death by shooting him instead. Their leader...he had no such standards.
      • In her final moments before she is gunned down, DA Samantha Reyes reveals to Matt, Karen and Foggy that she was horrified by the consequences of her botched attempt to capture the Blacksmith, which resulted in a shootout that got Frank Castle's entire family killed. It didn't stop her though from trying to cover her tracks, including putting a DNR order on Frank.
      • Wilson Fisk is rather pragmatic when it comes to who needs to be killed. Small loose ends and associates he thinks are scum are free game after their business is concluded (Rance, Farnum, McClintock), whereas people he actually respects tend to be safe unless they betray him (Owlsley).
      • In "Penny and Dime", the Kitchen Irish manage to catch up to and capture Frank Castle. Finn tries promising Frank a quick painless death if he does as he's told, and spares Frank's dog when he finally agrees to do so.
      • Silvio, a mafioso and friend of Ben Urich. He remembers the days when the mafia had standards, unlike the "new breed" of mobsters and criminals, which is why he's hoping to get out of the business.
        Silvio: Used to be when you killed a man you sent his wife flowers. Now? Now you send his wife with him!
    • Jessica Jones (2015): Despite being otherwise a total sociopath and mind controller, there are a few things that Kilgrave actually is disgusted by.
      • Kilgrave has taken over Jessica' childhood house. At one point, he controls Jessica's neighbor and makes her admit to being very self-centered. It's a great moment because you can't help but see the appeal of his powers when he puts her in her place so deftly. Then later that episode you're reminded of how evil he is when he uses her as a suicide bomber.
      • Kilgrave is visibly disgusted by Jeri Hograth's plan to use his abilities to get her wife, Wendy, to sign the divorce papers. He appears to sympathize with Wendy and encourages her to get revenge, instructing her to literally give Jeri "Death by a Thousand Cuts".
    • Luke Cage (2016):
      • Shades and Cottonmouth are disgusted by Tone's willingness to shoot up Pop's barbershop with two submachine guns, especially since Pop is killed by a stray round, and his barbershop is neutral territory for a reason. Shades is both distressed and disturbed, while Cottonmouth is offended enough by Tone's casual dismissal of Pop's death as "a casualty of war" that he throws Tone to his death.
      • Mariah and Shades rebel against Diamondback's needlessly bloody methods, which periodically endanger their own ambitions. The two even try to bargain with Luke Cage as a result.
      • Mariah reacts with outrage and disapproval when Cottonmouth shoots Scarfe and later when Diamondback kills a police officer, seeing that as unwanted heat she can't afford.
      • Momma Mabel refused to sell drugs, and when one of her henchmen broke this rule, she had Pete kill him for it. She also eventually had Pete killed when she found out he was planning to betray her.
      • Turk Barrett is willing to work with guys like Diamondback and Wilson Fisk, but he also views Diamondback's main lieutenant, Zip, as a disappointment compared to Zip's late father Romeo.
      • Scarfe claims that he's this in comparison to Cottonmouth as he knows how volatile Cottonmouth is.
    • Iron Fist (2017):
      • Bakuto seems disgusted by the Meachums and their power plays, telling Danny that he should be glad to get away from them, comparing them to vipers.
        Bakuto: You poor people are such a mess. I know a good family therapist that could help, should any of you survive the night.
      • Bakuto in general applies this philosophy to how he runs his section of the Hand. He claims that Madame Gao's methods of running her part of the Hand are too extreme for him. Of course, much of it is a lie. Bakuto just smiles more and generally avoids killing those who are still useful, but he uses many cultish recruitment techniques and will kill anyone who even questions him, i.e. Colleen. Madame Gao points out a few times that at least she's honest.
    • The Punisher (2017):
      • Billy Russo prides himself on always keeping his word. Rawlins disregarding his promise to give Frank Castle a quick death gets him to set Frank free for revenge, and he lets Curtis live after it was part of the arrangement for his final showdown.
      • Russo says he refused to take any part in the assassination attempt that killed Frank's family. Russo claims he regrets what happened, but Frank obviously still despises him since he knew about it and said nothing.
  • In Season 3 of The Deuce, the mob will not have anything to do with Vincent if he keeps dealing with the distributor who hides child porn scenes in reels for the video booths.
  • Dexter:
    • Serial Killer for Justice Dexter Morgan has a strict code he adheres to driving him to kill only people who have somehow escaped justice. Said code was placed upon by his cop father, who recognized that Dexter was going to be a serial killer. It's shown that had this code not been placed, he would end up just as monstrous as other serial killers. When he confronts a Serial Killer of children, Dexter states his revulsion for his crimes with the claim, "I have standards."
    • See also his response to the "coyote" couple who are involved in human trafficking, sneaking immigrants across the border only to kill them if their relatives don't pay an extra fee: in this case, he's more intrigued that they can love each other, being as monstrous as he is, and wants to know how they do it.
    • His response to seeing videos of 13 young women being tortured and raped to death plays this more straight: "Despite having considered myself a monster for as long as I can remember, it still comes as a shock when I'm confronted with the depths of evil that exists in this world."
    • Dexter is always sure to kill quickly, the release is in the killing. When he discovers that the Trinity Killer has been psychologically terrorizing and physically torturing his own family for years Dexter is completely horrified.
  • One episode of Diff'rent Strokes had Arnold go to a sleazy guy known as Spider to get a forged report card rather than show Mr. Drummond his bad grades. Spider refuses to give him better than a B in biology for thinking a spider was an insect. Spider also makes him take a test for the other classes, but they're very easy questions that any third grader could answer.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Power of the Daleks": A Dalek is incapable of understanding why a human would kill another member of its race. (It's important to remember that every time Daleks have fought each other, it's been between "pure" Daleks and mutated Daleks.)
      • The Doctor tells Ace that even the Daleks wouldn't create a paradox that would damage the timeline. This would be proved correct in a later episode (see The Waters of Mars).
    • The Master finds his limits in actually killing the Doctor. They've teamed up on various occasions when a larger danger presents itself (even if the danger was caused by the Master in the first place, like in "Logopolis"), and on the few occasions that the Master has outright won, he's more than willing to share that power with the Doctor than to kill him (i.e. "Colony in Space" & "Dark Water"/"Death in Heaven").
    • "The Time Monster": Queen Galleia is ruthless and ambitious, but she still regards Dalios as the true king and turns against the Master when she learns he has harmed him.
    • "Remembrance of the Daleks": In the novelization, it's explained that the Daleks, Omnicidal Maniacs one and all, really aren't comfortable with the Special Weapons Dalek, because they think that, by Dalek standards, it's a dangerous insane killer.
    • Deconstructed in "Boom Town", which features the return of the Slitheen, an alien crime family who had previously appeared in "Aliens of London"/"World War Three". This time the only surviving character from those episodes has had herself installed as mayor of Cardiff, and is planning to destroy the city to get herself home. However, when she is about to kill a reporter who is getting too close to the truth, she stops when she learns that the intended victim is pregnant. It leads to this exchange between her and the Doctor:
      Margaret: I promise you I've changed since we last met, Doctor. There was this girl, just today, a young thing, something of a danger. She was getting too close. I felt the bloodlust rising, just as the family had taught me, I was going to kill her without a thought...and then, I stopped. She's alive somewhere right now, she's walking around this city because I can change, I did change. I know I can't prove it–
      The Doctor: I believe you.
      Margaret: Then you know I'm capable of better.
      The Doctor: It doesn't mean anything.
      Margaret: I spared her life.
      The Doctor: You let one of them go, but that's nothing new. Every now and then a little victim is spared because she smiled, 'cause he's got freckles, 'cause they begged... and that's how you live with yourself. That's how you slaughter millions, because once in a while, on a whim, if the wind's in the right direction, you happen to be kind.
      Margaret: Only a killer would know that.
      • In any case, she was actually planning on destroying the whole planet (with the reporter still on it) anyway.
    • "Rise of the Cybermen": He's supported his evil boss' project all the way, but John Lumic's right-hand man, Mr. Crane, doesn't look very happy to be going on a "recruitment drive" to collect more Disposable Vagrants for cyber-conversion.
    • "The Runaway Bride": The Racnoss Empress is plotting to feed the entire human race to her ravenous children, and that's just the beginning, but she feeds her accomplice Lance to said children because she disapproves of his willingness to abandon his fiancée Donna.
    • "The Sound of Drums": The Master's stated reason for murdering the Cabinet is Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves, due to them having left their parties and joined "Harold Saxon" when they saw the votes swinging his way. However, it's likely that he didn't want them backstabbing him, either.
    • "The Stolen Earth": The Supreme Dalek thinks that Mad Oracle Dalek Caan is an insane abomination. It's implied that Davros is the only one keeping the Daleks from killing him.
    • Played straight in "Journey's End", where a Dalek actually pulls a Heel–Face Turn. Said Dalek, Dalek Caan, had been exposed to the Time Vortex and was witness to literally every act the Daleks have and ever would commit. This perspective made him decide that it was time for all Daleks to die. Note that Caan was actually one of the more "conservative" (read: stubbornly genocidal) members of the Cult of Skaro, and initially had no hesitation in destroying an entire species.
    • Certain moments and events are "fixed points in time", and attempting to change them can have certain reality-breaking consequences. In "The Waters of Mars", it's mentioned that a Dalek had spared a girl's life when it detected that her death years later was a fixed point. Even the Daleks know better than to try to mess with them.
    • "The End of Time": Averted. Upon finding out that Rassilon and the Time Lords plan to destroy the entirety of reality, the Master is completely on board with the plan. He only turns against them because Rassilon calls him "diseased", refuses to allow him to be part of the plan, and admits that he was responsible for the sound of drums that drove the Master insane.
    • "Spyfall": The Master discovered some long-buried lie relating to the origins of the Time Lord species and civilization involving the mysterious "Timeless Child". Whatever he found out horrified him so much (and if something can horrify the Master, that says a lot) that he decided to wipe the other Time Lords out to punish them for it. Notably, the Doctor's lack of reaction implies that she thinks he may have been right to do so — and the Time Lords were hardly saints before this.
      • We are given more details about this by the end of Series 12. The trope turns out to be Averted. The Master is only upset about the Timeless Child because it turns out that everything that makes the Timelords special, The Master included, comes from the Timeless Child... who happens to be The Doctor. The Master was upset that this revelation proves that his oldest friend/enemy is far more important than he probably could ever hope to be, so he killed all of the Time Lords out of anger. In other words, he was motivated by no moral standards here, just severe Green-Eyed Monster issues.
  • Dollhouse:
    • The Dollhouse's operators — whose organization is based on mind control, prostitution and illegal activities including murder — are nevertheless horrified to learn one of their employees has been raping one of the Dolls in her Wiped state (which means she had the mind of a child and couldn't resist).
    • The episode "Belonging" shows what happens when the character of Topher, a man identified as having no morals who views other human beings as playthings, discovers that there indeed is a line he will not cross. In the previous episode, Topher having a moral problem imprinting a serial killer VIP onto Victor is used as evidence that it's probably not a good idea.
    • Similarly, the normally cold and professional DeWitt has no problem with renting out Dolls for sexual or even hazardous engagements, but she reacts with disapproval when, midway through Season 2, her Dollhouse, now under a new management, start renting the Dolls out to sadists, and is horrified and/or disgusted in "Epitaph One" when she finds out that the Dollhouse will be selling the bodies of Dolls to the highest bidders to permanently imprint their minds into and in "Belonging" when she finds out how Sierra was entered into the Dollhouse.
  • Double the Fist: "Eating babies is Unaustralian!"
  • Dragnet: Even when he was a Con Man, Jud Scanlon found the Scamming the Bereaved con too nasty for him.
  • Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman:
    • The local Klan leader is rallying the townspeople to drive Token Minority Couple Grace and Robert E. out of their home and to equally terrorize the titular character, given that she abhors their behavior. When she confronts him about burning a cross on her property, he remorselessly tells her , "Folks don't take kindly to sympathizers. And you've got those young'uns to look after. . ." This turns out to be a huge mistake on his part as (a) It presses both her and Sully's buttons — Sully outright threatens to kill him if he lays a hand on any of the children, and (b) Even some of the other Klan members express disgust at this. Later in the episode, when they kidnap Robert E. with the intent of hanging him, several of the men — Loren, Jake, and even Hank — are very reluctant to go as far as murder.
    • Hank, for all his bigotry, he refuses to terrorize the Jewish family that has come to town, explaining that a group of Jews once saved his life.
  • Drrt: The main character Lucy Spiller has a reputation of being evil incarnate. However, she holds journalistic integrity above all else; she's only interested in the truth, not gossip (no matter how big it may be), and she always protects her sources.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: Hazzard County's Boss Hogg may be so crooked he makes Al Capone look honest, but he draws the line at actions that might actually physically harm someone and refuses to work with anyone who supports that sort of thing. (One episode that dealt with marijuana had Boss Hogg vehemently declare that he would never sell drugs for any type of money.) His would-be partners don't take kindly to such an attitude, and Boss Hogg often needs the Dukes to pull his bacon out of the fire when this happens.
  • ER: In one episode, African rebels didn't hesitate to shoot their hostages who had absolutely nothing to do with the war (some being doctors and a geologist) in cold blood and rape a woman, but they won't kill a man they believe to be a priest.
  • Evil (2019): Leland, a devout devil worshipper, is highly offended in "I is for IRS" by the existence of the New Ministry of Satan, a Scam Religion that uses Satanic imagery simply as a means of getting attention and members that can be goaded into spending money on the organization.
  • Farscape: In one episode, the team is stranded on a planet populated by the descendants of people deliberately indoctrinated to be primitives who worship the Hynerian Dominars as living gods. Rygel XVI, a Dominar in exile, has been a greedy, arrogant, selfish, backstabbing pain-in-the-ass throughout the series, but when he finds this out, he is horrified, and gently tries to convince the neo-primitives that he and his family aren't gods.
    • In the season 3 climactic episode "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing," Crais—despite having hunted the protagonists, tortured them, marked them for execution, and eventually done every underhanded and manipulative act that could potentially guarantee his own survival after losing his command—explains why he's now being absolutely honest in his willingness to go on a suicide mission.
    Crais: All that I have cared for have gone. My parents were taken away from me, my brother dead. So now I live, I plan, I do, all in the service of my own interests. In that, I believe, I am not unique in the universe. Despite all of this, I understand the power of the technology that Scorpius is attempting to harness. I understand the horror that will wash over this galaxy if anyone wields this weapon.
  • Firefly:
    • In the episode "Objects in Space", Bounty Hunter Jubal Early tries to pull this on River during their exchange. However, she pretty quickly and bluntly shoots that notion down by revealing what a cruel and sadistic bastard he really is.
    • Straight example in "The Train Job". Even though they are hired by a psychotic gang lord known for punishing failure with horrible death, Mal is still unwilling to carry on with the heist and returns the stolen medicine which the whole town would suffer terribly without.
    • Token Evil Teammate Jayne is in general considered to be on the side of Firefly's crew until someone makes him a better offer (which is how Mal recruited him in the first place). However, he has shown that some things are too much for him. In the episode "Ariel", he had already told Alliance authorities where to get the Tams (as they had bounties on their heads), but he seems to have a sudden change of heart when Simon explains to him just how they cut out pieces of River's brain. At the end of the same episode, Mal is on the verge of tossing Jayne out the airlock, and his foremost concern in the face of impending death is that others would not remember him as a traitor. Also, do not insult his mom.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • Marlize Devoe works with her husband Clifford to absorb the powers of other metahumans and killing them, but upon seeing him force a security guard to shoot himself in the head with psychic powers, she leaves him and switches sides.
    • Leonard Snart was a brutal thief who wasn’t above killing innocents if it distracted Barry long enough for him to escape. However, even before his Heel–Face Turn, he was shown to have standards; although he betrayed Barry by letting the criminals they were transporting loose, he also saved Barry's life in the ensuing fight. He also loved his sister dearly and hated his father for what he was doing to her. When it was revealed that Lewis Snart put a bomb in Lisa’s head to get Leonard to cooperate, the Snarts turned to Team Flash for help; the moment Lisa was safe, Leonard shot Lewis dead and turned himself in.
  • Forever (2014): Older Immortal and Big Bad Adam exercises his Immortality Immorality by committing grisly murders for fun and tries to convince protagonist Henry to join him in this activity. In the episode "Hitler on the Half Shell", however, Adam is appalled by the suggestion that he could have been a Nazi and expresses hatred for the Nazis and compassion for Abraham, a Holocaust survivor. Being Adam, he expresses his hatred for Nazis by crucifying a man who committed murder in order to profit from the sale of Nazi Gold. Part of this is due to the fact that he himself was tortured by the Nazis in a vain attempt to unlock the secret of his immortality.
  • Forever Knight: Lucien LaCroix, despite being quite the sociopath, wouldn't turn a young Adolf Hitler into a vampire because he felt too much evil from him. And a near word-for-word invoking of this trope comes when LaCroix's daughter / maker Divia shows back up and reminds him of his refusing her long-ago wish (she wanted him to have sex with her, which LaCroix refused to do, as she was his 11 year old daughter. LaCroix's feelings, however, haven't changed:
    LaCroix: I always thought evil was a finite entity until you showed me otherwise. Even I have my limits, Divia!
  • The Frankenstein Chronicles: Mrs. Bishop is offended by the accusation she killed children, noting that she has twelve herself (even when she's a serial killer, and those children are her partners in crime). It turns out she didn't do it.
  • In Fringe, Walternate has no problem with human experimentation, breeding shapeshifting cyborg assassins, encasing people in amber, and killing hundreds or even millions if it will save his world. But he will not allow experiments to be run on children. This draws a stark parallel to his "good" counterpart, who does experiment on children, albeit with good intentions, reinforcing the grey on grey nature of the conflict.
  • Freddy's Nightmares: Freddy Krueger. Proud Serial Killer of children. Animal abuser. Unloving father. And, as "A Family Affair" shows, anti-drug advocate.
    "Drugs. Now there's a real nightmare."
  • Frontline: Marty DiStasio is as unethical as any other reporter on the team, but even he balks at his executive producer's decision to air an unsubstantiated story about a priest accused of rape. When Emma asks, he admits to being a (lapsed) Catholic.

  • Galavant:
    • Played for laughs when Galavant finds out that the evil King Richard (theoretically evil, anyway) hasn't slept with his wife after kidnapping her and having her marry him. Galavant awkwardly asks if Richard didn't... insist.
      Richard: I'm not an animal. I mean, sure, I'll kidnap a woman and force her to marry me, but after that I'm all about a woman's rights. I'm a modern, 13th century man.
    • Gareth has done a lot of very nasty things as the chief enforcer first for Richard and then for Madalena, who is a completely ruthless ruler, (and he subverted this trope in the first season when he appeared to balk at torturing people, then stated that he had no problem with torture and rather likes it, he just didn't intend to obey the person ordering him to do it because he was still only loyal to Richard) however in the second season he gets freaked out by Madalena's intention to acquire Black Magic that you have to sell your soul in order to use. As he later states, there's a fine line between being a horrible person and being a genuinely evil one, and he doesn't cross that line.
    • Wormwood is a Card-Carrying Villain of an Evil Sorceror, but he is creeped out when his latest would-be apprentice sees that Wormwood has a baby in his tent and makes the assumption that she has to kill the child to prove that she's serious about learning his brand of Black Magic. Wormwood has to hastily clarify that he's just looking after the infant for one of the women on the kitchen staff. He is also taken aback moments later when said apprentice thinks she has to sign the contract in blood and cuts her hand open before he can stop her, when ink would have been just fine.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Ramsay Snow/Bolton:
      • Invoked and mocked when he tortures his prisoner Theon in the Season 3 finale. He castrates Theon, and in a later scene he eats a sausage that looks suspiciously like... well, you know, in front of a cringing Theon. He pretends to be shocked at the suggestion that Theon would think him a cannibalistic savage and confirms it's just pork sausage. He is obviously just messing with his prisoner's mind out of cruelty, but according to his dialogue with Osha in "Book of the Stranger," he may have such a standard (i.e. cannibalism) after all. Still, given who he is, it's just a matter of time.
      • Astonishingly enough, this does play into effect in "Kill the Boy". Ramsay is speechless and a bit sickened-looking as Roose regales him with the story of his conception. Considering that Ramsay himself is a rapist and killer, it seems more likely he's sickened by how Roose's story relates to him.
      • When he stabs his father to death, he takes no pleasure in it, and appears to be shaken up afterwards, but he soon regains composure. That's about the extent of his standards.
    • Grand Maester Pycelle is an unscrupulous schemer who will do anything to win his masters' favor. However, he's clearly shocked when Cersei orders him not to give a single scrap of leftovers from Joffrey's wedding to the poor, but to the dogs instead.
    • Evil, incestuous and murderous Queen Cersei is visibly shocked and horrified by some of Joffrey's mad antics. First off, she (and Pycelle) are seen frantically trying to dissuade him from having Ned executed (although this could also be less caring about Ned's life and more because they know it would lead to a Civil War). Secondly, she does not approve of Joffrey ordering a massacre of children. And thirdly, her being shaken to the core by Joffrey's suggestion that he serve Robb Stark's head to his sister Sansa at the wedding feast and pretends he's just joking. In fact, the entire Lannister small council has this shaken reaction.
      Cersei: Robert was a drunken fool, but he didn't enjoy cruelty.
    • One wider Deliberate Values Dissonance example is that even though Westeros is a medieval society where everyone engages in brutal violence and cut-throat politics, Sacred Hospitality is taken very seriously. The idea of violating it makes all but the very worst Westerosi queasy. While at the Nightfort, Bran recalls the myth of the Rat Cook, whom the gods cursed not for murdering a prince, nor for baking him in a pie, but for harming his guest. The events of The Red Wedding (House Stark and their bannermen were slaughtered at a wedding feast) shake the entire continent to its foundations.
    • In the first season, long before he began to get a redemption arc, Jaime Lannister abruptly dropped the cynical snarkery he was engaging in with his hated enemy Ned Stark to sincerely tell Stark that his late father and brother were very brave when the Mad King essentially horrifically tortured them to death, and how he despised the Mad King for his actions.
      "It must be strange for you, coming into this room. I was standing right here when it happened. He was very brave, your brother. Your father too. They didn't deserve to die like that. Nobody deserves to die like that... and later, when I watched the Mad King die, I remembered him laughing as your father burned. It felt like justice."
    • Sandor "The Hound" Clegane:
      • He rode down an innocent peasant boy in "The Kingsroad" but has an obvious distaste for seeing the women he cares about even slightly abused or hurt, as shown by his protective actions with both Sansa and Arya. He goes against Joffrey's orders to protect Sansa. At one point, he actually abandons Joffrey's side to find and rescue Sansa in the middle of a massive riot and he promises to go out of his way to protect her from Joffrey. In regards to Arya, even though he's not going to get a ransom payment for her — what with her mother and brother being killed — Sandor doesn't leave her behind in the chaos of the Red Wedding. When he sees what the Freys have done to Robb's corpse, he is horrified, and quickly leaves so Arya doesn't have to witness any more of it, and when she later kills a Frey soldier in front of the rest of his unit, he gladly slaughters them, only slightly irritated that Arya didn't tell him first. In Season 4, his butchering of a squad of his brother's men was partially triggered by Polliver offering to trade food in return for being able to rape Arya. The Blu-ray extras mention a Cynicism Catalyst of his troubled childhood, especially his dead little sister when enumerating suspicious deaths attributed the Sandor's brother Gregor which might be the source of this sentiment.
      • Despite his taste for violence and death, he defends Ser Loras from his brother Gregor when the latter goes batshit and immediately goes on one knee after being told to by the King while dodging his brother's sword in the process.
      • In the first episode of Season 4, Arya asks why Sandor didn't steal anything of Joffrey's when he fled King's Landing. His response? 'A man's got to have a code.' He backpedals on this two episodes later, stealing a farmer's money after he and his daughter had given them food and shelter and offered work. It says something about how deeply buried his decency is that the most heroic thing he does during the scene is to leave them alive after he robs them. Arya points out that he said he's not a thief, and the Hound simply tells her "I wasn't."
      • He is visibly distraught by the sight of the dead villagers and Brother Ray hanging at the end of 6x07, though by this point he's more of an Anti-Hero.
    • Tormund is a pitiless wildling raider who kills innocent villagers without hesitation, but even he hates the Cannibal Clan Thenns.
    • Subverted by Rast, who is very conflicted about leaving a baby in the snow, but ultimately goes through with it after covering the baby's face to dehumanize it.
    • Ygritte, despite presenting a much darker side all season, kills a bunch of villagers during a raid, but she spares Gilly and her baby in "The Mountain and the Viper".
    • Roose Bolton: He is willing to betray and murder his king and liege-lord, openly admits to committing rape in the past, but could not bring himself to kill his bastard son Ramsay when he was first brought to him as a baby. This from a man who took part in an unthinkable violation of sacred guest right (though technically, he wasn't the host but was one guest attacking another). Roose is taken aback by Gregor Clegane's massacre of the prisoners at Harrenhal. Furthermore, you could also say that Roose at best tolerates Walder Frey's leering tendencies and pleasure he took in the Red Wedding, whilst Roose simply sees it as a case of I Did What I Had to Do as House Bolton would have been wiped out by Tywin otherwise.
    • Locke is incensed when Jaime attempts to buy him twice. He might be an open rapist and chop limbs off for a hobby but he prides himself in his iron loyalty, like all Northmen.
    • Tywin Lannister:
      • It comes out of Pragmatic Villainy generally, but Tywin has little patience for the more vulgar form of evil indulged by Cersei, Amory Lorch and Joffrey.
      • He regarded Ned Stark's execution as a moronically stupid move on the part of Cersei and Joffrey, and specifically sent Tyrion to the capital to do crisis management. Likewise, he dresses down Cersei for her constant backbiting against the Tyrells and criticized her decision to fire Ser Barristan Selmy saying it was "as insulting as it was stupid" pointing out that despite his age, it was not on his watch that Joffrey died.
        Tywin: Madness, madness, and stupidity.
      • Tywin does have a code about family honor. Even if Tyrion, "the least of the Lannisters" (in his words), is kidnapped, Tywin will go Papa Bear, though barely conceal his disappointment that Tyrion is alive. He repeatedly sends Tyrion on Uriah Gambit hoping he would die, because he can't kill him himself. He tells Tyrion that he didn't kill Tyrion the day he was born, even though he badly wanted to, because it would mean killing a Lannister.
      • Even Tywin doesn't approve of Joffrey's treatment of Tyrion during the Purple Wedding as can be seen on the look of his face. While Tywin isn't innocent concerning his own treatment of Tyrion, at least he doesn't display it in public for others to see, in the middle of someone's wedding.
    • Balon is a real piece of work, but he's still repulsed by his brother Euron's unhinged behavior and casual blasphemy.
    • "Evil" is a stretch when it comes to describing Yara, but she's still ruthless — and still has standards.
      • Yara is disgusted when she finds out that Theon has apparently killed Bran and Rickon in the second season, because it was both morally wrong and robbed them of two valuable hostages.
      Yara: The little boy prisoners made you a promise and you got mad when they broke it? Are you the dumbest cunt alive?
      • Likewise, Balon's disregard for Theon's torture and mutilation at the hands of the Boltons leaves Yara visibly livid, despite her own poor relationship with her brother.
  • Get Smart: Parodied, when a KAOS agent says that he may be a murderer, but he's no Peeping Tom (when it comes to birds at least.)
  • One episode of Good Omens (2019) briefly shows Aziraphale and Crowley among a crowd of onlookers as Noah loads up the Ark. Crowley is already skeptical of God's decision to spare one family and drown everyone else in the Levantnote  but he's horrified when he sees a bunch of children running around: "Not the kids. You can't kill kids." Later, even though it will literally save the world to do so, he refuses to contemplate eliminating the 11-year-old Antichrist because he's "not personally up for killing kids." Crowley also appears to despise Nazis.
  • On Graceland, Carlos Solanos may be a brutal drug kingpin, but he has absolutely no truck with sex trafficking. When he finds out that his son has been trafficking girls in Sylmar, he is PISSED.
  • Gotham:
    • Falcone's claim as to why Mario Pepper was framed is that it would prevent panic from breaking out because citizens lost faith in the system, and that he genuinely loves Gotham and doesn't want to see it go to hell.
      Falcone: You can't have organized crime without law and order.
    • Mayor James may be corrupt, but he'll go to any lengths—even NDAA 2012-style juvenile detention—to keep the city's children safe, even if he doesn't care about them enough to bother looking for actual homes for many of them, and when the Dollmaker's minions hijack a bus heading upstate he's genuinely upset; he just made a public proclamation that the kids of Gotham would be safe from the Dollmaker's minions and those same minions kidnapped an entire bus out from under his nose.
    • In "Rogues' Gallery", Maroni punishes Oswald by making him spend a day in jail, for going behind his back and trying to extort more money from fishermen, who, in his own words "go out into the ocean and risk their lives for you and me".
    • Hitman "Matches" Malone is willing to kill virtually anyone (and has), demanding just more money for the bigger moral compromises, including children, though he draws the line at killing babies.
    • Even Kathryn, head of the Court of Owls, shows disgust and concern over Jerome's heinous activities, plunging the city into darkness and driving uncountable citizens insane and over to his side, feeling that he nearly jeopardized her own plans.
    • Oswald "The Penguin" Chesterfield Cobblepot, is outright horrified at the mere idea that Jerome had the plan to drive the city into madness with his laughing gas. He was so horrified he went to Jim Gordon and betrayed Jerome, something that Jerome predicted and trapped him in the blimp that would release the gas. Luckily for Gotham, he figured out how to drive a blimp under such short notice.
    • Jeremiah gives GCPD time to evacuate the city before trying to demolish it. His brother, by comparison, killed one of his own men simply for stepping on his line.
    • Season 5's "Ruin" is a series benchmark for this trope, with the Haven Bombing being depicted as such a senseless act of murder and destruction that Penguin, Barbara, and Riddler all collectively put their respective plans and grudges on hold to assist the GCPD in catching the bomber.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: Played with, according to Gilead's twisted ideals.
    • Serena Joy's occasional glances at Offred and the manner in which she tries to de-stress after the Ceremony suggest she might have a smidge of empathy of Offred's plight, but is too stuck in egotistical delusion to even acknowledge it.
    • Aunt Lydia believes her beatings and mutilation of the handmaids is a necessity. But she gets disgruntled by Serena Joy's removal of the disfigured handmaids at the dinner with the ambassador and cites her previous mutilation of the handmaids as proof they are worthy to be at the dinner.
  • Repeatedly subverted in Hannibal. If Hannibal seems to spare someone or offer them help, he's always willing to destroy them if need be to save himself and will torment people simply out of curiosity. For example, while he clearly despises Mason Verger and seems to like Margot, he quite casually induces the former to forcibly sterilize the latter simply to further his manipulations of Will Graham. However, Hannibal does have one very odd standard, falling in line with his Blue-and-Orange Morality: he would never serve someone a poisoned meal. Not because he thinks it's cowardly or anything, but because he wouldn't do something like that to the food.
  • Hawaii Five-0: One episode deals with a man so amoral that even his mob boss father finds his crimes absolutely abhorrent.
  • Heroes:
    • Sylar calls Mohinder for help when he has a prophetic vision that he will cause an explosion that will destroy much of New York, killing hundreds of thousands of people for no apparent reason; Sylar had until now viewed his killings as "evolutionary imperative", taking powers from those who didn't deserve them, and considered the destruction of New York to be meaningless and therefore "evil".
    • In a later season, he helps Micah (who's only a kid) escape from Danko's men because rebel or not, he considers killing a kid to be too evil, even for him.
    • Later, in the Volume Three episode "Villains", it is revealed that Arthur Petrelli's attempt to kill his own son is what prompted Angela and Linderman to betray him and (attempt to) kill him. While this makes sense for Angela (Nathan is her son too, after all), Linderman seemed to have no motivation beyond considering killing one's own child to be too evil for even him.
    • In Volume Four, after Tracey Strauss briefly escaped and killed a member of the group that was rounding up supers before being recaptured again, Strauss accused Nathan of deliberately setting her up to escape to allow the policy to work when a government inspector arrived with the implied intent to shut it down. Turns out, not only did Nathan not know about it being done, but he later confronted the real person who deliberately made it possible for her to escape, Danko, in private and scolded him for it, indicating that while Nathan is content with rounding up evolved people to be relocated from regular people, he will not stoop as low as to orchestrate an escape of one of the evolved humans and sacrifice one of his men to prove a point to why their organization must continue.
  • Hogan's Heroes: For all that Colonel Klink likes to think he's a tyrant, the attitudes of the more sadistic Nazi officers have occasionally revolted him.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: Immediately after executing a man in a crowded restaurant, a hitman takes the time to buy some mints before leaving. When Lewis questions him on why he didn't just steal it, the hitman simply replies "I ain't no thief."
  • House of Anubis: Victor Rodenmaar. No matter how badly he himself may act towards the students, when they are in danger, he responds protectively over them, arguing with his own partner and love interest when she harmed one of them without any sign of regret, and when he chose to save Joy's life rather than use his last tear of gold for himself.
  • House of Cards (US): Frank Underwood — a manipulative bastard and villain protagonist extraordinaire — is disgusted and outraged when he comes face to face with his wife's rapist.
    • He also finds that, looking back on the history of America, slavery is an "asinine cause".
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Though he's not evil by any means, Barney Stinson is a sexual deviant in the purest form. He's slept with hundreds of hot women, betraying them, lying to them, and stealing from them in the process. However, he revealed that even sexual deviants have standards in "The Bracket": as low as he's sunk when it comes to women, he is not the type of guy to have sex with a girl and forget her name or what she looked like. When he is led to believe that he slept with a girl but doesn't remember her, he immediately goes up and gives what may be his first wholehearted apology ever.
    • Then there's the extreme guilt when he first slept with Robin because she's Ted's ex. Granted, it's because it violated one article of his own "Bro Code," but it also means that Barney believes in practicing what he preaches and truly values Ted's friendship.
    • On another occasion, he's seen running one of his plays, which involves knocking on a random woman's door and telling her his wife has been having an affair with her husband, hinting they might get revenge by sleeping together. With a crazed light in her eye, she suggests killing them instead. He walks away and tries it on someone else. Admittedly, this may have been less standards and more worry that she would stab him after learning he'd played her false.
    • He also won't sleep with anyone under the age of 18. Whether it's for moral or legal reasons is unclear.
  • iCarly. Sam may be a criminal and abuse Freddie and Gibby to no ends, but when Freddie's boss in "iPear Store" strips Freddie of his uniform in a rough fashion, she decides not to work for her anymore.
  • Intergalactic: Tula is a violent criminal who's easily provoked to homicidal rage, but she's also outraged when another woman is nearly subject to having her eggs forcibly harvested by a Mad Doctor for an immortality serum, obliquely comparing the act with other violations women suffer by men and shooting him dead (it's later revealed that she suffered Domestic Abuse, so this clearly reminded her of it).
  • The IT Crowd: Played for Laughs: owing to a convoluted series of events, Moss and Roy have agreed to allow a German cannibal to consume some of their limbs if he lets them watch a movie Roy's been desperate to see on his swanky home entertainment system. The same episode has also featured a parody of the standard over-the-top and slightly hysterical anti-piracy adverts. They put the DVD, the advert starts, and the cannibal immediately shouts out "Oh, these piracy warnings!" in frustration and disgust.
  • Kamen Rider Double: Saeko Sonozaki killed her husband Kirihiko, who was on the verge of a Heel–Face Turn, and betrayed her own family at the behest of Isaka. Neverless, she refuses to aid Kazu in the Assimilation Plot involving her sister, if only because she no longer feels the need to prove herself superior.
    • There was also the reason Kirihiko had to go. He was with the Sonozakis and didn't care what havoc was caused at first... but giving a Deadly Upgrade to kids For Science! is farther than he's willing to go, and he aids Double in putting a stop to it.
  • Killing Eve: Villanelle murders, tortures, stalks, steals, and kidnaps small children without remorse, yet when the young girl she has kidnapped asks if she's a paedophile, she is rightly horrified by the suggestion.
    Irina: Are you a bad person?
    Villanelle: Yep.
    Irina: Have you kidnapped me?
    Villanelle: Yep.
    Irina: ...Are you a paedophile?
    Villanelle: (Double Take, before quickly shaking her head, utterly mortified) No!
  • Kingdom (2019): Cho Hak-ju of all people, while cruel, sadistic, and power-hungry, genuinely wants the best for the nation, and even dies attempting to exile his own daughter when he realizes that she's trying to pass off a commoner's baby as the rightful heir to the throne.
  • Knots Landing: Like her sometime brother-in-law and one-time lover J.R., Abby was never truly evil, "merely" extremely manipulative, ruthless and immoral in her personal and business dealings, but she does have occasional moments which illustrate this trope. The most notable occurs in Season 6 in which she is guilt stricken over the fact that Valene's babies were kidnapped and secretly adopted as a result of an idle remark that she made to an unscrupulous lawyer about wishing that she could be rid of the babies. She later begins searching for them and tells Valene that they are still alive, though she doesn't reveal her admittedly indirect involvement. The original idea was that Abby would take the initiative in kidnapping the babies but Donna Mills objected on the grounds that the series' female viewers — who made up the bulk of its audience — would never forgive Abby and the storyline was changed as a result.

  • On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Stephen once joked that Donald Trump calling you out for being unethical must be a wake up call and compared it with “Keith Richards telling you to moisturize”.
  • In the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Homo Homini Lupus", an otherwise-ruthless loan shark is horrified when he discovers that the guy he's been sending after people who fail to pay back the money is a Serbian war criminal and rapist... and that he's enabled the bastard to rape a teenaged girl.
    • In "Grow", Det. Goren's arch-nemesis Nicole Wallace kills her fiance's brother and frames the fiance for the murder to prevent him from killing his daughter.
    • In "Delicate", Alona, a talented but ruthless and cruel ballerina, is willing to do almost anything to keep her position as the company's top dancer, including sleeping with the instructor and humiliating her rival Jessalyn in front of the entire class. But even she's disgusted when she finds out Paulette, her own Loony Fan, put broken glass in Jessalyn's shoes to try and gain favor with her.
  • Law & Order:
    • A Crossover episode with Homicide: Life on the Street where a proud white supremacist bombs a train car full of black people, and the detectives from both Manhattan and Baltimore manage to track him down by following his modus operandi they gleaned from when he bombed a black church congregation five years earlier. When the Baltimore detectives are interrogating him, they bring him to the point of near-confession by talking about how the guy's son is going to find out what he did, and he says, with his voice almost trembling, "I didn't know there were kids in that church."
    • Another episode had McCoy prosecute a mob boss for ordering a hit on an Assistant District Attorney. The mob boss eventually takes an Alford plea (basically, I Won't Say I'm Guilty) and then tells Jack that he's practically insulted by the accusation because he's always lived by the code "No cops, no DAs."
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
    • There's an episode where a guy breaks into a house and winds up finding kiddy porn pictures and reports them to the police anonymously. It's happened a couple of times in the real world.
    • In Season 3, serial killer Matthew Brodus smugly brags about his crimes, and recounts in detail how he raped, tortured and killed his victims, yet becomes outraged when the detectives accuse him of necrophilia.
    • Deconstructed in the episode "Confession". The episode deals with a teenage boy named Eric Byers who confesses to having sexual urges for his five-year-old stepbrother. Eric posts on a site called Pediaphax which is run by a man named Jake Berlin who claims to be helping people with pedophiliac tendencies control their urges. Later, Jake kills Eric when the latter confesses to having raped a little boy. Unfortunately, with Eric dead, there is no way to identity the little boy whom he raped and get him help. Olivia also claims that Jake killed Eric not out of moral righteousness but out of jealousy that Eric did what Jake was tempted to do.
    • Subverted in the William Lewis saga. Lewis had no qualms about raping and torturing elderly women, teenage girls, preteen girls, and the only reason why Olivia Benson managed not to be raped herself was because he turned his sights on a 6 year old girl instead, but he eventually killed himself when he knew he was cornered and did so in a way that made it look like Olivia killed him.
    • In "Angels" a pedophile kills another pedophile because he learns that the latter was not only molesting but also physically abusing the boys.
  • Legends of Tomorrow:
    • Damien Darhk murdered Laurel Lance without any hesitation, even laughing while he did it, but upon witnessing his daughter being turned into a demon, he told her sister Sara that he would take it back if he could. He even worked with his sworn enemies the Legends to take his daughters place, giving her a heartfelt apology for turning her into a monster as he died.
  • Leverage:
    • A priest is beat up, and two of our heroes go looking for the "local talent" involved. When they question a Hispanic gang, the leader goes "We're not monsters." It turns out one of the gang members was involved, whereupon the leader asks for his gun back so he can point it at the guy's head. "You have a long penance ahead of you. Start by answering the man's question. NOW!"
    • In another episode, Hardison, the team's computer expert is listening to a live feed of a Corrupt Corporate Executive discussing the benefits of owning a US Congressman. His response is, "I'm a professional criminal and I find that disturbing."
    • Displayed amusingly by Parker in The Bank Shot Job. She's likely stolen anything and everything under the sun, but even she thinks illegal downloading is wrong (much to Hardison's confusion.)
    • Also in "The Boys Night Out Job", two hitters for the Irish mob chase Nate and Hurely into a church. One is already to go in but the other refuses go kill someone in a church.
      Thug 1: The church! They're in the church.
      Thug 2: I'm not just busting into a church to kill two men.
      Thug 1: What if they're in the church basement? If they're in the church basement then we can kill 'em.
      Thug 2: So you're implying that the church is holy, but the church basement isn't?
      Thug 1: You don't say mass in the basement. The church basement is not holy ground.
      Thug 2: So what, it goes: Holy ground. Uuumm, the basement. Holy ground?
      Thug 1: The Boy Scouts meet in the basement and they're not a religious group.
      Thug 2: A Boy Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Reverent is there at the end because it is, if not a faith based organisation, not entirely secular!
    • And then their boss shows up, demanding to know why they haven't finished the job yet. Upon hearing their reasoning, he a point.
      Mob Boss: I see your point. We can't be shootin' people inside a church. So go in there and drag 'em out to the parking lot, and then shoot them in the church parking lot!
    • In "The Grave Danger Job", Sophie says that even she never stole from dying people or their grieving loved ones.
  • Lexx: In the first TV movie, the new Divine Shadow's plan to blow up every planet suspected of harboring rebels is so evil that even the brains of his predecessors are horrified.
  • Little Hell:
    • Nick Cocks (a child killer who once brutally slaughtered a 3 year old baby in cold blood while its weeping mother watched, as well as then raping said mother before killing her husband then drowning her) is shocked and horrified when he hears about a man who went on holiday while leaving his cat without food for a 2 day break. Nick even goes as far as to kill the man before taking the cat to a animal shelter stating:
      "How dare you starve a innocent cat! I love cats and now you're dead!"
    • As well as this in one episode, a criminal is taken to court on suspicion of killing his friend. As the trial proceeds it is revealed that the lawyer of the man, raped a woman however the trial proceeds anyway. Just as a not-guilty verdict is about to be pronounced, the man steals a guards gun and shots the lawyer in the head before being tackled the ground. When asked why he did so he replies by saying:
      "I can't get of the hook by a man who raped a woman! I may be paying the ultimate price, but it was either I get of the hook by a bastard, or I kill the bastard. Either way I get punished somehow..."
    • Another episode involves a group of terrorists whose ultimate goal is to destroy both American and British spirits. They have been behind multiple major attacks evening once flying a plane into a nursery, however what one thing makes then so utterly shocked and disgusted that they end up shooting themselves to stop the painful thoughts that it provokes? The story of a man throwing a crisps packet on the ground. As they put it:
      "We may be terrorists, but we don't do litter!"
  • Little House on the Prairie: Mrs. Oleson and Nellie surely were the most vile, wicked characters in the series. Nellie has played plenty of cruel tricks, mainly on Laura, but it was mostly to assert herself and her family's prominence in the community; she never would stoop to such things as assault or putting people's lives in danger, as her adopted sister, Nancy, would later do. As for Harriet, while she has spread lots of vile gossip about people she didn't like or get along with – largely, the Ingalls family, the Garveys, Mr. Edwards, Doc Baker, Rev. Alden and any of the schoolteachers ... and at times even her own husband(!) – she drew the line at outright racism (although she is bigoted, it's largely her being a product of her time), theft, murder and hatred for children. She notably admitted in one episode she made a mistake in having schoolteacher Miss Beadle fired and replaced by someone who hated all children (especially after hearing the new teacher's rant about how children disgust him), and told a racist farmer to shut up when he went on a tirade about white and black people being seen together.
  • Lost:
    • Benjamin Linus: As retribution for his daughter's death, Ben decides to kill Widmore's daughter, Penny. But when he finally has Penny at gunpoint, he lowers his weapon when he sees Penny's young son Charlie. Having never known his own mother and been abused by his father, Ben couldn't bring himself to orphan another child.
    • Ben also refuses to kill baby Alex, and instead kidnaps her and ends up raising her. This has added significance because the other Big Bad of the show, Charles Widmore, was the one who had ordered him to kill the baby, so it makes Ben look more like an anti-hero than a villain in comparison.
    • DHARMA member Stuart Radzinsky has no trouble beating Sawyer senseless for refusing to tell him where Kate is going, but as soon as his colleague Phil comes in and starts doing the same to Juliet, Radzinsky begins to look horrified.
  • Luther: In one episode, a forger double-crosses a criminal who tries to buy fake passports from him after seeing just how many fake identities the man in question wants. The forger reasons that only a terrorist would need that many fake passports, and states that he has no desire to see his beloved London destroyed.
  • Malcolm in the Middle:
    • The episode "Evacuation", where, even in the school gym where the neighborhood is staying (because Hal's couch accidentally tipped over a train carrying radioactive waste), Malcolm is still grounded, despite not being at home. When Malcolm has had enough and sarcastically asks Lois if she's going to spank him, she puts Malcolm over her knee and... lightly taps him on the butt. EVERYONE IN THE GYM reacts with silent shock as if it's the worst thing ever and Lois is banished outside along with Hal, Reese and Dewey, while Malcolm finally gets peace (meaning for once, Malcolm actually wins). Though Reese was banished for setting up a black market, Hal for causing the problem, and Dewey had been telling people his family was dead to get sympathy (and toys).
    • Reese has a lack of empathy towards people, is the class bully, and has absolutely no qualms about bullying his brothers, even freely confirming that he is the worst brother ever after Dewey labels him as such after Reese bought a plane for Dewey just to see his face when he smashed it. However, aside from certain instances, he deliberately avoids picking on/bullying Stevie specifically because he is a paraplegic, and declares him off limits. And the one time he wanted to settle a feud with Stevie, he paralyzed his own legs so that he can allow a fair fight. He also calls out an ice cream truck driver that refused to sell ice cream during a heat wave, because it was just so pointlessly cruel and also costing him business.
    "You could be making people happy and making money right now! You are evil!"
    • Lois might be an Abusive Parent, but Ida Kenzel is so downright cruel to her children that Lois called her off for it. You know you are a monster of a parent if Malcom's mother calls you one. Oh, & by the way, Lois is her daughter!
  • Martial Law: In Season 2, a crooked guard has no problem with threatening a city with a binary nerve gas to get a huge pay-off. When he finds out his partner plans to use it on the city whether or not they pay, he tries try to stop him.
  • Max Headroom: In the episode "Baby Gro-Bags" Corrupt Corporate Executive Grossberg swears on his ratings (the highest oath a TV executive can make) that he is not involved in illegal human cloning.
  • The Mentalist:
    • Red John does NOT tolerate "poor imitations" of his work, and is even kind enough to spare the life of the patsy the main perpetrators of the plot blackmailed into it (with his mother's life no less) with merely a shot to the leg.
    • In the Season 4 episode Pink Champagne on Ice a Women who is planning to rob a casino kills her accomplice, finding him too evil as he laughs about killing the room-mate of the girl he kidnapped as a hostage. The Women, Trish, is prepared to kill the hostage and two people who can recognize her despite them giving her the money. She says she would have felt terrible about it though.
    • This trope brings down Arc Villain Tommy Volker, a Mega-Corp owner whom Lisbon opens an investigation into on suspicion having an Amazon village slaughtered, and who kills several witnesses. One witness is a ten-year-old boy, and two different hitmen refuse to kill him: the first gives the kid to a relative to hide him, the second tells Volker to get stuffed. Volker tries to do the kid himself and is caught in the act.
  • Midsomer Murders: One of the murderers took a young boy who was a witness to one of his crimes out on his boat. When Barnaby shows up to arrest him, the child is unharmed, with the murderer admitting that he couldn't bring himself to kill a child (who happened to be his great-nephew). He strangled a woman to death, killed a doctor and burned down his office, and ran over another woman and injected her with nicotine to protect his company's reputation.
  • Million Yen Women: Shin's father feels absolutely no remorse about having killed his wife and her lover, but feels really bad about stabbing one of the policemen sent to stop him in his fit of rage and regularly writes to the policeman's mother.
  • Mission: Impossible: Usually averted — even when the IM Force's targets aren't out to kill anyone they're still portrayed as being people with no concept of morals (such as the Hagars in "Charity", who are happy to exploit blind children in their bid to rip off people who think they're giving to... well, see the title) — but in "The Train", the chosen successor to a terminally ill prime minister (who plans to be a much less benevolent ruler than his mentor) hates the idea of executing his enemies and wishes there was an alternative. Tellingly, he does not try and hasten the PM's demise.
  • Money Heist: Berlin is a sociopathic thief and killer, and is proud of it. Yet he does still have some morals, looking down on things like human trafficking, sexual slavery, and pedophilia. So when the police accuse him of these things in order to ruin the good PR that the heist crew has garnered, he's disgusted and pissed off.
  • Vince from Mongrels is a vicious fellow, and at one point sings a Villain Song detailing some of the murder, theft, assault, mutilation, and rape that he gets up to. It does, however, include the following line as a Take That! to one of the UK's most infamous political parties:
    Nelson: Why don't you join the BNP? I think you'd fit in fine.
    Vince: You must be f***ing joking, I know where to draw the line!
  • Monk:
    • Although not quite "evil" (with the exception of their ringleader, Max Hudson, who murdered his wife), the shock jock team members J.J. and Little Willie (who is as small as his name implies) were very obnoxious and often play very cruel jokes. However, when Hudson mocks Trudy's death on the air when Monk admits that his wife was killed via a carbomb, even they were horrified at Hudson's actions, telling Hudson to go easy on Monk.
    • Also, Dale "The Whale" J. Biederbeck III may force his servant to commit a murder against a judge, draw out a case to ensure that Trudy drop out of a libel lawsuit that he knew he had no chance of winning otherwise, using his own weight and lack of movement as an excuse to get himself out of a crime that he committed, and try to frame the innocent to get himself out of jail, but even he would not stoop as low as to arrange a hit on a fellow inmate for not owing him an extremely small ($1,200) amount of money. (Although it's likely that he simply had no desire to expend any time or effort arranging a hit on someone who was set to be executed soon anyway.)
    • Also, in an episode about an anti-military extremist bombing a power generator to keep his identity undercover (he earlier faked his death), one of his friends, a literal tree-hugger, was initially supportive of his efforts in bombing recruitment stations. However, when he learned that his recent actions of bombing a power station had led to three deaths (all people who were in a hospital at the time of a blackout), he drew the line and told his friend off in secret. This led to his friend turning on him by knocking the tree down with a bulldozer with him still on it.
  • The Montel Williams Show: One episode had psychic Sylvia Brown answer questions from the audience. One audience member expressed concerns about her health problems. Brown gave the usual psychic BS about chakras being out of line, etc. When the audience member said her doctor suspected multiple sclerosis, Montel cut to a commercial. Montel has MS himself and obviously wasn't going to have this woman played with.
  • The Musketeers: A villain-of-the-week pretending to be the King's cousin may be a spy and an assassin but she states that she detests men who beat their wives. After witnessing Constance Bonacieux being slapped by her husband "Princess Lousie" notes that if she wasn't so busy preparing to murder her current target she'd do Constance a favor and kill him. When Monsieur Bonacieux accidentally walks in while she's setting up to kill her target she's only too happy to shoot him with her crossbow.
  • In My Hero (2000), regardless of what Mrs Raven does to other people, she has never harmed or endangered Janet through her actions beyond joining everyone else in considering George an idiot, and was genuinely touched when Janet asked her to be a bridesmaid (on the understanding that Mrs Raven wouldn't be expected to smile or anything like that).
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • Plays this trope straight. In "Manos" The Hands of Fate, both Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank realize and admit they went too far picking the movie, though apparently they just can't stop the movie, so Joel and the Bots still have to suffer.
    • Earlier in the series, in Rocketship X-M, it is shown that Dr. Forrester hates stealing, as TV's Frank was about the show the exact same invention that Joel had, the BGC-19 drum kit.
    • Later in the series, Pearl compliments the then-recently-deceased Raúl Juliá despite the fact that he was the star of the terrible movie she was about to inflict upon Mike and the Bots.
    • In an episode of the revival, Kinga quickly backs out of a business deal with an Argentinian coffee company once she realizes its association with Hitler.
  • NCIS: Los Angeles: A black market dealer in one episode entered into an arrangement with a person of interest in NCIS's case of the week. He thought the guy was a drug dealer, but when it turned out the man was an Islamic terrorist he hired a contract killer to take the guy out.
  • Night Gallery: From "The Devil Is Not Mocked": The Nazis arrive at a castle in Transylvania hunting a group of partisans. It turns out that the partisans are a vampire coven under the command of Count Dracula himself. Apparently even vampires hate genocidal assholes.
  • Night Court: Daniel R. Fielding is an arrogant, smug, vain, womanizing jerk. Yet he is shown to be fastidious in regards to practicing safe sex. More, while he's willing to do anything to get laid, he does not play games with the law nor does he abuse the authority of his position as an assistant district attorney. Indeed, three separate story lines over the run of the series centered on someone attempting to bribe Dan or curry favor in some way and he always turned them down.
    • In one episode, Dan is dating the daughter of a mob boss. He ends up trying to pay Dan off to break up with her, noting that his reputation precedes him, and he has "all the morals of a rotting pig."
  • Nightmare Theatre: Baron Mondo von Doren, tasked by the Devil himself with torturing us humans on bad horror and sci-fi B-movies, thinks Track of the Moon Beast is a torture even the most sinful of humans shouldn't suffer through.
  • Nip/Tuck: The pilot episode shows the two main character providing plastic surgery for a Colombian client who later turns out to be a child molester and ex-associate of the drug kingpin Escobar Gallardo. His boss eventually tracks him down and kills him, in part because one of his victims was Gallardo's own daughter.
  • Nuremberg:
    • The absurd levels this can sometimes reach is pointed out in this miniseries. A high-ranking Nazi official and the American soldier who's supposed to be guarding his cell discuss their respective childhoods, and the Nazi mentions how much he loved hunting with his father. The American asks if Hitler hunted at all, and the Nazi responds "No, the Führer considered killing animals unethical." Both burst out laughing.
    • Rudolf Höss, the former commandant of Auschwitz, provides another truly bizarre example to highlight his sociopathy. After describing the extermination process he pioneered in the camp with a mixture of pride and emotional detachment, he stresses to the court that he didn't tolerate gratuitous cruelty from his guards towards the prisoners because they were "simply" trying to exterminate them, not pointlessly torment them.

  • Once Upon a Time:
    • While Captain Hook has no problem extracting Aurora's heart and using it to control her to get what he wants, he pulls an impressive Bullet Time maneuver to retrieve it when it's nearly knocked into a portal, explaining that he "bristles at the thought of a woman losing her heart...unless it's over me."
    • Borderline case later in the season, when Greg and Tamara are about to torture Regina. He says he will have no part in it and leaves, but does nothing to help her either.
    • Maleficent is against Regina using the dark curse. She tells Regina "Whoever invented that monstrosity makes us look practically moral". She also warns Regina "There are lines even we shouldn't cross."
    • Rumpelstiltskin, for all his evil doings, will not hurt children. He also refuses to kill Robin Hood (who stole a wand from him) after learning that Robin and Marian are expecting a child, since he doesn't want to leave the boy fatherless. Given that the two defining moments of his backstory are being abandoned by his father and subsequently abandoning his own son (which he considers his biggest regret), it's understandable that this would be a moral line he'd refuse to cross. note  In Season 3, we also learn that he's got an entire vault of magical items that he stashed specifically for this reason: He considered them too dark, dangerous, and unpredictable for anyone to use.
  • One Life to Live: Todd Manning, who led a gang rape, then spent nearly a year stalking and terrorizing his victim and her friends, is utterly disgusted when he learns how young his mother was compared to his father — "This guy was putting it into someone his daughter's age!", then absolutely horrified when he learns that his father was putting it into his own daughter as well. When he learns that he and wife Blair are to have a baby girl, he's genuinely terrified that he'll do the same thing to her.
  • Orange Is the New Black:
    • Being set in a prison, the series naturally views its convicts in a softer light. Tricia Miller, for example, may be a homeless junkie, but she is not a thief. In fact, she keeps a detailed log of everything she's "borrowed" and plans to pay it all back someday.
    • While Mendez may abuse his power at any opportunity, even he is disturbed by Healy sending Piper to solitary confinement for essentially no reason.
    • The executives of MCC might be soulless, profit-focused corporate hacks, but when one of them makes an inappropriate Holocaust joke, she's fired before she leaves the room.
    • Beth Hoefler, a Max inmate in Season 6, killed her own children. Absolutely everyone hates her for it, and she managed to get shived a week into her sentence. Truth in Television — child-killers are already unpopular and a woman who killed her own children even more so.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): The episode "Rule of Law" features an alien being put on trial for murdering a human. The prosecuting attorney is racist against aliens and pushes for an execution, but when everybody learns why the alien killed the guy ( the guy smashed the alien's unhatched eggs with full knowledge of what they were), he sides with the protagonists.
  • OZ:
    • Simon Adebisi is the biggest, meanest, most frightening inmate in the whole prison, and seems to have no soul at all most of the time. However, even he balks at the suggestion that his gang steal the money that has been painstakingly raised to send another inmate's dying grandson to Disney World, saying "Sometimes it's good to be human."
    • Verne Schillinger orders the kidnapping of Tobias Beecher's daughter and one of his sons and then has one of them killed and the body dumped near their grandparents' house. The prison's priest Ray Mukada pleads with Schillinger to spare the second victim. Schillinger says nothing, then phones his accomplice and says "it's time to deliver the second package", pauses and adds "deliver it alive". Schillinger also contributed to the fund mentioned above.
    • Ryan O'Reilly, ostensibly a sociopath, confesses to having his brain damaged brother Cyril kill Gloria Nathan's husband, even though it means another 40 years added to his sentence. He does this both out of love for Gloria and in order to protect his brother from the other inmates. Nathan later finds herself falling in love with him and hates herself for it. She is raped soon after and O'Reilly confesses to having orchestrated this as well. However, Sister Pete figures out that he was lying in an attempt to allow Nathan to hate him as she should (he wasn't lying about having her husband killed). In fact, O'Reily kills Nathan's actual rapist, Patrick Keenan.
      Ryan: You know how I said that I always get someone to kill for me?
      Keenan: Yeah.
      Ryan: Well, in your case, I'm gonna make an exception. (Bashes Keenan's head in with a dumbbell, spits on him, steals his shamrock necklace, and leaves.)
    • During Season 3, inmate Malcolm Coyle confesses to Augustus Hill about murdering an entire family. This event shows a lot of characters having standards. Hill agrees to testify against Coyle. In response Kareem Said gets Antonio Nappa, Chico Guerra and even Vern Schillinger to protect Hill because they find what Coyle did sickening. Bonus points to Schillinger, the leader of the Ayran Brotherhood, for being willing to protect black Augustus Hill.
    • When Cyril is executed, despite the fact that he is mentally handicapped and not fully responsible for his actions, every inmate in Emerald City goes to their pods and loudly bangs on the walls to protest. There were no Aryans in Em City at the time, so we don't know how they would have reacted.
    • Nino Schibetta and Jefferson Keane would never rat out their guys.
    • Schillinger despises drugs.
    • Canibalistic inmate Donald Groves is plagued with guilt for killing a guard after the guard's mother visit him and tells him she forgives him.
    • Morales is a man of his word.
    • O'Reily is the only prisoner to try to help Beecher cope with Schillinger's abuse.
    • Omar White was convicted for killing a woman who testified against his cousin at a murder trial. He was convicted because he Spared her daughter's life and was implicated by her.
  • Pennyworth:
    • Frances Gaunt is the leader of a fascist organization that intends to overthrow the British government, but she's still a doctor and she takes the Hippocratic Oath seriously. To the point that she'll even try to save the life of the person who just tried to assassinate her (whom she just shot herself, mind you). She's also disgusted by the use of chemical weapons like Project Stormcloud.
    • Bet Sykes is violent and callous and serves the same fascist organization (when she feels like it), but she can't stand being next to perverts and rapists. Hence she beats her superior to death when the latter is about to rape Katie Browning to torture her, and flees with Katie.
    • Lord Harwood wants to turn England into a fascist state with himself as dictator but he is doing it because he is a patriot and believes that England should be a superpower. He is appalled by what John Salt is capable of and that Salt is doing it all merely for personal advancement.
    • General Thursday has no problem leading the army in siding with the Raven Union's fascist takeover of England, but he's disgusted by the thought of using chemical weapons on a civilian population and ultimately turns on Salt over his decision to use Stormcloud on London.
  • Power Rangers has had plenty of villains who followed this trope:
    • Power Rangers in Space had Ecliptor, one of the first major villains with a code of honor, who viewed Big Bad Astronema like a daughter and would have done anything for her. To a lesser extent, Astronema herself was this, thinking the Power Rangers killed her parents, raised to believe she had to be evil in order to really get revenge. Her true kindhearted nature shines through with moments like she saved a child and its mother from one of her own soldiers. She even does a Heel–Face Turn. Unfortunately the Greater-Scope Villain Dark Spector has her captured and then Brainwashed and Crazy. She gets better in the end.
    • In Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, Villamax, who had proven earlier in the series to have a code of honor, questions Trakeena's desire for revenge on the Rangers for destroying her father when she attempts to destroy all of Terra Venture. After saving a little girl from death and he is ordered to attack a shuttle full of innocent people, he disobeys. Since he refuses to fight back, Trakeena kills him.
      Trakeena: You taught me to fight too well, it seems.
      Villamax: You've learned nothing.
    • In Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, Diabolico, a literal Noble Demon, swears off his loyalty to Bansheera when she tricks his best friend, Loki, into fighting the rangers and forcing Diabolico to attack them, resulting in Loki's death. He starts helping the Rangers, showing that even though he hated them, he hated Bansheera more. This is a creature who saved a man's son so he could keep him for years while turning him against his father, sent monsters to destroy a city, and considered killing the infant prince to keep his place as second-in-command, but the loss of his best friend caused him to go renegade. In the final episode, his ghost arrives and saves Carter (the Red Ranger) from Bansheera, resulting in the latter to fall in a pit where several monsters presumably torture her for eternity, fulfilling his revenge. Diabolico was also disgusted by the fact Bansheera cares more about conquering Earth than about her own son and that she absorbed Vypra just to gain a fully functional body.
    • Power Rangers Time Force:
      • Ransik is a human-hating mutant bent on killing every last one. His daughter Nadira, after witnessing a baby born and spending time with kids, causes her to question her father's hate for them. After the loss of Frax and much destruction, she tries to convince her father that enough is enough, but he refuses to listen. During his final battle with the Rangers, he attacks Nadira, mistaking her for Jen (the pink ranger) while she was saving a baby. The shock of almost killing his daughter causes Ransik to realize what his hate has caused him to become, and he willingly surrenders.
      • There's also a minor case with Sixth Ranger Eric, a morally gray character and Aloof Ally to the Rangers from the time he gets his powers. That aside, it's shown several times that he does have a good heart, most notably when he spares the good mutant Noticon after Green Ranger Trip stands between them.
    • Power Rangers Wild Force has a similar example to Diabolico with Jindrax and Toxica. At the start, they were Co-Dragons to the Big Bad, loyal to the point of death to their master, but when Mandilok tricked Toxica into doing something that would kill her and then used her as a shield, destroying her, Jindrax's loyalty went out the window. He later brought Toxica back to life, and then both of them helped the Rangers rescue their kidnapped mentor, Princess Shayla. This gives them Redemption Earns Life, and with Master Org seemingly destroyed, they depart to do some soul-searching, and are not seen again.
    • Power Rangers Mystic Force has several cases of this:
      • One of the Big Bad's Co-Dragons, Koragg, is shown to be a Noble Demon from the start, and several times spares the Rangers due to them being unable to fight back or else not a challenge. The most notable case is when his less honorable "ally", Imperious, used a genie to wish that the Rangers never existed, and he leads them to the only ones who can reverse the spell, claiming that there was no honor in that victory…not to mention the fact that Imperious had tried to have him killed, too. It's later revealed that he has this code of honor because he's really Leanbow, Udonna's husband and the first Red Mystic Warrior who sealed the Master away the first time, but was brainwashed into Koragg.
      • The other Co-Dragon, Necrolai, is shown to be notably less honorable, but nonetheless as loyal to the master as Koragg. She had no qualms about destroying the human world, but she still had standards in the form of her daughter, Leelee; she at first prioritized her duties to the Master over Leelee, but when the latter's life was put in danger, and the Master's elite henchman refused to spare her, her Heel–Face Turn was slowly set in motion.
    • Power Rangers Samurai: Deker reveals he has standards too, in "Stroke of Fate." When Serrator asks him to make the swordstroke that will split open the world and promises him that will end his curse, he instead brings his sword down on Serrator, proclaiming that he doesn't share Serrator's hatred of humanity — by Serrator's own doing, he cares only for the sword and will thus end his curse on his own terms, in a duel.
  • Prison Break: The fact that the Vice President went as far as to have her own brother killed seems harsh, that is until it's revealed by Hale to Veronica that he was never dead in the first place.
    • there's also John Abruzzi, a cold mafia don who has no problem killing, casually kidnapping and blackmailing people, but is deeply disturbed and even tears up when he finds out his men accidentally killed a little boy when they were doing business. It probably affected him even more because he had a son around the same age as the boy.
    Abruzzi: It's a kid, man.
  • Profit: Jim Profit is utterly disgusted by Arthur MacClane, who molested his niece Nora Gracen when she was a little girl. Profit fully admits that he's a manipulative sociopath himself who has no problem with destroying people's lives to get ahead or even flat-out murder, but he considers MacClane plain Evil and gives Nora the opportunity to get some well-deserved revenge on the bastard.
  • Psych: Outlaw couple Barbie and Clive are thieves and liars, but would never commit murder. They also hate digital piracy.
    • In "Ferry Tale": The inmates who escape, tie up the guard, and take and threaten to kill hostages aboard a ship, are still humane enough to let a little boy into the bathroom before them.
      Craig: You see him doing his little pee-pee dance? Even they can see that. They’re felons, not animals.

  • Resurrection: Ertuğrul:
  • Revolution:
    • Episode 6 makes it clear that Nate Walker/Jason Neville has this sort of mentality regarding Sergeant Strausser. Strausser is a bloodthirsty psychopath and torturer, and Jason (and most people) really does not like to be anywhere near that guy.
    • Episode 11 reveals that while Jason doesn't mind killing people in a fight, he really doesn't like the idea of slaughtering whole groups without even giving them a chance to fight back. He ends up refusing to call in the air strike, resulting in his own father beating him up and throwing him out. Jason then warns Charlie about the air strike coming in 12 hours.
    • Episode 17 has Tom Neville telling his son Jason that while he has done just about every bad thing in The Good Book, he draws the line at letting his son die all alone. However, it's hard to say if that really earns any sympathy for Tom Neville.
    • The first season finale reveals that Monroe murdered a rebel and his entire family in retaliation for the rebel's bombing injuring Miles Matheson. Miles would have executed just the rebel, but killing off the offender's entire family along with him is going too far. This galvanized Miles into trying to kill Monroe. But when he couldn't do it, Miles and Nora left the Monroe Republic.
  • Rome: Erastes Fulmen, crime boss of the Aventine Hill, is sitting in his den of scum and villainy when he hears an account of Mark Anthony's rabble-rousing at Caesar's funeral. This provokes him to an indignant and foul-mouthed rant on standards of public behaviour:
    Erastes Fulmen: No excuse! It's a consular fucking funeral, innit?. Y'supposed to show some fucking respect! Not run around looting and burning. Animals. An' that Anthony's a cunt too. Mark me now, any one of you cunnies join in this disgrace, you'll be disjointed — quick as Pan. We observe the fucking decencies! Right?!
  • Room 101: Played for Laughs in one episode of a programme in which celebrities discuss their pet hates. Ian Hislop had just argued the case for Piers Morgan being put into the titular room, and host Paul Merton pulled the lever... at which point the room vomited Piers up on the grounds he was 'too toxic for Room 101'.
  • Saturday Night Live:
    • In one Weekend Update segment, the Devil (played by Jason Sudeikis) appeared to talk about how the Catholic Church sex abuse scandals made him sick, and to assure viewers that there was in fact, "a special place in hell" for these pedophiles. Of course, the tortures were all of Poke the Poodle variety (e.g. "They're slightly further from the elevator"), but Satan genuinely thought they were good ideas.
    • Another skit on Weekend Update involved The Devil talking about the Westboro Baptist Church, saying even he didn't support them and their views on homosexuals. But the major tipping point was when he heard about the Penn State scandal and got so enraged over the cover-up and how nothing was done to bring down Jerry Sandusky that the Devil decided to quit his job as Prince of Darkness and go back to his old job as Time-Warner Cable's customer service representative.
    • In the sketch "World's Most Evil Invention", a Criminal Convention is held for Mad Scientists to show off their most evil invention that they plan on terrorizing the world with. One such scientist — Roy (played by Dwayne Johnson) — invents Robochomo, a cheap and easy to manufacture robot designed to molest children. While the villains all agree that it is the most evil thing they have ever heard of, they are all more horrified and disgusted than impressed.
      Dr. Microknox: That's the most hideous thing I've ever heard in my entire life.
      Roy: Oh, well, thank you very much. You see? The shrink guy is with me all the way!
      Dr. Microknox: Stop saying that!
    • From another SNL skit where a troll (played by Jack Black) demands that the townspeople stop sacrificing virgins to him and instead send him some older, sluttier woman instead (Turns out he didn't want to eat them, he was just trying to get laid).
      Knight: that why you let last year's sacrifice go?
      Troll: No! She was thirteen! I'm a monster but, that's sick!
  • Scholar Who Walks the Night: Even Gwi is shocked that Hye Ryung's father chooses to serve his daughter's murderer just to save his own life.
  • The Secret Circle: Charles is horrified when Dawn suggests that they kill his mother and the other witch hunters are genuinely afraid of Eben.
  • Seinfeld: In "The Limo", George accidentally impersonates an up and coming white supremacist named Donald O'Brien, whose manifesto includes the Jews stealing money to help the Blacks buy drugs, and further oppress "our white minority subcultures." A reporter at the scene mentions that real life Ku Klux Klan member David Duke has denounced O'Brien as a dangerous extremist.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017) has Count Olaf's theatre troupe, who, though alright with threats, are horrified whenever their leader actually harms one of the children. The Hook-Handed Man in particular gets ready to catch Sunny when Olaf holds her over a table. This is likely foreshadowing; in the books, the White-Faced Women eventually quit in disgust, and the Hook-Handed Man switches sides.
  • Shark: Sebastian Stark from this TV series wasn't exactly "evil", but some of his clients came close. When called in to the murder of a sleazy pornography producer, Stark remembers him:
    Stark: Right, he came to me for representation on an embezzlement charge a couple years ago.
    Isaac: You turned him down?
    Stark: Guy made Larry Flynt look like Mary Poppins. Even I have standards.
  • Shades of Blue: Agent Stahl casually mentions how Anna Kate's suicide points towards her father's characteristics as a father which cause Harlee Santos, a Dirty Cop in her own right and unwilling mole in the precinct, to show open disgust to how flippant he was.
  • The Shield: Pointedly acknowledged this towards the end of the series, when corrupt cop Ronnie Gardocki is horrified at the fact that his partner/mentor Vic Mackey is willing to kill not only turncoat cop Shane Vendrell but also his wife, in front of their own son. Given that Ronnie was obsessed with killing Shane to avenge the murder of Detective Curtis "Lem" Lemanski, it was a moment where the writers quite clearly were drawing a line towards Ronnie being shocked and appalled by Vic's downward spiral towards villainy.
  • Smallville: Many Mooks of the Luthors has some kind of standards, but their bosses don't. Even after his supposed Heel–Face Turn, Lionel threatens to kill Clark to make Lana marry Lex.
  • Sons of Anarchy:
    • Barosky is crooked to the core, but is sickened by a torture porn operation and another that exploits children and helps the Sons shut down both.
    • In the first season, the Sons hunt down a man who raped a 13-year-old girl. Clay had his own ulterior motives, but the rest of the club were willing to do it as an act of Justice. Keep in mind the Sons are gun runners, thugs, and outlaws.
  • The Sopranos: Tony Soprano and his crew are guilty of drug trafficking, theft, extortion, and murder, but they're enraged at finding out the soccer coach at Meadow's school was carrying on a sexual relationship with one of his 15-year-old soccer players, to the point of planning to have him killed.
    • Additionally, despite all the reasons Tony has to kill Christopher (fears of betrayal, alcohol abuse, incompetence, etc.), he refrains due to the fact that he’s family. What finally drives him over the edge is when Christopher crashes his car with Tony inside due to his drug problem. Upon looking in the backseat and seeing a tree branch had stabbed through the baby car seat Chris had for his daughter (exactly where Caitlin would have been sitting had she been in the car), Tony, a father himself, finally killed Christopher.
    • They are also appalled when Ralphie brutally kills a stripper whom he impregnated. While they can't kill him due to him being a made man and that the stripper had no blood relation to them, they would've probably done so had they been allowed to.
    • If there's anything Johnny Sack would never do it's cheat on his wife.
    • Bobby shares this virtue.
    • Silvio Values loyalty and refuses to be part of the lupertazzi family's effort to kill Tony. He is also visibly pissed when Tony calls off a hit on a peadophile.
    • Uncle Junior is upset when one of the dealers associated with the family sells to a child leading to that child's death and has said dealer killed.
    • Tony always treats animals well and despises people who abuse them.
    • In the seasom 2 episode "The Happy Wanderer" Richie Aprile of all people actually tries to prevent Tony's childhood friend and gambling addict Davey from becoming burried in debt. Though he does later try to attack him this is only after Davey messed him about.
    • While Johnny ends up taking a plea deal he still refuses to rat out any of his associates.
    • Unlike the other mobsters Little Carmine is supportive of Chris's efforts to sober up and never tries to undermine him.
    • To some extent this is one of the series' central themes. Tony and the other gangsters frequently offer moral justifications for their actions, and it's up to the viewer to decide if these are the signs of a genuine, if twisted, honor code, or the empty rationalizations of hoodlums with no real principles.
  • Spaced: Duane Benzie is a total Jerkass who is fine with stealing Tim's girlfriend, shooting him in the back of the head (with a paintball gun) and cheating in an agreed duel, but he would never shoot Tim directly in the face with it.
  • Stalker: The recurring antagonist of Season 1 Perry Whitley is presented in this way for his last couple of episodes where he frees and teams up with Beth's old stalker Ray whose attitudes and methods shake him, and he struggles to try and reign him in. Not wanting anyone to get hurt or killed in their pursuit of Beth whilst Ray has other plans.
  • Stargate SG-1: Anubis was once expelled by the other Goa'uld System Lords for committing "crimes unspeakable even for a Goa'uld". What these are is never mentioned, but considering that the average Goa'uld thinks nothing of slavery and genocide, and are quite capable of torturing even their own kind to death only to resurrect them and start over again (and again and again and again and again...) this says quite a lot.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    • The Ferengi Grand Nagus (their leader) is replaced by Brunt, a recurring antagonist of Quark. They object to him being the Nagus not because he's greedy (Greed is considered a virtue), but because he puts his own personal greed before the collective greed of the Ferengi Alliance.
    • In the Grand Finale, when the Female Changeling orders Weyoun to exterminate the entire Cardassian species, he's visibly disturbed. That being said, he still carries out the orders.
    • Kai Winn is a zealous, scheming, weapons grade prick of a woman. But while she is a reprehensible person, she's not without some small redeeming virtues. She never collaborated with the Cardassians during the occupation, immiedtaly switches sides when it turns out a Bajoran extremist group she supported was backed by the Cardassians, and finds Weyoun an insufferable tool like all the heroes do.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise: In one Alternate History episode, it is all but openly stated that the American Resistance movement against the Nazis in a timeline where they held the East Coast is made up entirely of gangsters and other mafia-types.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Both times that DaiMon Bok tries to get revenge on Captain Picard for the death of his son, Bok's crew mutinies. Not because they find his schemes to be morally wrong, but because there is no profit to be made from them.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • A Show Within a Show example in the episode "Living Witness", when the Kyrian civilization uses historical revisionism to depict a centuries-earlier run-in with Voyager. The biased depiction of the neighbouring Vaskan leader has him going to war with the Kyrians simply to steal their land. He contracts Voyager as mercenaries to accomplish this, but even he objects on moral grounds and tries to cancel the deal when evil Janeway decides to effect massive genocide of the Kyrians as the best solution.
    • A bizarre example in The Killing Game, involving one of the series' more effective alien antagonists, the Hirogen. After capturing Voyager, the Hirogin strip the crew of their identities and force them to reenact the more brutal wars in history in the ship's holodecks — including the Nazi occupation of Paris. Whenever a crew member is critically injured, they force the Doctor to treat them so they can immediately return to battle. But even as they preside over a bloodsport, the Hirogen show clear distaste for their holographic Nazi allies, particularly their self-important arrogance and their habit of launching extremely unequal battles; the Hirogen's raison d'être is to hunt other races for sport, but they at least give their prey a sporting chance, and they don't consider themselves inherently superior to their prey, considering superiority to be something that is proven by conquest.
  • The Storyteller: Jim Henson's series has two good examples.
    • "The Luck Child": When Lucky is sent to the palace with a letter from the evil king, he falls into a Thieves' Cave. The little man there poisons him with goulash and plans to kill him. Then he reads the letter from the king, which commands that as soon as the Queen reads it, she orders that Lucky be chopped into a thousand pieces. Disgusted, the little man forges a new letter that instead commands that he marry the princess, and leaves Lucky to wake up at the edge of the forest with the palace in sight.
    • "The Heartless Giant": The eponymous Sealed Evil in a Can tricks a prince into letting him escape and proceeds to go on a rampage throughout the kingdom. However, he conspicuously never harms the prince and is actually quite friendly to him even as he knows that the prince is trying to kill him to undo his mistake. Much like the similarly heartless Davy Jones of Pirates of the Caribbean, the giant embodies the Tin Man trope and is presented sympathetically.
  • The Strain:
    • Although his long-term plan depended entirely on Eldritch Palmer's compliance, the Master by Season 4 shows even he was disgusted by Palmer basically selling out the entire human race, to the point he really didn't like being reminded that he had to take Palmer as a new host body.
  • Supergirl (2015):
    • Otis Graves proves there are lines even he won't cross when he secretly spares a child Lex Luthor had ordered him to kill.
    • Lillian Luthor may love her son and believe him to be unjustly imprisoned for trying to show the world that Superman and all other aliens are enemies of humankind, but once she learns the full breadth of her son's plan (involving getting Kaznia to attack the US so he could be the hero for stopping them and then blowing up Argo just to kill Superman [wiping out all surviving Kryptonians but Supergirl]), she slips Polonium-210 into Lex's tea. Except he's too smart to fall for that.
    • Ben Lockwood may be a xenophobe of the highest order but he does believe he's defending Earth from possible monster threats. He's thus thrown to discover that all along, he's been nothing but a pawn for Lex and more so when he realizes this was never about "defending" Earth but just giving Lex more power and money.
  • Supernatural:
    • Crowley is disgusted when one of his allies betrays a temporary alliance they made to cut him out of their deal completely and gives him the option of dying or fleeing, despite all the help that Crowley provided to accomplish their goal. Crowley notes that not even he would commit such a blatant backstab (or rather, frontstab, since the betrayer announces his intentions upfront). There's also his line when he learns that one of his subordinates had been making deals and immediately killing the subjects to collect their souls rather giving them the standard ten year time frame; "This isn't Wall Street, this is Hell! We have a little something called integrity!"
      • In a Season 10 episode, Crowley finds out that some of his subordinates have started a sex trade ring as a front for making soul deals, all in his name, and he's disgusted; Crowley himself observes that "I'm evil, that's just tacky."
      • In the same episode, Rowena, the season's Big Bad, tells the same demons "No disrespect to your girls, but I'd sooner die than do business of any kind with filth like you" right before killing them.
    • Balthazar is a rogue, hedonist angel, who takes up the demons' hobby of making deals with humans for their souls. However, when he learns that his part-time employer and friend, Castiel, is working with Crowley to locate Purgatory and take control of its souls, he's so horrified that he switches sides and teams up with the Winchesters to stop them. This ends up costing him.
    • The Alpha Vampire is perfectly fine with the Leviathans' plan to turn humans into livestock, but disgusted when he finds out that they want to wipe out all other man-eating species as well.
    • When Tom gets a fake version of the Colt, a gun supposedly able to kill anything, his first reaction is to shoot his own sister. Even the demon Meg seems shocked by this.
  • Teen Wolf: Chris Argent, who follows the Hunter's Code and believe that werewolves should only be eliminated if they pose a clear and viable threat to humans.
  • In one Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 1 episode, Cameron engages in a fight against another female Terminator which takes them into an elevator. When a non-combatant enters the elevator, the two cease hostilities until that person leaves. Although it makes sense for Cameron to break off in order to not involve the civilian, it's unexpected for the enemy to do the same.
  • True Blood:
    • Antonia Gavilan de Logroño may be a homicidal, slightly deranged Knight Templar witch spirit, but the deaths of innocent people as collateral damage from her attacks on vampires are not acceptable to her. She tries relating this to Marnie, the medium whose body she is possessing, but Marnie shows no sympathy, tells her the dead humans "aren't innocent" because they are vampire sympathizers and proceeds to forcefully bind Antonia's spirit into her body. One hell of a way to show the viewers who the real Big Bad was in this scenario.
    • J.D. Carson, the violently insane werewolf pack leader in Season 5, tries to stop Russell Edgington from taking Luna's daughter, 8-year old Emma, as a pet. It doesn't work out very well, obviously.
    • Sophie-Anne to Bill after he betrays her.
    • Tara's abusive mother may not be exactly evil, but she is a monstrous and violent person who made Tara's life a living hell. When Maryann steps into the picture, though, she immediately sides with Tara's friends and helps them to plot to take Tara away from Maryann.
    • Dieter Braun, a 2,000 year old member of the Vampire Authority who was shown finding delight in torture is repulsed by Salome's suggestion they consume the blood of Lilith and become one with her. Just when he's in the middle of telling everyone exactly why what they're doing is inherently wrong, he is Killed Mid-Sentence by Russell Edgington.
  • That '70s Show: Eric's older sister Laurie is generally a callous Jerkass Magnificent Bitch who takes sadistic pleasure in getting her little brother in trouble, as well as the fact that their father pays a lot more attention to her than he does Eric. However, when she finds out that Eric saw their parents having an *ahem* intimate moment, she's legitimately horrified and genuinely tries to help him cope with the shock.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look used this trope as the basis for a sketch where a villain who cares a great deal about political correctness named General Drayfox is horrified to learn that the superhero Captain Todger is a massive bigot and is serving a prison sentence for committing statutory rape.
  • Two and a Half Men:
    • Despite how far he is willing to go to get laid, Charlie draws the line at sleeping with his possible sister.
    • He also does not like it when he sleeps with someone who is either married or is dating someone else/about to get married to someone else. In fact, most times he does these things, he usually doesn't even know that they were this until after the fact.

  • Unriddle: Mr. Pimp may be exactly what his nickname says, but he refuses to foist an HIV-positive woman on his clients (instead using her as a cheap housekeeper) or to employ any woman who is not yet of legal age. This is in direct contrast to his rival Funny Eyes, who has no such qualms and indeed specializes in "unusual" women for his depraved clientle.
  • V (1983):
    • Eleanor Dupres catches Donovan breaking into her house and threatens to shoot him as he's escaping out the window. Donovan just laughs. "You'd shoot your own son? Not even you're that cold, mother." He's right; as he runs off Eleanor fires the gun in the air and rips her dress to make it appear she'd been overpowered.
    • Supreme Commander John ultimately detests irradiating the entire Earth by deploying their ship as an atomic bomb and tells Diana to concede defeat. She demands John's key at gunpoint and tries to do it anyway just to spite her enemy.
  • Veronica Mars: Aaron Echolls is a statutory rapist and murderer who physically and emotionally abuses his son. He still beats the crap out of his adopted daughter's abusive boyfriend, though, giving us a weird cross between a Kick the Dog and Pet the Dog moment.
  • Walker, Texas Ranger: One episode had a group of criminals escape from prison and hide out in a church, taking the people there hostage. One of the gang members is extremely uncomfortable with this and keeps saying so. The ringleader tells him to shut up... and two seconds later, punches out another gang member who has begun to make sleazy advances towards one of the nuns.
    • In the episode Trial of La Rue, the last appearances of recurring villain Victor La Rue, Victor manages to grab a gun at his trial and kill half-a-dozen people before taking the rest the people in the court room hostage and recruiting another criminal in the court, who is all too happy to join in on La Rue's scheme... at least until it becomes clear that Victor is more interested in toying with the hostages and waiting for Ranger Walker to come and settle their score once and for all, than actually using this opportunity for them to escape or anything. The other prisoner finally has enough when La Rue tries to shoot a child and pulls a gun him, ready to give Victor his well deserved execution himself. Unfortunately, Victor was savy enough not to leave him with a loaded gun...
  • The Walking Dead: Staying true to his comic book self, Negan has a fair amount of standards, even despite his Adaptational Villainy. Even though he has no problem brutally murdering innocent people in front of their loved ones, he does not tolerate rape and outright executes his own men on the spot if they are caught trying to rape somebody.
  • Weeds: Though calling her evil may be a stretch, Nancy Botwin is a suburban mother that deals pot for a living who refuses to deal to kids and confronts one of her buyers in the pilot episode when she learns of a ten-year-old caught with pot in his lunch box. She also refuses to deal with hard drugs and participate in other mafia-activities.
  • Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?: Sir Vile has a code of honor despite being one of Carmen's henchmen. As a few examples, he would never partake in Grave Robbingnote  and he is horrified by the evil of the Tiananmen Square massacre and the events of "Trail of Tears."
  • Why Women Kill: Bertram might be a Serial Killer but he isn’t willing to kill for hatred or want a painful death. He was utterly shocked just how far Alma is willing to go for hate and spite, willing to use his emotions to do horrendous things like stealing the euthanasia syringe behind his back. He also refused to kill family as he was shocked Alma wanted to kill Vern, their son-in-law; it was enough of a push for Bertram to turn himself in.
  • Wild Boys: Superintendent Fuller may be a Corrupt Hick, but he does not tolerate men who hit women.
  • The Wire: The criminal gangs of the show all demonstrate that they have to exercise some standards.
    • Omar Little is a badass shotgun-wielding terror of the streets, preying on drug dealers and stealing their money. He's very careful, though, to make sure that nobody who's not in the game gets other words, civilians and citizens who don't deal drugs. He also brings his grandma to church once a month while never letting her know what he really does for a living.
    • When two of Avon's hitmen try to kill Omar on a Sunday while he's in the middle of taking his grandmother to church, the Baltimore underworld reacts in uproar. Business is business, but Sundays are sacred. Even Avon Barksdale, a Blood Knight supreme who disdains things like cooperation and truces between drug gangs in favor of bloody gang wars like the one he's engaged in with Marlo Stanfield at the time, and who has a violent grudge against Omar, is taken aback by this, and forces the hitmen to apologize to Omar's grandmother and buy her a new church hat to replace the one that was ruined because of them. Avon's chief enforcer, Slim Charles, is especially livid about the whole thing.
      Avon: The Sunday truce been around as long as The Game itself man, I mean you know what I'm saying? You can do some shit and be like, "What the fuck", but hey, just never on no Sunday, man.
      Slim Charles: On a Sunday morning? Y'all try to hit a nigga when he taking his wrinkled ass grandma to pray? And y'all don't hit the nigga neither? All you kill is grandma's crown? ... Ain't enough y'all done violated the Sunday morning truce, no! I'm standing here holding the torn up church crown of a bona fide colored lady! Do you know what a colored lady is?! Not your moms, fo sho, cause if they was that, y'all woulda known better than that bullshit!
    • Bodie isn't necessarily painted as evil, but he's still an unrepentant drug dealer who has murdered and gone to war with other gangs in the street without question when ordered. Even as someone who has been in the drug trade since he was 12 and is totally hardened to it, he is still disgusted by the amount of people that drug kingpin Marlo Stanfield has had murdered and how little justification there was for many of those murders, to the point that he decides to become an informant for McNulty, and ends up getting killed for it.
      Oh, this motherfucker be killing niggas just to do it. See? Nigga kill motherfuckers just 'cause he can. Not cause they snitchin', not 'cause it's business, 'cause... this shit just come natural to him. I mean, Little Kevin is GONE! And this nigga don't feel nothin'. And all them motherfuckers in them row-houses - nobody means a fucking thing to him! FUCK Marlo, man, FUCK him! And anybody that thinks it's alright to do people this way!
    • Chris Partlow, Marlo Stanfield's Number Two and his most lethal assassin, is cold and calculating when it comes to murder, and shows no remorse for his actions. In fact, he's got the highest body count of any character in the show. But when Michael Lee tells him about how Michael's step-father molested him, Chris snaps and brutally beats the step-father to death with nothing but his fists. Although the show never suggested whether Chris's disgust came from child rapists in general or because he was raped himself, David Simon implied that it was the latter. (The revelation from Season 5 that Chris is himself a father who cares about his kids very much and takes care of them probably factored into things too.)
    • Brother Mouzone has a well-earned reputation as a cold-hearted and lethal enforcer, but when Omar attacks him, believing that he was behind the brutal torture and murder of Brandon in the first season, he denies his involvement, saying that torture "Isn't my style".
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: Xena refuses to kill those who can't defend themselves long before she turns good. In fact, saving a baby is why her army turns on her. They're warriors, not barbarians....
  • The X-Files: Has (given the set-up) quite a realistic example in "Our Town". Walter Chaco, who led the town into the practice of serial killing and cannibalism of random people passing through for the purpose of keeping themselves youthful gives a rather heroic-sounding speech about the virtues of sticking together as a town and not harming each other. His standards get him killed.
    • Quite common in the Myth Arc episodes too. The Well-Manicured Man and other heads of the Syndicate frequently chew out the Cigarette-Smoking Man for his eagerness to resort to violence in dealing with Mulder, Scully and other security leaks. Whether this is real disgust or just Pragmatic Villainy however is debatable.
  • In a sketch of the Brazilian show Zorra, some criminals are robbing a bank, one of them needs to talk to another one outside and asks for a cell phone to his partner next to him, but the partner replies that he didn't bring one because talking with cell phones in banks is forbidden, this is an actual law that exists in Brazil made to prevent bank robberies.
  • Zorro: In the 90's series The Alcalde is initially pleased to see Colonel Palomarez and his goal of capturing Zorro, but is stunned and horrified to find that Palomarez plans to locate Zorro by having an innocent inhabitant of the pueblo hanged each morning until Zorro is found. While he may flog criminals and try to make himself rich by taxing the people, he would never kill those who haven't committed a crime.