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Evil Versus Evil / Live-Action TV

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  • 24: Does this A LOT; probably because most evil plots involve groups of bad guys working together (a bit of Truth in Television). But since they're bad guys, they'll turn on each other in a heartbeat.
  • 666 Park Avenue: Gavin versus Victor Shaw.
  • Angel:
    • Darla and Drusilla killed the entire Wolfram and Hart Special Projects division, except for Lindsey and Lilah.
    • The Beast and its master were enemies of the five members of the Ra-Tet, at least two of whom were evil.
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    • One of those two, who appeared in the form of a little girl, took action against Sahjahn to stop him from butchering every living thing he encountered.
    • The Beast arc actually has its own Evil vs. Evil arc with Angelus directly working against the Beast (eventually killing him) and its master, at least up until said master actually blackmails Angelus with the threat of permanently restoring his soul to him so that he'll never resurface from Angel's personality again.
    • There's the Beast slaughtering every single person working for LA's Wolfram and Hart branch.
    • In a crossover with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it was Wolfram and Hart who sent the amulet to Sunnydale, via Angel, which allowed the Scoobies to defeat the First Evil in the Buffy series finale.
  • In Babylon 5 the main conflict of the series at first appears to be one between the Angelic Vorlons and the Demonic Shadows, but in reality it's more like Fascists versus Anarchists respectively, who are using the lesser planets as pawns in a cosmic proxy war, and neither are on 'our' side.
  • Breaking Bad:
    • While originally Walter White was on the very dark grey part of Black-and-Gray Morality in his conflict against Gustavo Fring, by the end, he clearly crossed the line into this territory going so far as to poison an innocent child to enact his Batman Gambit, as his transformation into a Villain Protagonist was completed.
    • An example in Season 4 was Gus versus the Cartel. During that conflict, Gus's organization was portrayed in A Lighter Shade of Black, though even that was demolished shortly afterward when Gus threatened Walt that he would kill Walt's entire family, including his infant daughter if he got in his way to eliminate Hank. The cartel, particularly Hector, serves as the secondary antagonist to Gus for most of the series and as such it is fitting that Gus and Hector go out together.
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  • Burn Notice: Team Westen makes extremely frequent use of this. Michael is an expert at manipulating people into doing dirty work for him.
  • Deadliest Warrior: Invoked Trope at least once a season: The Mafia vs. the Yakuza the Mafia won; the Irish Republican Army vs. the Taliban the IRA won; the Viet Cong vs. the Waffen SS the SS won; the Medellin Cartel vs. Somali pirates Somalis won; Saddam Hussein vs. Pol Pot Hussein won; and Hernan Cortez vs. Ivan the Terrible Cortez won. They even did one between two legendary horror monsters: Vampires vs. Zombies Vampires won. When an Evil Versus Evil battle was up, the show would append to its standard Don't Try This at Home disclaimer that the program in no way encourages or endorses the views of either participant or group thereof.
  • Dexter: This show is made of this, what with the title character being a serial killer that targets criminals, mostly other serial killers.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Season 8 had this Once per Episode with The Master and whatever monster he had allied himself with. Some larger-scale examples include: the Sontaran-Rutan war, the Dalek-Movellan war, the Dalek civil war, and the Dalek-Cyberman battle (such as it was).
    • It turns out that the war between the Time Lords and Daleks became this.
    • The war between the Kaleds and the Thals started out as Black-and-Gray Morality or even Black-and-White Morality, but by the time of the classic "Genesis of the Daleks", it had become very close to being Evil Versus Evil: the Daleks and Thals are both prepared to commit outright genocide against the others (which the Thals actually do, although their genocide is not complete), and the Thals (who up until that episode had been presented rather sympathetically) utilise slave labour and do not care in the slightest about the mortality rate of their slaves. Despite that, the Kaleds and Thals are both presented as generally less evil than the Daleks and Davros, and in a clear case of Even Evil Has Standards, plenty of Kaleds are appalled by Davros' genetic manipulation of the Daleks into Omnicidal Maniacs. Indeed, more Kaleds are presented sympathetically in this episode than unsympathetically, despite the fact that the episode doesn't scrimp on the not-very-subtle Nazi allegory and makes it plain that Kaled society at large is monstrous.note  It's revealed in the first Dalek story from the Thals themselves that there weren't "good guys" during the original war, have changed in the years since, and aren't proud of their history. They wonder if the Daleks, whom they haven't seen in a while, have un-taken their level in Jerkass. (They haven't, of course.)
    • In "The Caves of Androzani", the only guest character who is sane and relatively decent is Chellak, and even he is willing to order a soldier to an unnecessary death solely in order to cover up a mistake. This makes the fact that only one named guest character (who is evil) survives the story more satisfying than tragic.
    • In "The Magician's Apprentice"/"The Witch's Familiar", Missy (aka the Master) came up against the Daleks, and was delighted to finally get to meet and potentially match wits with Davros.
    • In "The Eaters of Light", a Pict settlement, about to be wiped out or enslaved by the Ninth Roman Legion, try to harness an evil creature, which they were pledged to protect the world from, to defeat the conquerors. They were hoping they'd wipe each other out...
      The Doctor: There were strangers at the door, and a guard dog in the attic.
    • In the comic Deathworld, the Ice Warriors and Cybermen battle over the planet Yama-10.
    • In Black Legacy, the Cybermen fight against the Apocalypse Device, which was so terrible it wiped out its Creators, the Deathsmiths of Goth. Finally Cyberleader Maxel self-destructs his ship to prevent it escaping its world.
  • Downton Abbey: Sarah O'Brien and Thomas Barrow were best friends who used to join up to play cruel tricks on others, including trying to frame Bates for theft and in O'Brien's case the far more serious 'trick' of causing a miscarriage for one of the other characters. By series three, because Barrow was unkind to her nephew, Alfred, O'Brien and Barrow became enemies and turned their tricks on each other.
  • Netflix's El Chapo and La reina del sur are different from other Latin American narco series in that it's all black and black morality; the protagonists are cold-blooded killers who have no qualms about resorting to Child Soldiers or Cold-Blooded Torture exactly like the antagonists, and it's a Crapsack World where everyone is evil.
  • Farscape has Scarrans vs. Peacekeepers. Both sides want to take over the galaxy and kill everyone who disagrees with them. Scorpius tries to convince John that the Scarrans are worse, but, given that the Peacekeepers have been hunting him down for a few years, it rings hollow.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • In Season 5, the Anti-Hero Stannis Baratheon sets out with his army to take Winterfell from the Boltons, whose two leaders are Roose, the man who betrayed his king Robb Stark, and Ramsay, a psychopath and rapist. Under these circumstances, the viewer would root for Stannis... until the penultimate episode of the season. With the army trapped in a snowstorm, starving and with constant desertions, Stannis despairs and sacrifices his only daughter, in an attempt to win the grace of the Red God whom he follows. After that, Stannis becomes at best, a tragic figure and, at worst, a villain as despicable as the Boltons, making the whole conflict an example of this.
    • Cersei against the High Sparrow in Seasons 5 and 6. On the one hand, Cersei is a horrible human being who lied, stole, and killed to try to stay on the throne. On the other hand, the High Sparrow is a misogynistic and religious fanatic.
    • In the penultimate episode "The Bells", Daenerys Targaryen, who has been one of the protagonists and heroines of the show since the beginning, faces a battle against Cersei and the Lannisters' army in King's Landing. Daenerys wins the battle with ease, and the Lannisters surrender... but Daenerys, to the surprise and shock of almost everyone, decides to remain fighting and orders the destruction of the city, including the death of not only soldiers but even civilians, women and children. Daenerys's allies like Jon, Davos, and Tyrion are horrified and desperately try to intervene in the situation, without success, while even Cersei is watching everything shocked and silent, apparently surprised to see her enemy proving to be as monstrous as she.
  • Hannibal: Short version: Hannibal is the Villain Protagonist, the heroes are all corruptible, and some of the criminals are more dangerous than Hannibal.
  • Heroes: Gives us the conflict between insane serial killer Sylar and ruthless Knight Templar organisation the Company.
  • In most Kamen Rider shows, especially those in the modern era, present these sorts of conflicts. Sometimes, it's one monster fighting another monster, such as The Greeed at most times when it comes to stealing Core Medals from each other. Other times, it's a villainous Rider taking on an equally villainous monster, like with Kamen Rider Eternal vs. the Eyes Dopant.
  • Lost: Has the conflict between Ben Linus and Charles Widmore in Seasons 4 and 5, as they vie for control of the island. In Season 6, it seems to be setting the stage for another one in addition: Charles Widmore versus the show's real Big Bad, The Man In Black. By the end of the series, Ben gets redeemed. And Charles seemed to be on that track, but then Ben killed him... His full redemption doesn't come until after that.
  • Masters of Horror: The episode "Pick Me Up" has Wheeler, a serial killer truck driver, V.S. Walker, a serial killer hitchhiker. The eventual winner? The serial killing ambulance driver duo who pick them up at episode end.
  • The Night Gallery segment "The Devil is Not Mocked" revolves around Nazi officers meeting Count Dracula during World War II. In his introduction, Rod Serling describes the story as Evil colliding with Evil.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • By the end of the first season, Regina (the Evil Queen) and Mr. Gold (Rumpelstiltskin) have all but declared war on each other. It really starts when Regina uses the theft of Gold's Tragic Keepsake to force him to admit that he remembers who he really is, then team up to frame Mary Margaret (Snow White) for murder, only for Regina to realize too late that Gold manipulated the whole thing so that by the end it was obvious that Mary was framed and all of the evidence pointed at Regina.
    • This feud continues into the second season, although they briefly team up to stop a greater threat, only for Regina to end up joining said threat, and when Gold screws her over with that, she finds a way to hurt him back. Additionally, Captain Hook's whole motivation on the show is too destroy Gold for Revenge, and then Tamara and Greg enter the picture to go against Regina, with their clash being described in actual TV promos as "Evil Versus Evil".
    • When the third season brings the Wicked Witch of the West in gunning for Regina, the promos hype it as "Wicked Versus Evil". Less prevalent in-series, as Regina's Heel–Face Turn has really started to take hold, and is what enables her to defeat the Witch in "Kansas".
    • Ingrid and Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin fit this trope in Season 4a. In Season 4b, Maleficent and Rumple, who began as a Big Bad Duumvirate, eventually dissolve into this when Maleficent fears Rumple will betray her and betrays him first.
    • Season 7 brings this back in a huge way. Gothel vs. Facilier is probably the most notable, but before Facilier entered the picture, Drizella served as the season's Starter Villain and was in opposition to Gothel. And then there was Serial-Killer Killer Hansel, the Ax-Crazy Knight Templar.
  • The Originals: The entire show is evil vs evil. The Mikelson siblings are vampires who don't care about anyone outside of their family and don't have a problem with murder or torture as long as it isn't happening to them or their loved ones (although they even go after each other sometimes). Yet, the viewer still roots for them because there are even worse bad guys. Ex. In Season 2, their aunt of questionable sanity wants to kidnap Klaus Mikelson's infant daughter Hope and she doesn't care who gets hurt. In the current season, Season 4, a ghost known as "The Hollow" wants to return to physical form and seeks to do this by sacrificing innocent children, including Hope Mikelson. The sibling's actions are still reprehensible, but you can't help but want them to defeat the bad guys who seek to harm Hope, who is just an innocent child.
  • Occurs frequently in Orphan Black due to the fact that the main characters attract the attention of multiple competing conspiracies.
    • In the first season, the main characters were attacked on two sides by the Neolutionists and the Proletheans, who also hated each other. The Neolutionists are into ethically dodgy scientific research and want to own the clones, and are opposed by the Proletheans, who are violent religious extremists. Later, it revealed that there are at least two rival branches of the Proletheans.
    • Then there's the Dyad Institute, a Mega-Corp that had a hand in creating and monitoring the clones. It was infiltrated by Neolutionists, though its not clear whether all of Dyad was converted, or only a portion of it. The agent Ferdinand is closely associated with Dyad, but defects after learning he was being used by the Neolutionists, whom he despises.
    • There's also Project Castor, revealed in the Season 2 finale. It's goal was to raise a set of male clones from birth to be the ultimate soldiers, but in the present their leader plans to use the clones' unique biology to create a biological weapon. At the end of Season 3, Sarah manages to get Ferdinand to go after them.
    • In the same Ambiguously Evil category there's Topside, a shadow cabal that seems to control elements of Dyad and other companies/projects, possibly including Castor. It all comes back around to Neolution running everything behind the scenes by the Season 3 finale.
    • Season 4 gives us several Neolution factions against each other, none of whom are ultimately suggested to be particularly heroic but some of whom are undoubtedly more sinister than others. However, by the season finale, while a number of other long-running mysteries of the show have been resolved, Neolution's internal politics have proven to be more complex and inscrutable than ever, and it's difficult to know even where anyone's loyalties lie.
  • The bad guys in Person of Interest have a habit of killing each other.
  • Power Rangers
    • Power Rangers Zeo: This show saw Rita and Zedd attempting to undermine the Machine Empire. In the end, it was Rita and Zedd that destroyed The Empire, rather than the heroes.
    • Power Rangers in Space: Ecliptor and Darkonda fight each other on several occasions.
    • Power Rangers Dino Thunder: Had Mesogog, the current Big Bad, team up with the previous season's Big Bad Lothor. Once their plans fail, they instantly turn on one another and duke it out. Being the present Big Bad, Mesogog ultimately wins.
      Mesogog: Looks like this planet has one too many evil villains, and I have no intention of leaving.
    • Power Rangers S.P.D.: Broodwing turns against Grumm after Grumm gets tired of paying for Broodwing's expensive robots and weapons when the Rangers keep trashing them regardless. Of course, Broodwing is still against the Rangers because he knows that they can't be bought off and that defeating them would make Grumm look like an absolute laughingstock.
    • Power Rangers Operation Overdrive: This trope is a major part. The Corona Aurora, an object of god-like power, is so sought after that there are a total of four distinct villain factions fighting the Rangers and one another for it; they occasionally get along, but most of the time, they're fighting one another as often as they fight the Rangers. Even after being shown they're a much greater threat working together, they go right back to trying to kill each other afterwards.
    • Power Rangers Super Megaforce: Professor Cog lures the Megaforce Rangers to Corinth so he and his Grinders can invade Earth unimpeded, but Prince Vekar refuses to be one-upped, so he and the rest of the Armada come to Earth to battle Cog while the Rangers are occupied.
  • Revolution: The minute Sebastian "Bass" Monroe and Randall Flynn teamed up at the end of episode 11, savvy viewers knew that they would have to turn on each other at some point. Bass is a former marine who rules the Monroe Republic as a dictator, and has a lot of loyal (or cowed) men and weapons at his command. Randall, in contrast, is a former bureaucrat who dresses up sharply, relies on slasher smiles and bargaining, is a non-combatant who mostly operates solo (he had one goon named Mr. Austin, but the guy backstabbed him and got killed off in episode 16), must rely on electrical toys to take down people, and has to rely on Monroe's men to protect him when he goes out into the field. Sure enough, episode 18 has Bass confront Randall about holding out on him about the Tower and orders him killed. Randall is easily defeated in this brief confrontation, but he survived by offering to take Monroe to the Tower himself and had to get reduced to a mere toady to stay alive.
  • Smallville: The episode "Injustice". A group of supervillains are sent to take down Doomsday.
  • Sons of Anarchy: The Sons are an outlaw biker gang who spend the series alternately allied with or fighting against Dirty Cops, Neo Nazis, Chinese Triads, Mexican drug cartels, other biker gangs, the IRA, the Russian Mafia, Gangbangers and a Corrupt Corporate Executive.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand: The villains may all be against Spartacus and his allies, but that doesn't mean they have any true loyalty towards one another. They're all perfectly happy to backstab and murder one another to succeed. Then a much darker example occurs in War of The Damned where some Romans are portrayed as decent people caught up in a war, and some of the rebels are basically psychotic murderers. It's sort of a combination of Grey-and-Gray Morality and this trope.
  • Stargate:
    • Stargate SG-1:
      • We have the tyrannical Goa'uld fighting each other over territory and other things and have the Replicators (except for the later human-form replicators they're not evil per se, but a threat to all life) fighting everyone, including the Goa'uld.
      • The Trust is a shadowy group of Earth businessmen who try to assassinate Senator Kinsey in Season 6, then briefly take the Earth/Goa'uld war into their own hands in Season 8.
    • Stargate Atlantis:
      • The Asurans battled the Wraith, erasing human life to deplete the Wraith's "food sources". In the end the Asurans proved to be by far the greater threat, leading to an alliance between the humans and a Wraith faction to eliminate them.
      • The Wraith are no more friendly amongst themselves than the Goa'uld — that alliance contains nine factions, not the three you'd assume at first glance.
      • There's a less direct example in "Critical Mass". The Trust, having been taken over by the Goa'uld, plans to blow up Atlantis in order to prevent the Wraith from gaining access to the city, making their way to the Milky Way and gaining a foothold in our galaxy. The fact that it would have dealt a significant blow to Earth was just the icing on the cake. With the SGC, the Tok'ra, the Free Jaffa Nation, the Ori and the Lucian Alliance to contend with, the last thing that the few remaining Goa'uld needed was another enemy to fight. Unfortunately, we never got to see a proper encounter between the Goa'uld and the Wraith.
  • Star Trek:
    • When they're not fighting the Federation, the Klingons and the Romulans spend most of their time fighting each other. Or other Klingons. Actually, Klingons don't get along with anyone, really.
    • In fact, during Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Klingons went to war against the Cardassians midway through the series' run, before Gul Dukat enlisted the aid of the Dominion to drive the Klingons almost to the brink of defeat, before the Federation (and later, the Romulans) stepped in to help.
    • Playing the trope more straight, Species 8472 versus the Borg in Star Trek: Voyager. (That was how they met Seven of Nine.) A later episode retconned their Omnicidal Maniac tendencies (they had no qualms about blowing up planets, and Kes clearly read murder in their minds) into a simple misunderstanding. The game Star Trek: Armada II retcons them back.
    • The Enterprise story "In a Mirror, Darkly" is also an example of this trope— being set entirely in the mirror universe, there are no good guys, and the protagonists delight in backstabbing one another at the least possible opportunity as well as fighting the Tholians.
  • Supernatural:
    • The standard operating environment. Sam and Dean, who frequently drift into being anti-heroes in their own right, are surrounded by major league evil - and often find themselves stuck working with it against something even worse. You know that things are bad when Heaven is run by jerks and God is off on sabbatical somewhere, leaving you to deal with angels and demons that are often kind of hard to tell apart.
    • The demon Crowley is an amusing example of this. He manipulates and double-crosses everybody in sight, from the protagonists to his own demonic peers, in order to save his own neck, his comfortable job as a soul merchant and (incidental to those goals) the world. Though a useful ally and unusually honest for a demon, he never makes any attempt to pretend he isn't evil. This makes it all the more impressive that he convinces the good guys to keep working with him even after they've been tricked, thrown under the bus, beaten half-senseless and otherwise abused as a result of listening to him.
    • Crowley becomes the instigator of this again in Season 6; it's eventually revealed that The Mother of All came to Earth and started building armies of monsters in response to Crowley's plans to steal all the souls from Purgatory — the Mother's domain. And when the Mother's killed, the last few episodes of the season are still spent dealing with this trope, as the Winchesters find themselves stuck in the middle of the power struggle between the remaining contenders for the position of Big Bad: Crowley, Raphael, and Castiel, who has jumped off the slippery slope to prevent Raphael from turning the planet into a graveyard by restarting the Apocalypse. In the end Castiel decides to cut Crowley out of the deal, in response to which Crowley teams up with Raphael, but Castiel Out Gambits them both. He kills Raphael, ascents to godhood, and makes Crowley his servant not much later. In Season 7, he's killed due to the strain of containing inside himself, in addition to millions of souls, the Leviathans — absolutely ancient creatures from Purgatory who wish only to consume. Which leads to...
    • Crowley instigating this again in Season 7. He attempts a Villain Team-Up with the Leviathans' nominal leader, but is brusquely rejected. Then he orders his demonic forces to ignore the Winchesters so they can hunt Leviathans around the clock.
    • Crowley ends up as part of this trope a lot — he spends most of Season 9 fighting an Enemy Civil War against Abaddon for control of Hell, and significant chunks of Seasons 10 and 11 see him in power struggles with his mother Rowena.
    • Season 11 as a whole seems to be setting up the returned Lucifer as the only one who will be able to fight the Darkness. Which technically is also a case of Evil Versus Oblivion, given their respective goals.
    • Season 13's Big Bad Ensemble is this. Lucifer, who wants to get back to his world and find his son, Asmodeus, who wants to keep the power that comes with being King of Hell, and the Apocalypse World's Michael, who wants to bring his crusade to the main reality. Asmodeus ends up being burned alive by Gabriel, whom he imprisoned and tortured for years, thus taking him out of the game. Meanwhile, in "Exodus", Lucifer has to team up with Team Free Will and friends in order to escape the alternate world safely, thus pitting him directly at odds with Michael, who had briefly captured him earlier on in the season. And then Lucifer's Villainous Breakdown in the season finale forces Michael to ally himself with Team Free Will in order to defeat a powered-up Lucifer, who fed on his own son's Nephilim grace.
  • Each season of Teen Wolf (or half season in 3A's case) usually has some form of this by the end.
    • In Season 1, it's the Alpha vs. Kate Argent.
    • In Season 2, it's the Kanima and its master vs. Gerard Argent.
    • In Season 3A, it's the Alpha Pack versus the Darach.
    • Season 3B is the exception, as the Nogitsune is the sole villain for the arc.
    • In Season 4, it's Kate Argent vs. The Benefactor.
  • True Blood has had this at times.
    • In Season 4, Marnie Stonebrook and Antonia Gavilan are trying to kill vampires. While Antonia has does have her reasons against the vampires some of them are innocent, however, some of them are evil, leading to this trope.
    • In the Season 5 finale, Lilith begins pitting the Authority members against one another by telling each of them they are chosen to lead her army. As a result, the villains begin trying to kill the others who oppose them.
    • In Season 6, the Big Bad, Sarah Newlin, is locking away vampires in a prison. While many of the vampires are dangerous and evil, Sarah is no better.
  • The Twilight Zone: The Twist Ending of "Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up?" reveals not only is Ross a three-armed Martian spy plotting the invasion of Earth, but Haley is a Venusian spy with a Third Eye, who brags that his people have intercepted the Martian fleet and have their own plans for Earth.
  • Twin Peaks loves this trope. Ben Horne in particular wages war against Catherine Martell, the Renaults and Leo Johnson when he wants him out the way, Hank is pitted against them too and Windom Earle is an enemy to both Leo and BOB himself.
  • Season 3 of The Wire had The Barksdale Gang VS. Marlo Stanfield and his crew.


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