No TV drama is complete without a few villains to put our favorite characters through the wringer. “One Tree Hill” had its fair share of villains over its nine seasons, from emotionally manipulative friends and love interests to full-on stalkers and murderers. These eight characters were some of the most evil on the show, ranked from bad to worse.
Do you agree with our rankings? Tell us in the comments who YOU think is the worst “One Tree Hill” villain.
8. Rachel Gatina
When Rachel Gatina (Danneel Harris) first appeared in Season 3 of “One Tree Hill,” viewers knew immediately they should not like this girl. She was an instant nemesis for fan-favorite character Brooke Davis (Sophia Bush) and went out of her way to make Brooke angry, from pursuing her on-again, off-again boyfriend to trying to take her place as cheer captain.
While Rachel certainly played the villain throughout her various “One Tree Hill” storylines, her actions were tame at best, especially when compared with other characters on this list. One of the first horrible things Rachel did was release the time capsule, which she did purely to stir the pot. In her defense, she never could have known this one small act would lead to the death of two people.
In Season 5, Rachel stole money from Brooke to fuel her drug habit, and while that's also horrible, Rachel was clearly in the throes of addiction. Then, in one of the most shocking couplings in the series, she teamed up with Dan Scott (Paul Johansson) to manipulate people through his talk show. While Rachel provided a great deal of drama that held the audience's attention, her actions were more petty than malicious.
7. Renee Richardson
In Season 7, Renee Richardson (Kate French) attempted to blackmail the married Nathan Scott (James Lafferty) with fake affair and pregnancy allegations. This character threw a wrench into one of the show's most beloved couples, and it appeared she would stop at nothing to get what she wanted. In her pursuit, Renee had a flagrant disregard for Nathan's family, especially considering he had a young child.
It took far too many episodes for audiences to discover that Renee had lied about every claim she made. She was fully prepared to fight until the bitter end to get as much as she could out of Nathan and his wealthy family and would have continued trying had she not been exposed on Dan's TV show. Her commitment to her lies was truly deplorable.
6. Victoria Davis
Victoria Davis (Daphne Zuniga) was a force to reckon with on “One Tree Hill.” Right from her first appearances in Season 5, audiences saw that no one was immune to her wrath. No matter how badly she treated others, though, Victoria seemed to save her worst vitriol for her own daughter, Brooke. As one of the worst parents on the show, Victoria consistently talked down to her daughter, interfered with her work and relationships, and made her feel worthless.
It's bad enough to treat others with such hate, but to treat your own flesh and blood in such a vicious manner? That's hard to forgive. All that said, while Victoria was extremely unlikeable in her first season, she slowly changed over time. By the show's final season, she largely redeemed herself.
5. Dan Scott
Dan gave Victoria a run for her money as a terrible parent to not one but two characters in “One Tree Hill.” But there is one other major difference between them. Right from the pilot episode, Dan was established as the show's villain, making him the OG antagonist of “OTH.” Episode after episode, he was manipulative, malicious, and emotionally abusive, treating everyone around him horribly. One person he harbored extreme hatred for was his brother Keith Scott (Craig Sheffer) — whom he shot and killed in Season 3 at point-blank range.
Audiences knew Dan was evil, but watching him murder his brother took his villainy to a new level. Throughout the following season, he hid what he did (letting a teenager who had committed suicide be wrongly blamed for Keith's death), and it seemed he would get away with it. But as he struggled with increasing guilt and his son Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) learned the truth about what happened, Dan decided to turn himself in and spent several years in prison for his crime.
In as realistic a way as a TV drama can do, “One Tree Hill” continued to go back and forth in the later seasons over the true nature of Dan's character. To his grandson, he was a hero in many ways, but other family members were adamant about keeping Dan out of their lives as he continued to engage in some questionable behavior. During Season 9, however, Dan ended up saving his son Nathan from danger and, on his deathbed, most of his family were by his side. A glimpse into the afterlife even showed Keith leading Dan into heaven as his “plus one.” This indicated to audiences that even though it took years, he still redeemed himself.
4. Psycho Derek
In a storyline that was pretty ahead of its time for the mid-2000s, Peyton Sawyer (Hilarie Burton) unknowingly invited a stalker into her world simply by sharing about her life online. Earning the nickname “Psycho Derek” (Matt Barr), the character inserted himself into Peyton's life by posing as her long-lost brother. He was, however, not Peyton's brother but instead someone who grew obsessed with her after discovering her online.
Derek — whose real name we learned later was Ian Banks — attacked Peyton not once but twice during Season 4. The first time, which occurred when Peyton discovered he wasn't who he claimed to be, Derek attacked her in her bedroom. After being thrown out a window, Derek took off, but Peyton was soon led to believe he was captured and jailed. As that was just yet another ruse, he returned to Peyton's home months later on prom night and viciously attacked both Peyton and Brooke this time. Somewhat miraculously, the high school seniors were able to defeat him and Derek was imprisoned for real.
It was later revealed that Derek's obsession with Peyton was due to her looking like his late girlfriend, who died after they were in a car accident. Apparently, Derek's guilt over what happened led him to do psychotic things in the aftermath. And it was scary.
3. Katie Ryan
With a storyline somewhat similar to Psycho Derek, tennis player Katie Ryan (Amanda Schull) set her sights on Clay Evans (Robert Buckley) in Season 7. The circumstances are a bit coincidental, but Clay and Katie first met when he tried to recruit her as a client for his sports agency. Katie oddly looked exactly like Clay's deceased wife Sara (also played by Schull), but it wasn't clear at first that she also happened to have a few screws loose.
Upon learning that she bore a resemblance to his late wife, Katie tried to prey on Clay's grief and seduce him. When her advances weren't well received, Katie went deeper and deeper into adopting Sara's persona, culminating in her attempting to murder both Clay and his girlfriend Quinn James (Shantel VanSanten) before vanishing into the night. Katie later returned to Tree Hill to try to kill Quinn again, but it was she who ended up severely injured. Quinn, not being a villain herself, at least called 911 to get her some medical attention.
2. Nanny Carrie
The villainy of Nanny Carrie (Torrey DeVitto) progressively got worse and worse as her time on “One Tree Hill” went on. In Season 5, when she was hired as a nanny for Nathan and Haley's (Bethany Joy Lenz) son Jamie (Jackson Brundage), she started out as someone capable of doing the job but with a few notable boundary issues, as she clearly tried to lure Nathan into an affair. She then became questionably attached to Jamie and went so far as to share with the 4-year-old that she wished she was his mother. Yikes.
From there, Carrie's deranged behavior intensified quickly. She kidnapped Jamie with plans to dye his hair and run away with him to pretend to be mother and son (in a twisted attempt, we later learned, to replace the biological child she earlier lost). After he was saved by his grandpa Dan (yes, the same Dan as above), audiences thought that would be the last we saw of Carrie — but she wanted revenge for what Dan took from her, so she kidnapped again in Season 6, this time capturing Dan himself.
In a plot twist taken right out of horror movies, Carrie took Dan to a secluded cabin where she pretended to be his nurse, drugging him and feeding him bug-infested food. Luckily, Haley and Dan's ex-wife Deb Scott (Barbara Alyn Woods) figured out what was happening and attempted to save him. In the end, Dan stopped Carrie once and for all by fatally shooting her.
1. Xavier Daniels
One common denominator all the other villains on this list share is that they were driven by emotions tied to particular people. Whether it was misguided feelings for the character they targeted or internal struggles they were dealing with after losing loved ones, it was specific connections with specific people that drove them to their horrible actions. The only villain who had no emotional connection to his victims was Xavier Daniels (Devin McGee).
The first time we clearly saw Xavier in Season 6, he was robbing a gas station after killing the clerk and then shot Quentin Fields (Robbie Jones) in cold blood simply because the high schooler was in the wrong place at the wrong time and accidentally witnessed Xavier's crime. What viewers didn't know at the time was that Xavier was the same masked person who had previously attacked Brooke in her retail store, destroying property and roughing her up badly, for little reason other than the fact that he could. It took weeks, but eventually, Xavier was connected to both incidents and put behind bars.
In Season 9, however, Xavier was released from prison and made it his mission to go after Brooke again. He taunted her and her infant twins and even broke into her home and attacked her in a parking garage before he was subdued. Of all the villains in “One Tree Hill,” Xavier was the only one we never saw show any redeeming qualities. He was not someone who appeared to be okay only to go off the rails, he was not someone who showed remorse for his actions, and he was not someone whose behavior could be explained in some way. He was evil, pure and simple, making him the worst villain of them all.