Beyond 'Les Mis': Famous characters who commit crimes for good reasons

Yahoo Contributor Network

Over the holiday season, "Les Misérables" was a box office smash. At the center of this musical drama is Jean Valjean, a man who went to prison after stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving sister and her children. Why Jean Valjean may be the most famous "justified criminal" in pop culture, he's not the only one worth praising. Here are some prime examples of other beloved characters who commit heinous crimes for very good reasons.

Walter White, "Breaking Bad"

Walter White is an interesting example of a benevolent crook. He originally starts cooking meth as a way to quickly make money to support his family. Walt was diagnosed with lung cancer, and he needed to make the money quickly so that his pregnant wife and disabled son will have a means to survive.

But as the series goes on, it becomes clear that Walt has stopped cooking meth to provide funds for his family and is simply cooking to boost his own ego. The shocking thing about Walt is that he would rather murder people to keep on making his life-ruining drugs than accept "pity money" from his former colleagues at Grey Matter.

The Winchester brothers, "Supernatural"

There's no question that Sam and Dean are good guys just trying to do the right thing. But hunting monsters and demons keeps them from getting real jobs. So while they so perform a useful public service, they also steal cars and credit cards to support themselves. They also have a habit of pretending to be FBI agents, which is crime.

Mike Ross, "Suits"

Mike Ross is a pretty unethical guy: He conspired to sell drugs, he helps people cheat on their exams in exchange for cash, and he even tried to blackmail his own boss. But there is one underlying reason for all of Mike's bad life choices, and it's a very good one. Mike needs money to pay for his grandmother's medical bills and living expenses. Considering the fact that his grandmother raised him after his parents were killed, Mike's actually a pretty great guy.

Jack Bauer, "24"

While Jack is a good guy, he's also technically a criminal. Think of all the the times he's broken the law in order to save lives…most often, by illegally torturing suspects. He's saved hundreds of thousands of lives over his career: How could they convict a man like Jack?

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