TV's Ultimate Bad Boy? It's Either White Collar's Neal Caffrey or Vampire Diaries' Damon Salvatore!

Two men enter, one man leaves. That’s the brutal reality of the final round in TV’s Ultimate Bad Boy Bracket Tournament, where Damon Salvatore of The Vampire Diaries will fight for supremacy against Neal Caffrey of White Collar.

It wasn’t an easy road to the Bad Boys finale for either of these characters. To make it to the end of the tourney, Neal had to vanquish Patrick Jane of The Mentalist, Harvey Specter of Suits, Logan Echolls of Veronica Mars, and in an intensely close Quarterfinal bout, Supernatural‘s Dean Winchster. Finally, he edged past Gossip Girl‘s Chuck Bass by winning 52.1% of the Semifinal vote.

RELATED | Who Is TV’s Ultimate Mean Girl? Let the Nominating Process Begin!

On the other side of the bracket, Damon swept to early round wins over Russel Edgington and Eric Northman of True Blood, as well as Cole Turner of Charmed. After that, he took out Raylan Givens of Justified, and then Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Spike, snagging 52.4% of the vote.

Despite their noble journeys over the past month, only one of these fellas can reign victorious in our single-elimination tourney. So make sure the right choice is made by heading down to our poll to vote for your favorite (Finals voting will be open for 72 hours), and then hit the comments to justify your picks.

If you’re wondering what criteria we used to pick our players, we cast our net rather wide — including fellas who are dark and a little bit dangerous, truly good guys with naughty, maybe even promiscuous streaks, and actual evildoers who are nevertheless tough to root against.

And if you’re interested in the match-ups that preceded our Finals, CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE ENTIRE 64-PLAYER BRACKET (then click again for a zoomed-in view) — and sign up to follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV. Now ready, set, vote!

Comments (422)

  • Damon beat Spike???!!! WTF? I guess it’s because the voters are mainly teenage girls…

    Comment by Caro – August 3, 2012 11:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I quess Spike fans never were teenagers when they started watching BTVS- I know I was. Now I am 28 and still love him and also Damon. I know MANY Damon fans that are NOT teenagers at all…

      Comment by JanaP – August 3, 2012 01:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I watch neither show but I voted for Neal out of spite since Damon beat out Raylan. And just so you know, the best bad boy in the history of television was never even in this contest. Al Swearengen from Deadwood. Saloon keeper, pimp, sometimes a villain, sometimes a hero, controller of all that happened in town, he knew how to take a beating as well as give a beating, could kill a man with a knife (and often did), knew how to manage the hot-headed sheriff in town, controlled the first set of elections in town, knew how to bribe when he needed to, killed an innocent woman to protect the prostitute he loved, and he could rock a soliloquy in only the way a Shakespearian actor could. Swedgen forever!

    Comment by Britta Unfiltered – August 3, 2012 12:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I LOVE that you posted this! Al Swearengen was the BEST! Every time I watch a Western now I think, ‘They are not saying the F-word as much as they should.’ “Deadwood” was FANTASTIC!!

      Comment by jlen24 – August 3, 2012 12:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • STOP telling that Damon fans likes him only because of his looks! NOT true at all. I am inveloved with the fandom and read all the comments, and can say that looks are the last thing they love about him. I love both Damon and Spike- not because of their looks. BTW there are also people who claim that Spike fans love him just because he is hot. Every single fans make comments like: he is hot, beautiful or what ever, doesn´t mean that is the reason they are loved so much. Noone cared about Ian Somerhalder on Lost, Damons character is what made him popular, not his looks!

    Comment by JanaP – August 3, 2012 12:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Um. *raises hand* I liked him on Lost. And I knew him from various things before TVD came along.

      Comment by Ana – August 3, 2012 12:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I also liked him on Lost, and the Tournament, and the Fireball and many other movies. But JanaP has got a point: many people learned about him after he starred as Damon on TVD. Sadly, ’cause he’s a damn good actor! <3

        Comment by Hasmik – August 3, 2012 12:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • i liked him on lost, idiot…

      Comment by bob – August 3, 2012 01:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You just put your foot in your mouth with this comment. Lost was not a show for teenagers. TVD is. That is why there were not so much fangirls going mad for him as they are now.
      And talking of Spike and the fans that supposedly love him just because he is hot (and he IS hot! :) ), it could be true at the time but it surely is not so today. With all the hot actors that have been in TV in all this years, one has to be stupid to think that Spike fans only care for his looks. If we keep loving him and praising him, instead of going after the newest hot guy such as Damon, it is because Spike is obviously so much more.

      Comment by Fanya – August 3, 2012 03:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • And do you really think Damon will be as popular as Spike STILL is almost a decade after TVD is off the air? *arching eyebrow* The fact that Spike made it as far as he did speaks FAR more than Damon winning last year and making it to the finals this year.

      Comment by Isis M. Nocturne (@Isis_Nocturne) – August 3, 2012 10:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Well we won’t know until another 10 years now, will we? So what’s the point in bringing that up. You can’t predict the future and you have no idea what kind of staying power Damon Salvatore will have in the TV history. Just like Spike has his fans, Damon has his fans too.

        Comment by Kendra – August 4, 2012 10:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ok, I happen to be a fan of both Damon and Spike. I know, I know, I must be crazy, right? Not really. I grew up with Buffy, so I remember what a bad boy Spike really was…. until about Season 5 or so….. but I still loved him. He was sarcastic, and funny, and showed real emotion.

    Buffy is the whole reason I got into Vampire-lore, and without it, I might never have watched TVD. But I love Damon for far more than his looks. I love him because of the nature of his character; he is irredeemable. He tried to be what he’s not, but he is truly a bad guy. And I love his sense of humor. And I love that he is reckless, and he acts rashly, without thinking. He may be bad, but he also shows regret, and remorse (on occasion), which, despite his vampire status, makes him more real.

    I vote for Damon for all those reasons!

    Comment by Jj – August 3, 2012 12:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wow people calm down! It is just a poll between 2 TV characters. Such tempers…but I vote Salvatore! He can be such an A-HOLE!

    Comment by Teri – August 3, 2012 12:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • As much as I enjoy Damon, Neal is so damn smooth and suave. He is the ultimate bad boy in EVERY sense of the word (where Damon is the slightly more obvious, stereotypical one, although I do love him)

    Definitely Neal Caffrey.

    Comment by kewi94 – August 3, 2012 12:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It’s come down to the pretty boys like usual.

    Comment by Renee – August 3, 2012 12:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Spike should have won this whole thing! I like Damon but come on, it’s a similar character but way less badass.
    At least now I can vote for Neal instead of against him.

    Comment by AnnClau – August 3, 2012 12:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i just dont want damon to win. I don’t watch white collar but spike should have won, so now it’s all on Neal! go Neal! yayyy!! voted for neal. damon shouldnt win tbh

    Comment by bob – August 3, 2012 01:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So hard. Love them both. Had to vote for Neal.

    Comment by dude – August 3, 2012 03:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ian wakes up every day wishing he had Matt’s talent, looks, inteligence, and career! Neal Caffrey of course!

    Comment by Jenn – August 3, 2012 03:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • LOL Bomer fans are quite delusional.

      Comment by Judy – August 4, 2012 12:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Uh, Matt is making movies with big time directors, two in the past 6 months and two more to be filmed this fall. Ian’s movie career flopped a few years ago. He is a CW lifer.

        Comment by Cami – August 4, 2012 09:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Bomer sure doesn’t seem to be making much of a splash in said movies. He is so bland and recieved the least positive reviews in Magic Mike. He was so stiff, and not in a good way. lol

          Ian’s career is just fine. He’s on a popular tv show and has fans all over the world. He is also an incredible person who gives back and tries to make a difference through his philanthropy and foundation.

          Comment by Chloe – August 4, 2012 08:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Ah Bomer movie Career is starting to take off where Ian died in the early 2000s

        Comment by ggny – August 4, 2012 09:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Really? Ian sure seems to be alive, welll, and in fine form. All the buzz around him sure seems to indicate that this is so… ;)

          Comment by Chloe – August 4, 2012 08:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • name a movie he has been in in the last 5 years. Please

            Comment by ggny – August 5, 2012 08:01 PM PDT  
    • true dat true dat ian cant act for crap lol

      Comment by cas ryan – August 4, 2012 05:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • they really should let fans nominate characters and the top 64 make it to the bracket so people will stop with the “why isn’t _____” on the bracket crap. Also, people are taking this way too seriously, its all in fun and people are getting angry and resorting to name calling. This isn’t “The Lottery”, they aren’t going to be stoned for being chosen (or not in this case). Another complaint, voting for “whose hotter” or “the more famous actor”, read the reason for the poll. This was “Ultimate Bad Boy” not, “Which actor has been in better movies” or anything about the actor at all really. Its about the character portrayed. I understand being a fan, but where does the line lie where fan stops and fanatic begins?

    Comment by Hyde – August 3, 2012 04:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Hyde, thank you for speaking some sense! I agree with you 100%, and obviously, there are a lot of fanatics on this board. I, too, am tired of all the anger and hatred being thrown all around here.

      Comment by Nita – August 7, 2012 09:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I can’t believe there’s any question. No one compares to Somerhalder. That stuff he can do with his eyes? !

    Comment by skiki – August 3, 2012 04:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Neal Caffrey! Vampires are hella annoying. Plus look at Matt Bomer’s eyes.

    Comment by Aria – August 3, 2012 04:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Pitting Damon Salvatore against Neal Caffrey is like comparing apples to oranges. Neal is a charming thief. He’s only “bad” if you consider that he broke the law in the past, and sometimes stretches it in the present. Damon Salvatore is a vampire. Even though he has toned his behavior down a couple of notches to please Elena Gilbert because he’s in love with her, he is a ticking time bomb who sometimes snaps and goes psychotic. He has stated outright that he likes killing people because it’s in his nature to do so because he’s a predator, by virtue of his being a vampire. Now that to me is a “bad boy”.

    Comment by Diana Calvert – August 3, 2012 05:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • it is demon vs human so you relly cant compare them…

      Comment by ... – August 4, 2012 02:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • A huge Damon fan here. But on any given day, NEAL CAFFREY would always have my vote!

    Comment by MissyBoo – August 3, 2012 06:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • CAFFREY. I just want to see someone new win instead of Damon all the freaking time. Besides Neal is an amazing character and when it comes between the two he deserves it more (just my opinion). I have no doubt in my mind that Damon will win because the TVD fanbase can be crazy with kind of stuff but I’m so glad Matt/Neal made it to the final.

    Comment by Kasey – August 3, 2012 06:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Neal Caffrey FTW! (for those who don’t know, that means, ‘for the win’) :)

    Comment by White Collar Woman73 (@WhiteCollarLuvr) – August 3, 2012 07:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Damon beat Spike?! This is a crime D: D:
    These kids voting for Damon need to start watching some Spike episodes. Spike outclasses Damon on so many levels: sarcasm, bad-boyness, charm, style, originality.

    Comment by Mara – August 3, 2012 07:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So am I the only one who saw the preview for Vampire Diaries and thought way to jump on the Twilight and True Blood band wagon? I get enough vampires watching them but thanks anyway. Neal from White Collar is a different kind of bad boy. He could charm your panties right off. :=))

    Comment by Patti – August 3, 2012 08:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • THIS!

      Comment by Isis M. Nocturne (@Isis_Nocturne) – August 3, 2012 10:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Actually Vampire Diaries books are from the early 90′s. It came first.

      Comment by Hyde – August 6, 2012 04:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Hyde, thank you again for your post. I read those books way back in the early 90′s too! Vampire Diaries did not jump on the “Twilight or True Blood bandwagon” because it came first. It just wasn’t the first to make it to the TV or big screen.

        Comment by Nita – August 7, 2012 09:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • No contest, Damon all the way! And I left my teen years behind long ago…as have most of Damon’s fans contrary to small minded belief. ;)

    Comment by Judy – August 3, 2012 09:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Seriously if you aren’t fan of Neal or Damon why are u even here? Some people just don’t have a life.*eyeroll*

    Comment by GetALIfe – August 3, 2012 09:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • A) Voted for Neal, and that’s because I actually watch White Collar and love that there’s a bad boy who doesn’t prove his badness by killing other people. Murder isn’t the only type of ‘bad’ out there, people.

    B) I feel a stronger final lineup would have been Neal vs Spike.

    C) I’m completely losing my faith in humanity and the future of Americans based on the horrible grammar and spelling errors I see here.

    Comment by Isis M. Nocturne (@Isis_Nocturne) – August 3, 2012 10:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • damon salvatore is the most overated character in any tv fandom.

    Comment by carlita – August 3, 2012 10:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    Damon will win ;D ♥
    Damon the best ♥

    Comment by Katarina – August 3, 2012 11:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by Katarina – August 3, 2012 11:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • As much as I love damon, Matt Bomer is sexier so NEAL!!!

    Comment by Andy – August 4, 2012 12:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Damon = Vampire
    Other Guy = Human
    Nuff said

    Comment by Stephanie Weaver – August 4, 2012 03:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Overrated vs. Underrated. Going to go with the underdog, GO NEAL.

    Comment by Addie – August 4, 2012 05:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • White Collar requires thinking which is lost on the CW fan girl crowd

    Comment by Carson – August 4, 2012 05:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love Neal Caffrey! Matt definitely gets my vote.

    Comment by Kathy Manno (@KathyManno) – August 4, 2012 06:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love that the results are so close to each other, to be honest I thought since TVD has a massive teen girl fanbase Neal would really struggle against Damon despite having gotten this far. Great to see all the support for Neal! I hope he wins.

    Comment by Aria – August 4, 2012 06:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by JJ – August 4, 2012 08:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Dean Winchester was up against Neal Caffrey. Neal won. I freggin love both of them so much! And I didn’t vote, but now! My baby better win! VOTE FOR NEAL CAFFREY. HE DESERVES IT MORE THAN DAMON.. MORE THAN ANYONE.

    Comment by jenselicious – August 4, 2012 08:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Not all fans of Vampire Diaries are girls..Who cares who wins, whoever wins wins.

    Comment by Frank – August 4, 2012 08:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m a fan of the daily diaries of a vampire, already seen the first, second and third season more than once, and of course Damon Salvatore and a bad boy, he and sarcastic and evil, beautiful sexy, you achievement with a unique look!
    Team of Damon fans will vote s2

    Comment by Dayanne – August 4, 2012 09:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Neal! Come on, you’re the best!!

    Comment by Rosalice – August 4, 2012 09:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Oh come on, vote meanz pick the one u want to pick so whatever…………. I choose neal anyday of the week, any occasion n for every reason possible..^^

    Comment by neeta – August 4, 2012 09:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Is Neal Caffrey really a bad boy?

    Comment by ggny – August 4, 2012 09:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Matt plays a bad guy to perfection. Somerhalder is just flat, one-dimensional. So – Neal all the way!

    Comment by Pauley – August 4, 2012 10:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • What Damon did to Caroline is reprehensible. What he did to Jeremy is reprehensible. What he did to Lexi is reprehensible. But…um…it’s a VAMPIRE show. Vampires are not good guys. Not only that, Damon has actually grown over three seasons. I doubt he’d do the things I’ve mentioned now. And as much as I like Matt I don’t love White Collar and I DO love TVD. So my vote is a no brainer. And yes some segments of TVD fandom are annoying. I’ve never met ANY fandom of ANYTHING that doesn’t have its annoying segment. Seems a silly reason not to vote for an actor but hey your mileage may vary.

    Comment by badwolflil – August 4, 2012 11:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It’s sad that nay sayers of damon seem to have only judged him on season 1 and his actions then & have completely over looked season 2 and 3 where damon shows his truly good and genuine side… also the reasons for his behavior in season 1 have clearly been ignored…He’s a bad ass vampire in my opinion because 1 (ian) is a brilliant actor and 2 he gets the job done and makes the hard decisions where other can’t or won.t!

    Comment by Ria Mincks – August 4, 2012 12:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Neal Caffrey deserves this one. Most loveable bad boy for me. Damon winning things is so boring + old and he isn’t even that great a character his show just unfortunately has a bigger fanbase.

    Comment by Dacey. – August 4, 2012 12:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • eeu escoolhii oo maaaais llindooo ‘ DAMOON SALVATORE…’ e escolhoo mil vezes se precisaar….. poorq amuuh ele dii paixaao….

    Comment by amanda – August 4, 2012 12:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love it that two gay actors are in the final!

    Comment by Crissi – August 4, 2012 12:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Whoa,someone would think that these people we are arguing about cares about these arguments.u wanna vote for someone,just Vote & get it over with.what biz of urs is it who votes for who & d reason for d vote?tot we are all grown ups…its depressing

    Comment by kareemah – August 4, 2012 02:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 50:50!! so exciting!!

    Comment by Keren – August 4, 2012 02:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by cas ryan – August 4, 2012 02:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ugh very hard choice…I love both of them so much! I was not expecting Damon to beat spike but I am not complaining…
    though I do kind of want him to win just because of all the bashing in these comments…bashing mainy brought on because Damon beat spike…not because of him vs. Neal..have to say its kind of ridiculous
    Anyway I wish them both luck!

    Comment by Erika – August 4, 2012 03:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i think everyone should think about the fact that the actors do occasionally read comments on sights like this and how do you think they’d feel about some of the things written about them, their shows, characters etc (not necessary)

    Comment by Ria Mincks – August 4, 2012 03:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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