In my current WiP, one of my characters is being finicky. I have a character who is part of the mob, but still has to be liked by the MC. How can I make the mobster a good person when he's kind of not? I guess I can't really do that; if you're in the mob, you're probably going to kill people. He needs to be sympathetic. How can I get the readers to still root for him? It's a hard line to walk and make believable.
I've been thinking about the show Dexter. He's a serial killer but we still root for him. He has a "code" that he follows, making him somewhat redeemable. He's also a great brother and a good(ish) dad. There are parts of him that make him likable.
I think that's what I have to do with my mob character. It still needs to be believable that he would kill people, but he has to have redeeming qualities, and enough of them to make the MC still want to help him. Maybe we need to see his past so that we can find out why he ended up this way. Or we need to see him doing something good that he doesn't benefit from. Maybe he really likes art, or birthdays, or cares deeply for someone. Something that redeems him as a person.
I just haven't figured out what that is yet.
How do you make a bad character sympathetic?