Romano, also known as the Man in the Hat (due to his outfit: black suit and black hat) was an American evil cult leader who lived in Spain, who committed suicide along with 115 followers. The energy of the mass suicide made him powerful and strong, and he went to the Dark Side. He can be considered to be Melinda's true archenemy. He started to trick souls to go with him, by making them refuse to "cross over" into The Light. The character is portrayed by John Walcutt.
When Romano first appeared on the show his appearances were quick and mysterious, and he was usually attached to a laughing man who has as of yet never spoken. He always seemed to be observing Melinda. In the episode "The One", the final episode in Season One when a plane crashes outside Grandview, Romano shows his face for the first time instead of hiding in the shadows as he attempts to gather all of the lost souls from the accident and take them with him to the Underworld. That was the first time he declared his hatred and rivalry to Melinda, and he said that he would release all "his earthbound souls" in exchange for her one soul.
Romano and Melinda confronted each other verbally, both using persuasive speeches directed to the souls from the plane crash. Finally, Romano managed to get at least seven of the souls, including a stewardess who later does go into the light in season two.
In "Love Never Dies" episode, the first of season two, Romano tried to prevent Melinda's friend Andrea from crossing over into The Light. Melinda gathered all her strength to make Andrea cross over, and she learns with the help of Professor Rick Payne the identity of Romano. Payne also warns Melinda about Romano's real purpose: to destroy good spirits (the ones in charge of helping souls to "cross over" into The Light, such as Melinda) in order to make the dead stronger than the living, and to be endlessly powerful. According to Professor Rick Payne, Dark Spirit Romano, would literally take over a weak soul in a weak body to make too much harm to humanity, until the last trace of joy and happiness vanish from earth. It is impossible for Romano to get closer when Melinda helps spirits to "cross over" into The Light, because there is too much Love, and Love is what Romano hates.
Romano last appeared in episode one of season two, when he was unsuccessful in trying to possess Andrea's soul. However, in the middle of season two, Melinda seems to foreshadow the come-back of Romano, when Delia Banks tries on a black hat which resembled Romano's.
Romano makes a total of six appearances throughout the first two seasons, four of which were by an unnamed actor.