Breaking Bad comes from the devious mind of writer Vince Gilligan, a writer only famous at the time for penning episodes of The X-Files. Wowed by the pilot script, AMC ordered seven episodes, and production began in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Vince hired actor Bryan Cranston to play anti-hero Walter White — a character who would have to go from defeated high school teacher to malevolent drug lord — despite AMC’s misgivings about casting an actor known mostly for his comedic role on Malcolm in the Middle.
Bryan has thrived in the role, however, winning an Emmy three years in a role for his performance. For his part, Aaron Paul — who plays Walter’s partner-in-crime, Jesse Pinkman — has picked up two Emmys. And the show itself has been nominated for Outstanding Drama Series three separate years.
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As the show begins, Walter White is a high-school chemistry teacher who receives a dire diagnosis: inoperable lung cancer. To provide for his family — wife Skyler and disabled son Walter Jr. — Walter decides to use his knowledge to cook methamphetamine with one of his former students, deadbeat Jesse Pinkman. He immediately clashes with Albuquerque’s local drug dealers and the season culminates with Walter adopting his drug kingpin persona for the first time: Heisenberg.
Season 2 finds the dynamic duo facing setback after setback, especially in their distribution. They meet shady lawyer Saul Goodman, who provides smart but less-than-legal business advice. As Jesse becomes more and more drug-addled, Walt meets a local fast-food business owner, Gustavo Fring, who offers $1.2 million for 38 pounds of meth. Walt withholds Jesse’s half of the profit and even does nothing as Jesse’s manipulative girlfriend overdoses and dies in front of him. On the home front, Skyler kicks Walter out, fed up with his secrets.
Walter confesses his whole criminal side to Sykler in Season 3, and she demands a divorce. Meanwhile, Gustavo Fring moves Walt into a state-of-the-art, underground meth lab and provides a new assistant, Gale. Walter’s brother-in-law, DEA agent Hank, begins to put a case together against Jesse. Jesse meanwhile learns that Gus’s henchmen made the kid brother of Jesse’s new girlfriend kill one of Jesse’s distributors, and conspires to kill the henchmen in retribution. When Gus replaces Walt with apprentice Gale, Walt makes Jesse kill Gale to make them indispensable.
Season 4 sees Gus reluctantly rehiring Walter and Jesse. Meanwhile, Skyler agrees to launder Walt’s profits with a car wash the family buys. Hank closes in, directing his investigation toward Gus now. Upon discovering Walter’s connection with Hanks, Gus fires Walter and threatens harm to both him and his family, but Walter outsmarts Gus and kills him by convincing a dying man to be a suicide bomber.
In the first half of Season 5, Walter and Jesse are working for themselves again. Skyler feigns a suicide attempt only to get her children to the relative safety of Hank’s house. Walt has ten men who know his secret murdered in prison. He also kills Mike Ehrmantraut, a longtime ally of his and Jesse’s. The first chapter of the season ends with Hank discovering a book with an inscription from Gale to Walt, finally piecing together that Walt is the notorious drug lord he’s been chasing.
The second half of Season five premiered August 11, picking up right where things left off, with the episode reaching a tense peak when Hank confronts Walt about his identity as Heisenberg. It also features another fast-forward intro where the Walter sees what has become of the Whites' Albuquerque home. But what about the rest of Walter's family? There are some pretty out-there fan theories... but Episode 9 didn't give any real indication outside of that intro tease.
What do you think is going to happen at the end of Breaking Bad? Our editors have some ideas about the fate of Walter and crew... but all we really know is that, according to Aaron Paul, the ending is going to make viewers %&#@ their paints.