Breaking Bad

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Breaking Bad
Image:Breaking Bad logo.PNG
Genre Drama
Created by Vince Gilligan
Starring Bryan Cranston
Anna Gunn
Aaron Paul
Dean Norris
Betsy Brandt
RJ Mitte
Country of origin  United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 20 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Vince Gilligan
Mark Johnson
Producer(s) Karen Moore
Location(s) Albuquerque, New Mexico
Running time approx. 47 min.
Original channel AMC
Original run January 20, 2008 – present
External links
Official website

Breaking Bad is an American television drama series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. The series is broadcast in the United States and Canada on the cable network AMC. It premiered on January 20, 2008, and completed its first seven-episode season on March 9, 2008. The show's 13-episode second season premiered on March 8, 2009. A third season was announced in April 2009.[1]

Set and produced in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston as Walter White, a struggling high school chemistry teacher with a handicapped teenage son (RJ Mitte) and pregnant wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn). When the already tense White is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, he breaks down and turns to a life of crime, setting up a meth lab with his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in a desire to secure his family's future financial security.[2]

Breaking Bad has received widespread critical acclaim, particularly for its writing and Cranston's performance on the show, and won two Emmy Awards for its first season in addition to numerous other awards and nominations.


[edit] Production

The title comes from a Southern United States colloquialism "to break bad" which is defined as "when someone...has taken a turn off the path of the straight and narrow, when they've gone wrong".[3] The series is set and filmed in and near Albuquerque, New Mexico.[4]

The AMC network, on which the series premiered January 20, 2008, originally ordered nine episodes for the first season (including the pilot), but the Writers Guild of America strike limited the production to seven episodes.[5]

[edit] Synopsis

[edit] Season one

Walter White, a chemistry teacher with a pregnant wife and a son with cerebral palsy, develops stage-three lung cancer. Interested in leaving an inheritance with his family before his death, Walter enters the drug trade on the production side, using his chemistry knowledge to cook remarkably potent crystal meth with Jesse Pinkman, a former student of his. Operating out of an RV in the desert, the two must defend themselves against two dealers, formerly Jesse's distributors, who accuse Walter of being a DEA agent. At first offering them the recipe to his crystal meth, Walter instead gasses them with phosphine gas and leaves them to suffocate in the RV, before driving away with an injured Jesse in tow.

Walter and Jesse discover that one of the dealers is still alive, and restrain him in Jesse's basement. After a coin flip, Jesse is tasked with disposing of one dead dealer's body, and Walter with killing the other, a prospect that sickens him. Jesse dissolves the dead body in a bathtub of hydrofluoric acid, which eats through the tub and the floor beneath it, spilling dissolved entrails in the hall. Meanwhile, Walter has begun providing food and a latrine to his prisoner, whom he also confides in, attempting to find any excuse to leave him alive. During one of their talks Walt gives Krazy 8 a sandwich and drinks beer with him discussing life, discovering that Walt bought his sons crib from Krazy 8's father (This could have been a lie to gain his trust), Walt stands up to leave but begins to cough and passes out. Awakening later, Walter picks up the broken plate and goes to get the key to set Krazy 8 free. However, while upstairs Walt has a sudden realization and retrieves the plate pieces from the garbage and after putting them back together discovers that there is a large sharp piece missing. Realizing that Krazy 8 intends to kill him the second he sets him free, Walt realizes that he has no choice but to kill the dealer. Walt walks downstairs and asks Krazy 8 if he really intends to just walk away and Krazy 8 reassures him that he will not harm Walter or his family to which Walt replies "If I let you go, are you going to leave, or the second I do are you just going to stick me with that broken piece of plate?" prompting Krazy 8 to stab wildly behind him with his weapon while Walt pulls back on the bike lock holding him in place until he chokes to death. Immediately Walt is distraught at having killed (While choking him he repeats "I'm sorry" over and over) someone. Following the disposal of the body, Walter severs ties with Jesse and the drug trade.

Meanwhile, Walter's brother-in-law Hank, a DEA agent, aware of a powerful new drug producer in the region, follows a trail of evidence left at Walter's cook site. Skyler's sister, Walter's sister-in-law Marie is an occasional shoplifter. Walter finally reveals his cancer to Skyler, who implores him to visit specialist doctors and undergo chemotherapy. At first adamant to decide his own fate, to die honorably instead of suffering the indignities of chemotherapy symptoms, Walter finally agrees to treatment, and approaches Jesse to rebuild their business arrangement, to better pay for the treatments. Jesse, unable to replicate Walter's recipe, accepts Walter's partnership, and agrees to their clearly defined roles: Jesse the salesman and Walter the cook. Jesse learns that Walter has lung cancer and realizing his goals of helping his family after his death, develops a newfound respect for him.

Walt sends Jesse to negotiate with Tuco, a violent psychopath who has taken over local drug distribution. During their first meeting, Tuco refuses to pay up front for the product and savagely beats Jesse when he attempts to end the deal. With Jesse in the hospital, Walt confronts Tuco with the demand for up front payment. As Tuco prepares to assault him, Walt detonates a concealed explosive (Mercury(II) fulminate), blowing out the top floor of the hideout and intimidating Tuco into surrendering payment with a promise for future business. Jesse recovers from his wounds and the two resume cooking meth, this time circumventing the over-the-counter medicine portion of the recipe in favor of industrial-sized quantities of a potent chemical replacement. Now able to produce four times as much crystal meth as before, the two begin steady business with the increasingly psychotic Tuco.

[edit] Season two

After Walter and Jesse sell a large amount of their meth to Tuco, he beats his henchman, No-Doze, to death with his fists while high. Worried that Tuco will kill them as they are witnesses to No-Doze's death, a paranoid Jesse secretly buys a gun to protect himself, and plans to kill Tuco before Tuco can kill him and Walter. Walter also succumbs to paranoia and decides that the best way to kill Tuco would be to process ricin out of castor beans and put it in meth for Tuco to sample. The two discover that Tuco's other henchman, Gonzo, has been killed, cementing their fears. Unbeknownst to them, Gonzo accidentally killed himself when moving No-Doze's body and Tuco is actually not killing any witnesses to the murder. Meanwhile, Skyler is becoming very concerned that her family is falling apart, with Walter away for many hours and Marie's shoplifting problem. Walter and Jesse are later kidnapped by Tuco. With Walter missing, his family begins a frantic search for him.

Walter and Jesse are brought to a small house in the middle of the desert. Tuco had his hideout raided by the DEA and believes that Gonzo snitched on him, unaware that he is dead. He plans to flee to Mexico with Walter and Jesse, forcing them to cook meth in a superlab. The two attempt to poison Tuco with the ricin-tainted meth, but his semi-invalid uncle foils their plans. Tuco prepares to kill them, but Jesse fights back and manages to shoot and wound Tuco with his own gun. Hank, who is searching for Walter by tracking down Jesse's car, arrives and recognizes Tuco. After a brief shootout, he kills Tuco as Walter and Jesse flee unnoticed.

To explain his absence, Walter pretends that his cancer medication caused him temporary dementia and memory loss. When tests prove none of his medication would have caused such a reaction, he is forced to see a therapist to determine if he has a mental problem. Not wanting to see a therapist for months, Walter pretends to divulge the truth immediately, telling the therapist that he merely wanted to flee his family for a few days. Meanwhile, Jesse is detained by the DEA, where he is interrogated by Hank, but Jesse has hidden any evidence of his connection to Tuco, claiming Tuco merely stole his car. Tuco's uncle is brought in to disprove Jesse's alibi, but as an old school criminal himself, he refuses to cooperate with federal agents, letting Jesse off the hook. Despite the huge setback, Walter plans to continue to cook meth.

Skyler still suspects Walter is hiding something, but his constant denial puts a strain on their marriage, leading her to smoke. Walter Jr., without a father figure, has become distant, wanting to be called "Flynn." Jesse's parents discover his meth lab and evict him from his house. Homeless and broke, he is forced to steal his RV from an impound lot. He parks in front of Walter's house and demands half of Walter's money, as per their agreement. Walter, furious that Jesse parked in front the house where Skyler could have seen, angrily refuses. The two attack each other but soon give up, both exhausted. Walter gives Jesse nearly half of his money and they reconcile.

With the money, Jesse sets himself back up, but suggests that he and Walter become the new meth kingpins for the region and follow his plans. Walter agrees, realizing that Jesse knows more about dealing than he does. With Tuco gone, Walter and Jesse have a monopoly on the meth distribution. Jesse hires three friends to deal, but when his friend Skinny Pete is mugged, Walter orders Jesse to "take care of" the people responsible and hands him a gun, to intimidate others thinking of doing the same thing. Meanwhile, Hank is promoted to oversee DEA actions in El Paso. However, he has guilt and panic attacks over the killing of Tuco when he is alone.

Prompted by Walt, Jesse heads out to find Spooge, the man who mugged Skinny Pete. When he shows up to Spooge's house, he only finds his young son and grows an emotional attachment to the boy. When Spooge and his wife come home,Spooge claims that the "Skank" lost her share and after searching the two, Jessie only comes up with a small amount of heroin and meth. However, Spooge claims they can pay back Jesse with the money in a stolen ATM in the backyard (When asked if anyone saw them steal the ATM, Spooge replies "No, we were like the wind, in and out,... a victimless crime") When in reality the cashier from the bodega is shown covered in blood and lying on the floor of his store while Spooge explains this. Spooge and Jesse take hours trying to open the ATM, but Spooge's wife decides to knock Jesse out while he is distracted with Spooge and Skank's son. He wakes up to find the couple fighting over drugs, which ends with Spooge calling his wife a skank repeatedly and her pushing the ATM over and crushing Spooge's head, killing him. Jesse collects the money that fell out of the ATM, wipes his fingerprints off of everything with his sleeves, dials 911, and leaves their child on the steps after wishing him well ("Have a good rest of your life, kid"). Meanwhile, Gretchen discovers that Walt is lying to his family about having Elliot and her pay for his treatment. In private, Walter tells Gretchen that he does not want their charity because he is still angry at them for apparently "stealing" his research, making them millionaires in the process. Gretchen denies the claim and is shocked at Walt's anger, declaring that he "walked away" from her and the research years ago and says that she is "Truly sorry for him" to which Walt replies with a stern "Fuck You". She tells Skyler that they will no longer cover Walter's treatment, although they never did to begin with.

[edit] Characters

  • Walter Hartwell White (played by Bryan Cranston) is a 50-year-old high-school chemistry teacher who has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. The diagnosis causes a change in Walter's mild-mannered nature. He decides that in order to provide for his family after his death, he will use his extensive knowledge of chemistry to manufacture and distribute crystal methamphetamine. He has a wife named Skyler and a son named Walter, Jr.
  • Skyler White (played by Anna Gunn) is a published short-story writer who sells items on eBay. She and Walter have one son (Walter Jr). She is pregnant with the couple's daughter, Holly. She cares for Walter very much, almost to the point that she is making all the decisions in his life for him.
  • Jesse Bruce Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul) is Walter White's partner in his meth business under the nickname "Captain Cook." Walter taught his high school chemistry class, which he failed. He comes from an upper class family but was kicked out of his home, presumably because of his drug use. Jesse lives in his late aunt's house that he inherited, but his parents kicked him out in season two, since they legally own the house and discovered that he was cooking crystal meth in the basement. He has a much younger over-achieving brother named Jake with whom he gets along, despite their age difference and Jesse's reputation in the family.
  • Jake Pinkman (Played by Ben Petry) is Jesse's little over-achieving brother. In the first season Jesse went to stay with his parents for a while, and seemed to be trying to get his act together, until the Pinkman's maid found a joint in Jesse's room. When his parents confront him about it, he accepts the blame and leaves, seconds later however his younger brother appears outside of the house asking if he could have the joint back to which Jesse replies by crushing the joint, dropping it on the ground, and kicking it with his shoe saying "It was skunk weed anyway" and wishing his brother well before getting into a cab.
  • Walter White, Jr. (played by RJ Mitte) is Walter and Skyler's teenage son. He was born with Cerebral Palsy, which causes some speech and motor difficulties in areas such as dressing and walking, for which he uses crutches as an aid. He looks up to his uncle Hank due to his status as a DEA agent but clearly sees through his boisterous and sometimes embarrassing attitude and embellished stories, and admires and shares his father's intelligence and growing independence as shown by his comment on his father's newly-shaved head ("Badass, Dad."). He has recently become distant due to his father's absence in his life, learning to drive from his friends and wanting to be called "Flynn."
  • Hank Schrader (played by Dean Norris) is a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent. He is also Walter's boisterous brother-in-law, and Marie Schrader's husband. He is currently investigating a possible new meth "kingpin" in the area, unaware that it is Walter. Although loutish and lewd, he is highly competent at his job and seems to genuinely care about Walter and Walter Jr. Lately, after his gunfight with Tuco, Hank has been suffering from panic attacks and seems depressed.
  • Marie Schrader (played by Betsy Brandt) is Skyler's sister, Hank's wife, and Walter's sister-in-law. She doesn't hesitate to offer advice to others, but she often fails to practice what she preaches. She shoplifts and may be a kleptomaniac, which she sees a therapist for. She is very self-centered and irrational.
  • Gomez (Played by Steven Michael Quezada) is Hank's DEA partner and friend. A Hispanic himself, he seems to have a lot of knowledge about the inner workings of Mexican gangs. This is shown when he tells Hank that Tuco's Uncle (Tio) would not help them because he is an "OG" and hates the police.
  • Gretchen Schwartz (played by Jessica Hecht) is Walter's old college chemistry assistant and now co-owner of Gray Matter, a successful drug company. Apparently a former romantic interest of Walt's, she is currently married to Elliott Schwartz.
  • Elliott Schwartz (played by Adam Godley) is Walter's old college science partner and co-owner of Gray Matter, a successful drug company co-founded by Walter. He is married to Gretchen Schwartz.
  • Tuco Salamanca (played by Raymond Cruz) is a sociopathic Mexican drug kingpin who becomes Walter and Jesse's meth distributor towards the end of season one. He is unpredictable and prone to violent outbursts, but surprisingly respects Walter because of his superior product, intelligence, business style, and guts. He is killed by Hank in the beginning of the second season.
  • No Doze (played by Cesar Garcia) is one of Tuco's head lieutenants in his drug organization, who is beaten to death by Tuco himself in the final episode of season 1 for making a comment to Walter and Jesse ("Just remember who you work for"), which Tuco took as an offensive remark towards his intelligence.
  • Gonzo (played by Jesus Payan Jr.) is Tuco Salamanca's brother-in-law and one of his lieutenants. He dies in the first episode of season 2 while moving No Doze's body from under stack of cars in a junk yard; the stack shifts and catches his arm under it, partially severing it and causing him to bleed out.
  • Skinny Pete (played by Charles Baker) is Jesse's friend. He served time in prison with Tuco and introduced him to Jesse. In season two, Jesse recruits Skinny Pete to deal meth, although Pete is on probation. He is mugged by two addicts, forcing Jesse to get the money and product back. Skinny Pete is also the only one besides Jesse in the drug operation who knows what Walter looks like. He may be borderline illiterate, spelling "street" wrong and having trouble reading his own writing.
  • Badger (played by Matt L. Jones) is Jesse's friend. He is on probation, but still does drugs. He has a job holding a sign outside of a bank. He and Jesse teamed up briefly to cook meth in season one, using the money from Badger's job to buy massive amounts of pseudophedrine. However, Jesse disposes of the inferior meth (several times), angering Badger, which escalates to a scuffle. Jesse kicks Badger out of his RV and strands him in the desert. In season two, Badger and Jesse are friends again. He helps clear the meth lab from Jesse's garage and asks his cousin, Clovis, to hide Jesse's RV. Badger is later enlisted to deal Walter and Jesse's meth.
  • Combo (Played by Unknown) is Jesse's friend who also doubles as a dealer of his methamphetamine. While he and Skinny Pete both seem to like Jesse, in Season 1, they were reluctant to hang out with him unless he shared his meth.

[edit] Episodes

Season Episodes Premiere date End date
Season one 7 January 20, 2008 March 9, 2008
Season two 13 March 8, 2009 May 31, 2009
Season three 13 early 2010 unknown

[edit] Season one

The first season consisted of nine episodes, but due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike only seven episodes were filmed.[5] The first season premiered on January 20, 2008, and concluded on March 9, 2008. Bryan Cranston won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of Walter White.

[edit] Minisodes

On the 17th of February 2009, AMC and Sony teamed up to offer original Minisodes of Breaking Bad that take place between seasons one and two. These episodes were made available on the Minisode's home Crackle and AMC's site.[6] On March 6, Minisodes of each of the first seven episodes of the show were released on Crackle to help users refresh their memory of the first season before the season two premiere.

On March 5, a collection of five webisodes was released for free in HD 720p for download on the PlayStation Store via the PlayStation 3 system. These differ from the Minisodes in that they are original clips, never aired on TV.

[edit] Season two

AMC announced in May 2008 that Breaking Bad was renewed for a second, 13-episode season. Production began in July 2008 and the season debuted on March 8, 2009.[7]

"From critical praise to strong ratings and devoted audience, Breaking Bad further reinforced AMC as a top producer of high-quality, distinctive television", said Charlie Collier, Executive Vice President and General Manager of AMC. "Breaking Bad is a powerful, intelligent thought-provoking series that clearly resonates with viewers and critics alike. We're excited for a second season of Breaking Bad with a new provocative storyline that will delve deeper into the next chapter of the life of Walter White".[8]

[edit] Season three

On April 1, 2009, four episodes into Breaking Bad's second season, it was announced that AMC had renewed the show for a third season.[1] The number of episodes in the season was not announced.

[edit] Reception

Breaking Bad has received critical acclaim in addition to two Emmy Awards for its first season. It won the award for best editing, and Bryan Cranston won for best actor in a drama series.[9]

Linda Stasi of the New York Post stated that "the acting is as good as you'll see on TV." Time said the series "has the elements of success".[10] Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly rated season one a "B+".[11]

The pilot episode was watched by 1.4 million people, while the subsequent six episodes of the first season were watched by 1.1-1.3 million viewers each.[citation needed]

[edit] International distribution

Breaking Bad premiered in Australia on the Showtime/Showcase Pay-TV network on August 28, 2008. The show debuted its first season in the United Kingdom on FX commencing September 28. On October 9, 2008, it premiered on Turkey's on e2 and on October 15, 2008 on New Zealand's C4. It debuted in Italy on November 15, 2008 on AXN and later in Brazil on on Sony Entertainment Television (Latin America). On January 1, 2009 the show began airing on Finland's Nelonen. The Franco-German culture TV channel Arte has recently acquired the rights to broadcast the show in France and Germany.

[edit] Awards and nominations



[edit] Online promotion

An online customisable video was used to promote season one. Users would receive a webcam message from Walt urging them to live their life to the fullest, at the end of which he would score their name from a list. The promotion is still live at A viral marketing campaign has also been produced for season two, users can experience meeting Walt from a first-person perspective. The promotion is located at

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b AMC renews 'Breaking Bad'. Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on 7 April 2009.
  2. ^ "No. 93: Bryan Cranston." Esquire. Retrieved on 18 September 2007.
  3. ^ "Fans Chat With Bryan Cranston." AMC. 9 March 2008. Retrieved on 6 February 2009.
  4. ^ "Series 'Breaking Bad' to Begin Production at Albuquerque Studios." Albuquerque Studios. Retrieved on 23 August 2007.
  5. ^ a b AMC's "'Breaking Bad' mixes dark humor, drugs." USA Today. Retrieved on 16 January 2008.
  6. ^ ""Breaking Bad" hits the Web in mini episodes". CNBC. 2009-02-17. Retrieved on 2009-03-02. 
  7. ^ Gelman, Vlada."Breaking Bad Starts Shooting Season 2" TV Week. 8 July 2008. Retrieved on 6 February 2009.
  8. ^ "AMC Renews Breaking Bad for a Second Season" AMC. 8 May 2008. Retrieved on 6 February 2009.
  9. ^ "'Breaking Bad' Emmy Winner Brings Award To Albuquerque." KOAT. 23 September 2008. Retrieved on 6 February 2009.
  10. ^ "Downtime - Breaking Bad." TIME. 18 January 2008. Retrieved on 18 May 2008.
  11. ^ Tucker, Ken. Novelist Stephen King also praised the series as "the best scripted show on TV" in his "Pop of King" column in Entertainment Weekly."TV Review - Breaking Bad (2008)." Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 6 February 2009.

[edit] External links

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