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. The series aired a total of 62 episodes, ending on September 29, 2013.
On April 2013, it was announced that a spin-off series called Better Call Saul focusing on the character Saul Goodman was being developed by Vince Gilligan and writer Peter Gould; the show premiered on February 8, 2015.
Walter White (Bryan Cranston) was a very ordinary, middle-class chemistry teacher, who also worked a second job at a car wash in order to make enough money to feed his family. But one day, he collapses, and is given a terrible diagnosis: stage-3 inoperable lung cancer. While watching the news along with his family and friends on his 50th birthday, namely a segment on a methamphetamine drug bust, he discovers the amount of profit in the meth business. His DEA agent brother-in-law Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) offers Walter a ride-along to a methhouse sting. A while later, Walter accepts, and accompanies Hank on a drug bust. While on the ride-along, he finds out that his former school student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) is part of the drug house operation, and watches him escape. As Walter considers the financial benefits of drug trafficking for his pregnant wife Skyler (Anna Gunn), and his physically disabled son, Walter Junior (RJ Mitte), he sees only one way out; forcing Jesse to teach him about the drug trade. Using his chemistry knowledge, Walter ends up making the purest methamphetamine that anyone has ever seen. Thus, both are drawn deeper and deeper into the abyss of organized drug trafficking.
- Bryan Cranston as Walter White
- Walter White (also known by his criminal alias Heisenberg) is an underachieving Albuquerque, New Mexico high school chemistry teacher who, after being diagnosed with lung cancer, starts manufacturing methamphetamine to provide for his family upon his death. Knowing nothing about the drug trade, he enlists the aid of his former student, Jesse Pinkman, to sell the meth he produces. As the series progresses, Walter starts losing track of his original intentions of providing for his family and starts building his own drug empire to become the new kingpin of Albuquerque.
- Anna Gunn as Skyler White
- Skyler is Walter's wife. She cares for Walter very much, but their marriage becomes increasingly strained due to his unexplained absences and bizarre behavior.
- Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman
- Also known for his criminal nickname, Captain Cook, Jesse Pinkman is a low level drug dealer and addict who used to be Walter's chemistry student in high school. After discovering Jesse's current lifestyle, Walter enlists him as his tutor in the criminal underworld. Walter usually treats Jesse like a foolish son in constant need of stern correction.
- Dean Norris as Hank Schrader
- Hank is Walter and Skyler's brother-in-law, married to Skyler's sister, Marie. He is also a DEA Agent involved in investigating a meth dealer known as "Heisenberg," unaware that his prey is actually Walter himself. Hank has a cavalier exterior, but in reality the dark side of his job affects him more than he cares to admit.
- Betsy Brandt as Marie Schrader
- Marie is Skyler's younger sister and Hank's wife. She appears self-centered and shallow, but is very devoted to her husband and cares deeply for her sister's family.
- RJ Mitte as Walter White Jr.
- Walter Jr. is the son of Walter and Skyler. He has cerebral palsy, as manifested in speech difficulties and impaired motor control, for which he uses crutches. Angered by his parents' constant fighting throughout the series, Walter Jr. tries to establish an independent character, relying more on his best friend Louis than in his own parents.
- Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo Fring
- Commonly known as Gus Fring, he is the Chilean-born proprietor of Los Pollos Hermanos, a highly successful fried chicken restaurant chain. However, despite outward appearances, Gus is a major drug kingpin affiliated with the Mexican drug cartel, who uses his restaurant as a front for methamphetamine distribution throughout the American southwest.
- Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman
- Saul Goodman is a crook lawyer who acts as Walter and Jesse's attorney in the criminal underworld. Despite his flamboyant appearance and mannerisms, often acting as the comic relief of the series, Saul is a highly competent lawyer who is able to solve problems and find loopholes in order to protect his clients.
- Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut
- Mike is a former Philadelphia police officer who works for Gus Fring and sometimes does favors for Saul Goodman. He works as the head of security for Los Pollos Hermanos, mostly overseeing Gus' drug business. He is also a private investigator, cleaner, and hit man.
- Laura Fraser as Lydia Rodarte-Quayle
- Lydia is an executive of Madrigal Electromotive GmbH, working out of the company's office in Houston, Texas. She serves as Gus' distributor overseas, sending his product to Europe. Despite her uptightness and energy, she can be cunning and quite ruthless when it comes to saving herself.
- Jesse Plemons as Todd Alquist
- Todd is an exterminator for Vamonos Pest, a fumigation company that acts as part-time burglars. He is also associated with his uncle Jack's gang.
Breaking Bad has received critical acclaim in addition to numerous awards and nominations, including seven Emmy Awards. Bryan Cranston won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series three years in a row. Aaron Paul won for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 2010 and 2012, and Anna Gunn won for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2013. Vince Gilligan and the rest of the producing staff finally nabbed the prestigious Outstanding Drama Series award in 2013 for the first half of Season 5.
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