Breaking Bad is an American crime/educational science documentary that ran on the AMC network from 2008 to 2013. The series is focused around a high school chemistry teacher named Walter White, satirizing the financial struggles created by the American healthcare system and challenging the boundaries of the "mid-life crisis" trope, when he resorts to producing methamphetamine to finance treatment of his lung cancer. Armed only with his intellect, complete lack of street skills, a drug addicted delinquent and a frequent lack of pants, Walter becomes the chief producer of methamphetamine in the American South West.
The series was critically acclaimed for it's careful and masterful portrayal of a timid family man transitioning into an anti-hero that made Scarface look like a teddy bear, and the educational aspects of the series that made it a popular learning tool for gangs specializing in crystal meth production and murder for hire. Critics of the series included the United States Border Patrol, the DEA and Mexican Juárez cartel for their portrayal as incompetent boobs.
Season one starts begins with Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher and part-time car wash employee of Albuquerque, New Mexico being diagnosed with a rare type of terminal lung cancer. Being an American, Walter is unable to seek treatment without incuring crippling debt or possessing health insurance reserved for those three or four social classes above him. Resorting to his plan B, Walter seeks the assistance of former student and dropkick Jesse Pinkman in cooking 99.1% pure crystal meth.
By the end of season five, Walter is hiding from the authorities in the frozen wasteland of rural New Hampshire having ascended to a local drug kingpin and serial murderer before a series of unfortunate events led to those closest to him realizing who he has.
Gilligan's storytelling through the five seasons draws numerous criticisms towards American services and authorities pertaining to law enforcement, health care, gun ownership and chemical dispensary. He states that America's grossly inadequate services and regulations could plausible see any number of boring nobodies undergoing a mid-life crisis as severe as the one depicted in Breaking Bad.
- Bryan Cranston as W. (H.) W. - Not Tungsten-(Hydrogen)-Tungsten. Initially a shy, reserved man/chemistry nerd who walked out of a promising career in the two-billion dollar company Grey Matter that he co-founded with his lifetime crush, just because he could not take her by the hand and say "Gretchen, I love you so much that my genes threaten to unzip when I'm next to you. Please form a cooper pair with me and allow me to inseminate you as part of my experiment to find out exactly what the remaining 0.111958% of a human really is.", to instead marry with an outrageously average wife and become a boring, indigent high school teacher who has to kiss his students' asses and wash his car to feed his family, Mr. White suddenly found himself diagnosed with advanced Stage 3A inoperable lung cancer. As the cancer metastasized, some of the cells reached and infiltrated his dorsolateral prefrontal cortex unbeknownst to anyone, slowly paralyzing his rationality and moral reservations. This began awakening the repressed Hyde, or in our case, Heisenberg, alternate ego within him. The desire to leap into the deep, dark society of crime overwhelmed him, and he began to live a life of duality and unpredictability governed by his own uncertainty principle. For some reason, he also had increased libido, much to the satisfaction of his wife, who could never imagine what would come next. In the span of less than a month, Mr. White transformed from a law-abiding goody-goody into a full-blown drug manufacturer with his ex-high school dropout and partner, Jesse Pinkman. In order to function and deal with his crises, Mr. White became schizophrenic. His personality split into three, Walter White, the façade of a normal, loving husband and chemistry teacher, Willy Wonka, the most innocent, scientifically inclined persona with savant syndrome who makes 99.1% pure blue sky crystal methamphetamine, and Heisenberg, the insidious villain who plots elaborate murderous schemes and sacrifices everyone for his gain based on the state of an electron. Despite undergoing chemotherapy and having his lung cancer eventually reduced to the point of near recovery, the cells within his brain survived and continued proliferating due to the blood-brain barrier, turning him further into the sadistic Da 'Hood billionaire drug lord Heisenberg, complete with a skin head, intimidating jawline, black wool porkpie fedora hat, and swag sunglasses. By the end, he goes full homicidal and kills/attempts to kill nearly every person that appears in the series either directly or indirectly in a fit of cathartic orgy, only to realize at the critical moment that now his position is now completely undefined as his momentum is clearly directed towards destruction. Due to falling victim to his own quantum paradox of wave-particle duality, his own bullet suddenly flies backwards to hit him instead of his target, and he asplodes.
- Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman - A little bitch who accuses everyone else of being a little bitch, he was the partner (sidekick) of Heisenberg and surprisingly, the only one to almost master Willy Wonka's drug-manufacturing, since all the others who know the secret are either dead, killed by Jesse, or too stupid to make it work. His entire life is filled with complexes: fear of being abandoned again by his new sadistic father-pimp Heisenberg colliding with his resentment towards Heisenberg's brutal, Machiavellian ways, his serious drug addiction, and his bitchiness, which is his guilt towards his family and many other things coupled with his irritating Holden Caulfield-style innocence and (semi-platonic) love of children. He nonetheless has a kill count, though in no way as powerful as Heisenberg. Thanks to Saul Goodman's help, he may be either the social worker, junkie, rich kid drug dealer, or a genuine, reformed rich kid living in Alpine with a nice family who will never have any idea of his past.
- Anna Gunn as Skylar W. - A seriously way-too-average wife who was too stupid to even make childbirth work on the first try, she was nonetheless extremely nosy and almost immediately found out the sadomasochistic (love) affair developing between a high school dropout and her husband's alter ego. Her most notable trait is diving into a pool whenever dealing with a stressful crisis and emerging as a cold-blooded accountant (yes, she too has an alternate ego) having a brief Marilyn Monroe- affair with her wimpy, lying tax-fraud committing boss at Beneke Fabricators (what a fitting name!) and helping Heisenberg deal with his drug money. No one cares what happened to her, except that she went on to receive an Academy award instead of Giancarlo Esposito for being the perfect mundane housewife.
- Mark Margolis as Hector Salamanca - Ding ding ding! Ding ding, ding ding ding! Ding ding ding ding ding! Ding~ ding ding ding! Ding ding, di-ding ding ding ding! 'ding 'ding 'ding, 'di-ding, di-di-'di-ding ding ding! (stares furiously) Ding ding ding! Ding ding ding di-ding! Di-di-ding! Ding~ Ding~ Ding~ Di-di-ding! (Tennōheika Banzai! Heil Hitler! Allahu Akbar!) These were the last words he was dinging with his ding-dong just before he asploded, taking his arch-nemesis with him to his grave. Even in death, he is forever left in infamy as a mogul of memes and meth. Despite literally saying nothing in the documentary, his mere presence and characteristic chime of his ding ding ding, nearly as powerful as Darth Vader's heavy breathing, mesmerized the viewers. Unlike me, he was very skilled at the Morse code, except no one understood his ingenious and poetic speeches, especially Tuco, who kept thinking the old man was just hungry for more sandwiches despite him being unable to open his mouth. Still, it is tough to sympathize completely with the "crippled old rata", in spite of his brilliant, dramatic moment right before his death, like a supernova just before its explosion, etching his delicate changes in facial expression etched into my mind, due to the pure yet sensual sound of his moving doorbell tickling everyone's ear in the most dire of situations and the fact that he did reap what he sowed. No, I don't mean killing Gus Fring's partner under orders from Don Eladio, or messing with Fring's Los Pollos Hermanos business. I did miss that day's fried chicken and that small patch of white sugar powder inside, but that's still tolerable. However, not stopping there, he just had to cross the line. Piscine in the pool, seriously? That is the most abominable word play I've ever heard, and can only be atoned by seppuku!!!
Criminal underworld and cartel
Misscellaneous low-lives and pond scum
While loved by many, the series did manage to make some very powerful enemies. Top of the list was the Albuquerque office of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Aside from being taselessly portrayed as a group of morbidly obese, donut addicted, beer swilling rednecks who couldn't catch the plague in medieval Europe, they had to deal with the headache of dozens of fans of the series being inspired to cook their own crystal meth.
The United States Border Patrol and ICE services were similarly pissed off to find Breaking Bad had suggested that smuggling people and narcotics across the US-Mexican border was little more challanging than a schoolyard game of hopscotch. President Trump was fiercely determined to shut down any suggestion that border hopping was easy, leading to the announcement of "The Wall".
In Mexico, the Juárez Cartel did not appreciate their criminal syndicate being portrayed in film without their direct consent. Gilligan received dozens of letter bombs and severed limbs with demands for him to cease and desist what he was doing. Their primary quarrel was with non-Mexican actors portraying members of their business, calling it outrageous that any of their men would be seen dead with a man from Honduras. At the conclusion of season 4 when their organization was massacred by a "filthy South American" they reportedly responded by raiding a local village and murdering all the first born sons.