From 2008 to 2013, Breaking Bad was one of the most intense and addictive shows around. Not only did it introduce topics that are usually difficult to swallow, but it also expanded upon some of the craziest and most dramatic plot twists imaginable.
With five seasons chalk full of suspense, mystery, and meth, Breaking Bad continues to be a hit television show four years later, and that’s something to be respected. Without further ado, here are the top 10 Breaking Bad characters. Watch out for the spoilers!
10. Saul Goodman
Saul Goodman, also known by his actual name, James “Jimmy” McGill, was the comedic relief that every good, intense television show needs. As a criminal lawyer, Saul ran a twisted business with the slogan “Better Call Saul!” He claimed that he would fight for anyone who was in trouble with the law.
Despite his cheesy distasteful advertisements, Saul’s dirty tactics worked in his favor nearly all of the time. Throughout his time on Breaking Bad, Saul Goodman acted as the lawyer for Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, the show’s main protagonists. His counsel got the duo out of sticky situations in the methamphetamine business.
His tacky demeanor merely acted as a cover for his actual skills, where he actively worked around the clock to keep his clients coming out ahead of the game. As well as being a major playing piece and fan favorite on the show, he earned a spinoff show named after his infamous slogan.
Saul typically cracked jokes and made light of difficult situations. Throughout the harsh realities that Breaking Bad typically focused on, Saul was a sturdy character who understood the importance of events going on around him. Although he wasn’t the leader of a drug cartel or a determined police agent, his work behind the scenes was just as significant.
9. Hector Salamanca
Hector Salamanca was a well-known and feared high-ranking member of the drug cartel featured throughout the series. He was also the uncle to an antagonist, Tuco. Several flashbacks highlighted his position at the top of the game, during which he murdered Gustavo Fring’s partner.
Throughout the series, Hector was in a wheelchair. He had suffered a debilitating stroke five years prior to the first season. During his initial appearance, Hector appeared to be a brittle old man who couldn’t move from his chair and could merely respond to people through the usage of a bell that he toted around.
Although he seemed harmless, it was quickly established that, despite the fact that he could no longer be a member of the drug cartel, Hector retained his knowledge and continually applied it to his interactions with those around him. His role in the show is unique, primarily because his condition prevents him from being the cold-blooded killer that he truly is.
When it came down to it, Hector was willing to do anything for the cartel. He was so fiercely loyal that he chose to spend almost 20 years in prison as opposed to share information that would threaten their operations.
In addition to that, despite being an enemy of the show’s main protagonists, he refused to share information about them during a DEA interrogation, simply because of his desire to keep the drug world as secretive as possible.
8. Huell Babineaux
Although Huell is merely a supporting character in the final seasons of Breaking Bad, his role as a personal bodyguard to Gustavo Fring created a unique dynamic. Without much of a backstory, Huell was purely a large man with an even larger loyalty to those around him.
However, Huell was a key component in several major plot twists. One of his more prominent duties was to obtain ricin to poison a young boy with, which he pickpocketed during a pat down. Without Huell, many plans would have gone awry.
His frightening demeanor made him an optimal candidate for intimidating people and claiming things that propelled the series into various scandals. His somewhat dim personality only added to the humor of his character and created additional dimension for his role, which undoubtedly made him a fan favorite.
7. Jack Welker
As one of the most viciously brutal antagonists on Breaking Bad, Jack Welker made a name for himself despite only being on the show for a brief period. He was the leader of a white supremacist gang, which included his nephew, Todd Alquist, a small-time and former associate off Walter White.
Jack became tangled up in the storyline toward the end of the final season, assisting the main characters in creating a true mess of things. He was a fearless killing machine who felt that it was his job to run the show, even when there were other players involved.
Despite seeming like a potential ally during his initial appearance, Jack proved his cruel intentions as the finale neared. In one event, he ordered an innocent woman to be killed as a punishment toward Jesse Pinkman, who he had enslaved.
Perhaps the most heinous thing that Jack did during his time on Breaking Bad, if anything is worse than killing an uninvolved individual, was to kill off two of the show’s major characters – Hank Schrader and his partner at the DEA, Steven Gomez.
Their deaths further substantiated Jack’s merciless personality as he killed each of them in cold blood and continued to wreak havoc toward the very end. Although most of the characters on Breaking Bad retain human emotions that give them additional depth, Jack Welker was simply an unforgivable force that ended the show with a bang.
6. Gustavo Fring
Easily one of the most monstrous characters on Breaking Bad, Gustavo Fring was a highly intelligent and nefarious man who owned a successful restaurant chain as a cover for his methamphetamine business. Working together with a local drug cartel, Gustavo was a prominent figurehead in the industry who strategically hid in plain sight.
He worked as an advocate for anti-drug campaigns set-up through the DEA. His food establishments, Los Pollos Hermanos, were regular stops for unsuspecting agents and officers. It allowed him to build a multi-million-dollar drug empire. Although he was a family man with strong roots in the community, his underlying persona was terrifying.
As the head of such a demanding business, he was a remorseless individual who knew how to cover his tracks well. Often wearing nice clothing and appearing to be an incredibly charming man, it was only during some of the darkest moments that Gustavo’s true colors were revealed.
In one instance, he kills a man with a box cutter to the throat without saying a word. Another time, he threatens Walter White’s family by saying, “If you try to interfere, this becomes a much simpler matter. I will kill your wife. I will kill your son. I will kill your infant daughter.”
Gustavo lacked many redeeming qualities, however his character was quite unique and three-dimensional. If there was anything he was incredibly capable of, it was invoking fear into those around him and executing plans to keep himself ahead of the game.
5. Mike Ehrmantraut
Mike Ehrmantraut was one of the most complex and intelligent characters on the show. He meant business. As a former police officer and Marine sniper, Mike had all of the knowledge and experience he needed to be a part of a world of crime when he became Gustavo Fring’s right-hand man.
His position in the industry allowed him to take time away from the criminal life to be with his granddaughter, whom he loved dearly. He set up a $2 million-dollar savings account for when she would come of age.
Mike may have played for a criminally hardwired team, but his intentions were purely good. His loyalty overshadowed everything else. Although he was not above the heinous acts committed by Gustavo Fring’s men and the drug cartel, he held true to his values and remained a respectable individual.
Perhaps the most unique thing about Mike is that when he put his mind to something, he did everything he could to make something happen. In comparison to others on the show, Mike didn’t go through many significant changes. However, his life was continually disrupted by others, which eventually prompted him to make a fateful decision.
4. Skyler White
Married to the infamous Walter White, Skyler was one of the most controversial characters on Breaking Bad. She was often portrayed as frustrated and nosy, however with a husband in the meth industry she had plenty of substantial reasons to be.
As the mother of a teenage son and infant daughter, her main priority was her family. However as the show progressed, Walter’s consistent deceit, erratic behavior, and criminal involvement strained her marriage to the point of separation.
Although some fans disliked Skyler for her whiny demeanor and worrisome decisions — which included an affair with her boss — she remained loyal to Walter in many other ways. Toward the end of the season, as she discovered the unthinkable truth about her once loving husband, she helped launder Walter’s blood money.
Though Skyler’s character went through the biggest evolution, her key personality traits remained intact. Skyler continued to put her family above everything else as she worked to keep her children safe, even if that meant protecting them from their own father.
3. Hank Schrader
In a series where everything is corrupted by greed and violence, Hank Schrader was the driving force for good that frequently kept the show from erupting into turmoil. As a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, it was his job to be on top of everything going on in the drug industry — and it just so happened that his brother-in-law was leading the game.
Throughout the series, Hank was right on Walt’s tail as he transformed from high school teacher to conniving drug lord, Heisenberg. This dynamic created the ultimate heart-pumping exhilaration that made the show so successful.
His negative qualities were minimal in that he was often overbearing, pushy, and arrogant, and helped hide his wife, Marie’s, shoplifting addiction. Despite this, the good in him stood out over the bad tenfold. During times of trouble, he immediately reassured his family and took charge in promising that he’d always be around to take care of anyone should the need ever arise.
In addition to that, Hank was excellent at his job and held great passion for the work that he did. This ended up acting against him when the drug cartel put a hit out on him. He fell to his lowest point – paralyzing him from the waist down.
Nonetheless, his troubles managed to highlight every good aspect about such a well-rounded character as he pulled through nearly everything that was hurdled against him, making him one of the most prominent members of the show.
2. Walter White
Walter White went from a mild high school teacher and loving father to potentially the darkest character in television history. Watching someone go from a caring dad expecting his second child to completely betraying every single person he knew was a challenge almost no other show has ever done.
When you truly look at Walter as an individual and consider his intentions, he became a cruel and twisted individual — miles away from the man he once was. Walter started out as a traditional nobody, with a few low-paying jobs, an array of missed opportunities in life, and the sudden and unexpected discovery of cancer.
With a degree in chemistry, this prompted him to devise a plan that would support his family long after his sickness could take hold of his life completely – but this was also the beginning of the end. Caught in the cycle of crime and violence, he soon realizes that he cannot to stop it.
A prime example of this is in the drastic decisions he makes as the show progresses. He allows his Jesse’s girlfriend to die from a heroin overdose; he watches his brother-in-law get killed by his sadistic associates.
Despite being a heinous villain, Heisenberg, had many redeeming qualities that kept his character raw and real. His wit and confidence stood out more prominently as he developed from season to season. His newfound assurance was similar to watching the little guy in high school standing up for himself after he’d had enough.
1. Jesse Pinkman
One of the most pivotal characters in the series was Jesse Pinkman — Walter White’s former high school student and a sobering meth user. From the series start to finish, he acted as a regular manufacturer and distributor of methamphetamine alongside his partner and the multitude of characters that the pair worked with throughout their time in the drug trade.
Jesse started off by cooking and distributing meth with his original partner, Emilio Koyama. This was short-lived though. The DEA discovered his small, homerun lab. Jesse escaped this debacle allowing him to team up with Walter and stumble into the hazardous world of drug cartels.
Throughout the show, Jesse faced some of the most emotionally degrading and devastating challenges. His girlfriend (played by Krysten Ritter) died from a heroin overdose. He later was enslaved by white supremacists to cook the special meth Walter had created and taught him to make.
He also watched another love interest get shot in the head simply because he tried to escape the torment they had inflicted on him during his captivity. The beauty of Jesse’s character is that despite the horrible hardships that he faced, he kept going.
His sheer bravery in the face of so many dangers in addition to a compassion unlike that any other character involved in the drug industry gave Jesse Pinkman an edge over his enemies — including Heisenberg.