Power Rankings: Breaking Bad - Best Characters
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
The world of Breaking Bad gave us some captivating character journeys, which speaks to the storytelling ability of Vince Gilligan. It wasn't easy, but we compiled our list of the 10 best characters from Breaking Bad among all the drug dealers, DEA agents, innocent bystanders, and other various cogs in the machine.
We have a separate list for the best Breaking Bad villains, so don't expect to see Gus or Tuco on this list. That gave us the opportunity to show some love for other deserving characters here.
Character: Marie Schrader
Bio: Marie is Skylar's sister and is married to Hank. She works as a radiologic technologist. Her favorite color is purple and she has been known to have sticky fingers. But don't worry, she thinks her therapist, Dave, is really helping.
Why we love them: Back when Walt first revealed to his family that he had cancer, Marie was the only one who listened to him and respected his reasons for not wanting to go through cancer treatment. She was also an incredibly supportive partner to Hank throughout the series, especially when he was suffering constant panic attacks from his run-ins with Tuco and in El Paso, plus after his injuries sustained in the shootout with the Cousins. She has her flaws with her stealing and a little bit of lying, but she at least provided some savage moments and quotes.
Best Quote: "Chemotherapy and marijuana go together like apple pie and Chevrolet."
Best Moment: You have to respect Marie for sticking to her story and never admitting defeat
Character: Gale Boetticher
Bio: Gale is a chemist who is hired by Gus to be Walt's assistant in the superlab. He doesn't feel bad about producing meth because he is a Libertarian. Gale and Walt could have had a beautiful friendship, but Walt slandered Gale and got him fired so Jesse could take his place. Walt also ordered Jesse to go kill Gale so that Gus would have no way of replacing Walt and Jesse. Some people just have bad luck when picking friends.
Why we love them: Gale met a terrible fate, but his only crime (other than cooking crystal meth) was respecting and admiring Walt and wanting to be friends. In a world of two-faced criminals, Gale provided a bright spot as a genuinely warm and kind character. We would have loved to have seen more of Gale and Walt nerding out in the superlab, performing fun experiments and science projects such as Gale's elaborate coffee contraption.
Best Quote: "Yes, I am a nerd."
Best Moment: No caption necessary
Bio: Real name - Brandon Mayhew. Professional sign twirler. Proud owner of a crossbow. Badger is one of Jesse's friends who is enlisted to help sell, and at times manufacture, their product. Badger also introduced Jesse to his cousin, Clovis, who fixed the RV and allowed Jesse to store it there for a while.
Why we love them: Is he an idiot? Yes. Does he tend to screw things up more than he ever helps? Absolutely. But Badger keeps coming back to help no matter how many times he gets arrested or Jesse leaves him out in the desert. He also provided some great dialogue with Skinny Pete with topics ranging from Star Trek to zombies.
Best Quote: "HELICOPTER BITCH!"
Best Moment: Someone get this man a camera so he can make this happen
Character: Huell Babineaux
Bio: Works as a bodyguard for Saul Goodman. One of Huell's assignments for Saul was to help Patrick Kuby (played by Bill Burr) intimidate Ted Beneke into paying what he owed the IRS with money that Skylar gave him. Ted proceeded to fall and break his neck, but as Huell said, this was an "act of God". Huell is also an excellent pickpocket. When Walt's operation began unraveling, Hank and Gomez took Huell to a safe house and lied a bit to keep him out of their way.
Why we love them: The biggest question we are left with at the end of Breaking Bad is what happened to Huell? With Hank and Gomez both dead, did anyone else know they left Huell in that room? Did someone go back for him to let him know what happened? Is he still waiting there? Although Huell clearly should have gotten his own series instead of Saul, perhaps Better Call Saul will let us know Huell's ultimate fate. The fans of this lovable enforcer deserve that much.
Best Quote: "Reasonably."
Best Moment: Maybe Huell should have taken that money and fled to Mexico
Character: Skinny Pete
Bio: Skinny Pete is a friend of Jesse's who also worked for him as a foot soldier "slinging mad volume". Skinny did time with Tuco, so he was able to set up the original meeting between Jesse and Tuco. Walt had Skinny Pete and Badger help him out one last time when he gave them laser pointers to direct at Gretchen and Elliot to act like snipers and threaten them.
Why we love them: Slim Pedro was always a good friend and loyal employee to Jesse even though he got held up and robbed by the two dumbest junkies of all time. But hey, they don't call him Big and Strong Pete. We already mentioned Pete's hilarious conversations with Badger, but on top of that, Skinny Pete is a real sweetheart who truly cares about his buddies. You can feel the disappointment in his voice when he leaves Jesse a message after Combo's funeral.
Best Quote: "Hey, man, I'm slingin' mad volume and fat stackin' benjis, you know what I'm sayin'? I can't be all about, like, spelling and shit!"
Best Moment: Charles Baker, the actor who portrays Skinny Pete, is a talented pianist. The below scene was included so he could show off his skills. If Skinny Pete was this great of a musician, perhaps he should have pursued that path instead of drug dealing.
Character: Hank Schrader
Bio: DEA Agent who can't detect that his brother-in-law is the biggest drug lord in the region until it is literally presented to him in writing in front of his face. On the other hand, family can blind us, and Hank caught onto many clues that no one else in the DEA could to unravel the mystery behind the famous blue meth. On the side, Hank brews his own beer and collects rocks minerals.
Why we love them: Early on, Hank was portrayed as one of the thorns in Walt's side as he would take constant jabs at Walt and didn't show the most respect for him. Despite the corny jokes that only he laughed at and the big talk about catching bad guys, we learned there were more layers to Hank as the show continued. Specifically, the encounter with Tuco and then the Tortuga bomb in El Paso brought out a new side of Hank. He became vulnerable, frightened, and more relatable even though he tried to keep up his tough guy act. We eventually found ourselves rooting for Hank to fulfill his obsession and catch Heisenberg, which made his death all the more tragic.
Best Quote: "My name is ASAC Schrader, and you can go f*ck yourself."
Best Moment: The moment that made Hank a hero and changed him forever
Character: Saul Goodman
Bio: Not a criminal lawyer, a criminal lawyer. Real name - James McGill. Doppelganger of Kevin Costner. Proud University of American Samoa alumnus. Jesse suggested soliciting Saul's help when he and Walt encounter trouble early on and Saul is happy to provide counsel to these wealthy clients. In fact, it was Saul who was able to link up Walt with Gus and bring about that partnership.
Why we love them: He earned his own spin-off show, so Saul clearly proved his value. Despite typically being a lawyer for not the most upstanding citizens, Saul's legal advice is always sound. Walt and Jesse wouldn't have gotten far if they hadn't called Saul. Saul was one character who consistently provided comedic relief, which Bob Odenkirk excels at.
Best Quote: "I'll tell you one thing: you've got the right product. Anything that gets the DEA's panties in this big a bunch, you're onto something special. And I would like to be a small and silent part of it. Food for thought, yeah? So if you want to make more money and keep the money that you make, better call Saul!"
Best Moment: That time Saul got Jesse a great deal on a house
Character: Mike Ehrmantraut
Bio: This former cop is a jack of all trades for Gus. Mike's roles range from private investigator to bodyguard to hitman to general fixer of any problems that arise for Gus. Mike has a daughter, Stacey, and granddaughter, Kaylee, whom he cares for deeply and aims to provide for through his work. Unfortunately, Mike met his demise at the hands of Walter.
Why we love them: Mike is a badass, but he doesn't feel the need to show off because he knows it and so does everyone else. Mike pulls of some thrilling tactical scenes that wowed us, especially because of his even keel demeanor in any situation. He also surprisingly won over our hearts with his adorable relationship with his granddaughter, Kaylee.
Best Quote: "Shut the f*ck up and let me die in peace."
Best Moment: We couldn't find a video of the actual scene, but we did find this cool fanmade animation of the events described in Mike's epic "Half Measure" speech to Walter.
Character: Walter White
Bio: Just your run-of-the-mill chemistry teacher/car wash attendant turned drug kingpin. One of these stories pops up in the news every three months. In this case, Walter was fed up with many things in his life, both his own decisions and circumstances that were out of his control, and received a lung cancer diagnosis which proved to be the straw that broke the camel's back. From then on, Walt became more carefree and decided to manufacture crystal meth to earn money that he could leave for his family once he passed away. One thing led to another, and Walt's life, as well as the lives of those around him, began spinning out of control.
Why We Love Them: Are we supposed to root for or against Walt? Our feelings about him can change by the episode. What he puts his family through due to his selfishness and pride is awful, but we can't help but admire his genius in the creative ways he gets out of the trickiest situations. At times, it felt like we were treated to science lessons akin to Bill Nye the Science Guy. Every time Walt was backed into a corner, we couldn't wait to see which aspect of science he would use to find a solution. Bryan Cranston was nothing short of spectacular and delivered some of the most iconic lines in television history, cementing Heisenberg's legacy.
Best Quote: "I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot and you think that of me? No. I am the one who knocks!"
Best Moment: This is Heisenberg we're talking about, so we couldn't decide on just one moment. The first is the epic scene in which Walt earns Tuco's respect. Does fulminated mercury actually work this way? Probably not, but damn, this looked cool.
Perhaps Walt's greatest accomplishment was besting the mastermind, Gus Fring
Character: Jesse Pinkman
Bio: The artist formerly known as Cap'n Cook. Drummer in the band TwaüghtHammër. Has an endorsement deal with McCormick Chili Powder and is passionate about woodworking. Jesse was once a student of Walt and the two were reunited years later when Walt went for a ride along with Hank to the site of a meth lab and spotted Jesse fleeing the scene.
Why We Love Them: Jesse is such a great character and Aaron Paul was so phenomenal that it changed Vince Gilligan's mind about having him killed off in season one. Instead of dying in a drug deal gone wrong early on, Jesse went on to be the most entertaining part of the show with not only his many deliveries of the word "bitch", but also his long road to recovery and touching redemption story. Jesse's happy ending was well-deserved.
Best Quote: "Yeah Mr. White! Yeah science!"
Best Moment: Aaron Paul acting his heart out
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