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Breaking Bad is an American television drama series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. The series is produced by Sony Pictures Television and broadcast in the United Statesmarker and Canadamarker 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 ran from March 8 to May 31, 2009. A third season was announced in April 2009. to premiere in April 2010.

Set and produced in Albuquerquemarker, New Mexicomarker, Breaking Bad revolves around Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a struggling high school chemistry teacher with many family issues. When White is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, he breaks down and turns to a life of crime, and starts producing and selling methamphetamine with his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in a desire to secure his family's financial future.

Breaking Bad has received widespread critical acclaim, particularly for its writing and Cranston's lead performance, and has won four Emmy Awards in addition to numerous other awards and nominations.


Lead actor Bryan Cranston stated in an interview that "the term 'breaking bad' is a southern colloquialism and it means when someone who has taken a turn off the path of the straight and narrow, when they've gone wrong. And that could be for that day or for a lifetime."

The series is set and filmed in and near .

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. AMC's "'Breaking Bad' mixes dark humor, drugs." USA Today. Retrieved on 16 January 2008.


Season one

Walter White, a chemistry teacher with a pregnant wife, Skyler, and a son with cerebral palsy, is diagnosed with stage-three terminal lung cancer. Determined to develop a sufficient inheritance for his family before his death, Walter enters the drug trade, using his chemistry knowledge to cook remarkably potent methamphetamine (crystal meth) with Jesse Pinkman, a former student. Operating out of a recreational vehicle in the desert, the two defend themselves from two local drug dealers, formerly Jesse's distributors, who accuse Walter of being a DEA agent. At gunpoint, Walter bargains his and Jesse's life for the recipe to his crystal meth and gases them with phosphine gas during the production process, leaving the two dealers 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 decide to restrain him in Jesse's basement. After a coin flip, Jesse is tasked with disposing of the dead dealer's body, while Walter must deal with killing the other, a prospect that sickens him. Jesse dissolves the dead body in a bathtub of hydrofluoric acid, but the acid eats through the tub and the floor beneath it, dumping the remaining semi-dissolved body into the hall below. Meanwhile, Walter has begun providing food and a latrine to his prisoner, Krazy-8, whom he also confides in, giving him time in attempting to find an excuse to leave him alive. Due to his illness, Walter passes out briefly while delivering food in one such instance, breaking a plate. Awakening later, Walter picks up the broken plate and after a "heart-to-heart" with Krazy-8, Walter goes to retrieve the key to set him free. However, while upstairs, Walt has discovered that there is a large sharp piece of the plate missing. Realizing that Krazy-8 intends to kill him the second he sets him free, Walter decides that he has no choice but to kill the dealer. Following the disposal of the body, Walter severs ties with Jesse and the drug trade.

Meanwhile, Walter's brother-in-law Hank, who actually is a DEA agent deduces that there is a new drug producer in the region, following a trail of evidence left at Walter's cook site. It is also revealed that Walter's sister-in-law, Marie, is an occasional shoplifter. Later, Walter reveals to his family, Marie, and Hank, that he has cancer. They implore him to visit specialist doctors and undergo chemotherapy. While Walter is adamant at first to decide his own fate, to die honorably instead of suffering the indignities of chemotherapy side-effects, Walter finally agrees to treatment. He pretends to accept financial assistance from wealthy friends as a cover story to explain the source of payment for his chemotherapy. In reality, he approaches Jesse to rebuild their business arrangement and so pay for the treatments himself as a matter of pride. Jesse, unable to replicate Walter's recipe, accepts Walter's partnership and agrees to their clearly defined roles: Jesse as the salesman and Walter as 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.

Dissatisfied with the insufficient profit that Jesse is bringing in solely through lowly street deals, Walter sends Jesse to negotiate with Tuco, who has taken over local drug distribution—and is also, unbeknownst to Walt, a violent psychopath. 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, under the pseudonym of "Heisenberg," confronts Tuco with a demand for an up-front payment. As Tuco prepares to assault him, Walt detonates a small amount of mercury fulminate, creating an explosion that blows out the top floor of the hideout and intimidates 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 restrictions on over-the-counter pseudoephedrine products by stealing a large drum of methylamine from a chemical warehouse and using an alternate method of synthesis. Now able to produce four times as much crystal meth as before, the two begin steady business with an increasingly psychopathic Tuco.

Season two

After killing one of his deputies, Tuco kidnaps Walter and Jesse, planning to take them to a superlab in Mexico after the DEA raids his operation in Albuquerque. The two manage to incapacitate Tuco and escape. Hank, in his search for the missing Walt, comes across a wounded Tuco. A shootout occurs resulting in Hank killing Tuco. Walter engineers a return home claiming to have been in a fugue state, but this excuse has numerous holes and creates an uneasy distrust in his relationship with Skyler. The DEA seizes Jesse's "drug" money, putting a strain on his partnership with Walter after he demands half of Walter's meth profit to save him from homelessness.

Jesse rents a new place and becomes romantically involved with his landlord, Jane, a recovering drug addict. With Tuco dead, Walter and Jesse decide to move their business into new territory, but more problems arise as their enterprise expands. One of their dealers, Skinny Pete, is mugged, so Jesse is forced to confront the perpetrators. One of the addicts is killed by his girlfriend, but Jesse receives the credit, earning him fear and respect and further solidifying "Heisenberg" in the area. Another dealer, Badger, is arrested by the DEA, forcing Walter to deal with Saul Goodman (played by Bob Odenkirk), a crooked lawyer who offers a solution to keep Badger from snitching while also keeping him alive. Walter and Jesse attempt to intimidate Saul, but Saul makes a deal with Walter for a cut of the meth profit in return for being Walter and Jesse's legal counsel and advisor in their drug operation, further eroding their income.

Considered a hero for killing Tuco, Hank is promoted and sent to El Paso. In private, he suffers panic attacks due to the unexpected shootout with Tuco. El Paso proves to be too much for Hank after he witnesses the severed head of a cartel snitch explode and severely injure fellow DEA officers. He is immediately sent back to Albuquerque by his superiors. Meanwhile, Gretchen, Walter's former lover and co-head of Gray Matter, discovers Walter has been lying to his family about Gray Matter paying for his cancer treatment. She is horrified when an angry and bitter Walt blames her and her husband, Elliott, for profiting off his research, although she still keeps Walter's secret for his family's sake. Skyler goes back to work for Ted Beneke, her former boss who apparently groped her when drunk, forcing her to quit. She increasingly relies on Ted for emotional support due to Walter's constant absence and strange behavior.

Walter believes his cancer has gotten worse after sneaking a peek of the latest PET/CT scan of his lungs. Having only $16,000 remaining of the meth money after the numerous setbacks, he and Jesse spend several days in the desert cooking 38 pounds of meth to sell off before Walter dies. At the doctor, Walter discovers his cancer has not spread and his tumor has, in fact, shrunk by 80% and what he thought was growth was actually inflammation. Walt plans to end the meth operation once the 38 pounds are sold off, but finds himself bored with the return to his mundane life, finding pleasure only when he is distracted or dealing with dangerous situations.

When one of Walter and Jesse's dealers, Combo, is killed by rival dealers, Jesse is sent spiraling into a drug addiction that also drags Jane out of her sobriety. With their remaining dealers backing out, Saul uses his connections to introduce Walter and Jesse to Gus, a discreet, cautious, yet successful drug distributor. Despite never having met or seen Gus, Saul is able to arrange a meeting at a local fast food restaurant. Unbeknownst to Walter, Jesse, or Saul, Gus owns and manages a number of fast food restaurants and has purposely scheduled the meeting at one of his own restaurants in order to observe Walter and Jesse. Jesse arrives for the meeting late and high on drugs and leaves the restaurant after briefly arguing with Walter. Having seen this, Gus deems them unreliable and chooses not to approach Walter, who initially assumes that Gus has stood them up. Walter eventually deduces that the manager of the restaurant was in fact the man they were to meet, and later approaches him for a second chance. Gus reluctantly offers to buy Walter's product for 1.2 million dollars and offers him only a short time frame to deliver it. Walter attempts to contact Jesse to complete the exchange, but he and Jane are incapacitated after an injection of heroin. Walter is forced to carry out the trade himself just as Skyler goes into labor. He manages to complete the transaction at the cost of missing the birth of his daughter.

Walter loses trust in Jesse and promises to give him his share of the payout only if he agrees to go sober. Upon learning of the money and Jesse's relationship with Walter, Jane concocts a plan to blackmail Walter and convinces a reluctant Jesse to go along. Jane calls Walter and threatens to turn him in to the authorities if he doesn't give Jesse his share of the money. Walter reluctantly complies and the two agree to go their separate ways, but Walter feels obligated to help Jesse. Coincidentally, he meets Jane's father Donald in a local bar. Unaware of their mutual acquaintances, the two men share perspectives on the challenges of raising children, a subject Walter raises by describing his troubled "nephew". He returns to Jesse, only to discover that he and Jane have taken heroin again. While attempting to wake up Jesse, he intentionally allows Jane to asphyxiate on her own vomit. Jesse believes he is responsible for Jane's death and goes into a depression. Walter attempts to help Jesse by taking him to a drug rehabilitation clinic. Meanwhile, Gus discovers that Hank is Walter's brother-in-law and that Walter has cancer.

As Walter undergoes anesthesia for his lung cancer surgery, he accidentally confirms to Skyler the existence of his secret second cell phone. This prompts her to leave him several weeks later, after she systematically investigates and uncovers his lies. Walter offers to explain everything to Skyler, but she responds that she is too afraid to know the truth. After Skyler leaves, Walter sees an explosion in the skies above his home. A grieving Donald, an air traffic controller, has accidentally directed two airplanes into each other in the sky above Albuquerque. In an image foreshadowed in the season's first shot, a charred pink teddy bear lands in the Whites' pool and floats there until it is collected as evidence by NTSB agents.



Season Episodes Premiere date End date Region 1 DVD release date
Season One 7 January 20, 2008 March 9, 2008 February 24, 2009
Season Two 13 March 8, 2009 May 31, 2009 January 5, 2010
Season Three 13 March, 2010 unknown unknown

Season one

The first season consists of nine episodes, but due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike only seven episodes were filmed. 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.


On February 17, 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. 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.

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.

"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".

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. In a recent interview with William Keck of TV Guide Magazine it was announced that the third series will air in Canada and the United States in March 2010.


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.

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

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.

The second season opener was watched by 1.7 million people, up 21% from the previous season.

The second season received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Bryan Cranston) and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Aaron Paul). Cranston won for Outstanding Lead Actor.

International distribution

Breaking Bad premiered in Australia on Showcase on August 28, 2008. The show debuted its first season in Irelandmarker and the United Kingdommarker on FX commencing September 28; Five USA have bought the first run rights for the second season. On October 9, 2008, it premiered on Turkeymarker's e2 and on October 15, 2008 on New Zealandmarker's C4. It debuted in Italymarker on November 15, 2008 on AXN Italy and later in Brazilmarker on Sony Entertainment Television . On January 1, 2009 the show began airing on Finlandmarker's Nelonen. AXN Germany aired the show in Germany for Pay-TV viewers. The Franco-German culture TV channel Arte has recently acquired the Free-TV rights to broadcast the show in Francemarker and Germanymarker. Swissmarker television channel SF2 started airing Breaking Bad on May 17, 2009 and on yes Stars Drama in Israel.

Awards and nominations



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 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 The charity website set up for Walter White in Season 2 by Walter Jr is also available at

Chemical elements in the credits

The credits feature symbols of chemical elements from the Periodic Table in green (for example, the symbols Br and Ba for bromine and barium in Breaking Bad). The credits at the beginning of the show usually continue this, with cast members' names usually including one chemical element symbol if appropriate.

The opening credits also feature the formula C10H15N which is repeated several times in each frame that it appears. This is the molecular formula for methamphetamine, it indicates that each molecule contains 10 carbon atoms, 15 hydrogen atoms and one nitrogen atom.

The number 149.24 is also repeated in the introduction, which is the molecular mass of the methamphetamine compound.


  1. AMC renews 'Breaking Bad' Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on 7 April 2009.
  2. "3 New Breaking Bad Season 3 TV Spots!" MovieWeb. Retrieved on 29 November 2009.
  3. "No. 93: Bryan Cranston." Esquire. Retrieved on 18 September 2007.
  4. "Fans Chat With Bryan Cranston." AMC. 9 March 2008. Retrieved on 6 February 2009.
  5. "Series 'Breaking Bad' to Begin Production at Albuquerque Studios." Albuquerque Studios. Retrieved on 23 August 2007.
  6. Inside Breaking Bad "ABQ"
  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.
  10. "'Breaking Bad' Emmy Winner Brings Award To Albuquerque." KOAT. 23 September 2008. Retrieved on 6 February 2009.
  11. "Downtime - Breaking Bad." TIME. 18 January 2008. Retrieved on 18 May 2008.
  12. 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.
  14. "'Bryan Cranston Wins 2009 Emmy Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series." 20 September 2009. Retrieved on 21 September 2009.

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