Jesse Pinkman was originally slated to be written out by the 9th episode. During the hiatus caused by the writer's strike, creator Vince Gilligan, impressed by Aaron Paul's portrayal of Jesse, decided to reinstate the character.
After binge-watching the entire show in a span of two weeks, Anthony Hopkins wrote a glowing fan letter to Bryan Cranston, praising him and his fellow actors for their incredible acting, as well as lauding the rest of the crew, comparing the series to a "great Shakespearian or Greek tragedy".
Many fans were surprised that such a successful show had stars who weren't very famous. Vince Gilligan said that this was by choice, and as the show went on he actually rejected big-name stars in favor of lesser-known actors.
Vince Gilligan personally selected Baby Blue by Badfinger as the song to be played during the series' final scene, despite numerous objections from his music team. The song was purchased from iTunes over 5,000 times the night of the finale's initial broadcast and re-entered the Billboard charts more than 40 years after it was first released.
A main plot point is Walt as a chemistry genius. Marius Stan, who plays Bogdan, is a real-life chemistry genius. He has a PhD in Chemistry, and still works in the field. This show was his first foray into acting.
Gus Fring was originally supposed to appear in only three or four episodes. Giancarlo Esposito was asked to return for seven episodes in season three. Esposito refused to return unless he could appear in more episodes. He ended up appearing in 11 episodes in the third season.
In an interview, Vince Gilligan admitted that the writer's strike that shortened season 1 ended up benefiting the show. He'd planned for Walt's evil side to emerge in a shocking season finale. The strike led him to write the evolution much more gradually.
In the beginning of each episode, the chemical formula C10H15N along with the number 149.24 and the word "Meth" can be seen just before the title Breaking Bad (2008) appears. C10H15N is the formula for methamphetamine, which has the molecular weight of 149.24.
The White's address, 308 Negra Arroyo Lane, is a private residence. The residents have had to deal with fans recreating Walter's famous pizza throw onto the house's roof, and conducted media interviews asking to be left alone.
Bryan Cranston stated in an interview that the term "breaking bad" is a southern colloquialism, referring to someone who has taken a turn off the path of the straight and narrow. The lapse could last for a day or a lifetime.
In 2005, after Showtime, TNT, and HBO rejected the initial pitch for the series, FX stepped in and immediately began development on the pilot. They eventually passed on the project in favor of the Courteney Cox show Dirt (2007), in a bid to draw more female viewers. According to Vince Gilligan, HBO showed no interest even on the pitch. TNT loved the idea, but said that they couldn't air a show with a crystal meth dealer as the central character.
Samuel L. Jackson showed up unannounced during filming on the Pollos Hermanos set one day, dressed in his Nick Fury outfit from The Avengers (2012). Both productions were happening on the same studio lot, and Jackson wanted to be an extra during the scene being filmed. The producers denied his request to appear as Nick Fury on the show.
Walter White's alias, Heisenberg, is a tribute to Werner Heisenberg, who formulated the uncertainty principle, which states that it is impossible to determine simultaneously both the position and velocity of an electron or any other particle with any great degree of accuracy or certainty.
A plot line was written for the third season in which Walt visits a South American drug lord in prison to convince him to help him put Gus Fring out of business. It was discarded because the writers couldn't figure out how Walt would be able to connect with the drug lord.
During an August 2013 interview with Terry Gross on "Fresh Air," Bob Odenkirk said that when he first heard a description of Saul Goodman, he told Vince Gilligan that he might not be the best choice for the role because he isn't Jewish. Gilligan told him that Goodman is a fake last name that the character adopted because he thought it sounded stereo-typically Jewish. Odenkirk also told Gross that Goodman's odd hairstyle, a thinning comb-over-mullet combination, was his idea.
Gus Fring was originally written as a character named Kesyer Söze (a reference to The Usual Suspects (1995)). Söze was supposed to appear late in the first season but a writers strike shortened the season. Giancarlo Esposito who played Gus appeared in The Usual Suspects.
Betsy Brandt was pregnant during season two. Whenever she reached the point in the pregnancy that Skyler was supposed to be, the producers would do pick-up shots with her as the fake bare belly on Anna Gunn.
Vince Gilligan had already cast Bryan Cranston against his usual type in The X-Files (1993) episode The X-Files: Drive (1998). Cranston played a white supremacist with an infection that makes his head explode if his car's speed dips below 50 miles per hour. Gilligan has said their collaboration convinced him that Cranston was the only actor who could portray Walter White.
Bromine (Br) is used to quench fires (in Halon). Barium (Ba) is used in pyrotechnics (including thermite, interestingly enough). (Br)eaking (Ba)d seems a reflection of Walt's conflicted mind on manufacturing meth.
Series Trademark: virtually every episode contains a point-of-view shot from inside a confined space. Frequently used is a shot from inside a car trunk (as made famous by Quentin Tarantino); most others come from inside refrigerators, swimming pools, crates, boxes, lab equipment, kitchen utensils, microwaves, washing machines, duffel bags, hidden spaces below floors and behind walls, safes, vending machines, and from below glass tables.
The name of the Whites' baby girl, Holly, is another in Vince Gilligan's many career-long references to his longtime girlfriend, Holly Rice that have been included in his scripts. There were also references to Rice in nearly all of Gilligan's episodes of The X-Files (1993).
The popularity of the TV series spawned a cottage industry for a variety of Albuquerque (NM) citizens, including everything from cosmetics, spa, bathroom and 'blue rock' candy products to a tour of both the good and bad locations used in the series.
According to Giancarlo Esposito, he based his performance as Gus Fring on Edward James Olmos's performance as Lt. Martin Castillo in Miami Vice (1984). He noticed that Olmos was very quiet and still but suggested an inner turmoil. Esposito guest starred on that series three times.
Although the main character commits many serious crimes, including money laundering, murder, and manufacturing and distributing an illegal and very dangerous drug, a great deal of fan hatred focused on Skyler. Fans have created many Facebook and other Web pages dedicated to Skyler's perceived flaws. Anna Gunn wrote an August 24, 2013, New York Times op-ed titled "I Have a Character Issue" about the phenomenon of TV viewers hating strong female characters such as Skyler, Carmela Soprano of The Sopranos (1999), and Betty Draper of Mad Men (2007), despite the fact that they are wives of male characters who engage in much less sympathetic and often outright criminal behavior.
Walt's car is a well-used 2003 Pontiac Aztek, repainted a pale non-factory dull green. The windshield was broken and replaced several times due to catastrophes both great and small, all traceable to Walt's descent into the drug world. The Aztek was widely derided as ugly, overpriced, and low- quality. It never met sales quotas, and has been blamed for the death of the Pontiac brand. However, its versatility won it a small, loyal following. The show's production kept at least 2 Azteks equipped for different filming situations.
In season 1, the real name of the actor who played Krazy 8 was Max Arciniega. Gustavo Fring's close associate and co-founder of the Los Pollos Hermanos franchises, as shown in Breaking Bad: Hermanos (2011), had the same name.
Mark Margolis, who played Hector Salamanca, claimed in an interview with one Bridget Machete that his character's mannerisms were influenced by his mother in law, who was in a similar condition living in a nursing home. She would make the facial expressions as a sign of excitement when she had visitors. Mark also claimed he did not watch season 5 of Breaking Bad when asked his opinion of it, stating the reason being because he was not in it so there was no reason to watch it.
The mascot for Walter Jr.'s high school is the Skyhawk. Signs can be seen on the walls in some of the school shots. Vince Gilligan went to L.C. Byrd High School in Chesterfield, VA, where the mascot is the Skyhawk.
In season 1, Anna Gunn asked Vince Gilligan about Skyler's occupation while she wasn't with Walt. Gilligan said that she was taking it easy because she was heavily pregnant. Gunn arguing that pregnant women could still do things, asked him to write her something to do. The subplot was never included due to the writers' strike.
In his August 2013 Terry Gross interview, Bob Odenkirk said that he based his character Saul Goodman partly on the Hollywood agents Robert Evans and Ari Emmanuel. Emanuel, who was also the inspiration for the character played by Jeremy Piven in the TV series Entourage (2004) and a different Odenkirk character, Stevie Grant on The Larry Sanders Show (1992), is Odenkirk's actual agent.
The 2009 Dodge Challenger that Walter buys for Walt Jr also appears on The Walking Dead (2010)'s first season driven by Glenn. When Skyler tells Walter to return the car to the dealership she instructs him to speak with the manager, called Glenn.
Steven Bauer plays Don Eladio, who is the head of the Juarez drug cartel) and runs it in Mexico. Steven Bauer also played Carlos Ayala in Traffic (2000), who was the American distributor working for the Tijuana cartel, whose rivals were the Juarez cartel.
An odd humpbacked flute player is mounted on the walls of some scenes throughout the series, most notably in Walt's backyard. This character is Kokopelli, a fertility deity venerated by some Native American cultures in the Southwestern United States. He is believed to be a trickster among gods. Kokopelli became an important marketing item in the 1990s on items such as t-shirts.
At the end of Little Miss Sunshine (2006) the Hoover family drive into the sunset, back to Albuquerque. Breaking Bad actors Bryan Cranston & Dean Norris are both in the movie appearing respectively, as Stan Grossman & State Trooper McCleary.
The two chemical elements Bromine and Barium, the abbreviated forms of which appear as high-lighted boldface fonts in the title - (Br)eaking) (Ba)d - have nothing to do with the manufacture of "crystal meth" (Methamphetamine).
Bryan Cranston (Walter), Anna Gunn (Skyler) and Bob Odenkirk (Saul Goodman) have guest starred in Seinfeld (1989). Anna played Jerry's girlfriend in Seinfeld: The Glasses (1993). Bryan made his first appearance as Dr. Tim Whatley, a dentist whose conversion to Judaism annoys Jerry when he realizes Tim only converted so he could tell Jewish-themed jokes, a year later, in Seinfeld: The Mom and Pop Store (1994). Bob played Ben Galvant in Seinfeld: The Abstinence (1996); Elaine is dating Ben because she thinks he is a doctor, but Ben reveals he hasn't passed his medical boards yet and proves inept in a real-life health crisis. Once Ben does become a doctor, he breaks up with Elaine and explains, Saul Goodman-style, that the point of becoming a doctor is to end up dating someone who was out of his league before he became one. Larry Hankin appeared on Seinfeld (1989) too and was co-creator Larry David's first choice to play Kramer. Other "Breaking Bad" actors who appeared on Seinfeld (1989): Nigel Gibbs, Mark Harelik and Jessica Hecht.
The original screenplay for Breaking Bad (2008)'s pilot episode describes the RV driving through a cow pasture, not a Indian reservation as on the show. This is because the series was originally going to take place in California, not New Mexico.
Here are the names shown in the opening credits, with that person's chemical abbreviation letters, and the full name of that element in the periodic table of elements: Bryan Cranston - Br - Bromine; Anna Gunn - Na - Sodium (Natrium); Aaron Paul - Ar - Argon; Dean Norris - N - Nitrogen; Betsy Brandt - Be - Beryllium; 'Dj. Qualls' - Al - Aluminium; Krysten Ritter - Kr - Krypton; Matt Jones - At - Astatine; Steven Michael Quezada - H - Hydrogen; Skip Macdonald - Ac - Actinium; Robb Wilson King - W - Tungsten (Wolfram); Michael Slovis - Ch - (Ch is not an element of the periodic table.); Dave Porter - Po - Polonium; Sharon Bialy - S - Sulfur; Sherry Thomas - Y - Yttrium; Sam Catlin - Ca - Calcium; Stewart Lyons - Ar - Argon; Melissa Bernstein - Be - Beryllium; John Shiban - Ba - Barium; Mark Johnson - O - Oxygen; Karen Moore - Mo - Molybdenum; Peter Gould - Te - Tellurium; Terry McDonough - Er - Erbium.
Steven Bauer (Don Eladio) and Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring) who play enemies in the show, previously starred together in the show South Beach (2006), the movie Doing Hard Time (2004) and in a production of the play "Balm in Gilead" which also starred Breaking Bad actor Mark Margolis (Hector Salamanca). Bauer and Margolis also acted alongside one another in another drug-related project Scarface (1983).
Tuco Salamanca is presumably named after Tuco Ramirez from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). In that movie, Tuco Ramirez was thought to have been hung in Albuquerque, where Breaking Bad (2008) takes place.
The series title is spelled using the chemical symbols for bromine (Br), and barium (Ba). Chemical symbols from the periodic table also appear in every name (except the one of creator Vince Gilligan) in the opening credits: a single capital letter, or pair of letters, with only the first letter capitalized (in line with scientific convention), shown in a differing color.
Several actors from this series have made guest appearances on David E. Kelley's legal drama The Practice (1997), all dissimilar to their character's on Breaking Bad: Anna Gunn played a district attorney who was not keen on breaking the law; Giancarlo Esposito played an African American who was wrongly accused of murder; Mark Margolis played an Italian American wrongly accused of being a mobster.
Spanish rock group Mamá Ladilla ("Crabs mum") has a song dedicated to the series called "Jaisemberg", a literal transcription of the name Heisenberg. One of the lines says "You have sold your blue stuff the incredible Hulk", as a reference to the violent character Tuco.
Dean Norris (Hank Schrader) and Bryan Cranston (Walter White) both had bit parts in Little Miss Sunshine (2006). Dean played a police officer and Bryan a business executive. Also, the family that movie centered on lived in Albuquerque.
Giancarlo Esposito (Gustavo) and Jonathan Banks (Mike) have both appeared in episodes of Community (2009). Esposito played the role of Pierce Hawthorne's (Chevy Chase) half brother, and Banks played the role of Buzz Hickey, who could be considered the character chosen to replace Pierce Hawthorne. Buzz Hickey (Banks) was also once a police officer, as was his character Mike in Breaking Bad (2008).
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The first episode of season 2 is called Breaking Bad: Seven Thirty-Seven (2009), which foreshadows the plane crash at the end of the season. When combined with the other episodes that flash forward to the plane crash, the titles read "Seven Thirty Seven- Down- Over- ABQ"
The character of Hank clearly has strong parallels to Ahab from Moby-Dick. Ahab is obsessed with catching the great white whale. Hank is obsessed with catching Heisenberg, who is actually Walter White, and whom he refers to early on as a "whale." Ahab loses his leg to the whale and walks with a false leg. Hank loses use of his legs for a while after he is shot, and walks with a limp afterward. Ahab is the ship's captain. Hank becomes head of the DEA's Albuquerque office. Ahab and Hank are both destroyed by their quest. Just before he's killed, Ahab loses his false leg. Just before he's killed, Hank is shot in the leg. Ahab's body is dragged into the vast unmarked sea. Hank's body is dumped in an unmarked grave in the vast desert destroyed by his obsession with catching the great white whale.
Body count: 270, including 167 unnamed passengers killed during the plane crash in 'ABQ'. Excluding the plane crash, being shot is the most common way for characters to die, accounting for 56 of the 98 deliberate killings in the series.
The scene with the cousins blowing up the immigrant smuggling truck could only be filmed in one take, so the actors had to get everything right, including walking away without looking back. They said the heat coming from behind them made it harder.
Todd committed widest range of felonies (murder 1, child murder, robbing, association to murder of federal agents, association of murder, manufacturing methamphetamine, distributing methamphetamine, arson, kidnapping, breaking and entering, unlawfully imprisonment, housing a methamphetamine lab, carrying illegal firearms, theft, and obstruction of justice).
According to Dean Norris, while shooting the first half of season 5 he got a job offer to play a leading part in a sitcom. Norris, knowing the series was ending and thinking about providing for his family, suggested to Vince Gilligan the idea of killing Hank in those first eight episodes, arguing it would be shocking and unexpected. Gilligan refused, saying he needed Hank for the second half of the season. Hank ended up getting killed in one of the last episodes.
There is an alternate ending of the series finale on the last season DVD. It involves Bryan Cranston playing the role of his Malcolm in the Middle (2000) character Hal waking up from a nightmare which happens to be the events of Breaking Bad. Jane Kaczmarek also makes a cameo appearance as Lois. This was an homage to the finale of Newhart (1982).
Characters and their values are represented by the colors they wear. Skyler usually wears blue. Jesse wears yellow and red; plus grey when he was in recovery. Walter wears green because he is stuck between his family and the drug trade. The birth of Walt's daughter introduces pink to the spectrum. The DEA agents, Hank and Gomez, wear orange, representing police. Marie is usually in purple, like many of the other doctors on the show. Jane, the recovering heroin addict, wears black.
Walter White's final act of revenge is very similar to Gustavo Frings act on Don Eladio. Both Don Eladio and Jack Welker killed men they were close to, both were spared, and both came back into their enemy's headquarters to execute their plan.
By his own admission, when Vince Gilligan wrote that Walt had a machine gun on the trunk at the beginning of season five, in a flash-forward scene, he had no idea what Walter was going to do with it, so he had to really work hard to come up with how he was going to use it against Todd's family.
The script originally called for Saul Goodman to show up to teach Jesse how to clean up a crime scene when Jane dies. Bob Odenkirk had prior commitments so producers brought in Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut.
When Saul first approaches Walt about a business arrangement, he compares his services for Walt to Tom Hagen's role as consigliere to Vito Corleone. Walt objects, saying "I'm no Vito Corleone," to which Saul responds "Right now, you're Fredo." Soon after, when Walt and his family hear that his tumor has shrunk, Hank misquotes The Godfather: Part III (1990), saying "Just when I tried to get out, they pull me back in."
Walter white has five physical looks throughout Breaking Bad. 1. His younger look in flashbacks when he has long hair and no facial hair. 2. His look in the first season with longish hair, mustache, thin glasses. 3. His look in season 1-2, bald, mustache, thin glasses. 4. His look for the majority of the season (3-5) bald, thin glasses, goatee. 5. His look in late season 5 with a full head of hair, thick-glasses, full beard.
Mike Ehrmantraut is shot four times; once in the ear, once in the abdomen when he, Jesse, and Gus go to Mexico to negotiate with the cartel and twice through the driver's side window before being hit in the abdomen.
In season 1 episode 2 when Jesse enters the bathroom with the wrapped up dead body. When he drops the feet to the ground, the toilet seat collapses shut. That actually happened during the scene and wasn't setup as a prop.
Walt is indirectly responsible for Andrea Cantillo's death through a series of events that started with him poisoning Brock Cantillo. However, Jesse is also indirectly responsible for Andrea's death by getting into a relationship with her while initially trying to lure her into buying his methamphetamine and bringing her into his unpredictable life and then trying to escape from Todd which led to them killing her as a punishment.
The second murder in the series, committed by Walt when he murders Crazy 8 and the second to last murder in the series, committed by Jesse when he murders Todd are the same method,strangulation. This is the same case for Jesse's last murder (which is the also the second to last murder of the series, Todd) and for Mike's last murder, which is of a cartel sniper who worked for Don Eladio. All are by strangulation. There is Walt's murder of Lydia which happened off screen after everyone else's murder to bear in mind, though her administered murder method of Ricin poisoning was not the last murder method to be carried out.