Where do you start with Breaking Bad? Originally released in early 2008, few could have predicted its enormous success. It went on to become legendary and is still considered one of the greatest ever TV shows, even to this day. As a result, various spin-off shows and movies spawned, including Better Call Saul and El Camino, which are also highly-praised.
Most celebrated, though, is the show’s incredibly crafted characters – ones that were so villainous, we still cherish them, and others that were so perfectly flawed, we can’t help but still appreciate them.
So, is Walter White really “the one who knocks”? Are we going to say “yes bi**h” to Jesse Pinkman?
Here’s to looking back at a legendary show and its equally legendary characters. Check out the top 20 Breaking Bad characters ranked according to Tell Tales’ personal favorites.
20. Lydia Rodarte Quayle
While it’s almost impossible to pinpoint a ‘worst’ character on Breaking Bad (they’re all so darn epic), Laura is ranked here simply for being the most pathetic and annoying character on the show. For the most part, she reaped the financial rewards of helping an international drug-dealing operation without even getting her hands dirty.
A highly unlikable character, fans had great fun witnessing her eventual downfall, but at the same time, you have to admire the acting skills of Laura Fraser who played the role perfectly.
19. Marie Schrader
Wife of detective Hank Schrader, Marie was the sister-in-law of Walter White and one of the show’s more wholesome characters. Breaking Bad characters generally have deviant motives or hidden secrets, but this wasn’t the case for Marie, who like her husband Hank were both genuinely good people (except for her stealing antics).
Marie is ranked higher up in our list, simply because she ends up pretty much overshadowed by more epic characters on the show.
18. Huell Babineaux
Perhaps the funniest character on Breaking Bad, the image of Huell’s massive body laying on wads of cash became iconic, as did his cumbersome antics with partner Patrick Kuby.
Huell was a minder for the legendary crooked lawyer, Saul Goodman, and acted as low-level muscle. Even though Huell was ultimately a side character, his comical persona made him an instant fan-favorite and brought out the rare, but funnier side of the series.
17. Steven Gomez
Another honest, kind, and hard-working man, killed by maniac drug dealers. Welcome to Breaking Bad, I guess? Steven Gomez was the cop partner of Hank Schrader and like many on the show, went out with a bang. Perhaps Gomez’s death foreshadowed things to come, but there was something genuinely sad about his demise.
16. Andrea Cantillo
The second woman in Jesse Pinkman’s life, Anrea Cantillo often offered stability and maturity that was much needed for him at the time. Sadly, it all ended in tears when Walter White pulled out his sadistic side and tried to kill her young son. Whilst Cantillo wasn’t the most exciting character on the show, she was certainly memorable.
15. Walter White Jr.
Walt Jr. often brought out his father’s much-needed human side, so it’s safe to say his character was a great tool on the show. Even as White descends into darkness, he still makes time for his son, being the only person he truly loves and genuinely cares for. Although Walt’s character wasn’t much developed, we still appreciate the kindness and loyalty he regularly presented.
14. Gale Boetticher
There aren’t many friendly people on this show – especially ones who are involved in meth-making, so for that reason, Gale is included almost halfway on this list. A tragic ending for a gullible guy, although he has genuine admiration for White, it kind of borders on creepy at times, but that’s what makes him so lovable.
13. Todd Alquist
Todd is one of Breaking Bad’s more intriguing characters. Starting off as a fairly naïve-seeming kid, we then see the influence his uncle Jack has on his behavior when he coldly kills an innocent child without thinking twice.
Todd acts as another wicked character on this show, whose child-like view of the world makes him blissfully unaware of his shortcomings. If anything, that makes his actions even more chilling.
12. Jane Margolis
Jane’s story was truly shocking as it not only highlighted the dark side of drug-use, but it emphasized Walter White’s ruthlessness, too. Without her, the development of Jesse Pinkman’s character and his destructive relationship with Heisenberg wouldn’t have been possible either.
Interestingly, the ghost of Jane features at the end of El Camino, to bring closure to her death and finality and peace for Pinkman, marking the end of his trauma.
11. Hector Salamanca
Hector’s explosive ending was a fitting homage to his character and helped explain why so many members of his family were genuinely insane. A bitter man, he was proof that even with millions made from the drug game, he was still ultimately unhappy with life.
Having said that, the interrogation scene where he spells out rude words to the DEA with his bell was genuinely hilarious. Seriously, bell rings will never sound the same again.
10. Jack Welker
Let’s face it, every show needs a real bad guy. As it happens, Jack Welker was exactly that. A murderous, psychotic Neo-Nazi, Welker entered the show in the later series and didn’t hesitate to grab power when it presented itself.
His entrance may have marked the beginning of the end for some of Breaking Bad’s most likable characters, but, thankfully, he got the send-off he deserved in one of the most memorable scenes of the show. Morally, Welker would be put at the bottom of the list, but you can’t deny that he didn’t make good TV.
9. Badger and Skinny Pete
Badger and Skinny Pete were practically the same person and acted as some much-needed comic relief throughout the show’s overall bleak tone. The pair were friends with Jesse Pinkman and dabbled in meth and cannabis, acting as low-level dealers who just wanted to get high and play video games.
Although used for humor, they also showed a different view of the drug trade, that involved ordinary people who were far from millionaires or cold killers. Best known as “the best killers this side of the Mississippi”, Badger and Skinny Pete were legendary in their own right.
8. Skyler White
A character that fans loved to hate. Starting off as a nagging wife who’s harsh on her husband, and lacking compassion for a man with terminal cancer, in the end – like many characters – Skyler ended the show as a victim.
Eventually learning about his criminal ways, she was even coerced and manipulated into the bidding of Walter White, which showed the change in power as the show went on. In short, Skyler left fans torn – some emphasized with her, whilst others saw her as an annoyance who held White back in life.
7. Tuco Salamanca
Although Tuco wasn’t in the show for too long, his character is undeniably iconic. The first real villain of the show, his unhinged personality teased the danger and madness that was around the corner.
A wild meth-addict drug kingpin, Salamanca was White’s first real test and represented his change in lifestyle. After dealing with Tuco, White evolved from being a timid school teacher and transformed into the infamous Heisenberg. So we pretty much have Tuco to thank for that.
6. Hank Schrader
In a world full of crooks and bad guys, Hank was reliable, moral, and not only loyal to his job, but fiercely loyal to his family, too. In fact, it’s his character which drove most of the plotlines, keeping fans at the edge of their seats in anticipation of his discovery about Walt.
From his cheesy dad jokes, to his unwavering professionalism, Hank was one of life’s good guys. Sadly, this didn’t cut it in the Breaking Bad universe, which turns justice upside down. His ending on the show was the ultimate tragedy, but it showed just how valuable his character was.
5. Jesse Pinkman
Jesse was Walter White’s literal partner in crime and like White, his character development throughout the series was a (heart-racing) pleasure to watch. Starting as a humorous, irritating stoner, he ended as a character deep in story and earned fans through his heart and personality.
In fact, we were so sucked into Jesse’s story, that we almost felt his trauma ourselves and our hearts genuinely bled for him. In many ways, the growth of Pinkman showed how Vince Gilligan wrote the show so perfectly, as he matured throughout and was far from one dimensional in the end.
4. Gus Fring
Gus Fring played his role perfectly as a smart and sophisticated villain. It would have been easy to make him a cliched drug lord, but he was far from that. Quiet and unassuming, he was a master manipulator and perfectionist who ran a slick operation under the nose of the DEA. Arguably, what made him so interesting was his controlled manner in a surrounding world of chaos.
Fring’s exit was iconic and probably the most dramatic that you can imagine for any character. Even when leaving the show, he made sure his tie was straight, which tells us a lot about his principles. A detestable villain, but certainly one of Breaking Bad’s best ever characters.
3. Mike Ehrmantraut
Mike had the strangest surname in the series, but he was also a solid character, acting as the wise man amid the madness (also occasionally tampering with the madness himself, too). Perhaps the most loyal and straight-edge character on the show, Mike was known for his serious and reliable persona who cleverly walked a fine line between being an intimidating badass hitman and a doting grandfather.
In true Breaking Bad style, his character had a sad ending which made our affection for him even stronger than it previously was.
2. Saul Goodman
Saul Goodman was so good, his character literally earned a spin-off show of his own. The sleazy but likeable lawyer helped Walter White and Jesse Pinkman get out of many legal scrapes, but it was his near-the-knuckle approach and loose interpretation to the law that made his character genuinely funny. Goodman’s role developed as the show aged, and in the end he was an integral character that many cannot forget.
1. Walter White
We know it’s predictable, but yes, Walter White is our best Breaking Bad character. Writer Vince Gilligan left no stone unturned with his depiction of Walter and his descent into becoming an unscrupulous drug lord.
A drug dealer that viewers ironically rooted for from the very start, small touches like his upgrade in a watch due to his cash windfall showed the level of detail put into this iconic character. Without giving away too much, his ending was also fitting for the show’s perfect anti-hero.
One of the best characters on television, we must say. And for the most part, it’s thanks to actor Bryan Cranston who poured his heart and soul into this role and truly made it his own. A veteran actor with years under his belt, he cemented his place in acting history and ultimately became synonymous with the character.
That’s right, we “said his name”…he is indeed “the danger”… Walter White is the fan-favorite here at Tell Tales. With so many other wonderfully crafted characters on this show, it truly was difficult ranking and pitting them against each other.
Which Breaking Bad character is the worst and best in your eyes? Sound off in the comments below!