Breaking Bad 

Breaking Bad: Law Enforcement Officers, Ranked From Heroic To Most Villainous

Breaking Bad focuses on players in the drug trade but there were plenty of law enforcement officers too. Some are heroes while some are annoying.

In Breaking Bad, the participants in Albuquerque and Mexico’s drug trade have plenty of problems to worry about. One is capable adversaries who are always seeking to take their positions and disrupt their cash inflow. The other thing they have to constantly fret about is the presence of law enforcement.

Officers from the Albuquerque police department seem much less of a threat, but those from the DEA are a different breed altogether. However, not all the officers have been heroic. While the villainous ones haven’t necessarily broken the law, their actions served as obstacles to the heroes. Some are also far from likable and heroic in the eyes of fans.

Hank Schrader

hank prepares to storm Jesse's hideout in Breaking Bad

There are numerous badass things that Hank Schrader does in Breaking Bad. The DEA’s Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) of the Albuquerque region survives a turtle bomb explosion during a stakeout in El Paso, hunts down Gus Fring, gives Jesse a beatdown, and defends himself against The Cousins, all before discovering that Walt is Heisenberg.

Hank is undoubtedly the show’s true hero since Walt is the antihero. His reluctance to close investigations even after other agents have been hoodwinked regarding the Walt and Gus cases helps in eventually exposing the two men. The Cousins have a track record of terminating everyone they’ve been up against but Hank spoils their lengthy party, leaving one dead and the other gravely injured. Away from work, Hank is the cool uncle too as he mentors Walter Jr. and helps him understand the dangers of drugs.

Detective Getz

Detective Getz interrogates Badger after bursting him as an undercover agent in Breaking Bad

In order to trace the source of Blue Meth, Getz goes undercover as a junkie and baits Badger into selling him the product. He is also the recipient of one of Saul Goodman’s wittiest burns when the sleazy lawyer makes fun of his age while trying to get Badger released.

Undercover work takes courage since the officer on the mission has to mingle with minacious criminals without raising any suspicion. Getz’s calm demeanor while trying to convince Badger on an unsafe street is laudable. Saul might ruin his good work but Getz gets points for using clever ways to try to rid the streets of Albuquerque streets of drugs.

Steven Gomez

Steven Gomez pointing a gun in Breaking Bad

Hank’s DEA partner backs him up in all the major cases, namely those of Krazy-8, Jesse, Walt, and Gus. Being an affable, by-the-book officer doesn’t prevent him from putting his life on the line and making sure the job is done.

Gomez might serve as a Robin to Hank’s Batman but that doesn’t make him any less important. He understands that Hank’s talent surpasses his, so he remains loyal and trusts every decision he makes. As a true friend, Gomez isn’t afraid to call out Hank when he is acting irrationally, such as after the respective shootouts with Tuco and The Cousins.

Officer Cavanaugh

Officer Cavanaugh stops Walt for a broken windshield in Breaking Bad

The Albuquerque Police Department officer is one of the first responders when the Wayfarer 515 crash. He later has an argument with Walt when he pulls him over to ask him about his cracked windshield.

Being among the first people to show up and save lives after a deadly air crash qualifies Cavanaugh as one of the good ones. And even though Walt makes him look like a bad cop, he is the one on the right. Walt has no reason to drive around with a cracked windshield, even if it was caused by debris from the plane crash.

Officer Kee

Officer Kee shows up at a house outside the city to investigate the disappearance of a woman. Unfortunately for him, The Cousins are the current residents since they killed the woman. As he keenly surveys the compound, one of them sneaks up on him and murders him with an ax.

Kee is more of a victim than a hero but the risk he takes by venturing into an isolated compound without any backup suggests that he has successfully taken similar actions before. The only reason he gets killed is that he is not only up against superior opposition given the history of The Cousins, but he’s also up against more numbers.

James Picarus

Ted Beneke’s poor financial habits catch up with him and James Picarus, a special agent at the IRA’s Criminal Investigative Division shows up to ask him some questions. Luckily for Ted, his lover Skyler saves him by pretending to be a scatterbrained accountant who didn’t know what she was doing.

James does the right thing by trying to bring down Ted for failing to file some taxes. Those in the Walter White bandwagon can’t help but hope that he gets sent to prison since he did the dishonorable thing by sleeping with the genius meth cook’s wife. That doesn’t happen. James is fooled but that’s because Skyler is too intelligent, as opposed to James being poor at his job.

Tim Roberts

Detective Tim Roberts at Hank's home explaining the Gale-Heisenberg connection in Breaking Bad

The detective first appears when he conducts investigations into Walt’s disappearance as a favor for his friend Hank Schrader. He then frees Marie when she gets arrested for kleptomania and helps Hank look into Gale’s murder and the possibility that Gus might not be the clean restaurateur he says he is.

Tim’s investigations are what lead to the discovery that Walt has a second phone. This in turn leads to Skyler discovering he is a meth cook. However, Tim’s competence can be a subject of discourse, especially since he leaves the Heisenberg investigation halfway and wrongfully concludes that Gale is the culprit. And after the meeting with Gus, he is also convinced that the drug lord is innocent.

George Merkert

DEA boss George thanks Gus for his help to the community in Breaking Bad

George is Hank’s boss who recommends him for a promotion and transfers him to the Tri-State Border Interdiction Task Force. He is friends with one of the smartest villains in Breaking Bad, Gus Fring, unaware that he is a drug lord.

While George is generally a good man, he is nowhere close to being a heroic officer. His decision to take away Hank’s weapon when he suspends him after the Jesse assault is what puts the star DEA agent at a disadvantage when he is attacked by the cousins. His failure to notice that Gus is a drug trafficker despite dining with him on several occasions is a head-scratcher since an elderly DEA boss like him ought to have exceptional levels of awareness and judgment.


DEA's El Paso division head Ramey orders Hank to stop his investigation about Mike in Breaking Bad

The Special Agent in charge of the DEA’s El Paso division debriefs Hank after the killing of Tuco Salamanca. He later closes down one of Hank’s investigations, claiming that too many resources are being used.

Ramey is a model of the unnecessary bureaucracy that runs in the veins of top institutions. The closure of Hank’s investigation on Mike prolongs the amount of time it takes for the star DEA agent to discover that Walt is Heisenberg. Since Hank has always proved to be good at his job, it would have made more sense for Ramey to give him everything he needed.


Agent Vanco welcomes Hank to the El Paso division of the DEA in Breaking Bad

The DEA agent works at the El Paso Intelligence Center and fails to get along with Hank during his time there. He is later seen visiting the informant Tortuga then becomes a victim of the turtle bomb explosion.

Vanco establishes himself as an unlikeable character rather quickly. He comes off as petty when he mocks Hank in Spanish and lies that he is praising him. He also keeps on giving rude answers to hank’s questions, such as when he asks why he has a statue of Jesús Malverde, the patron saint of drug dealers, on his desk. Still, Hank proves to be the bigger man, even doing his best to save him after the explosion by using a belt as a tourniquet in order to stop his leg from bleeding.

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