One of the most popular shows of the late 2000s was 2008’s Breaking Bad. This AMC show is characterized by its drama, action, cliffhangers, and incredibly complex characters. The drama series is full of villains that the fans can root for and heroes that can act like scumbags.
Only Vince Gilligan can create a show where the main character is a murdering meth dealer and still have the audience cheer him on. The lines of morality are incredibly blurred in the world of Breaking Bad. Here are ten of the main characters ranked from most heroic to most villainous.
Hank Schrader is extremely dedicated to his job, routinely risking his life to take down dangerous cartel members and other drug dealers. He’s is also a caring family man. He came to pick up his nephew after he was busted for trying to buy alcohol and kept his secret for him.
Hank does have his issues though. He takes selfies with the corpses of drug dealers, he passes his gun around at parties, and he was happy to sacrifice Jessie’s life to catch Walt. That’s right, the most heroic character in Breaking Bad is still kind of a bad person.
Walter’s wife, Skyler, was loathed by audiences even though she was just doing her best as her husband destroys their family. She deserves to be called heroic just for navigating and surviving the series of events that were thrown at her.
Skyler stood by Walt after his cancer diagnosis and did everything she could to keep the family together. After finding out about Walt’s evil activities, her first instinct is to come up with a plan to protect their children. Although, this plan did include laundering money and going along with Walt’s drug empire.
Saul Goodman may be a con-artist and primarily represents criminals in court, but he does do good on occasion. His law firm represents clients that most other lawyers wouldn’t dare touch. Goodman is also an incredibly effective lawyer, so he genuinely does help these people who have nowhere else to go.
Though for every couple of petty criminals, Goodman also represents some of the most violent drug dealers in Albuquerque. He becomes very heavily involved in Walt’s meth business and assists him with keeping everything appearing legal. He even suggests killing Hank to cover their trail.
Jesse Pinkman is incredibly conflicted and full of remorse over his past actions. Starting out as Walt’s partner, Jessie has sold drugs to addicts in a support group, cooked meth for Walt and Gus Fring, and he has killed five people.
He does his best to let his good side shine through. He took the blame for his brother’s marijuana stash, he rescued a child being raised by neglectful meth-heads, and he cares deeply for Andrea’s son Brock. Jessie would be higher on the list if it wasn’t for his murder of Gale Boetticher.
Mike Ehrmantraut is an extremely jaded enforcer that works for Gus Fring. On a regular basis, Mike would eliminate anyone who was a threat to Gus’s empire in an incredibly professional and methodical manner. In his defense, he has never hurt an innocent person. All of his victims were associated with violent drug cartels.
The reason Mike has involved himself in such a dark occupation is that he wants to make sure his granddaughter, Kaylee, is financially taken care of. He also refuses to give up his list of names to Walt, opting to buy their silence. Mike would rank higher if it wasn’t for the sheer amount of blood spilled by him.
Tuco Salamanca is a genuine psychopath who has clearly never heard of the term “inside voice.” As one of the distributors of the Juarez Cartel, he has a stranglehold on the South Valley. The boisterous drug dealer beat Jessie with a bag of money, leaving him hospitalized. After an innocuous comment by his lieutenant, Tuco was sent into a rage and beat him to death with his bare hands.
After the DEA becomes suspicious of him, Tuco kidnaps Walter and Jessie at gunpoint and brings them to his trailer to hide. While there, Tuco has an emotional breakdown, threatens the two with an assault rifle, and nearly executes Jessie. It has also been implied that he has committed much worse acts of violence before the series began.
Leonel and Marco Salamanca are hitmen for the Juarez Cartel. The twin brothers never say a single word of dialogue and have an incredibly menacing presence. When the two found out that a fellow cartel member, Tortuga, had betrayed them, they decapitated him, stuck with head on a tortoise, and used it as a bomb to kill a group of DEA agents.
On their mission to kill Hank Schrader and Walter White, they hid in a truck with a group of people sneaking into the U.S. They gunned down each one in order to conceal their identity. They murdered an elderly woman so they could hide out in her home and killed the cop investing them with an ax. Luckily, Hank got the better of them but was grievously wounded in the fight.
Heisenberg himself, Walter White starts the series as the most milquetoast person imaginable, only to become the most powerful drug lord in the southwest. He starts selling meth to pay for his medical bills and to take care of his family. But as his sins pile up, it’s clear that Walt is obsessed with power and is now only doing this for himself.
His worse deeds include: Forcing Jessie to murder Gale, ordering the death of Mike’s informants, allowing Jane to die while she chokes on her vomit, kidnapping his own daughter, allowing Jessie to be taken by a gang of Nazis, murdering Mike, and poisoning a child.
Gus was in control of the South West drug trade before Walt came along. While he has become a successful drug lord and restaurant owner, every move he made was done to get back at his employers for killing his partner. After ordering the death of numerous cartel members and the Salamanca family, Gus would come to the invalid Hector in a nursing home and taunt him with his dead family. He then finalized his revenge by poisoning Don Eladio and the rest of his crime family.
Gus would have killed Walt early in his employment if he didn’t take safeguards against that. He kills his enforcer, Tyrus, out of frustration and forces Walter and Jessie to dispose of the body. He then threatens Walter by saying “I will kill your wife, I will kill your son, I will kill your infant daughter.”
When Todd helped Walter and his crew hijack a train, they are witnessed by 14-year-old Drew Sharp. Todd waves at the kid, before pulling out his handgun and killing him in cold blood. He never feels any remorse for this, and his behavior becomes even more concerning. He introduces Walt to his white-supremacist uncle, steals his money, enslaves Jessie, and kills Andrea to keep him in line.
The most terrifying thing about Todd is his nonchalant attitude towards his actions. When Walter or Gus kills someone, you can tell they are angry, frustrated, or at least feeling some kind of emotion. When Todd does it, he looks like he is performing a household chore. He might as well be taking out the trash. His attitude never changes. While performing his darkest tasks, Todd acts like what he is doing is completely normal. Todd is a sociopath without a conscience and believes that has done absolutely nothing wrong.