Breaking Bad 

How Breaking Bad Inspired Rian Johnson’s Knives Out Killer Twist

Rian Johnson took inspiration from his time working on Breaking Bad when he wrote his latest film, Knives Out. Here's how a specific scene compared.

Breaking Bad inspired some of Marta Cabrera’s decision-making in Knives Out, the popular whodunnit film written and directed by Rian Johnson. The character, played by Ana de Armas, was the caretaker of the Thrombey family patriarch, Harlan (Christopher Plummer), and believed to have accidentally killed him after administering an overdose of morphine. Marta’s actions then closely resemble some of Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) biggest internal struggles when it came to crime and covering his tracks.

Before Johnson created Knives Out, he reached wide notoriety for directing Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Though his installment became a controversial topic to a segment of Star Wars viewers, it’s no question that he had talent due to his work in Breaking Bad. Johnson directed three very memorable episodes of the AMC series between 2010 and 2013. The episodes included season 3’s “Fly,” season 5’s “Fifty-One,” and the heavily acclaimed season 5 episode “Ozymandias.” The world of Walt and his time as a meth kingpin was certainly not lost on Johnson in the years that followed.

RELATED: Knives Out Real Killer & Ending Explained (In Detail)

Even though Marta was thought to have unintentionally killed Harlan, the man slit his own throat to help her avoid suspicion. Getting away with her role in the event was extremely involved and resulted in even more criminal activity. The effort she took involved a labyrinth of decisions to cover up her tracks so that the Thrombey family, nor private detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), would suspect her role in the murder. Like Walt in Breaking Bad, Marta put a lot on the line to get away with her crimes. One scene, in particular, looked like a carbon copy of Walt’s most memorable kill and this was completely intentional according to Johnson (via Behind the Curtain).

Knives Out Mirrored One Of Breaking Bad’s Most Memorable Scenes

Jane with long black hair in Breaking Bad

In Breaking Bad season 2, Jesse Pinkman’s (Aaron Paul) girlfriend, Jane Margolis (Krysten Ritter), was blackmailing Walt into giving them his share of the money from the drug operations. Walt gave the money but then returned to Jesse and Jane’s apartment to talk sense into his business partner. He then found the two passed out from heroin use. While there, Jane started to choke on her own vomit. Rather than save her, Walt stood by and let Jane overdose. Her death went on to have a disastrous ripple effect on the series. Something similar occurred in Knives Out but it had a much different ending.

Fran (Edi Patterson), the housekeeper, intended to meet Harlan’s grandson, Ransom (Chris Evans), at a secret location but he passed the note to Marta. She arrived to find Fran drugged and left for dead. At that moment, Marta thought Fran was trying to incriminate her so she hesitated in saving the woman’s life. She faced the same internal struggle that Walt encountered while watching Jane die. Unlike Walt, morals got the best of Marta so she tried to save Fran and called 911.

The housekeeper ended up dying but it was later revealed Fran had discovered that Ransom intended to kill his grandfather. Before Fran died, she recovered the toxicology report that proved Marta didn’t give Harlan the wrong medicine despite the fact that Ransom switched the bottles. The new information helped Marta and Blanc force Ransom to admit his part in Fran’s death and the attempted murder of Harlan. Though Marta never got in too deep when it came to saving her own skin like Walt in Breaking Bad, there were certainly enough parallels in Knives Out to make compelling connections.

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