Ted Beneke (Christopher Cousins) was present for all but one season of Breaking Bad, but his arc came to an abrupt end, which left viewers wondering what happened to Ted Beneke. The character made his series debut midway through season 2, and as Breaking Bad progressed, Ted’s presence was clouded in drama – namely, tax fraud and his relationship with Skyler (Anna Gunn), the wife of Walter White (Bryan Cranston).
Ted was president and owner of Beneke Fabricators in Breaking Bad. He inherited the business from his father, but when he took over, he encountered financial issues. To keep the business afloat, Ted committed serious tax fraud. Skyler, who worked at Beneke Fabricators years before the events of the series, got her job back as the bookkeeper. Ted, now a divorcee, always had his sights set on Skyler, and the two eventually start an affair. There was even a theory that Ted Beneke was the father of Walt Jr. (RJ Mitte), the son of Walt and Skyler.
Ted’s Strange Arc On Breaking Bad
After Skyler learned of the tax fraud he was committing, Ted tried to get her help in cooking the books. In Breaking Bad season 4, however, the IRS caught up with the company’s tax fraud. If convicted, Ted would have gone bankrupt with the threat of prison time. To avoid a stiff penalty, Ted was required to pay over $600,000 in back taxes and fines. Skyler provided him with money to do so, but rather than use this money to take care of the problem, Ted refused.
With the help of shady lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), Skyler sent two bodyguards to force Ted into signing a check to the IRS. He then panicked and tried to escape before tripping on a rug, suffering a severe neck injury. There was a belief that Ted died, but Skyler visited him in the hospital during season 5, where he promised to never reveal any of her or her family’s secrets.
Christopher Cousins Had An Idea For Ted’s Fate In Breaking Bad
Ted was in pretty bad shape after waking up from his coma. According to Cousins (via Mashable), there was a common belief that Ted remained fearful of the White family for the rest of his life, especially when Walt’s many murders on Breaking Bad become public knowledge. The actor theorized that Ted became a quadriplegic following his accident, and he was left stuck in a bed and isolated. If he did clear up his fraud with the IRS, he probably lost his company and most of his other possessions.
Ted’s fate was one of the loose ends that were never tied up in Breaking Bad or the subsequent spinoff stories. Once Walt’s illegal activities made national news, it’s possible that Ted felt comfortable talking to investigators. More than likely, his past with Skyler remained a secret since he probably wanted to stay as far away from her as possible. Skyler herself wasn’t a physical threat, but she had enough connections to ruthless figures, and Ted was well aware of that.
Ted Beneke’s Uncertain Fate Makes Breaking Bad Better
The fact that it’s never made clear what happened to Ted Beneke after his last Breaking Bad appearance actually helps make the show as effective as it is. Throughout Breaking Bad, many side characters like Ted have their lives irrevocably ruined by the White family, which helps illustrate just how dangerous it is to become entangled with them. What happens to Ted especially paints Skyler in a poor light as she begins her affair after finding out about Walt’s crimes only to ruin Ted’s life to hide those same crimes later on. The tragic (but open-ended) fates of Ted and others throughout Breaking Bad‘s first few seasons also help save the real main-cast catastrophes for the end while maintaining tension and stakes throughout.
Better Call Saul Should Have Had A Ted Beneke Cameo
The Breaking Bad universe continued with Better Call Saul, providing new context to several characters yet sadly, there was no involvement from Ten Beneke. The show introduced some excellent new characters into the universe, including Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) and Nacho Varga (Michael Mando), but there were also plenty of familiar faces showing up. Along with Saul Goodman, Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), and Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) serving as main characters, Breaking Bad characters like Tuco Salamanca (Raymond Cruz), Huell Babineaux (Lavell Crawford), and Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) appeared in cameos. Walter White and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) even showed up in flashbacks in the final season.
With Better Call Saul‘s timeline jumping between before and after the events of Breaking Bad, there were a lot of opportunities to at least feature a cameo from Ted Beneke. He could have been shown crossing paths with Saul Goodman/Jimmy McGill or Kim Wexler, seeking legal advice at one point or another. It could also have shown him after his accident, or even showing up at Jimmy’s trial, putting the blame on him and his colleagues. With so many Breaking Bad alum featured on Better Call Saul, not having Ted Beneke feels like a missed opportunity.