Sep 23, 2013

The Top 50 Best Breaking Bad Characters: 50-41

With the finale of Breaking Bad coming next Sunday, now is as good of a time as any to look back on all of the great characters that have been created for the show. From "Pilot" through "Granite State," this is the list of those who went above and beyond to make Albuquerque the drug capitol of the southwest and milquetoast Walter White into the scariest guy in the world. It wasn't a pretty ride, but at least we have these 50 memorable characters to share the memories with.

50. James Kilkelly a.k.a Jimmy 'N-in-Out

Actor: Jimmy Daniels
First Episode: "Better Call Saul"
Status: Alive

Committed a crime but don't want to do the time? Jimmy 'N-in-Out will go to jail for you! While his appearance on the show was very minimal, he was an effective part in keeping the Heisenberg mystery alive. During an intense scene in season two, he plays it cool and waits for Badger to make a drug deal so that he could get arrested. What an admirable guy for a show full of bad people. Even if he was only a pawn for a mere distraction from Walter's arrest, his presence alone introduced the world to the power that Saul Goodman had at his disposal.

49. Christian Ortega a.k.a Combo

Actor: Rodney Rush
First Episode: "Cancer Man"
Status: Dead

There is a reason that he was one of the first "central" characters to die. While he was known as the third wheel in the early seasons for dealing with Jesse and his friends, he didn't really serve much of a purpose. Compared to the chemistry between Badger and Skinny Pete, he was a little flat with very little memorable traits. While his death had an exceptional impact on the show and he is the one who hooked Jesse up with the RV, his character never rose to the occasion of his partners in crime. 

48. Francesca

Actor: Tina Parker
First Episode: "Better Call Saul"
Status: Alive

There is little doubt that Saul Goodman is a smarmy prick. One of the best examples of this revolves around his relationship with his secretary Francesca. Even if she proved to be just as dedicated to being corrupt, the real joy comes out of the small moments in which Saul and Francesca resemble sexist office behavior from the 50's. She may not have nearly as much of an impact on the show as other Goodman employees, but when it comes to comedic relief, she is a secret weapon to making us believe just how smarmy Goodman really is.

47. Donald Margolis

Actor: John de Lancie
First Episode: "Over"
Status: Alive
*Rushed to the hospital with self-inflicted gunshot wound

One of the show's first innocent victims of Walter's climb to the top was this air traffic controller/father to junkie Jane. Along with a tragic death of his daughter, his story almost seemed to be nothing but tragedy. He wanted the best for his family, much like Walter, but never was able to recover the semblance of a broken home in the midst of recovery once Jane hooked up with Jesse. He is an admirable character and one that reflects an alternative viewpoint to a father trying to provide a better life. If he isn't one of the more memorable, he is at least one of the sadder accounts because long before Walter ruined his own family's life, he ruined Donald's and indirectly people in two colliding airplanes. The show would get darker, but by capping season two with this masterpiece of narrative, it set the bar high and never lowered it.

46. Gaff

Actor: Maurice Compte
First Episode: "Cornered"
Status: Dead

One of the most imposing threats from the Cartel lies in the hands of weaponry expert Gaff. In season three during the hijacking of multiple Los Pollos Hermanos import/export trucks, he made it his priority to send messages to Gus by making sure the goods never arrived. With plenty of loyalty and precision, he made the world of the Cartel/Gus Fring feud into a dangerous battlefield that had so many landmines. By the time the Cartel gets killed off in "Salud," their power was so strong and they ruined Fring's life so much that all it really did was make Fring into a more compelling portrayal of an awesome villain.

45. Peter Schuler

Actor: Norbert Weisser
First Episode: "Madrigal"
Status: Dead

We never really got to know Peter Schuler outside of the fact that he owns Madrigal Electromotive, which owns Los Pollos Hermanos. Still, in the process, he makes his brief, five minutes of screen time memorable. He comes across as the puppeteer who lost the strings, much like a foreshadowing for Walter's own story. Still, what makes him worth remembering is the introduction of sauces such as Cajun Kick-ass and Franch as well as the connection to Lydia and the offices in Albuquerque that are busy trying to keep the meth distribution from falling apart entirely. We may have not seen a lot of him, but to know that Gus answered to a higher power can only imply that maybe Schuler was more awesome than we could imagine.

44. Tomas Cantillo

Actor: Angelo Martinez
First Episode: "Mandala"
Status: Dead

The bad seed in the Cantillo family that took down Combo and dealt drugs for some rival drug dealers. He was intimidating just because he rode around on a bike and took no guff from anyone. He was also one of the first long term examples of the show's unapologetic choice to include the corruption of youth as an intertwining plot point. He may have been the least likable kid on the entire show simply because of his actions, but that only meant that when his death came in "Half Measures," the Breaking Bad universe opened a can of worms for who could live or die. Nobody was safe after Tomas. While he made for some memorable moments, he is important largely for showing the dynamic of the drug dealing universe and introducing us slyly to the Cantillo family, who would become integral towards the end of season four.

43. Ken Wins

Actor: Kyle Bornheimer
First Episode: "Cancer Man"
Status: Alive

If you ignore cancer and making meth, Ken Wins is possibly the first villain of Breaking Bad's long history. Unlike those that came after, he attacked the suburban landscape by stealing parking spots and just talking really loud on a headset. He is a memorably obnoxious character who may have been more reliant on a prototype, but it was the first step towards Walter's decline. In a way, his demise plays out as wish fulfillment as seen in an early favorite scene in which his beloved car gets a squeegee to the engine and blows up in a glorious flame. It wouldn't be the last damaged car, but it was the most cathartic that things involving automotive ever got on the show. 

42. Carmen Molina

Actor: Carmen Serano
First Episode: "Pilot"
Status: Alive

A lot has happened in the past two seasons that it is possible to forget Walter's humble origins as a science teacher at J.P. Wynne High School. Carmen Molina was the principal and one who did her best to suit Walter's changing needs. It was the grounded example of Walter's innocent past that gave us little about his back story, but showed us how people perceived him. Even as Walter gave a horrifying speech about plane crashes, she stood by him in some sense of terror and confusion. Luckily, despite Walter's increasingly weird behavior, she was smart enough to draw the line at sexual harassment, and sadly that was the last that we saw of the high school environment, as it has served its purpose for the show.

41. Bogdan Wolynetz

Actor: Marius Stan
First Episode: "Pilot"
Status: Alive

Walter's other boss who operated the A-1 Car Wash and famously got the show's first use of the f-word in regards to his thick eyebrows. While it was the moment that the show revealed that maybe Walter wasn't entirely goody two-shoes since the beginning, it also introduced us to a world that has encapsulated the show more than you'd think. Skyler plays hardball with Bogdan Wolynetz for the car wash, and when he refuses to play along, it only makes him seem like a stronger character. Admittedly, his purpose was pretty much just to be usurped by Walter's growing similarities to Gus Fring, but for what little time he was there to not play along, he was an intriguing bump in the road that may serve as the ultimate employee fantasy of getting your former boss fired with a buyout. 

Come back tomorrow when we cover #40-#31, which includes snitches, children, and car park employees.


  1. Donald Margolis died. When Walt is in the car, it talks about how Donald committed suicide on the radio before Walt quickly turns the radio channel.