Breaking Bad Characters: Background and Summary

Walter White in Breaking Bad

In Breaking Bad, Walter White is an only child. His father died of Huntington’s disease when he was six. He studied chemistry at the California Institute of Technology and after graduation, he worked as a researcher at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. There he investigated proton radiography, which helped a team win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1985. Walt later founded Gray Matter Technologies with Elliott Schwartz (Adam Godley), his erstwhile classmate and close friend. At the time, Walt was courting his lab assistant, Gretchen Schwartz (Jessica Hecht). He left Gretchen, pulled out of Gray Matter Technologies, and sold his stake in the company for $ 5,000. Later, Gretchen and Elliott marry each other and later make a fortune off Walt’s research. Although they remain friendly, Walt secretly resents Gretchen and Elliott for benefiting from his work.


At the age of 50, Walt is a high school chemistry teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico, teaching disinterested and discourteous students. Walt also works at an auto spa to supplement his primary income, which is especially ignominious when he cleans his own students’ cars. Walt and his wife Skyler (Anna Gunn) have a teenage son named Walter Jr. (RJ Mitte), who has cerebral palsy. Skyler is also pregnant with her second child, Holly, who is born at the end of the second season. Walt’s extended family includes Skyler’s sister, Marie Schrader (Betsy Brandt); her husband Hank (Dean Norris), who is a DEA agent; and his mother, who we never see.

The doctors diagnosed him with stage IIIA lung cancer on his 50th birthday. Following this discovery, Walt starts making and selling methamphetamine with his former student Jesse Pinkman to help keep his family financially stable after his death. He delves deeper into the illegal drug trade and becomes more and more reckless as the series progresses. Walt grows unsympathetic as the show progresses because series creator Vince Gilligan wanted his character to switch from Mr. Chips to Scarface.

Walter White in Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad – Walter White

Skyler White

Over the past several years, Skyler has had diverse insubstantial sources of income. She worked as an accountant for Beneke Fabricators in Albuquerque, wrote short stories, and sold items on eBay. She and her husband Walter White have a son, Walt Jr., who has cerebral palsy, and a young daughter, Holly. Her sister Marie is married to DEA Agent Hank Schrader. Skyler is roughly 11 years younger than Walt, whom he met when she worked at a restaurant in the vicinity of Walt’s erstwhile workplace, near the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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When Walter discloses his involvement with the meth trade, she initially wants a divorce, but eventually helps him launder his illegal assets. At Skyler’s request, the Whites eventually buy the A1A Car Wash where Walter previously worked. As Walter slowly becomes a “hardened criminal,” she grows increasingly fearful for the safety of herself and her children and tries to get Walt Jr. and Holly away from Walt to keep them safe. Like her husband, Skyler slowly becomes a hardened criminal, manipulator, and skilled money launderer. However, she doesn’t even come close to her husband.

Skyler and Walt Jr. from Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad – Skyler White and Walter Jr.

Walter Jr. in Breaking Bad

Walter Hartwell “Flynn” White Jr. is the seventeen-year-old son of Walter and Skyler and the older brother of Holly. He goes to the J.P. Wynne High School, where his father taught chemistry.

Walter Jr. was born with cerebral palsy, which manifests itself in difficulty speaking and impaired motor control, for which he uses crutches. He gets emotionally detached from Walt due to his absence and perplexingly odd comportment, receives most of his driving lessons from friends, and goes through a period when he prefers to be called “Flynn”.

Jesse Pinkman

Jesse Bruce Pinkman was born into an upper-middle-class family in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At the point in time where the series begins, he has long been alienated from his immediate family owing to his narcotism and dope-peddling lifestyle. After being dragooned out of his parent’s house, he moved in with his aunt Ginny, who he took care of until she died of cancer. He was later allowed to stay in her house, the possession of which fell to Jesse’s parents.

Jesse was a mediocre student in secondary school and preferred to chum around with his mates and smoke grass. Walt, who Jesse habitually refers to as “Mr. White,” used to be his chemistry teacher. Jesse had failed his class. Walt himself later says that he never thought Jesse would be worth much. In spite of academic mediocrity, Jesse managed to receive a diploma with Walt in attendance of his convocation ceremony.

Jesse Pinkman was Walter White’s former partner in the methamphetamine trade. He was a small consumer, manufacturer, and trader of methamphetamine. Jesse became Walt’s business partner in the methamphetamine trade. Before his collaboration with Walt, he added some chili powder, under the pseudonym “Cap’n Cook”, to make his methamphetamine stand out in the market. However, Walt insisted on making a pure product, avoiding chili powder altogether, and condescendingly taught Jesse how to make “proper” methamphetamine. Walt often treated Jesse like a silly son who needed constant harsh correction. Despite the friction between them, he and Walt have a deep bond of loyalty, at least in the early stages.

Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad – Jesse Pinkham

Hank Schrader

Hank is an operative at the DEA where, under the supervision of ASAC George Merkert and SAC Ramey, he was promoted to become a supervisor of all investigations in his Albuquerque office. He is married to Marie and has no children. He is closely related to her sister’s family, the Whites: Walt, Skyler, and their son Walter Jr. Unlike the meek Walt, Hank is outgoing, aspiring, and seemingly venturous, eager to face minacious circumstances to succor his career. But underneath his sturdy and imperturbable veneer, lie some of his intrinsic vulnerabilities. As a pastime, Hank brews his own beer at home, which he bottles under the label “Schraderbräu”. After being shot by the Salamanca, he spends part of season four collecting minerals, much to Mary’s dismay.

Henry R. Schrader is the brother-in-law of protagonist Walter White and is a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Throughout the series, he leads the investigation of meth boss “Heisenberg”, unaware that the elusive drug dealer is his own brother-in-law. Hank also faces various threats from rival drug cartels that seriously affect his sanity as the series progresses.

Hank Schrader
Breaking Bad – Hank Schrader

Marie Schrader in Breaking Bad

Marie is Skyler White’s sister, Hank’s wife, and Walter White’s sister-in-law. She works as a radiology technologist. Marie does not hang back at giving advice to others, but oft-times fail to put into practice what she preaches. She sees a therapist for compulsive theft or kleptomania. Marie seems egotistical and superficial but cares a lot about her husband and her sister’s family. Almost all her household and clothing items are purple in color.

Breaking Bad – Marie Schrader

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