Could Hank “Break Bad”?

In a recent interview, actor Dean Norris- better known as Hank Schrader- revealed that he put in a request with Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan to have his character killed off.  Gilligan denied the request, of course, saying that with Hank gone, “what would I write about for the last eight?”  Given the discovery that ended the first half of the season, it’s no surprise that the show’s final chapters will focus heavily on the Hank/Walt relationship; but with this latest tidbit from behind the scenes, it seems like a good time to speculate about the possibilities.

It might be reasonable to expect the volatile Hank to go after Walt with the wrath of a hurricane; we’ve seen his obsession with finding Heisenberg, and finding out that his quarry has been right under his nose all along is sure to make him pretty furious. However certain he may be, though, his actual evidence (the book which ties Walt to Gale) is circumstantial, at best, and proving his case in court will require him to play cat-and-mouse with his brother-in-law- clearly a formidable master of that game.  Hank is pretty wily, and what he lacks in smarts he makes up in intuition and determination; but even with his eyes now opened to the truth, is he capable of outwitting the great Heisenberg?

There are other issues to be considered here, as well.  Things in Breaking Bad are never as simple as they seem, and this situation is complicated, to say the least.  First of all, Walt is family; bringing him down will devastate the people Hank loves.  He doesn’t yet know if Skyler is involved, but with her recent irregular behavior, it’s probable he must at least suspect so.  This means acting against his own wife’s sister, who is also the mother of a niece and nephew he clearly adores.  To top it all off, he genuinely likes Walt- or at least he has up until now.

Then there are the possible ramifications to his career.  If it becomes known that the meth king of the Southwest is his own brother-in-law, it won’t look good for Hank.  It could damage his reputation and conceivably cost him his job; worse yet, since Walt covered his medical expenses, he might very well be implicated as an accomplice himself.  At the very least, he will certainly be suspected, and the resulting scandal might mean ruin for him and his entire family.

Considering these factors, Hank faces a difficult dilemma.  He’s hungered to catch Heisenberg for a long time, but doing so now could cost him everything that matters to him.  It’s intriguing to think we might see some kind of alliance between Hank and Walt- hunter and hunted joining forces to clean up the mess in which they have found themselves. Other seemingly upstanding characters have compromised their integrity- Skyler has certainly done so, and of course Walt’s abandonment of his ethics has been the subject of the show all along.  It might be entirely fitting if, in the end, even Hank, the representative of law and order itself, “broke bad.”

Even if he doesn’t end up helping Walt to escape justice, Hank definitely faces some tough decisions as season five returns this summer.  I, for one, can’t wait to see what direction he takes, but it’s easy to imagine that, before it’s over, he just might wish (like the actor who plays him) that he was already out of the game.



  1. dralanforce says:

    CANT WAIT FOR THE SEASON 6!!!!!! this waiting is killing me!!!!!!

  2. Harry Moore says:

    I have long suggested that Hank come in as some kind of muscle for Walt. he was very disillusioned when he played with those rock (minerals) while getting healthy again. I could see them working together to pin it on Todd and get Walt to walk away. Cannot wait though, that’s what makes this show so compelling, no way to know where its going.

  3. John says:

    It maybe that Hank “breaks bad” in the sense of doing something illegal to capture or kill Walt. He’s already had some friction with his bosses in the DEA and so may have to disobey them or even break the law to bring justice. That would lead to a typically “Breaking Bad” question about the true meaning of being bad (and good).

  4. Amy says:

    King’s analysis makes the most sense of any I’ve seen so far on possible endings for Breaking Bad based on deep character profiles.

  5. Mike says:

    Remember Walt’s 52nd Birthday Breakfast.? That was a flash forward and it doesn’t look like things are going to end pretty.

  6. shulgidude says:

    well i think that we have seen that although hank is a pretty good dea agent, he really isnt so smart. He has overlooked every possible relationship tie to walt and heisenberg, right down to the lab equipment missing from season one. In real life Hank would have been a suspect a long time ago. Hank might have to come to walt’s side just to cover any disgrace this would bring upon him.

  7. Bob says:

    Well, I have some theories, but with Vince Gilligan, who can say with any degree of certainty how this show will play out? I have some hunches:
    1. Hank (this one I feel VERY strongly about….) cannot turn Walt in for several reasons, not the least of which is that Walt was under his nose all along. That and the fact that Skyler – his sister-in-law – is complicit too, will make Hank hesitate.
    2. The opening minutes of S5-1 lead me to believe that Walt found the heat turned up way too high, and he was forced to use Saul’s “disappear-er” and flee to NH under the new name of Lambert. Something brings him back to ABQ tho, and seeking heavy arms. My guess here? His announcement that he is retiring has got Declan’s people (not to mention Lydia and her clients in the Czech Republic) up in arms, possibly coming after Walt/Heisenberg. I do thing Walt IS done cooking. There is no benefit that can top the pallet-load of cash Skyler showed him.
    3. Bottom line here? I see an assault coming down on ABQ from Declan’s people and (possibly) mercs hired by the Czechs or Lydia herself. We know now how dangerous she can be, having tried herself to get rid of Fring’s loose ends, including Mike.
    4. My guess at Walt’s ultimate demise is either at Jesse’s hands or his cancer. Possibly even Skyler herself, since she sees herself and the kids in danger from Walt.
    I may be totally off-base in these theories. Maybe Walter Jr. will even figure into events, maybe rebelling against his banishment from his home and turning to drugs (possibly even meth, which Sky could ultimately hold Walt responsible for).
    All I know is the writing for this show is even better than in Lost, and I – for one – had no objections to how they ended that show.

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