Breaking Bad could’ve easily been a flavor-of-the-month thing. Back in 2013, when it was airing its final episodes, it was all anyone was talking about. It was one of the first shows that people ever binge-watched from start to finish as Netflix distributed it across the world.
After that, its popularity could’ve died out. But still today, it is ranked among the greatest television series ever made. AMC is expanding the show’s world with a spin-off series about Saul and a sequel movie about Jesse Pinkman. The show had some great villains over the years – memorable and menacing. So, here, ranked, is Every Villain On Breaking Bad.
10 Lydia Rodarte-Quayle
Lydia was not a physical threat, but her incompetence and nervousness certainly threatened business a lot. She would make up some insane lie about who she was and who Mike was and how they knew each other, and then the waitress would reveal that she actually knew Mike all along.
Lydia is a classic example of someone who was in over her head. But although she’s not a great villain, she’s somewhat interesting. She’s not a complete failure as a character, even if she is a complete failure as a tea drinker. Chamomile tea with soy milk and extra Stevia? That’s a car crash of a beverage.
9 Hector Salamanca
As a mob enforcer, young Hector Salamanca would make a very formidable villain. However, in Breaking Bad, we didn’t get young Hector, we got old Hector, the guy in the wheelchair who couldn’t speak. His biggest threat to the good guys was withholding information from the DEA and not ringing his bell on the appropriate letters of the alphabet, instead spelling out curse words. That’s funny, but it doesn’t make him a great villain.
Plus, he sided with Walt in the end as they took on their common enemy, Gus Fring, in the most disturbing and unforgettable way possible, so he’s not even really a villain – he was redeemed in the end, at least in Walt’s eyes.
8 Don Eladio
Don Eladio was once a formidable crime lord, but the fact that he and his entire cartel were tricked into drinking poison by Gus shows that he’s not the smartest guy around. This was someone he’d made a mortal enemy out of, who would clearly be out for some kind of revenge, and yet he blinded accepted a drink as a peace offering and had all of his guys take a drink at the same time.
Still, Don Eladio gets points for being played by Steven Bauer, who had a role in Scarface, one of the gangster epics that inspired Breaking Bad.
Krazy-8 is like a low-level Whitey Bulger. He was secretly working as an informant for the DEA, infiltrating criminal organizations and working as a drug dealer and then ratting out his customers in exchange for protection. What elevates him as a character is the impact he had on Walt’s character development.
After the phosphine gas killed his associate Emilio and he survived, Walt and Jesse imprisoned him. He ended up being the first person Walt killed, starting him off on that dark path, and it affected him so much that he started cutting the crusts off his sandwiches because of it.
6 Todd Alquist
It’s a testament to the tremendous acting talent of Jesse Plemons that he managed to be likable in anything after audiences watched the cold-blooded look in his eye as he shot a kid in the train robbery scene of Breaking Bad. Todd began as a more mild-mannered alternative to Jesse who cooked with Walt when Jesse was out of the picture and he started working with new people.
But he very quickly devolved into one of the most callous and merciless characters in the show’s history. He wasn’t much of a foe on the surface, but his total lack of emotion was distressing, to say the least.
5 The Cousins
No one will deny that the image of two men with axes sitting on a bed, waiting for someone to be done in the shower so they can kill them, is frightening. The Cousins are a chilling pair. However, the iconography of the Cousins is better than their characterization.
There’s not much you can say about them as people or who they are, especially trying to distinguish them from one another, and so it’s hard for them to make a real impact. They might look cool, but they have no substance or humanity in their characterization. Still, they’re undeniably memorable.
4 Tuco Salamanca
Tuco made enough of an impression as a villain that his cameo appearance was deemed enticing enough to be the cliff-hanger ending of the pilot episode of the spin-off prequel series Better Call Saul. Fans were both excited for his return and nervous about what he might do to the characters we’ve just met – that’s the fine line Tuco walks as a character.
What made him a great villain was his sociopathic nature. Not only was he a heartless criminal completely lacking in empathy, he always seemed like he was having a big party. Whatever he was doing, he was having fun doing it.
3 Uncle Jack
A Nazi who turns Jesse into a meth slave? That’s a pretty hardcore villain. Uncle Jack probably wouldn’t have seemed anywhere near as frightening or sadistic if he didn’t have that nonchalant smirk every time he did something terrible. Whether he was killing someone or forcing someone to watch their loved ones suffer or ransacking someone’s home to send a message, he always had that same grin.
What makes this white supremacist gang leader even more horrifying is what a great uncle he is to Todd. Michael Bowen managed to bring a little humanity to this character, showing us he wasn’t completely soulless and making the evil stuff seem even worse.
2 Gus Fring
The quickest way to make a villain memorable is to have them drag the protagonist out into the desert and threaten to murder their entire family, including their newborn baby girl. Giancarlo Esposito played Gus Fring’s cold, calculated nature in the most perfect way.
He would never erupt or yell or throw a tantrum like some lesser villains would. He always spoke very calmly, even if it was a threat or a sinister reality check, which made you focus on the content of what he was saying. Esposito continues to play the role brilliantly on the prequel/spin-off Better Call Saul.
1 Walter White
While he’s technically the protagonist of the show, Walter White is as much a villain as anyone else in the cast. Based on the terrible things he did to Jesse, Skyler, and countless unfortunate rival drug dealers over the years, he is the show’s true villain.
The harrowing realization every viewer has when watching a show described as the story of a mild-mannered teacher transforming into a heartless drug lord is that Walt didn’t really change at all. The cancer diagnosis brought out his inner demons, but they were always there. He was always that guy. After the episode “Ozymandias” aired, George R.R. Martin famously declared, “Walter White is a bigger monster than anyone in Westeros.”