With Breaking Bad being the pop culture phenomenon that it is, it reached that point thanks to its breathtaking cinematography and unique storytelling, but above all else, it was due to the brilliantly developed characters.
Before the show reached its perfect ending, audiences were introduced to some of the most bizarre and original characters ever seen in a crime drama series. And with most of the characters being villains, even Heisenberg himself, many of them were actually loved by fans. And though the heroes in the series were few and far between, most of them were actually despised by audiences.
Hero Fans Hated: Gretchen And Elliott Schwartz
Realistically, Gretchen and Elliott Schwartz did nothing wrong. Walt made the dumb decision of buying out of Grey Matter for a ridiculously small amount of money, but Elliott was still nice enough to offer Walt a well-paying job there years later.
It was only because Walt felt too proud that he rejected the offer. To many, Elliott and Gretchen seemed patronizing, but they did the right thing every step of the way, and it was just because they were rich that they got the short end of the stick from fans.
Villain Fans Loved: Tortuga
Tortuga wasn’t in the show for long, but for the few scenes he was around, making deals with the DEA and ratting on his friends, he was really a villain on both sides of the war on drugs. But he was so much fun to watch.
Whether he was laying in a dressing gown in bed while smoking a cigar or demanding ridiculous things from the DEA, such as commemorative baseballs, Tortuga was so theatrical. And it was a great bit of stunt casting too, as the outlandish character is played by movie star Danny Trejo.
Hero Fans Hated: Marie
Marie is lowkey one of the funniest characters on the show, but she’s also one of the most by-the-book and wholesome (except for the fact that she has sticky fingers), and she wants to take down Walt just as much as Hank.
But she mostly gets heckled by fans due to the fact that she’s always busting Hank’s chops and judging him for his mineral obsession. Audiences couldn’t agree with Hank more than when he yells “dammit, Marie!” way too often.
Villain Fans Loved: Hector
Being the first member of the Salamanca family, fans have seen Hector throughout both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul in many different decades.
There’s a reason the showrunners keep finding a way to get the character involved and it’s because he is one of the best supporting characters of the series. As Breaking Bad is full of bizarre and colorful characters, Hector was the first one to truly seem unique, as the bell attached to his wheelchair being used as a form of communication was used in such a darkly comedic way.
Hero Fans Hated: Getz
Anybody who tries to arrest Badger is going to be hated by fans. Getz is an undercover cop who appears in the episode “Better Call Saul,” which first introduces the criminal lawyer, and in the soft opening of the episode, Getz buys meth from Badger, setting him up and getting him arrested.
It’s a hilarious scene, as Badger actually thinks Getz is a cop and makes him do ludicrous things to prove that he isn’t a fed. But at the end of the day, Getz gets what the fans wanted to see, as he’s completely trampled over by Saul later in the episode.
Villain Fans Loved: Tuco
Before the introduction of Gustavo Fring, Tuco was ultimately Breaking Bad’s main antagonist (besides Walter being the real villain of the show) and his excitable personality was loved by fans.
The way Tuco’s mood shifted was captivating, and it made every scene completely different and totally unpredictable, especially when he interrogates Walt and Jesse. When Tuco exclaims, “Tight, tight, tight” after snorting some meth, it was one of the most outlandish moments of the show, and it has become a viral internet meme. He’s so beloved that his big reveal in the very first episode of Better Call Saul was hair-raising.
Hero Fans Hated: Jesse’s Parents
In Breaking Bad, the way Jesse’s parents were presented made them look like the bad guys, as they had basically abandoned their very own son. Jesse is a fan favorite, as he may have gone down the wrong path at some point in his life, but he was just trying to pull his life back together, and fans will hate anybody who gets in the way of that.
But his parents had tried time and time again to help Jesse get straight, and he was too much of a burden on them. They also understandably didn’t want him to be a bad influence on his younger brother, who was a straight-A student, but the show delivered this information as if the parents were doing something wrong.
Villain Fans Loved: Walter White
Even when Walt (Bryan Cranston) is at his very worst, whether it’s poisoning children or picking off competitors like they’re nothing, fans rally behind Heisenberg. It has something to do with the character’s dialogue and ingenuity when getting out of sticky situations, as his lines have become so iconic.
Quotes like “say my name” and “stay out of my territory” have become embedded in pop culture. Part of what makes fans love the antagonist so much is the fact that Cranston is so brilliant. And fans can’t help but root for him because of just how charismatic he is.
Hero Fans Hated: Skyler
Though Skyler eventually played along with Walt’s empire, she was essentially groomed and manipulated into doing so. She barely had any other choice, and she tried to leave Walt, or at least get him to hang up his pork pie hat, on so many occasions.
But fans despised her, and it mostly due to a combination of her trying to stop Heisenberg, who fans love, and cheating on Walt with Ted, even though that was nothing relative to what Walt had done to her, Walt Jr, and Holly. And at the end of the day, even though she had tried her best to do the right thing for two whole years, her life was completely ruined in the morbid finale.
Villain Fans Loved: Gustavo Fring
With most crime shows, there’s usually a “big bad” of the season, an overarching enemy that the hero eventually defeats by the end of the season. First, it was Tuco, and in season 5 it was the neo Nazi’s, but the best of all of them was the chicken connoisseur Gustavo Fring, who was the antagonist for seasons 3 and 4. He is one of the best characters on the show, and part of the appeal was how well mannered, measured, and methodical he was while at the same time being completely brutal and evil.
In “Box Cutter,” the character doesn’t even have any lines. He just walks into the meth lab, puts on a lab coat, and then slits Victor’s throat with the very weapon the episode is named after. The whole empire that Fring built is fascinating, and it’s why so much of Better Call Saul is based around it.