There are plenty of gripping moments to be had in AMC’s epic crime drama Breaking Bad. This is largely thanks to some terrific performances, as well as the strong writing of the show’s creator Vince Gilligan and his staff. Much of the show’s solid cast has a slew of great quotes throughout its five-season run, as bountiful as Walt and Jesse’s meth supply. But oftentimes it’s Walt’s macho, witty DEA brother-in-law who steals the show, with some particularly funny, memorable, and intensely-delivered lines.
Hank Schrader is tough, driven, and passionate about his job, but also goofy and lighthearted. It’s these qualities that really set the stage for some awesome quotes. Let’s take a look at ten of the very best. It was no easy feat, as there’s no shortage to choose from.
“It’s Easy Money – ‘Til We Catch You.”
Right from the get-go in Breaking Bad, it becomes clear Hank will be the center of some memorable moments and quotes. This line spoken casually to Walt and company during the pilot ends up being significant in a number of ways.
Not only does it convey Hank’s confident, no-nonsense attitude about his job as a DEA agent, but it also turns out to be prophetic. This point is driven home when Walter revisits his trashed, abandoned New Mexico house after being on the run, in which he flashes back to this key scene.
“Well, At Least He Didn’t S*** Himself This Time. Guess That’s Progress.”
Thanks to the convincing delivery of Dean Norris, Hank has a number of intense, emotional lines in Breaking Bad. And while this type of dialogue will mainly be the focus of this list, it seemed appropriate to include at least one of his many trademark zingers.
The comedic punch that Schrader brings to the show – along with characters like Saul – hels lighten up the typically dark, gritty tone of the show, after all. Such is the case with one of his funniest lines, which he utters after failing to get information from ex-cartel Hector Salamanca, who just sought to mess with him. Even amidst a crucial investigation, when things don’t seem to be going well, Hank’s still good for a joke – wrapped in some subtle, but unwavering positivity.
“Tagging Trees Is A Lot Better Than Chasing Monsters.”
Halfway through the show’s final season, Hank appears to be near the end of his rope, as the sly Heisenberg continually remains one step ahead of him. In one scene, Hank and Walt are sitting around having a drink, when Schrader launches into an emotional sermon – with a tinge of venting.
During this thoughtful, introspective speech, he likens his pursuit of Heisenberg and other druglords to his far less-stressful work marking trees that were to be cut down. Both the clever parallels and Norris’s dynamic delivery makes this a particularly memorable scene, capped off by this great line.
“A Guy That Clean Has To Be Dirty.”
Things begin to grow rather tense for Gus’ criminal enterprise as Hank grow’s suspicious of Fring and subtly starts spying on him. During one of the stakeouts in which he seeks to find dirt on Gus, Hank reminds us how slick and how good at his job he is with this quote. Even when Walt tries to subtly coax him into ceasing his pursuit of Gus, he persists.
Indeed, Hank is the only one who smells a rat with Gus going above and beyond in his innocent, upstanding cover. And of course, he’s eventually validated despite the seemingly absurd nature of this ironic quote. It would seem that Fring tried a bit too hard to look clean.
“You Really Want To Burn Him Down? Let’s Do It Together.”
There’s no shortage of jaw-dropping moments in the chaotic second half of season five. One of the biggest has to be the unexpected partnering of Jesse and Hank – two very different figures bonded only through their massive gripes with Walt.
Viewers are left on the edge of their seats while watching Jesse nearly burn down Walt’s residence, only to be left in the dark as to why he abandoned this. But it’s soon revealed that Hank has tailed him and intervened, imploring Pinkman to help him take down Heisenberg. This pivotal moment is capped off with this epic James Bond-esque zinger; one that only heightens the anticipation among fans.
“Sometimes The Forbidden Fruit Tastes The Sweetest.”
One memorable scene in the show has Walter kicking back with a drink and puffing illegal Cuban Cigars with the upstanding Hank. The two have a dialogue that delves into an interesting philosophical discussion about the ethical merit of legal and illegal substances. Where is the line drawn? Are their hypocrisies and inconsistencies? Etcetera…
This one is filled with delicious ironies, largely embodied by this great line from Hank. It describes the justification of his cigar as much as it would seem to sum up Walt’s endeavors – even if Hank’s not aware of it.
“I Swear To Christ, I Will Put You UNDER The Jail!”
Hank’s usual intensity manages to be brought to another level in the episode “Blood Money.” In it, a simultaneously enraged and astonished Hank rages at Walt in his garage after he finds him out. This emotional scene becomes more of a solo venting and therapy session for a shaken-up Schrader than a mutual dialogue.
After reiterating the many ways Walt has massively slighted him and the family, he growls this memorable line. In terms of its content and delivery – it packs almost as much of a punch as Hank’s actual right-hand hook to his head.
“When I Go In There, I’m Bringing Proof, Not Suspicion.”
It initially seems to be looking good for Hank, as he’s found out the true identity of Heisenberg. But it fast becomes apparent that there are more hurdles he must jump, and he soon finds himself in a crisis. How can he possibly face the DEA knowing that he let his own brother-in-law elude him for months?
No, if he’s going to the higher-ups and expose Walt, he needs to do it on his terms, and should at least have the bragging rights of personally getting him “dead to rights.” This is what he explains to a distraught Marie, in yet another emotionally-gripping performance by Norris.
“You’re The Smartest Guy I Ever Met. But You’re Too Stupid To See…”
Walt and Hank’s final scene together is a somber and powerful one, as it marks the end of this great duo. In the episode “Ozymandias,” a desperate Walt tries to bargain for the life of his brother-in-law, now on his knees at the mercy of Jack and his itchy trigger finger. It quickly becomes clear that the once-unstoppable Hank is about to meet his end.
Moments before he’s shot, Hank hits Heisenberg with this harsh bit of truth that, despite his intelligence, he can’t see (or refuses to see) this cold criminal has no intentions of letting him live. And once again, he’s quickly validated…
“My Name Is ASAC Schrader – And You Can Go F*** Yourself.”
This same scene shows an almost endearingly-stubborn, prideful Hank still eager to flip the bird to those that stand in his way.
As he’s shown throughout the show, he wishes to do things on his own terms. Apparently, he’ll do this even if it’s clear he’s going to be killed. This is a fitting, albeit saddening completion to his character arch, which comes full-circle after getting shot by Jack. And even in the very end, Schrader drives this point home with this quote, which is both powerful and amusing. One could really say that this is Hank in a nutshell.