In a violent crime drama such as Breaking Bad, characters are inevitably going to get killed. Throughout its five-season run, Walter and Jesse have come across many individuals. These characters ranged from sweet and funny to downright reprehensible. As expected, many of these characters would eventually meet their grim fate, for better and for worse.
For certain characters, their deaths were met with thunderous applause as they got what was coming to them. On the other hand, the writers were not afraid to pull the rug up from underneath and deliver some emotional gut-punches by killing off the ones who did not deserve it.
Saddest: Drew Sharp
Drew Sharp doesn’t have much of a story or character arc, as the 14-year-old boy only appears in the show for all of five minutes. Still, it’s him being one of the show’s many innocent bystanders that makes his unnecessary death so tragic.
His placement in the cold-open for Dead Freight isn’t made clear until the final few seconds. At the very end, Drew just happened to see Walt, Todd, and Jesse pull off a major heist, a crime that Jesse stresses can’t be known to anyone else. It’s clear that Drew did not actually know what was going on, yet Todd took it upon himself to shoot the boy on his bike. This impacts Jesse tremendously, who’s always been sympathetic to children.
Satisfying: Don Eladio
It’s a testament to these characters that the show’s biggest villain getting revenge on his own enemies is one of the best scenes, despite it being a secondary subplot. Even though he tries to not show many emotions, Gus still has his demons.
Don Eladio’s reaction to seeing Gus, who also drank the poisoned tequila, standing tall while everyone around him dies is just so iconic. In one fell swoop, Gustavo Fring manages to take out his direct competition while also fulfilling a personal vendetta that was years in the making. Gus always ensures that his emotions never compromise his profits.
Saddest: Gale Boetticher
Gale wasn’t necessarily a bad guy. A criminal, yes, but not a deadly one, and definitely not a threat to Walt or Jesse. However, knowing that as soon as Gale can perfect the blue meth formula, Gus would have no more use for Walt.
Gale was just another person caught in the crosshairs of a deadly rivalry. What makes this scene even more heartbreaking is the fact that Jesse has to carry out the deed. Jesse is not a violent person, made all the more evident by his face while holding the gun. Jesse was forced to kill someone just to survive. It just happened to be the lovable Gale Boetticher.
Satisfying: Jack Welker
Seeing a violent neo-Nazi get shot by Walt was always going to be satisfying. That’s exactly what happens in the show’s series finale. Jack and his gang of white supremacists are just vile creatures who were able to get away with anything it seemed, including killing Hank and Steve.
Fans couldn’t wait to see Jack potentially get his comeuppance. In the show’s climax, Walt is able to blow away Jack’s entire crew with an automated machine gun. Jack bleeds out and tries to reason with Walt about the location of the money. Without hesitation, Walt shoots Jack in pure Western fashion.
Saddest: Andrea Cantillo
The sudden shock factor of this disturbing moment puts it on this list. It seems that Andrea and Brock had finally found a nice life for themselves. Being completely oblivious to the situation, Andrea is trusting to Todd as he shows up on her doorstep in the middle of the night.
It’s a sickening moment that some viewers probably skip over upon rewatch. Jesse’s hysterical reaction is distressing to see. He has absolutely no control over the situation and is forced to watch the woman he loves executed right in front of him. While this isn’t his fault, he may feel guilty knowing this happened because he tried to escape.
Satisfying: Marco Salamanca
In the show’s most tense shoot-out, Hank goes up against the terrifying Salamanca twins. It’s a brilliant three minutes of action where the intensity builds and builds until its satisfying conclusion.
While Hank only critically injures Leonel, he’s able to get the killing shot on the twin brother Marco. After pulling a new clip from his jacket pocket, a bullet falls out, which Marco received earlier from the gun dealer. The same gun dealer they needlessly shot to test out the vests. That particular bullet is the one Hank finds and uses to deliver the killing shot. It’s perfectly poetic.
Saddest: Hank Schrader
The penultimate episode, Ozymandias, is a perfect hour of television. Ironically, its most infamous scene happens in the episode’s first 10 minutes. That scene is, of course, Hank Schrader’s death at the hands of Jack and his gang.
You can clearly see the defeat in Hank’s eyes. He knows all too well that Jack isn’t going to leave any loose ends, but Walt keeps delaying the inevitable by begging. When Jack eventually does shoot Hank, Walt’s petrified reaction says it all. It’s at this moment that Walt realizes everything he’d built is over. His own brother-in-law is killed because of the crimes he’s committed since the show started.
Satisfying: Gustavo Fring
In the ultimate showdown of Walter White versus Gustavo Fring, only one man was going to be left standing. In the season four finale, Walt is finally able to outsmart his archenemy in the most explosive way possible.
Gus is a capable force that is usually always one step ahead of his enemies, especially Walt. Still, everyone has a weakness. In Gus’s case, it was his need for revenge. Walt exploits this by devising a brilliant, though somewhat convoluted, plan by putting a bomb on Hector Salamanca’s wheelchair. Gus truly believed he was finally going to get his vengeance on Hector. Yet, as it turns out, Hector was ready for death but was going to take Gus with him. Let’s also not forget the iconic shot of Gus fixing his tie with half of his face gone.
Saddest: Mike Ehrmantraut
For many fans, this was the most unforgivable thing that Walt had done, and Walt has done some pretty abhorrent stuff. This scene cemented Walt as the true villain of the show. Despite being a skilled assassin, Mike Ehrmantraut always remained a truly moral and good person.
Mike will surely go down as being one of television’s greatest characters, even more so thanks to Better Call Saul expanding his past. What makes Mike’s death all the more heartbreaking is how avoidable it was, as Walt got the names of Mike’s guys from Lydia. However, once Mike starts insulting Walt with the reality of their situation, Walt’s ego couldn’t handle it.
Satisfying: Todd Alquist
Todd is just a despicable and slimy excuse for a human being. He killed an innocent child, shot Andrea and made Jesse watch, then imprisoned Jesse for months. Thankfully, Todd got what was coming to him by the end of the show.
There was no other person who deserved to kill Todd more than Jesse. It’s a moment a pure catharsis as Jesse is able to sneak up behind Todd and savagely strangle him to death. All the pain that Jesse endured over that last few months came out as he chokes Todd without any hesitation. If this was a movie, the entire theater would’ve erupted with cheers during this moment.