Breaking Bad 

Breaking Bad: The Most Tragic Major Character Deaths, Ranked

From going down in a blaze of glory to falling ill from that pesky ricin, Breaking Bad has the most creative d*aths, and some of the most tragic too.

If there’s one thing Breaking Bad is known for, besides the colorful characters and even more colorful crystal meth, it’s the creative and tragic ways in which many of the main characters go out.

It’s hard for fans to talk about the show without bringing up their opinions on character deaths. Between villains getting half of their face blown off, heroes going down in a blaze of glory, and falling ill from that sneaky old ricin, Breaking Bad deaths range from exceedingly gratifying to exhaustingly bleak, and everything in between. Some, however, stand out as particularly tragic.

Honorable Mention: Tuco Salamanca

Tuco smoking a cigarette in Breaking Bad

Being one of the Breaking Bad villains that fans loved, Tuco’s death wasn’t entirely tragic, but it was somewhat sad to see him killed, as he was such an entertaining and fascinatingly theatrical character.

Even his death was in typical Tuco fashion. Jesse’s car was riddled with bullet holes while still bouncing up and down, and Tuco is uncontrollably spraying bullets from a machine gun. Thankfully, it wasn’t the last fans saw of the crime boss, as Tuco returned for a major role in the prequel series Better Call Saul.

Gustavo Fring

Though Gustavo Fring may have gone too soon, as at one point it was looking like the series was going to be a chess game between Walt and Fring right up until the series finale, the way in which he went down was so satisfying.

It was easily the most memorable death in the entire series as Fring brings his longstanding revenge story with Hector Salamanca to an end, after having become just as much a monster as Hector once was. Just before administering the injection that will finally kill Hector, Gus is stopped dead as his eyes meet with Hector’s for the first time in what is presumably years. There’s a brief moment of emotional silence before Hector’s stare turns from sorrowful to hateful and he detonates the bomb that Walt attached to his wheelchair. There was no purpose left for Gus Fring as vengeance had consumed him and the simultaneous deaths of him and Hector brought it all full circle.

Lydia Rodarte-Quayle

Lydia on the phone in a scene from Breaking Bad, looking terrified.

Lydia totally got what was coming to her, as she had picked off so many characters in season 5. And even though they were all criminals, having them killed was almost unnecessary and very much the easy solution.

So when she drank the ricin-laced tea in the coffee shop, it had fans cheering, even though it didn’t make any sense as to how Walter went about putting the ricin in the sugar packet. But the fact remains that Lydia was a mother, and a seemingly single one at that, who appeared genuinely concerned about the fate of her daughter in the event of her death.

Steve Gomez

Steven Gomez pointing a gun in Breaking Bad

Though the entirety of the final season of the show was so perfect and went off almost without a hitch, there’s just one character that didn’t get the send-off they deserved, and that was Gomez. Along with Hank, Gomez was in a shootout with Jack and the Nazis, and he was almost defenseless. All he had was a shotgun, which was nothing compared to the abundance of artillery that the Nazis had.

It was clear what was going to happen, but unlike Hank, who got to shine before he went out, Gomez’s death was a quick cutaway to his body. So there wasn’t even time for fans to feel any emotion in the midst of what was going on.

Walter White

Walter strokes a tank in a meth lab in Breaking Bad

Though Walter totally got what was coming to him and his death was arguably more deserved than anyone else’s, as he caused so much pain, heartache, and tragedy in two short years, it was impossible not to feel something when he keeled over. Heisenberg’s death was perfectly wrapped up, as he fell to the floor whilst rubbing a piece of equipment in Jack’s meth lab, just like Golem and his ring, but there are many fans who still wish he lived.

The upset over Walt’s death was mostly due to him part-redeeming himself, as he saved Jesse from the Nazis, but at the end of the day, Walt was the very reason he was there in the first place.

Mike Ehrmantraut

Just like almost everybody else in the series, Mike was very much a bad guy. But it was the reason why he was committing such heinous acts that made fans empathize with him.

Mike was working with Walt just so that his daughter could have a great upbringing and education. So when Walt killed Mike after the breakdown of their business partnership, it was one of the most devastating moments in a series full of them. The way that the seemingly indomitable Mike had all but given up fighting back by the end made it even more heartbreaking.

Gale Boetticher

Jesse points a gun at Gale in Breaking Bad

In one of the biggest cliffhangers of the series, Jesse shoots Gale at point-blank range at the end of season 3, and it was one of the biggest upsets of the season. Gale had barely done anything wrong, except for cooking Meth, of course. But relative to every other character in Breaking Bad up to that point, Gale was a saint.

He never stepped a foot out of line, and he very much only spoke when spoken to. And what’s worse was that he and Jesse had never met when Jesse pointed the gun at him. But as tragic as it was, there was an ingenious shot that foreshadowed the murder.

Jane Margolis

Walt watches as Jane overdoses in Breaking Bad

Jane’s death was a gut punch by all accounts, not because she was one of the best supporting characters of Breaking Bad who went too early, but because of the way it happened, and the way it could have been avoided.

As Jane asphyxiated due to an overdose, Walter could have saved her, but he instead watched her die. This is the moment that many fans believe Walt turned into Heisenberg because it was just that evil. And the very worst thing about it was that Jesse was only ever happy when he was with her, and she loved him despite all of his faults.

Hank Schrader

Hank's death scene in Breaking Bad

After Hank had gone through hell and back trying to bring down Heisenberg, he was the real hero of Breaking Bad, which is why his death is by far the most tragic.

He didn’t even make it to the last episode, as Jack shot him when they were looking for Walter’s money in the desert, and he gets shot mid-sentence no less. And given that Hank and Marie were such a strong couple, and Marie had been supporting him all the way through, which was such a weight on her shoulders, to have it not pay off for them was mortifying.

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