Vince Gilligan on Breaking Bad

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"I am amazed that this show is on the air — constantly amazed — because on paper this show shouldn't work," Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan tells Kurt Andersen.

It’s the story of Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston), an underachieving high school chemistry teacher and suburban dad in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He begins cooking crystal meth in desperation, worried about his medical bills and the future of his pregnant wife and handicapped son. But it gets worse: as the series progresses, Walter spirals downward from a good person making bad choices into a remorseless drug kingpin. "We're taking our good guy and we're making him bad," Gilligan says.

Breaking Bad has attracted legions of fans, critical plaudits, and awards, including three best actor Emmys for Bryan Cranston as Walter White. The show just entered its fifth and final season. "I hope you're not afraid of the dark," Gilligan warns fans of the later seasons, "because the show gets a lot darker at times than it has been in the past."

(Originally aired: July 1, 2011)

Music Playlist

  1. Breaking Bad Theme

    Artist: Various Artists
    Album: Music from the Original Series Breaking Bad
    Label: Madison Gate Records