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Careers That Faded After Breaking Bad

An actor can spend decades toiling in obscurity before they land a role on a hit series or in a blockbuster movie — and even then, sometimes that attention-getting project isn't enough to guarantee that their career momentum will keep going after the end credits roll. For example, let's take a look at the stars of Breaking Bad — it's arguably one of the best and most talked about shows ever, but while many members of the principal cast have gone on to more high visibility projects, some of the actors who played minor roles have had trouble finding their way out of the ABQ. Here's a look at some of the acting careers that unfortunately faded after Breaking Bad.

Wendy - Julia Minesci

Julia Minesci landed the role of Wendy, Jesse's customer and occasional paramour-for-hire, only as a result of a "midlife crisis, turning fifty" thing, according to an interview she did with AMC. She was so convincing as a prostitute that a guy supposedly drove up and tried to proposition her while they were shooting a scene for the show. Unfortunately, Breaking Bad wasn't the career catapult she thought it might be. With only one other short film credit to her name in the years since she started the show, her turn as the root beer and meth-loving hooker of The Crosswinds Motel may have turned out to be just a flash in the pan.

Bogdan - Marius Stan

After playing Walter White's curmudgeonly boss Bogdan at the A1A Car Wash, Marius Stan hasn't had any acting work since Breaking Bad. But that's okay — he's actually a real-life scientist with a PhD in Chemistry who works as a Senior Computational Energy Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory outside of Chicago. Probably beats running a car wash.

Skyler - Anna Gunn

Skyler White was a very complex character. Anna Gunn portrayed her as a woman who, like her meth kingpin husband, ultimately acted with her family's safety and security in mind, underlining it all with deep fear of the ramifications of getting involved in crime, not to mention wondering what her increasingly unhinged husband might do next on his tragic death march. Emmy voters recognized Gunn's remarkable work with three nominations (and two wins) for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.

Gunn's first major post-Breaking Bad project was a big one: Fox's extensively promoted slow-burn murder mystery Gracepoint, a remake of the emotionally devastating British series Broadchurch. Gunn (alongside David Tennant, reprising his role from the original) played Detective Ellie Miller, a police investigator looking for answers in the strange death of a boy in a sleepy coastal town. While Gunn could certainly carry a show on her own after being a part of Breaking Bad for so long, the ratings weren't great, and Gracepoint wound up as a one-season-and-done miniseries. After Gracepoint, Gunn worked surprisingly little for someone of her caliber and visibility, landing a few guest roles until she scored a recurring arc on the Jennifer Lopez cop drama Shades of Blue.

Lydia - Laura Fraser

Lydia Rodarte-Quayle was a hard nut to crack. The usually ice cold and unflappable corporate face and on-the-level operative of Gustavo Fring's sophisticated meth operation, she  was also found interacting with Walter White quite a bit. Since Breaking Bad concluded in 2013 (with an endgame that included Lydia's certain death via Walt's long-lying-in-wait ricin-laced cigarette), the actor who portrayed Lydia — Laura Fraser— has popped up on the Bad prequel series Better Call Saul. Beyond that, she's continued to work primarily in British television, where she honed her chops before Breaking Bad. She's appeared in bleak murder mystery miniseries, including The Loch, The Missing, and One of Us, while American TV viewers might have spotted her on the occasional episode of Law & Order: SVU, Houdini and Doyle, or The Magicians. She landed a major role on the quirky 2014 ABC drama Black Box... but it was canceled after just 13 episodes.

Ted - Christopher Cousins

In a show filled with evil drug lords, murderers, and Saul Goodman, Ted Beneke became one of the most loathed figures in the Breaking Bad universe. Why? Because his misdeeds were personal and threatened to tear apart the family at the core of the show. He was Skyler's boss at Beneke Fabricators, and yet had no problem exploiting that position of authority to carry on a brief affair with her. Sure, Walt's distance and weirdness drove her to it, but Ted was also a deeply unethical and terrible businessman.

Perhaps lingering ill will toward Ted has prevented actor Christopher Cousins from finding a major role worthy of the talents he used to play his slimy character. Since the end of Bad, Cousins has found work on a series of shows that were either quickly canceled... or canceled not long after Cousins appeared on them. Check him out toward the ends of Glee or The Vampire Diaries along with short-lived series like Code Black, CSI: Cyber, Training Day, The Exorcist, and Kevin (Probably) Saves the World.

Clovis - Tom Kiesche

In terms of lines and screen time, Clovis's presence in Breaking Bad was small, but he's an important figure in how the plot breaks in the show's second season. He's the cousin of Jesse Pinkman's ne'er-do-well friend Badger, and he runs a tow and repair service. He charges Jesse a fortune to keep that famous meth-making RV secure, because he knows exactly what's on board. When Jesse gets kicked out of his house, he sneaks into the RV to sleep in it, scaling a fence and breaking a portable toilet in the process. Clovis demands payment for repairs, and wants Jesse's precious cargo as payment.

The man who played this menacing and lumbering jerk is actor Tom Kiesche. Prior to his four-episode stint on Breaking Bad, Kiesche was a character actor with small roles in dozens of TV shows, and it's a career path he got right back onto after his time on Breaking Bad came to an end. He's popped up on shows like NCIS: Los Angeles, The Glades, and The Mentalist, along with short films and internet videos.