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What Has Betsy Brandt Been Up To Since Breaking Bad Ended?

It's been nearly a decade since Betsy Brandt said goodbye to the groundbreaking AMC drama "Breaking Bad." For five seasons, she starred as Marie Schrader, the uptight, purple-loving sister of Skyler White, sister-in-law of meth-kingpin Walter White, and wife of DEA agent Hank Schrader. She was a difficult but central character, playing a major role in some of the series best episodes and in many ways physically embodying the carnage of Walter's ego. 

As she told Variety many years later, Brandt had been forced to move on a bit earlier than her co-stars, after a short-lived sitcom offered her a leading role opposite one of the biggest actors of the 1980s. Filming the series' pilot during the final episodes of "Breaking Bad," Brandt ended her tenure as Marie alone, doing automated dialogue replacement (ADR) thousands of miles away from the White family. "I thought that's how I'd finish," she said to Variety, "in a soundstage on the phone with the team back in L.A. ... I've missed [Marie]. I know she can be a real pain in the ass, but I've missed her..."

After the series ended, she recalled to Channel Guide magazine, "I said to my husband, 'I don't know what you do after a show like 'Breaking Bad,' but I hope I have the patience and the confidence to wait for a really good show...'" Luckily for her, her time after playing Marie (and before stepping into her shoes one last time) resulted in a robust career spanning films and television shows that included some big hits from the past several years.

From gritty drama to family comedy

In 2013, NBC began airing "The Michael J. Fox Show," a loosely biographical sitcom that starred the titular "Back to the Future" actor as Mike Henry, a New York news anchor who leaves his job after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Betsy Brandt joined the series' core cast as Mike's wife, Annie, while shooting the final season of "Breaking Bad." Speaking to Channel Guide magazine, she recalled: "[The 'Breaking Bad' cast and crew] were all at dinner for my birthday and I said, 'I feel like I'm cheating on all of you!'"

"Dean [Norris] thought that was hilarious," she continued. Norris, of course, played Brandt's on-screen husband Hank Schrader, who meets a brutal end at the hands of Walter White's co-conspirators. "[Dean] said, 'You tell that Michael J. Fox to back off! This show isn't over and that means the divorce isn't final yet.'" "The Michael J. Fox Show" was ultimately canceled quietly halfway through its first season, due in part to the 2014 Winter Olympics (via Deadline).

Still, Brandt relished working with Fox (whom she affectionately described to Channel Guide as "that guy") and felt that the show stretched her as an actor. "I've never done a comedy on TV," she told the magazine, "I've done comedy before, in movies and theater, but this half-hour format is a whole different thing for me. And I love that. Yeah, it's a little scary — but in a good way." This chance brush with the sitcom format would ironically lead almost directly into the next step of her career.

Her career in pieces

Immediately after "The Michael J. Fox Show" was canceled, Betsy Brandt snagged a recurring role on the critically lauded SHOWTIME drama "Masters of Sex." The series was a semi-fictionalized chronicle of Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson's (Lizzie Caplan) time researching sexuality in 1950s Missouri. Brandt's character Barbara Sanderson appeared in seven episodes and had a tumultuous arc. As a consequence, something as vulnerable as a sex scene was very important to Brandt. "... I wanted her to have a moment where she felt safe enough with someone [to be naked] because she hadn't had that," she told Fox 411.

Following "Masters of Sex," Brandt returned to the NBC family drama "Parenthood" during its final season after previously guest starring in one episode. She played Sandy, the former wife of Hank (no, not that Hank, but the one played by Ray Romano).

Shortly afterward, she found her next series lead in "Life in Pieces" as Heather. The show was an ensemble sitcom that featured James Brolin and Colin Hanks, and ran for four seasons (79 episodes) on CBS. As Heather Hughes, Brandt played the eldest child of the series' central family. One of the actor's favorite aspects of working on the show was the cast, whom she felt worked together uniquely well. "I love, love, love the cast," she told Pop Wrapped. "They're so talented and also just a ton of fun, and very kind. It's just a privilege to work on a show like that."

Returning to the role of Marie Schrader

Throughout and immediately after her time on "Life in Pieces," Betsy Brandt led several low-budget film projects and made a number of guest and recurring appearances on major television shows. In 2019, she guest starred on the USA spin-off series "Pearson," which followed the eponymous lawyer who first appeared in the long-running legal drama "Suits." In six episodes of the show's first and only season, she played Stephanie Novak — the First Lady of Chicago whose idealistic husband, Bobby (Morgan Specter), was sleeping with the city attorney. Brandt told KTLA 5 that she had "the time of [her] life" working on the series.

Starting in 2020, she joined the cast of the Hulu spin-off series "Love, Victor," a romantic-coming-of-age story told from the perspective of its titular queer protagonist (not unlike its predecessor "Love, Simon"). Brandt played Dawn Weston, the mother of the Felix (aka "DJ F-Bomb").

Completing her spin-off hat trick in style, Brandt most recently (and surprisingly) returned to the role of Marie Schrader in the AMC "Breaking Bad" spin-off "Better Call Saul." During the jump forward to Saul Goodman's — or Jimmy McGill's — present day challenges, Marie confronts the former lawyer during his deposition and is forced to watch as he talks his way to a reduced, comfortable sentence. She spoke to Variety about returning to the character, describing it as a "favorite sweater" she forgot how much she loved. In creating that climactic and devastating moment, Brandt was stunned by series lead Bob Odenkirk. "When we were shooting that scene," she said, "Bob gave me chills."