Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Breaking Bad's Albuquerque Statues Were Met With Unexpected Backlash

"Breaking Bad" is indisputably one of the most acclaimed and talked-about shows of recent years. But, beyond that, it is easily the show that has brought the most attention to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the show was shot and takes place. In fact, the city has become a major tourist attraction for "Breaking Bad" fans since the show aired in 2008; if you visit, you can go take a tour of filming locations, such as an RV just like Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman's (Aaron Paul), for example. While Albuquerque was only chosen for budget reasons — it wasn't Vince Gilligan's first choice — the cast and crew quickly embraced the city, with local actors being cast in the series and stars Cranston and Paul buying homes there.

With that in mind, it makes sense that Albuquerque would want to pay tribute to "Breaking Bad." That's exactly what the city did in July of 2022 by unveiling two "Breaking Bad" statues — one of Walt and one of Jesse — at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

It was undeniably an exciting move for the residents of Albuquerque, whose lives have become intertwined with the hit series, as well as "Breaking Bad" fans who visit the city. However, not everyone was so happy — a Republican representative of the state, as well as other conservatives, took issue with the statues. New Mexico Republican Rep. Rod Montoya told Fox News, "I'm glad New Mexico got the business, but really? We're going down the road of literally glorifying meth makers?"

Conservatives claim the show is not fiction — but Gilligan has a different viewpoint

In the same interview with Fox News, Eddy Aragon, the host of a conservative radio show who has also run for mayor, claimed that there was a problem with "glorifying" meth makers because "Breaking Bad" actually mirrors what happens in real life in the city. Aragon said, "I think what you saw on 'Breaking Bad' should be a documentary, honestly. I think, really, that is the reality in New Mexico. We try to say it's fictional, but that is the reality, the Jesse Pinkman, the Heisenbergs, the man who is running everything, Gus [Fring], and the way that they're bringing it in from Mexico is exactly the way that it is right now, so we've joked that it should be on PBS." Aragon then claimed that it isn't the type of representation that they want for the state of New Mexico.

However, series creator Vince Gilligan sees it a different way — but he knew there would be some detractors. At the unveiling ceremony, Gilligan addressed those who don't approve, stating that the statues represent a cautionary tale rather than a glorification. The creator said, "In all seriousness, some folks are going to say, 'Wow, just what our city needed.' I get that. But let me tell you what I see when I look at these two works of art: I see two of the finest actors America has ever produced. I see them in character as two larger-than-life tragic figures, cautionary tales, world-famous ones at that."