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The Breaking Bad Scene That Left The Whole Crew In Tears

Few dramas have achieved what "Breaking Bad" has. The AMC series gained critical acclaim and numerous awards while becoming a favorite among viewers. While the story may have revolved around Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and his destructive descent into crime, the characters who found a way into his life brought their own memorability.

One of those distinctive figures is Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks). Fans originally met him as the hitman and unrelenting head of security but later learned more about Mike's origins on "Better Call Saul." Before heading to the spin-off, viewers witnessed the end of his story during the final season of "Breaking Bad" when Walter White murders him.

The climactic scene featuring Walt and Mike was one of the most memorable for creator Vince Gilligan. According to a 2013 interview with Empire, Gilligan believed the event was something Walt didn't realize would happen. He also credited writer Thomas Schnauz for writing and directing the episode, stating that Schnauz did a fantastic job. More than crediting his friend, Gilligan acknowledged the performances which propelled the scene. "And of course the two actors, Bryan Cranston and Jonathan Banks, killed it. Just did a wonderful job. There wasn't a dry eye in the house that day."

Mike's character came about for a surprising reason

The character of Mike Ehrmantraut seems like a perfect fit for "Breaking Bad," but his entrance into the series was rather accidental. His debut in the AMC drama — the Season 2 finale, "ABQ" — was a product of another actor's absence — Bob Odenkirk. A filming conflict saw the "Mr. Show" legend needed on "How I Met Your Mother," delaying another appearance from Saul Goodman.

If there were any doubts, Odenkirk himself was happy to have Jonathan Banks not only take his place in that episode but join "Better Call Saul" later. The actor addressed the addition during a 2020 appearance on the "Inside of You" podcast and offered immense praise for Banks. "He's one of these guys, one of these great, lifetime actors who has spent his whole life acting the sh*t out of everything," Odenkirk said.

Co-star Rhea Seehorn also praised Banks and his character. According to the actress, Mike took on darker traits that would have changed how people saw Saul in the episode "ABQ." Viewers first see Mike as part of the cleanup after Jane Margolis's (Krysten Ritter) death, sent by Saul to help Jesse. "Jonathan Banks played it, and now it's like, you know, invaluable to the show that character," she told Rich Eisen. "Also, I'm so glad that's not how we saw Saul — that would have forever changed how we saw him as well."