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

Breaking Bad: Vince Gilligan Initially Only Had One Direction For Jesse Plemons' Todd

"Breaking Bad" mainly focused on high school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) entering the meth-making business together. Yet, their criminal endeavor opened the door for other dark, but memorable, characters. This included Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons), who appeared later in Season 5, but undoubtedly left a huge impact on fans with his shockingly violent actions. When first introduced, Todd comes off as somewhat endearing, at least for someone helping make drugs, anyway. But in the episode "Dead Freight," we learn how twisted the character can be when he shoots an innocent child because the kid witnessed his train heist.

The moment immediately establishes Todd as a dangerous cold-blooded killer. And the character's disturbing nature is captured thanks to Plemons' acting, but surprisingly, he initially struggled to figure out his character. In fact, as Plemons revealed in an interview with GQ, it was while filming that infamous murder in "Dead Freight" that "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan gave him one crucial direction for Todd.

Plemons recalled, "He came up to me and said, 'OK, so if you're driving and a raccoon runs out in front of you, you have two choices: You can swerve to the right and drive into a ditch, or you can swerve left into oncoming traffic: What do you do?' And I stood there for a second, thinking there was more to it, but that was it. That's what I got." Gilligan's answer to Plemons was not the most detailed breakdown of Todd. And understandably, after Gilligan's riddle-like breakdown, it still took him a little while to better understand the character.

Jesse Plemons even cornered the Breaking Bad writers to get more details on his character

Eventually, Jesse Plemons began to understand Todd Alquist better and the solution to Vince Gilligan's raccoon riddle. And for those reading along that initially answered with "... run over the raccoon," congratulations, because clearly you also have a better understanding of Todd as a character. And no, we're afraid there's no taking that back. During an interview with People, Plemons noted that the cruel justification of running over the hypothetical creature was his only foundation for Todd until later in Season 5. Specifically, everything started to become more apparent for Plemons when the character Uncle Jack entered the picture and gave a better idea of Todd's likely troubled background.

That's in stark contrast to Season 5's first half. In the same People interview, Plemons noted that he was so desperate for more details about Todd that he even began cornering some of the writers, who said nothing, and only further puzzled the actor at how they looked at him. "No one would say anything, but they would look at me as if I was Todd," Plemons said. "So they were looking at me really scared, and I had no idea why." In retrospect, it looks like, at the time, it was all because the writing staff knew the dark direction Todd was going to venture.