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Breaking Bad: Hank And Walt's Big Confrontation Scene Was Reshot To Amp Up The Emotional Intensity

"Breaking Bad" is full of tense moments, especially in the final season as Walter White's (Bryan Cranston) double life truly begins to unravel. A major catalyst for that happening is when his brother-in-law Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) finds the copy of Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" that was given to Walt by Gale Boetticher (David Costabile). This gives away the fact that Walt is Heisenberg, who Hank has been looking for the whole time.

In Season 5, Episode 9, "Blood Money," Hank and Walt have a tense confrontation in the aftermath of Hank putting the pieces together. At first, they skirt around the elephant in the room, but then Walt takes out the tracker. Hank then pushes Walt up against the garage door, yelling, "It was you. All along, it was you!" After, at first, trying to deny the accusations, Walt then admits that his cancer is back and states that he'll probably be dead before he would go to jail. Hank, awestruck, says he doesn't know who Walt is anymore. Quietly but forcefully, Walt responds, "Then maybe your best course would be to tread lightly."

It's a powerful and memorable scene — after all, it essentially marks the beginning of the end for Hank. So what was the process like in bringing the confrontation to life? According to Norris in an interview with Vulture, the first version of the scene was very different. With the second (and final) version, they leaned more into the betrayal. Norris said, "The thing about Hank at that moment was that he feels such betrayal, like your best friend just cheated on your wife, some horrible thing like that. The betrayal angle helped us see the scene as it really was, that it was hurt as much as rage, though the rage is obviously there."

The first version of the scene was much more violent

In the Vulture article, Dean Norris explained what the original plan for the scene was like — and it was much more angry and violent, including having Walt essentially turn into Heisenberg and be much more outwardly threatening. Norris said, "That's how it was written in the script. Bryan [Cranston] and I thought it turned out okay, but we weren't entirely satisfied ... we felt uncomfortable; it seemed like too much." Ultimately, their reservations, alongside a conversation with episode writer Peter Gould, led to them redoing the scene, instead focusing on the aspect of betrayal.

Norris continued, "Cranston, in his greatness, synthesized that as Walt being sad, too. In the next take, his speech was much more heartfelt — more of a plea than a threat. I think he might have had a tear in his eye."

And, while focusing on the betrayal, Norris ended up channeling another on-screen act of betrayal — in "The Godfather Part II." Norris explained, "Vince [Gilligan] asked me, 'What was that great thing where you grabbed the back of Walt's head?' when Hank says, 'All along it was you.' It wasn't a specific reference, but I realized it was from The Godfather 2 — Michael Corleone saying to his brother, 'I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart.'"