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The Scarface Connection You Never Noticed In Breaking Bad

The beloved AMC drama Breaking Bad may have the most rewatch value of any TV series ever made. For one thing, it's among the most expertly crafted shows of all time; from its razor-sharp writing to its cinematic photography to its excellent musical selections to its brilliant cast — there is no shortage of reasons for fans to revisit Breaking Bad on a regular basis. It's also a show that paid crazy attention to detail. It's so chock full of Easter eggs and connections, that even the most observant viewers could be forgiven for missing a few the first time around (or the second, for that matter). By way of illustration, fans on Reddit recently noticed a few of those connections between the tale of high school chemistry teacher-turned-drug lord Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and another, equally iconic story of drugs, murder, and mayhem — and we hope you're ready to have your mind blown.

Creator Vince Gilligan famously pitched the series as "Mr. Chips becomes Scarface," referring to the 1939 film Goodbye, Mr. Chips (the story of a virtuous schoolteacher) and Brian DePalma's 1983 gangster flick Scarface (the story of an unscrupulous lowlife-turned-narcotics kingpin). The Venn diagram of those who appreciate DePalma's epic and AMC's classic series probably looks suspiciously close to a circle — which makes it all the more shocking that it's taken Redditors this long to notice some pretty blatant connections between the two. One of those connections: actor Mark Margolis, who portrayed notorious hitman Alberto "The Shadow" in Scarface. If the name sounds familiar, it's probably because Margolis — a quarter-century later — portrayed Hector Salamanca, the right-hand man of Juarez cartel boss Don Eladio (Steven Bauer), and the man who allied with Walter White to bring down Giancarlo Esposito's Gus Fring on Breaking Bad

He's not the only Scarface veteran who resurfaced on Breaking Bad, however.

A major Scarface supporting actor also played a key role in Breaking Bad

Don Eladio himself represents an equally eye-popping connection between Scarface and Breaking Bad. The character first appeared during a flashback sequence in the eighth episode of season 4, "Hermanos." Two episodes later, he meets an unpleasant fate at the hands of Fring, who enacts a scheme in which Eladio and all of his top men are poisoned (Fring, having consumed the same poison in order to gain Eladio's trust, barely escapes with his life).

Even the most sharp-eyed viewers could be forgiven for failing to notice that Eladio is portrayed by Steven Bauer — the very same actor who played Tony Montana's doomed best friend and partner in crime, Manny Ray, in Scarface. Bauer is much older and looks quite a bit different in his Breaking Bad appearance — but he's still as skilled an actor as ever. He imbues Don Eladio with a quiet authority and surface chumminess that belie his deadly, predatory nature.

Pretty crazy, right? Well, hold on to your butts, because as it turns out, the Scarface-Breaking Bad connection has even extended to Breaking Bad's just-as-awesome spin-off prequel series, Better Call Saul. In that show's first season, we caught a glimpse of the home life of Hector's psychotic nephew Tuco Salamanca, who served as a Big Bad for a stretch of episodes during Breaking Bad's first and second seasons. Tuco is seen living with his elderly grandmother — who is portrayed by Miriam Colon, the same actress who briefly appeared in Scarface as Tony Montana's mother. 

At this point, Pacino himself could cameo on Better Call Saul's upcoming sixth and final season, and we wouldn't be too surprised.