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The Untold Truth Of Old Joe From Breaking Bad

Throughout the events of Breaking Bad, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) made acquaintances with a lot of fascinating folks. Perhaps the most intriguing secondary characters in the show were those people who were quietly involved in the world of underground crime for reasons all their own. Not only did their moral flexibility often help the dynamic duo in a pinch, but it was also very fun to unpack their motivations and personal histories along the way.

One such compelling side character was Old Joe (Larry Hankin), the owner of Rocker Salvage who had a successful junkyard enterprise but was also very agreeable to some shady side business opportunities with Walt and Jesse. In addition to his practical knowledge and access to some vital equipment, Old Joe was also quite learned in both law and science and proved to be one of the show's most mysterious and memorable supporting stars. Here's a look at what we do and do not know about Old Joe from Breaking Bad.

He was well versed on the Constitution

Walt and Jesse sure lucked out when it turned out that the guy who was hired to destroy their RV lab was also quite a scholar of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. In season 3's "Sunset," Walt learned directly from the source that his brother-in-law Hank Scrader (Dean Norris) was tailing Jesse and looking for his RV lab, so Walt set out to have it destroyed. Clovis (Tom Kiesche) then directed Walt to Old Joe, who assured it could be compacted and shipped out without a trace in no time. However, Jesse, who was unaware that Hank was following him, showed up to intervene and got them both into a very bad jam. Hank showed up and was literally knocking at the door of the RV.

However, Old Joe stopped Hank from prying his way in by insisting that the RV was a private domicile and Hank would need a warrant to access it. He then sparred with Hank on issues of probable cause and displayed a thorough understanding of the nature of hot pursuit and evidentiary matters. Joe's quick thinking and apt advocacy bought Walt and Jesse enough time to form a new plan to get Hank away from the scene, and then Joe got back to the business of crushing the RV.

It's unclear exactly how Old Joe established such a broad knowledge of Constitutional law, but perhaps he was a civil rights attorney in a previous life because he was certainly skilled at slinging legalese when it mattered most.

He was also a top-tier engineer

In addition to his fluency with courtroom jargon, Old Joe was also incredibly knowledgeable about math, science, and engineering. In season 5's premiere, "Live Free or Die," he took what could've been a harebrained scheme and made it a working reality.

In the episode, Walt, Jesse, and Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) knew the surveillance footage of them in Gus Fring's (Giancarlo Esposito) lab fed into his laptop, which was taken into evidence by police after his explosive death and subsequent exposure. Jesse came up with the idea to set up a magnet outside the station to destroy the functionality of the computer, rather than trying to steal it, and they turned to Joe to make it happen.

Not only did Joe and his team create an independently powered magnet system with enough voltage to wreck everything in the evidence room, but he also matched wits with Walt when breaking down the numbers and mechanics of the device. Between his "positive mental attitude" and his mention of "string theories and god particles," Old Joe's scenes in the episode make it clear that there's so much more to the guy than meets the eye.

Old Joe's craftiness came in handy for the guys once again when Jesse recruited him to reengineer their lab equipment to move from house to house in "Hazard Pay." He also returned to Jesse's aid in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie to get rid of the titular vehicle but was savvy enough to scan it for a LoJack sensor before touching it. He then warned Jesse that "Johnny Law" was en route and took off. Clearly, in addition to all of his other talents, Old Joe was also quite adept at keeping himself out of trouble, too.