The Most Powerful Character In Breaking Bad Might Surprise You

By design, Breaking Bad features a cast of characters that gets more powerful as the seasons go on. When Walter White (Bryan Cranston) first starts cooking meth, he's dealing with petty drug dealers and trying to better understand how he can get his product distributed. As the series continues, his operation becomes more and more professional, and he eventually finds himself the head of a fairly large meth operation. 

Given Walt's position by the end of the series, it would be easy to think that he winds up the most powerful player in the world of Breaking Bad. That title could also go to someone like Don Eladio (Steven Bauer), who runs a massive drug empire in Mexico and demands a great deal of fealty from those who work under him. Ultimately, though, neither of these characters is the most powerful that the show ever depicts. Instead, that title goes to a man who has power in his public life and the life he leads as the head of a massive drug empire in the southwestern United States. 

Why Gustavo Fring is the most powerful character in Breaking Bad

Although he is killed by Walt in the end, the end of Breaking Bad and Walt's death is just further proof that Gus Fring is the most powerful character inside the universe of Breaking Bad. His power comes from his criminal empire, but it's also a function of his unique position in the community of Albuquerque. Fring's power extends to the DEA, the agency that exists to investigate him. They see him as a kind, giving citizen because of his charitable efforts. 

He owns a chain of fried chicken restaurants that works perfectly as a cover for his criminal activities but also serves as another avenue through which he can accumulate power. His business interests are more focused on his work in the world of meth, but he can exercise plenty of influence through his legitimate business as well. On top of all that, he's got ties to Madrigal Electromotive GmbH, a conglomerate that has connections across the globe. 

Fring is cold and calculating

In addition to his massive network, Fring's power also comes from his willingness to make rational decisions whenever possible. It's his long-term planning that ultimately allows him to take out and then take control over a huge section of the Mexican cartel and kill Don Eladio. Fring's few remaining personal ties prove to be his ultimate weakness, and they're the only way that Walt is able to kill him. 

Although Walt does take Fring out, it becomes clear fairly quickly that he isn't capable of running an organization in the way that Fring can. Walt may have plenty of brilliance in the lab, but he doesn't have the kind of precision that it takes to run a highly efficient drug empire right under the nose of federal agents. Fring may have lost his battle with Walt, but in the end, it only reaffirmed how powerful he was before his death.