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Who are you talking to right now? Who is it you think you see? ...Do you know how much I make a year? I mean, even if I told you, you wouldn't believe it. Do you know what would happen if I suddenly decided to stop going to work? A business big enough that it could be listed on the NASDAQ goes belly up; disappears, it ceases to exist without me. No, you clearly don't know who you're talking to, so let me clue you in. I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No. I am the one who knocks!
~ Walter White's famous "I am the one who knocks" monologue

Walter White is the main character of the TV series Breaking Bad and its original "Minisodes". He also appears in a flashback during El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. He is a former chemist and high school chemistry teacher that began manufacturing illegal drugs as a way to pay for his cancer treatments and provide for his family; as the series progresses, he becomes increasingly ruthless and less sympathetic.

He is portrayed by Bryan Cranston.

Background

When Walter was young he visited his father who had Huttington's disease and never fully recovered from the memories of this. Walt went on to found Gray Matter Technologies with his friend Elliott Schwartz, which was a successful business. Walter dated his lab assistant Gretchen but left her and sold his shares due to his feelings of inferiority toward her wealthy family. He would bitterly blame Elliott and Gretchen for his lot in life despite the fact it was his own decision to leave. He eventually married hostess Skyler Lambert and they had their son Walter Jr. together.

Jr.'s cerebral palsy as well as the unexpected conception of another child put a financial strain on the family, which forced Walt to work at a car wash in addition to his job as a chemistry teacher. Walt also often felt emasculated in his own home due to the presence of his brother-in-law Hank Schrader, a DEA Agent who was idolized by his son and frequently mocked Walt. After passing out at work, Walt was diagnosed with cancer and became determined to pay for his treatments and provide for his family.

Walt used his connection with Hank to accompany him on a drug raid, which led to an encounter with Former student Jesse Pinkman, who had been selling meth. Walt took the opportunity to blackmail Jesse into a partnership and they began cooking together. An attempt to sell their product to drug distributor Krazy-8 went wrong when he didn't trust them and accused them of working with the cops. Kraxy-8 and his cousin Emilio Koyama attempted to kill Walt and Jesse. Walt managed to Kill Emilio by gassing him but Krazy-8 escaped. In order to protect himself Walt took Krazy-8 as a prisoner in his basement. Neither Walt or Jesse wanted to kill Krazy-8, but after a coin flip Walt was tasked with the deed. Initially Walt was unable to do it, taking Krazy-8 on as a confidante of sorts and looking for any excuse to spare him.

After realizing Krazy-8 intended to kill him Walter choked him to death. These events deeply disturbed him and prompted his decision to break his ties with Jesse. Walt deeply upset Jr. and Skyler by telling them he did not wish to get treatment for his cancer. His decision to die honorably also caused him to burn the car of obnoxious businessman Ken Wins, ultimately however he took the treatment for the sake of his family. Because of his pride he was unwilling to accept Elliott and Gretchen's generous offer to pay for his treatments and chose once again to ally with Jesse. After realizing Walt was motivated by a desire to help family Jesse developed newfound respect for him.

Walt sent Jesse to negotiate with drug distributor Tuco Slamanca. The meeting went badly and ended With Jesse put in hospital by Tuco. Walt was outraged by this and blew up one of Tuco's buildings in order to coerce him into an uneasy alliance. Walt and Jesse were both left horrified when Tuco brutally beat one of his men to death for an imagined slight. After this event, fearful for their own lives Walt and Jesse planned to poison Tuco. Before it could be carried out however Tuco kidnapped them. Walt and Jesse still tried to poison Tuco but the plan was foiled by his Uncle Hector. Walt and Jesse managed to escape and hide when they saw a vehicle approaching and both witnessed Hank killing Tuco in self defense. Jesse's friends Skinny Pete, Badger and Combo were recruited to be street dealers. After Pete was ripped off by Methheads, Walt instructed Jesse to find them and send a message. In the meantime Skyler became suspicious after she had thanked Gretchen for covering Walt's treatments and she responded oddly.

When Badger was arrested Walter and Jesse kidnapped his attorney Saul Goodman in order to ensure no cooperation with the DEA, though Saul was baffled that they didn't just have Badger killed. Ultimately Saul helped them get another criminal take the fall and became a permanent part of Walt's operations. Thanks to Saul a meeting between Walt and Meth Kingpin Gus Fring was arranged but Jesse failed to turn up as he had been using drugs to cope with the guilt of Combo being killed by rival dealers. Walt delivered Gus's inventory but it prevented him seeing the birth of his daughter Holly, which he blamed on Jesse. Walt refused to give Jesse his share, claiming that he didn't want to contribute to his overdose, however Jesse and his girlfriend Jane Margolis blackmailed Walt into paying up.

After unknowingly encountering Jane's father Donald at a bar Walt was told to never give up on family and went to Jesse's house to help him get clean. After accidentally knocking Jane on her back she began to choke and Walt reluctantly allowed her to die of an overdose. Walt had Saul send Mike Ehrmantraut to remove all evidence of drug use on Jesse's part. He then rescued Jesse from a crack house and paid for him to be entered into rehab as he felt remorseful for Jane's death. After Skyler discovered many of his lies she chose to separate from Walt. Because he had acquired all the money necessary and was feeling guilty he chose to retire from the business and was focused on winning his family back to the point he refused a 3 Million dollar offer from Gus to cook for him and stubbornly refused Saul's attempts to push him back into the business. Despite the separation Walt chose to move back in with Skyler without permission and made it clear he had no intention of leaving.

Skype tried calling the police, but since Walt technically owned the house there was nothing she could do. In revenge Skylar embarked on an affair with her boss Ted Beneke. Walt angrily confronted Ted at work, attempting to assault him but was dragged away by Mike on Saul's orders. Walt was angry to realize that Saul had paid Mike to bug his house and tried assaulting Saul, prompting Mike to drag him away once again. Walt tried to spite Skyler by initiating an affair with the school principal Carmen Molina, but this only resulted in him being suspended without pay. Gus was able to pull Walt back into the meth business by playing on his pride. Around this time Walt signed Skyler's divorce papers and left the house, deciding to leave her alone. Walt was informed by Hank of his impending investigation of Jesse's RV. Walt assisted Jesse (despite previous disagreements over Jesse's use of his formula) in destroying the RV and got Hank to abandon his investigation just as he was about to bust them by having Saul make his secretary Francesca manipulate Hank into thinking his wife Marie was in a hospital. Following this series of events, Hank went over to Jesse's house and left him hospitalized.

Jesse threatened to ruin Hank with a lawsuit until he killed himself and revealed his intent to rat on Walt if caught. Saul suggested eliminating Jesse but Walt quickly dismissed this vouching for Jesse's loyalty. In order to keep Hank from being sued Walt used praise to manipulate Jesse until agreeing to partner up again and convinced Gus to allow him to replace Gale Boetticer as his assistant with Jesse. At this time Hank was shot by Tuco's cousins Leonel and Marco but survived. Walt was there for Hank's wife Marie and consoles her. Walt realized that Gus had set the cousins up to be killed and protected Hank and himself in doing so. Walt appreciated this and thanked Gus for it.

At this time Skyler became involved with helping Walt launder his drug money. When Jesse discovered that his new girlfriend Andrea's brother Thomas had killed Combo on the behalf of the rival dealers and that they worked for Gus, he plotted to poison the dealers but Walt feared this would just cause more pain for Jesse and asked Saul if he could get him out into county jail for his own protection. Saul reached out to Mike but he refused to help. Mike paid a visit to Walter and implied it would be best if he just allowed Jesse to be killed. Walt ratted out Jesse's plans to Gus. Gus then agreed to this and told his dealers to stop using children. When the boy was later found dead Jesse sought retribution but Walter intervened and told him to run, wanting to keep him safe from Gus's wrath.

Walter was then kidnapped by Mike and Gus's other henchman Victor. Walt persuaded Mike to let him have one phone call and instructed him to kill Gale as he was the only other cook Gus had and his death would ensure Walt's survival. While he and Jesse were hostages in Gus's lab, Gus arrived intending to send a message. Walt explained that Gus was unable to kill him and that he would not cool it if Jesse was murdered. Because of this Gus slitted Victor's throat. Walt believed it was only a matter of time before Gus tried to kill him and went to his house, hoping to kill him, but was told to go away by Mike. Walt later approached Mike at a bar and tried convincing him to help Kill Gus. Mike refused and violently assaulted Walt. Skylar convinced Walt to buy a car wash to use for money laundering by mentioning how it's owner often insulted Walt. When Hank told him that he thought Gale was Heisenberg Walt's pride got the best of him and suggested Gale's work was copied off someone else. Walt became concerned for Jesse and tried confronting Gus but was once again met by Mike. Using the death of Andrea's brother Walt persuaded Jesse to kill Gus with poisonous ricin hidden in one of his cigarettes, however Jesse hesitated.

Believing Hank's life was in danger due to his investigation into Gus, Walter instructed Jesse to kill him as soon as possible. Jesse later lied that he hadn't had the opportunity to kill Gus, prompting a violent fight between him and Walt with Jesse coming out on top. When Jr. saw his father's injuries Walt told him that he had brought it on himself and referred to his son by Jesse's name. Knowing Walt was protecting Hank, Gus had him taken out into the desert and threatened the lives of Walt's family if he continued his attempts to keep Hank safe. Following this Walt had Saul alert the authorities that Hank was in danger and planned to have his family go into hiding, but discovered his family didn't have enough money as Skylar had given it to Ted to cover up his tax fraud.

Walt got Jesse back on his side by poisoning Andrea's son Brock and traumatizing the boy's mother (though he at least used non lethal poisoning). After being told by Saul that Hector and Gus had a longstanding rivalry he lured Gus into the nursing home by making it appear Hector had been a rat and had Hector explode himself, killing Gus. These actions left Skylar terrified of her husband. Walt tricked Jesse into thinking he had dropped the cigarette and used Jesse's guilt over suspecting his former mentor to keep him on his side. Walt and Jesse allied with a reluctant Mike to dispose of Gus's laptop.

Meanwhile Saul was disgusted by Walt's scheme to poison a child and tried to quit, but was bullied by Walt into staying. After getting all his funds cutoff by the DEA Mike reluctantly allied with Walt. After a train heist Walt and Jesse's accomplice Todd Alquist murdered a young boy to eliminate a witness, much to Jesse's disgust. Walt and Mike voted to keep Todd around however. Because of the boys' murder Jesse chose to retire though Walt desperately attempted to convince him to stay. Walt used Todd's Uncle Jack to murder Gus's guys in prison to keep himself safe from prosecution. After learning he had approximately 6 months to live this seemed to change Walt as he decided to live out the rest of his days with his family and handed Jesse two duffle bags full of cash.

When Hank discovered Walt's crimes Saul advocated for him to be killed, but Walt refused as it would mean killing family. Instead Walt created a videotape implicating Hank in his crimes and trying to use this as leverage on his brother-in-law. When Jesse realized that Walt has poisoned Brock he brutally assaulted Saul. Walt was initially hesitant to have Jesse killed even after Saul and Skyler had suggested it but when Jesse threatened to "hit him where he really lives" Walt became fearful for his family's safety and arranged a hit on Jesse with Todd.

Jesse lured Walt to the place he had buried his money, when Walt realized that Hank was there to arrest him and had been working with Jesse he willingly gave himself up, refusing to even consider killing his brother-in-law and tried to call Jack off. Jack's gang arrived anyway and prepared to kill Hank, Walt tried convincing Jack not to do it and offered all his fortune in exchange for Hank's life, Jack proceeded to kill Hank and steal the money anyway. Before they left Walt accused Jesse of causing Hank's death and gave him to Jack to cook for him as well as taunting him about his role in Jane's death. After this Walt went home and got into a knife fight with Skyler when she accused him of killing Hank.

Walt kidnapped Holly and tried to take her with him but after hearing her cry for her mother he returned her. Walt used a phone discussion with Skyler to make it appear as she had been coerced into helping him in his crimes. Ultimately Walt put things right by killing Jack, giving Skyler information for a plea deal, rescuing Jesse, threatening two former business associates to ensure his family got the money before dying from a bullet wound he took for Jesse.

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