If you haven’t seen last night’s “Breaking Bad,” please do not read this. You’ll thank us later.
We lost a good one last night. His name was ASAC Hank Schrader, and he was a brave man right up until the very end.
When the bullets stopped flying from the shootout that began in the previous episodes, Steve Gomez was no more, and his partner wasn’t going to be sticking around for much longer. Despite Walter’s best efforts — and at the cost of $70 million — Uncle Jack shot his brother-in-law right in front of him.
In the aftermath of the week’s shocking events, Dean Norris appeared with Chris Hardwick and Bill Hader on “Talking Bad” to discuss the episode, his character’s tragic death, and how it all went down behind the scenes.
Norris learned about Hank’s fate more than a year beforehand from the show’s creator, Vince Gilligan. “We originally had the discussion about a year and a half ago, and [Gilligan] told me about what episode he’d be dying in,” Norris said. “But at the beginning of the season, he said me down and said, ‘I’m going to tell you what happens.’ So we sit down in a room. It takes about a half hour, and he really got to those last few lines and I was just like [crying noise]. But it was great, and he knew it. They knew it.”
The day of filming his final scene was relatively unceremonious. Director Rian Johnson, known best for “Looper,” filmed the end in one take, using three cameras, one each on Hank, Walter, and Uncle Jack. “It was shorter than we expected. We ended up shooting that scene, my final season, the close-ups were all shot in one take, which usually takes quite a few takes,” Norris said. “Literally, we did it in one take. Rian Johnson, the director, said, ‘That’s how you die on TV.’ ”
Though many fans had predicted that it was the end of the road for ASAC Schrader, few could claim they were happy to see it go down, even if they had called it. Norris found the ending appropriate, if unfortunate. “Getting shot in the head is a great ending,” he joked before reflexing seriously on Hank’s end. “I thought it was a proper ending. Yeah, I thought it was a good way. I’m glad he got to say the ‘F’ word. We always battle for that. We get one ‘F’ word a season.”