The fifth and final season of the American television drama series Breaking Bad premiered on July 15, 2012, and concluded on September 29, 2013 on AMC in the United States and Canada. The 16-episode season is split into two parts, each containing eight episodes. The first part of the season was broadcast from July 15 to September 2, 2012, and aired on Sundays at 10:00 pm ET. The second part was broadcast from August 11 to September 29, 2013, and aired on Sundays at 9:00 pm ET. It debuted in the UK and Ireland on Netflix, showing one day after the episodes aired in the U.S. and Canada. Part 1 was released on region 1 DVD and region A Blu-ray on June 4, 2013, and part 2 was released on November 26, 2013.
After receiving three nominations for seasons two, three, and four, both halves of season five won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 2013 and 2014. The second half of the season also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2014. The entire season was met with unanimous acclaim, with some critics deeming it as the greatest television season of all time. The season received a Metacritic score of 99 out of 100, leading the show to be listed in Guinness World Records as the most acclaimed television series in history.
- Bryan Cranston as Walter White
- Anna Gunn as Skyler White
- Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman
- Dean Norris as Hank Schrader
- Betsy Brandt as Marie Schrader
- RJ Mitte as Walter White, Jr.
- Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman
- Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut
- Laura Fraser as Lydia Rodarte-Quayle
- Jesse Plemons as Todd Alquist
- Steven Michael Quezada as Steven Gomez
- Michael Bowen as Jack Welker
- Kevin Rankin as Kenny
- Lavell Crawford as Huell Babineaux
- Charles Baker as Skinny Pete
- Bill Burr as Patrick Kuby
- Louis Ferreira as Declan
- Chris Freihofer as Dan Wachsberger
- Matt L. Jones as Badger Mayhew
- Emily Rios as Andrea Cantillo
- Mike Batayeh as Dennis Markowsky
- Adam Godley as Elliott Schwartz
- Jessica Hecht as Gretchen Schwartz
- Jim Beaver as Lawson
- Christopher Cousins as Ted Beneke
- Larry Hankin as Old Joe
- Carmen Serano as Principal Carmen Molina
- Michael Shamus Wiles as ASAC George Merkert
In July 2011, series creator Vince Gilligan indicated that he intended to conclude Breaking Bad with the fifth season. In early August 2011, negotiations began over a deal regarding the fifth and possibly final season between AMC and Sony Pictures Television, the production company of the series. AMC proposed a shortened fifth season (six to eight episodes, instead of thirteen) to cut costs, but the producers declined. Sony then approached other cable networks about possibly picking up the show if a deal could not be made. On August 14, 2011, a deal was made in which AMC renewed the series for a final 16-episode season. Filming began for the season on March 26, 2012. Then in April 2012 Bryan Cranston revealed that the final season would be split into two halves, with the first half airing in 2012 and the second in 2013. After a four-month break, filming for the second half of the season began on December 7, 2012, during which AMC sent the cast and crew cupcakes decorated with characters and props used throughout the show’s run.
Vince Gilligan explained that the season was split at his request in order to have more time to write the final episodes. Thomas Schnauz revealed that the writers initially tried to conceive a 16-episode arc in advance of completing the first eight episodes, but that most of these plans were scrapped as new plot points emerged “that threw everything into a little bit of chaos.”
Dean Norris had asked Gilligan to kill off Hank during the first half of the season after being cast in a comedy pilot. However, Gilligan declined his request, citing the importance of Hank in the final eight episodes.
Gilligan stated that the introduction of the M60 machine gun in the season’s first episode created several problems down the line in writing. When the premiere script was developed, the machine gun was written in as a thought-provoking idea to suggest to the audience that something significant was going to happen later in the season and draw them in. However, at that time, they did not plan out how the gun would be used, and Gilligan believed that with sixteen episodes, they would be able to figure something out. As Gilligan started writing the last four to five episodes, his staff reminded him about the machine gun. Gilligan was of a mind to simply drop the machine gun but realized this would not work. He eventually had a eureka moment where Walter would need to use the machine gun to kill multiple people at once rather than a single individual, leading to the development of the character of Jack Welker and the white supremacist gang to be the target of Walter’s wrath.
July 15, 2012
- E01 – “Live Free or Die”
- E02 – “Madrigal”
- E03 – “Hazard Pay”
- E04 – “Fifty-One”
- E05 – “Dead Freight”
- E06 – “Buyout”
- E07 – “Say My Name”
- E08 – “Gliding Over All”
- E09 – “Blood Money”
- E10 – “Buried”
- E11 – “Confessions”
- E12 – “Rabid Dog”
- E13 – “To’hajiilee”
- E14 – “Ozymandias”
- E15 – “Granite State”
- E16 – “Felina”
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