Besides watching one man’s journey from upstanding citizen to hardened criminal, part of Breaking Bad‘s richness was the array of villains that the show’s creator, Vince Gilligan, gave us. While Walter White, a.k.a. Heisenberg, ultimately became the most villainous of them all, he surrounded himself with all sorts of shady characters on his rise to the top of his crystal meth throne.
While some of these characters were infinitely more dangerous than others, they all ran across Heisenberg at some point or another over the show’s run. In honor of all those bad guys and the memorable moments that they had on the show, let’s rank Walter White’s rivals based how much of a threat they posed to his empire.
12. Emilio Koyama
Low-level meth dealer and childhood acquaintance of Jesse Pinkman, Emilio (John Koyama) might not have been close to the threat of a Tuco or a Gus, but the guy was still dangerous. Walt and Jesse were both marked men in the eyes of Emilio for encroaching on his business and bringing the DEA along. However, what Emilio failed to account for was Jesse’s new partner’s keen knowledge of chemistry and what phosphine gas will do to a person trapped inside an RV.
Threat level: 4
11. Krazy-8 Molina
Former partner of Emilio Koyama, Krazy-8 (Max Arciniega) was not only a serious danger because of his murderous tendencies, but because of his link to the DEA. Unbeknownst to Walt or Jesse, Krazy-8 was working on the side as a criminal informant. Not exactly the kind of person you want to sidle up to when trying to break into the crystal meth business. While Emilio might have perished in the RV, Krazy-8, of course, managed to survive long enough to drum up some sympathy from Walt while being held prisoner in the basement. It’s only when Walt discovers Krazy-8’s plot to kill him with a glass shard that he takes his first big step toward the dark side, strangling Krazy-8.
Threat level: 5
Oh, Declan (Louis Ferreira), we hardly knew ye. We didn’t see much of Declan before he met his demise at the hand’s of Todd’s gang leader uncle, Jack. What we did learn about Jack, though, is that he was Gus’ competition and thus became Walt’s competition. Declan wasn’t so much of an enemy to Walt, but his control over the Arizona meth distribution meant that he would be a threat to Walt’s empire unless he worked out a deal. It’s probably fair to assume that Declan was a fairly bad dude, considering the business he was in, but he didn’t hang around long, so we can’t really be sure of exactly how bad.
Threat level: 5.5
9. Lydia Rodarte-Quayle
Just like all of Walter White’s business associates, Lydia (Laura Fraser) eventually becomes an enemy that must be sent on a one-way trip to Belize. A powerful business woman in Houston, she was the gatekeeper for the ocean of methylamine for Gus’ drug empire and later took up with Walt. Inexperienced in the shadier doings of the crime business, Lydia makes her first misstep by attempting to hire a hit-man to take out Mike. She makes mistake number two when she attempts to plant a GPS tracker on a barrel of meth in order to get herself out of the business. Against Mike’s wishes, Walt holds off on killing Lydia, possibly feeling some sort of empathy for the single mother. Lydia might not have been as outright terrifying as Walt’s other enemies, but she was just as sinister, and not at all smooth about it, either. After her and hanger-on Todd’s hit by the Neo-Nazis fizzles, she finally succumbs to Walt’s trademark sleepy-time ricin tea.
Threat level: 6
8. Hector Salamanca
Physically, Hector (Mark Margolis) posed no threat at all. If the guy started ringing that bell while Tuco or the Salamanca cousins were around, though, somebody was going to end up dead. A once powerful member of the Juárez Cartel, Hector was mute and confined to a wheelchair by the time he encountered Walt. While it became apparent in the episode “Grilled” that he didn’t trust Walt and Jesse, he had even more hatred towards the DEA and Gus Fring, which of course Walt would later use to his advantage.