Breaking Bad is an American neo-western crime drama television series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. The show originally aired on the AMC network for five seasons, from January 20, 2008 to September 29, 2013. It tells the story of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a struggling high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. Together with his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), White turns to a life of crime by producing and selling crystallized methamphetamine to secure his family's financial future before he dies, while navigating the dangers of the criminal world. The title comes from the Southern colloquialism "breaking bad", meaning to "raise hell" or turn toward crime. Breaking Bad is set and filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Walter's family consists of his wife Skyler (Anna Gunn) and children, Walter, Jr. (RJ Mitte) and Holly (Elanor Anne Wenrich). The show also features Skyler's sister Marie Schrader (Betsy Brandt), and her husband Hank (Dean Norris), a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent. Walter hires lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), who connects him with private investigator and fixer Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) and in turn Mike's employer, drug kingpin Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). The final season introduces the characters Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons) and Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Laura Fraser).
Breaking Bad is widely regarded as one of the greatest television series of all time. By the time the series finale aired, it was among the most-watched cable shows on American television. The show received numerous awards, including 16 Primetime Emmy Awards, eight Satellite Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, two Peabody Awards, two Critics' Choice Awards and four Television Critics Association Awards. For his leading performance, Cranston won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series four times, while Aaron Paul won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series three times; Anna Gunn won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series twice. In 2013, Breaking Bad entered the Guinness World Records as the most critically acclaimed show of all time.