Jesse Pinkman

Jesse Pinkman
Jesse Bruce Pinkman
Breaking Bad character
First appearance "Pilot"
Created by Vince Gilligan
Portrayed by Aaron Paul
Aliases Cap'n Cook, Diesel, Jesse Jackson
Occupation Meth manufacturer
Significant other(s) Jane Margolis, Andrea Cantillo
Relatives unnamed parents, Jake Pinkman (younger brother)

Jesse Bruce Pinkman is a fictional character of the American television drama series Breaking Bad on AMC. He is portrayed by Aaron Paul and was created by series creator Vince Gilligan.


Character biography


Jesse Bruce Pinkman was born into an upper middle-class family in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At the time the series starts, he has long been estranged from his parents due to his constant drug abuse and irresponsible lifestyle. After being forced to leave his parents' residence, Jesse moved in with his Aunt Jenny, whom he cared for until her death from lung cancer; he subsequently inherited her home.

Jesse was a poor student in high school, largely due to his inattention and apathy. Walter White was Jesse's chemistry teacher, and flunked him in his class; Jesse's mother later recalled that Walter tried to motivate Jesse and was "one of the few teachers who cared" about him. After high school, Jesse studied data systems management at DeVry University.

Season one

When Walter accompanies his brother-in-law, Hank Schrader, as a ride-a-long during a DEA drug bust, he spots Jesse running away from the scene; he subsequently realizes that Jesse is "Cap'n Cook", a methamphetamine dealer Hank has been investigating. Walter, having himself been diagnosed with lung cancer, tracks down Jesse and blackmails his former student into letting him enter the distribution side of the illegal drug trade. He plans to use his knowledge of chemistry to cook potent crystal meth that Jesse will distribute, giving him $7,000 to purchase an RV which will be used as a portable meth lab.

Jesse approaches the only dealer he knows higher-up in the distribution chain, Krazy-8, with a bag of the meth he and Walter have cooked. However, Krazy 8 and his cousin Emilio try to steal the meth and kill Walter and Jesse. Emilio ends up dead while Krazy 8 is kept captive in Jesse's basement for several days before Walt finally kills him.[1][2] They then are forced to sell meth themselves.

Unsatisfied with the minuscule amount of money Jesse is collecting, Walter convinces him to find a high-end distributor for their meth. "Skinny Pete", one of Jesse's friends, puts him in contact with Tuco Salamanca, a powerful Mexican drug kingpin operating in Albuquerque. However, at their first meeting, the psychotic Tuco brutally beats Jesse and lands him in the hospital. After Walter strong-arms Tuco into a lucrative-albeit-unstable partnership, he and Jesse expand their operations by stealing a large drum of methylamine. This enables them to produce large quantities of meth, which is eventually given the street name "blue sky".[3]

The first season ends with Walter and Jesse delivering a fresh batch of blue sky to Tuco, who senselessly assaults one of his henchmen, No Doze, as a shocked Walter and Jesse watch helplessly.[4][5]

Season two

After the DEA conducts a raid on Tuco's Albuquerque operations, Tuco kidnaps Walter and Jesse, intending to take them to a superlab in Mexico.[6] However, the two escape after a struggle with Tuco in which Jesse manages to get Tuco's gun and shoot him with it. After the shooting Jesse and Walter move a wounded but not dead Tuco when they see a car approaching which they believe to be Tuco's cousins arriving to take them to the super meth lab in Mexico. It turns out to be Walter's brother in law Hank who is searching for Walter after his disappearance. Tuco is killed after a gunfight with Hank while Jesse and Walter escape through the desert. [7] Unfortunately, Jesse's car and money are both seized by the DEA.

Realizing that the authorities will track him down, Jesse seeks help from his friend, Badger. They move the lab from Jesse's house back to the RV. The RV is subsequently towed away by Badger's cousin, Clovis, and stored on his lot for a $1,000 storage fee, which Jesse can only pay half of upfront.[8] The next day, Jesse awakens to find his mother evicting him from his home, since his parents legally own the house and have discovered that he was cooking crystal meth in the basement. Unable to find a friend to stay with, he gets his remaining few belongings and his bike stolen as well, so he breaks into Clovis' lot and passes out in the RV ("Down").[9]

Jesse eventually resolves to put himself back together. He buys an inconspicuous Toyota Tercel and finds a new apartment. The landlord, Jane, is a part-time tattoo-artist and also, as Jesse later finds out, a recovering addict. Living right next to Jesse in the same two-family building, it's not long before she and Jesse becomes romantically involved. Jane, however, tries to hide this relationship from her father, Donald, who is the property owner of their building.

Jesse spirals into a drug-fueled depression when Combo is murdered by rival drug dealers. He is introduced to heroin by Jane, who relapses back into addiction. Jesse becomes perpetually high and lethargic, nearly costing Walter his $1.3 million drug transaction with the powerful meth distributor Gus Fring; this leads Walter to withhold Jesse's half of the money until he enters rehab, causing a falling out between the two. When Jane learns of the money's existence, she blackmails Walter into giving Jesse his share, hoping to use the money to escape to New Zealand. However, Jane overdoses and suffocates on her own vomit shortly afterward; Walter is present at the time of her death, but does not intervene and watches her die. Jesse blames himself for Jane's death and becomes self-destructively despondent. Walter rescues Jesse from a crack house, and checks him in to a rehabilitation clinic.

Season three

While in rehab, Jesse is told by a counselor to accept himself for who he is. At this point, he has learned that Jane's father, an air traffic controller, was so distraught over her death that he inadvertently caused a mid-air collision. Jesse tells Walter that he has taken the counselor's advice and accepted himself as the "bad guy" because of his perceived role in these two incidents, unaware of Walter's culpability in both of them. Jesse leaves rehab clean and sober, and sets out to settle unfinished business. First, with help from Saul, Jesse dupes his parents into selling him his aunt's house.

Though he found himself lonely, Jesse had definitely attracted attention of a different sort. Hank, after a lead puts him on the prowl for R.V.'s, is convinced (and correct) that the RV belonging to Jesse is a roving meth lab. Upon tailing Jesse, he manages to finally find it, only to be outsmarted in the end by Jesse, Walt and a very law savvy salvage yard owner. Walt (with the help of Saul and Hanks' personal cellphone number) distracts Hank long enough for them to destroy all evidence of the RV, but in so doing, inadvertently directs Hanks frustration and rage toward Pinkman. Once again, we find Jesse in the hospital, this time recovering from wounds inflicted upon him by Hank after finally snapping from the stress of his job coupled with the lack of results. While in the hospital, Jesse is visited by Walt, who is terribly upset that his manipulation of Hank has resulted in the damage to Pinkman. Upon hearing of Jesse's future plans to purchase another RV and cook once more, and also as a way of re-cementing their friendship, Walt convinces Gus to replace Gale (his previous lab assistant) with Jesse. Now, Jesse and Walt are back together cooking as the team they once were, and making considerably more money.

Jesse becomes involved with a young mother, Andrea, whom he meets through his Narcotics Anonymous meetings. In doing so, he discovers the identity of Combo's assassin, whom turns out to be Andrea's younger brother, acting on the orders of two gang bangers that happen to also be selling Walt and Jesse's product. Pinkman concocts a plan to poison the two, using the ricin made earlier to kill Tuco and Wendy as his courier. Unbeknownst to Jesse, the two cohorts are protected employees of Gus, and after a tense meeting wherein Walt betrays Jesse to Gus, Jesse is forced to give up his assassination attempt. In return, the two rival dealers are supposed to quit using children in their line of work. Tomas, the 11 year old child-soldier, is unceremoniously terminated by Gus's two "trusted employees", most likely because of what he knows, but it is unknown exactly why the boy was killed. Upon hearing the news, Jesse sets out to finish what he had originally started. After breaking his sobriety by snorting some crystal in his car, he is strapped and ready for vengeance as he approaches the two gangsters on the street. Out of nowhere, Walt saves the day by horrifically running both dealers down with his car, and executing the surviving dealer by firing a round into his face.

After a very tense meeting with Gus, Walt agrees to return to work, telling Gus that Jesse is on the run and will "no longer be a problem." With Gale reinstated as his lab partner again, Walt discovers Gus's plan of having Gale master the "blue sky" formula, meaning Gus would no longer have any need for Walt. After meeting with Jesse, who was, in truth, hiding out in town at an abandoned laser tag facility owned by Saul, the two agree that Gale has to die. Walt asks Jesse to follow Gale and find out his address, telling Jesse that he will do the rest. Unfortunately, on his way to do the deed, Walt is stopped by one of Gus's henchmen, Victor. Victor escorts Walt to the superlab telling Walt that there was some sort of chemical spill. Upon seeing Mike waiting at the lab for him, Walt deduces that this encounter is to be his execution. With his life at stake, he offers up Jesse in exchange for his own life, saying that he can call Jesse and lure him out of hiding. Walt uses this opportunity to quickly relay the message that Jesse must kill Gale and he must do it immediately. The season ends with Jesse arriving at Gale's apartment, trembling with tears in his eyes as he levels his gun at a pleading Gale and pulls the trigger, though we don't learn if he has actually killed Gale at this point.

Season four

Jesse has indeed shot Gale dead and he goes to his car in shock. Victor finds him and takes him to the lab, where he and Walt are let go following the bloody killing of Victor by Gus. Walt tells Jesse that they do not have much time left with Gus, but Jesse seems uncaring, thinking that it would take the drug-kingpin a while to find a replacement for the two of them. Jesse starts to fill his house with noise, buying huge speakers and starting crazy parties in order to forget his guilt. Andrea shows up at the party with Brock and Jesse talks with her. She reveals that Jesse left a large amount of money in her mailbox, and Jesse tells her that she can use it to buy drugs or get out of the neighborhood with Brock. Andrea says goodbye to him and he waves to Brock as her car pulls away. When the party disperses, Jesse is seen curled against the speaker, slowly breaking down as he turns the volume all the way up.

At this point, Jesse becomes completely indifferent to his own welfare, stealing meth from the lab for his party guests and not even reacting when he discovers his money has been stolen. Mike and Tyrus return the money to him along with the thief, bound and blindfolded, but Jesse reacts with arrogant indifference. Mike informs Gus of Jesse's recklessness, but instead of ordering his execution, Gus has Mike take Jesse on an errand to collect drop money. On the last pickup, Jesse sees a man approaching the car with a shotgun and attempts to run over the man and ultimately rams the mans car and drives away. It is revealed that the man with the shotgun was working for Mike and this was all just a test for Jesse, a test which he passed prompting Mike to call him a hero. A relieved Walt finds Jesse in the lab where Jesse tells him that he will be doing more work with Mike. When Walt informs Jesse of his suspicion that the alley incident was a setup, Jesse reacts hotly, while Walt declares his belief that Gus is trying to wedge their partnership. During Jesse's next assignment with Mike involving the retrieval of a stolen bag of product, Jesse shows some craftiness by getting one meth addict to dig a hole in the yard and disarms another wielding a shotgun, which at a later evening rendezvous draws praise from Gus. Shortly after this point Pinkman has resumed a relationship with Andrea and her son Brock, who Jesse treats as a son.

Walter, losing control of the situation, asks Jesse to take out Gus by the use of a vial of ricin, which Jesse hides in a cigarette. Later on, when Gus is having a sit-down with members of the drug-cartel, Jesse begins to put the ricin in the drug-lord's coffee, but then decides not to because he can't control who would drink from the pot. That night, he decides to attend a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, where he breaks down and reveals that he is only attending to sell everybody meth. Walt later pushes Jesse to try to set up a meeting when he learns that Hank is investigating Gus, but backs off when he sees a text message implying that Jesse has been lying about not meeting Gus since the diner. Walt uses a bug, the same model that Hank uses on Gus's car, and attaches it to Jesse's vehicle, learning that Jesse had dinner at Gus's house the night before (where Jesse also considered using the ricin but was deterred because Gus was making them a communal pot of stew) and after an ugly confrontation and fight, Jesse told Walt to "get the fuck out of here and never come back". Because Gus and Mike do not trust Walt, they bring Jesse with them to Mexico in order to fulfill the carte's demand to have their top chemist teach the cartel's scientists how to make the famous blue meth. Over the course of the series, Jesse's skill at producing meth has greatly increased, to the point where he can create meth that is 96.2% pure, on par with Gale Boetticher, who has admitted that his capability is 96%. Jesse cooks with great skill and Don Eladio informs him that he will be permanently on loan to the cartel, but Gus then uses a poisoned bottle of tequila to kill off Eladio and his men, and Jesse reacts quickly to kill a gunman at the cartel's compound before driving Gus and an injured Mike (who was shot and wounded) to a makeshift clinic for treatment. While Jesse now hates Walt, he does tell Gus he does not want Walt killed, and that Gus should simply fire Walt instead. Jesse then takes over as the sole cooker at the Super-Lab, and blows off an attempt by Walt to alternately make amends and beg for his safety; when Gus does fire Walt, he tells him he will have no further contact with Jesse, and if he tries and contact him, he will murder his entire family. Walt, scared for his family, asks Saul to contact the man who can make him "disappear", while Skyler informs the DEA for protection. Gus now believes that Walt is helping the DEA and informs Jesse of this, attempting to further the gap between the two. Walt still insists that Gus must be killed and goes to Jesse's house to beg for him to use the Ricin capsule to kill Gus. Jesse still hates Walt and throws him off his property.

Shortly afterwards, Andrea's son Brock falls mysteriously. The symptoms are that of Ricin which prompts Jesse to instruct Andrea to relay the possibility of it being ricin poisoning to the doctors. This is followed by an almost immediate increase in Brock's medical state, straining Pinkman and Andrea's relationship due to the latter's assumption of the former's involvement in her child's illness. Pinkman immediately assumes Walter is at fault due to Ricin being the weapon of choice for Gus and Walter being one of the few people aware of Brock's relationship with Pinkman. After a tense discussion at gunpoint, Walter convinces Jesse that Gus is at fault, after reminding Jesse that Gus has previously shown that he is willing to kill children to get what he wants.

After a series of tense exchanges between Pinkman and Gus, Pinkman finally breaks down and divulges to Walter that Gus often visits a secluded retirement home in order to taunt Hector, a member of Don Eladio's drug cartel directly responsible for killing a close friend of Gus's several decades prior. This leads to the events of the final episode of the season where Walter is finally successful in finally killing Gus with a pipe bomb. The one of last scenes of the episodes show Pinkman and Walter intentionally setting fire to their Meth lab and walking out of the building, triggering the fire alarm as they exit.

In the final scene with dialogue, Pinkman reveals to Walter's astonishment that Ricin actually wasn't the cause of Brock's illness, but is instead the result of a flowering plant called "Lily of the Valley" which is sweet leading small children to eat it. Pinkman, still reeling somewhat from the guilt of having killed Gale, and realizing now that Gus had nothing to do with Brock's illness, pushes Walt to reassure him that killing Gus was the only acceptable course of action, which Walt does. The final scene consists of outro music playing as the camera zooms in on a potted plant in Walter's backyard, which carries the label "Lily of the Valley."


Series creator Vince Gilligan originally intended for Jesse Pinkman's character to be killed at the end of Breaking Bad''s first season. Originally, Gilligan wanted Jesse to die in a botched drug deal as a plot device to plague the main protagonist Walter White with guilt. However, Gilligan said by the second episode of the season, he was so impressed with Jesse's character and Aaron Paul's performance that "it became pretty clear early on that would be a huge, colossal mistake, to kill off Jesse".[10]





  1. ^ Bowman, Donna. "AV Club "Pilot"". AV Club Episode Reviews. AV Club.,17025/. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Bowman, Donna. ""Cat's In The Bag"". AV Club Episode Reviews. AV Club.,12776/. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Bowman, Donna. ""Crazy Handful of Nothin'"". AV Club Episode Reviews. AV Club.,12847/. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Bowman, Donna (March 8, 2008). "Breaking Bad: "A No Rough Stuff Type Deal"". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved July 22, 2011. 
  5. ^ Amitin, Seth (March 10, 2008). "Breaking Bad: "A No-Rough-Stuff Type of Deal" Review". IGN. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved July 22, 2011. 
  6. ^ Bowman, Donna. ""Seven Thirty-Seven"". AV Club Episode Reviews. AV Club.,24816/. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  7. ^ Bowman, Donna. ""Grilled"". AV Club Episode Reviews. AV Club.,25122/. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  8. ^ Bowman, Donna. ""Bit By A Dead Bee"". AV Club Episode Reviews. AV Club.,25566/. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  9. ^ Bowman, Donna. ""Down"". AV Club Episode Reviews. AV Club.,25871/. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  10. ^ Centre, Paley. "Breaking Bad - Aaron Paul Almost Got Killed Off (Paley Interview)". (Paley Interview). Paley Centre. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 

External links

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