Mike Ehrmantraut

With Gus Fring's demise at the end of Season Four, the series needed a new foil for Walter White's increasingly reckless Heisenberg. Fring enforcer Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) was the man. Strong but sympathetic, taciturn but trusted, Mike was a solid Omega to Walt's rising Alpha. Unlike Walt, Mike was not a deep thinker but that's not to say he was dim. He was dutiful and disciplined, the epitome of efficiency. He was an assassin, after all, a job that required resourcefulness and cunning. And, luckily for a series that was getting close to being oppressively dour whenever Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) wasn't on-screen, Ehrmantraut was funny ... really, really funny.  Who knew? His best scenes, in my view, were with the perpetually harried Madrigal inside woman Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Laura Fraser), whom he really, really wanted to shoot in the head. (I'm glad he didn't because that character was a treasure.) A bit of a sentimentalist, Mike's doting grandfather became a surrogate father to Jesse as Walt's monomania pulled him further and further away from his protege and deeper and deeper into his own obsession. Mike's disappearance at the end of Season Five left Jesse, once again, adrift and lonely. And, once again, we felt his pain.


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