- "I swear to God, Marie, I think the universe is trying to tell me something and I'm finally ready to listen."
- ―Hank Schrader
Henry R. "Hank" Schrader was the husband of Marie Schrader (the sister of Skyler White) and Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Albuquerque office of the Drug Enforcement Administration. A high-energy and boisterous man, Hank was Walter White's brother-in-law.
Although he was a highly competent agent and seemed to genuinely care about Marie, Walter, Skyler White and Walter White Jr., his loud and loutish machismo insulated him from the danger he faced daily.
Hank's year-long investigation of the meth kingpin in the area named "Heisenberg" - the source of a mysterious, high-quality blue meth - led him to expose Gus' Drug Empire and bring down Gustavo Fring. However, he was historically unaware that "Heisenberg" was the alter-ego of his brother-in-law Walter. By linking Walt to Gale Boetticher, a known manufacturer of blue meth for the Fring drug ring, Hank eventually discovered Walt's secret and began to dedicate himself to bringing Walt to justice once and for all. To this end, Hank nearly succeeded in this task before eventually getting caught up in an intense gunfight with Jack's White Supremacist Gang in which fellow DEA Agent and friend Steven Gomez was killed in the midst of the chaos. Despite Walt's pleas, Hank was shot and killed moments later at point-blank range by Jack Welker.
Hank invites Walt on a "ride along" where Walt sees that his former student Jesse Pinkman was cooking meth. ("Pilot") On the request of Marie Schrader, Hank tries to startle Walter White Jr. out of doing drugs (even though he wasn't doing them) by showing him Wendy and other meth heads. ("...and the Bag's in the River") He and the DEA office begin to notice the influx of a purer meth in the Albuquerque area. When Walt reveals that he has cancer, Hank tells him that if anything happens he will make sure the family is safe and taken care of. ("Cancer Man")
After Walt Jr. gets busted for asking an undercover cop to buy him beer he calls Hank, not his father. Hank tells him to give his father some patience. Later, Hank participates in Skyler's intervention for Walt about turning down Elliott Schwartz's money. ("Gray Matter") When a gas mask leads Hank and the DEA to Walt's high school, he finds out that Walt's store room has been burgled by meth cooks (but Walt denies any knowledge). ("Crazy Handful of Nothin'") At Skyler's baby shower, Hank and Walt talk about Hank's line of work and how meth used to be legal. ("A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal")
While searching for a missing Walter, Hank questions Mrs. Pinkman who reveals that Jesse owns a lowrider car. Presuming that the lowrider may be equipped with LoJack in the event that it is stolen, a hit leads Hank to a shack out in the desert. There, he stumbles upon Tuco Salamanca, from whom Walt and Jesse have just escaped captivity. A firefight ensues, ending with Hank shooting Tuco in the head ("Grilled"). This takedown of a major drug lord results in Hank getting a promotion and transfer to the Tri-State Border Interdiction Task Force in El Paso, meaning that he will be dividing his time between Albuquerque and El Paso. However, Hank begins to secretly suffer from panic attacks. A harrowing and deadly incident with a snitch named Tortuga and the local cartels giving the task force a surprise in the way of a decapitated head turtle bomb with Tortuga's head shakes Hank up so severely that he has to be sent back to Albuquerque ("Negro y Azul"). Hank is ashamed of this and considers himself as having failed.
A few months later, Hank is again offered a position in El Paso, but is reluctant to go because of his post-traumatic stress disorder and his obsession with catching the elusive "Heisenberg" in Albuquerque. He picks a fight in a dive bar after intentionally leaving his gun and badge in his car, a move that is interpreted by many as indicative of his unstable mental state. ("I.F.T.").
As Hank arrives at the airport to leave for El Paso, he receives a call that the blue meth has reappeared and he goes back into town. Later, he is confronted by his superior, ASAC George Merkert, who forces him to decide whether or not he's going to accept to the position in Texas. Hank chose to stay in Albuquerque and pursue the "Heisenberg" investigation. The El Paso position goes to Hank's partner, Steven Gomez, instead ("Green Light").
After following many leads, Hank tracks down the owner of the RV and learns of Jesse. He stakes out Jesse's house and follows him to a junkyard where Walt and Jesse are both inside the RV. While waiting for a warrant, Hank receives a staged phone call from Saul Goodman's secretary alleging that Marie is in the hospital following a car accident. Hank rushes to the hospital only to learn that Marie is fine at home and he has been tricked ("Sunset").
When he returns to the junkyard, the RV is gone, Walt and Jesse having arranged to send Hank away so that they had adequate time to get it reduced to scrap metal. Furious, Hank goes to Jesse's house and beats him into unconsciousness. The incident later causes him to reconsider being a police officer and he confesses to the assault. He is suspended and ordered to turn in his weapon.
While in a parking lot, he gets a phone call from a man using a voice modifier warning him that he has one minute before two men come to kill him. The Cousins, Leonel and Marco, ambush him and shoot him multiple times, but he manages to shoot Marco in the face and severely injures Leonel by crushing his legs with a car ("One Minute"). Hank is rushed to the hospital for surgery. He slowly recovers via physical therapy but walking is still painful and difficult and Hank insists he will not return home until he can walk again ("Abiquiú"). But his insurance will not pay for all the physical therapy and other hospital bills. Skyler, as a way of leveraging Walt's meth money, decides to help Hank with his bills, she concocts a story that convinces Marie to accept financial assistance from Walt for Hank's mounting medical bills. Hank is abusive and derisive of Marie's efforts to boost his spirits and get him to leave the hospital, but Marie is persistent and ends up tricking Hank into going home when she bets him she can get him aroused in 1 minute. Although Hank makes a valiant effort, it is clear he failed as the scene cuts to Marie wheeling him out of the hospital with a triumphant look on her face ("Half Measures").
Still bedridden, Hank grows increasingly agitated at Marie and takes to a hobby of collecting minerals to keep himself occupied. A friend of his in the APD asks him to look at the evidence for Gale Boetticher's murder and Hank ties it to the Heisenberg case. He ties the evidence to Los Pollos Hermanos via Madrigal Electromotive GmbH after discovering a LP napkin in Gale's possessions. He begins obsessing over Gustavo Fring's guilt although the DEA and his superiors tell him that he was reaching. Hank goes to asking Walt and Walt Jr to help him tail and plant a GPS device on Fring's car but he is unable to get any tangible evidence.
After Gus's death, Hank surveys the remains of the superlab in awe that he was correct, but anger that it wasn't him who brought him down. ("Live Free or Die") George Merkert, Hank's boss, gets forced out as ASAC and the job given to Hank after the unheard success of his fixation with Gus. After Walt and Jesse's magnet heist revealed bank accounts for Gus's associates, Hank becomes obsessed with following Mike Ehrmantraut to track down the loose ends of Gus' Drug Empire. ("Madrigal") He is informed by his boss multiple times that he is to suspend the Fring/Ehrmantraut investigation, but he asks Steven Gomez to keep following Mike. He and Marie offer to take the kids from Skyler and Walt as they sort out their marital issues. ("Fifty-One")
One morning, Walt talks with Hank about Skyler and begins crying. Hank excuses himself to get coffee and while he is along, Walt bugs Hank's office. ("Dead Freight") Jesse and Mike use the bug to plan their next big move which is to sell their methylamine to Declan. Mike does this by issuing a restraining order against Hank, which pisses him off. ("Buyout") After Walt thwarts Mike's deal with Declan and replaces it with his own, Mike retires with his $5 million but his house is searched by Hank and the DEA, who turn up nothing. Hank is instructed by his boss to end the Fring/Ehrmantraut case for once and for all, but they manage to track Mike's lawyer who is giving cash to the henchmen's families. ("Say My Name")
Without incoming funds, the henchmen begin itching for deals with the DEA. Since there are 10 men, Hank had his pick of the litter for which deal he wanted to make. Walt, however, makes a move and has all ten get shanked in jail within the same two minute span. Three days after the attack, Hank and Walt share a drink and Hank wonders if his first job, a backbreaking outdoor job was better than his current job of "hunting monsters". Weeks later at a cookout at the White's, Hank excuses himself to use the restroom, where he finds a copy of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman while searching for reading material. Hank notices that the inside cover was signed by "G.B." and addressed to "my other favorite W.W." Remembering his conversation with Walter, in which the two joked that the "W.W." mentioned in Gale Boetticher's notes referred to Walter White, Hank comes to the shocking realization that his brother-in-law was the Heisenberg he has been chasing all along. ("Gliding Over All")
Hank exits the bathroom, stunned and transformed. He stows Leaves of Grass in his bag, returns to the poolside, and departs the get-together with Marie, claiming that he feels sick. The overwhelming realization of how Walter has deceived, endangered, and crippled them all blurs Hank’s vision and steals his breath, causing him to careen off the road and hit a neighbor's mailbox. Hank, fuming with rage, shame, and vertigo, is left panicked and gasping. Armed with this new lead, Hank decides to take time off work and revisit all the evidence boxes relating to the blue meth, Heisenberg, and the drug empire of Gustavo Fring. Suddenly, the boxes of evidence tell a whole new story. Hank even peers at the surveillance video of the methylamine precursor theft, and the grainy figures now clearly resolve into Walt and Jesse. ("Blood Money")
Walter later discovers that Leaves of Grass is missing, connects the dots to Hank's discomfort, and confirms his suspicions by finding a tracking device on his car. Walt travels to Hank's house, where they meet in the garage. After some cordial discussion, Walt brings up the GPS device, all but sneering at Hank for his clumsy use of the same tracking device the two of them planted on Fring’s car. Hank closes the garage door, enraged, and punches Walt in the face, shouting his knowledge of Walt's true criminal nature. Walt does not seem worried, and warns a shaken, awestruck Hank: “If you don’t know who I am, maybe your best course of action is to tread lightly.” Walter argues that he will be dead from cancer before the law will see him put behind bars. Furthermore, the fragile peace they’ve achieved is built on death and deceit, but it still might be better than the alternative. Hank - who, having been crippled and unmanned in Walt's quest for power, still desires vengeance on Heisenberg as the key to reclaiming his self - is left to contemplate his next move. ("Blood Money")
As soon as Walt leaves Hank's house, both parties are frantically attempting to call Skyler, with Hank reaching her first and asking her to meet up in a local coffee shop to talk about everything.
When they meet, Hank's demeanor is initially comforting and respectful, but soon changes to demanding and hasty as Skyler begins to see that Hank's true intention seems to be apprehending Walt rather than the welfare of the extended family. After repeatedly asking if she is under arrest, to which Hank does not directly answer, Skyler angrily leaves the premises leaving Hank to ponder his next move once more.
Some time later, Hank sends Marie to speak with Skyler but after a short but tense confrontation, he leaves with Marie who now also sees what Walt has done to her sister. Hank tells Marie that he requries concrete proof of his brother-in-law being Heisenberg but if he tells the office that it is Walt, his career will be over due to his familial relationship with the man.
Hank returns to the DEA office, where he is notified by Steven Gomez that Jesse has been mindlessly throwing large amounts of money around Albuquerque. Meeting with the two agents who spoke to Jesse when Brock was poisoned, Hank suggests that he speak to Jesse to see what information he can draw from him. He then enters the interrogation room where Jesse remains silent. ("Buried")
Hank fails to extract any information from Jesse, and a short time later he meets with Walt and Skyler. At the meeting he accuses Walt of being weak and that his only option is to admit all of the bad things he has done. Walt leaves a DVD on the table and departs with Skyler.
Upon watching the DVD, Hank and Marie realise that this is not a confesssion, as Walt speaks of how Hank is the mastermind behind his drug empire and that he was held against his will as a chemist, while Hank used his connections to the DEA. Walt references several events that did occur and ties them in to the story (such as the attempt on Hank's life by Gus, as well as the mark left by Hank when he punched Walt), weaving an increasingly believable web. Hank finds out that Walt and Skyler paid for his medical bills when he was shot by The Cousins as Marie did not know it was drug money when she accepted it from Skyler. He claims that this has killed him, and that this is the last nail in the coffin. At the DEA offices, Hank calls off Gomez's guys as they are watching Saul's office. He decides to leave his office, cancelling a meeting in the process. ("Confessions")
Later, Jesse careens Saul's car into Walt's driveway and snorts some meth before storming into the house with a gas can. He douses the living room with gasoline and attempts to spark a lighter. Hank bursts through the door and stops him. "You wanna burn him down?" Hank offers to Jesse. "Let's do it together."
Hank buckles Jesse into his car, and drives away just before Walt's car pulls around the corner, in a near miss. Hank suggests that things will go easier for Jesse if he agrees to act as a witness. Jesse scoffs, reminding Hank of the brutal deaths of the last witnesses against Walt in the local prisons. Hank meets Marie at the door when she arrives home and attempts to send her on an impromptu spa trip. Refusing, she demands to know why he's trying to get her out of the house. Hank shows Marie the guest bedroom, where Jesse is fast asleep. He launches into a lengthy explanation about why their house is the safest place for Jesse. Marie interrupts, and asks if having Jesse there will be bad for Walt. "Very," Hank confirms. "Good," she replies. "I'm staying. I'll heat up lasagna." Jesse's cell phone rings. Hank checks the voicemail and listens to Walt's message, a plan already forming in his mind ("Rabid Dog").
Jesse wakes up to find Hank and Gomez waiting for him in the Schraders' living room. "You're never gonna catch him with a camcorder," Jesse says as Hank sets up a video camera. He argues that it's his word against Walt's, now that Walt is retired. Hank waves off Jesse's misgivings, and asks him to describe on camera everything he remembers about Walt's business dealings and criminal activity. Afterward, Gomez tells Hank privately that he believes Jesse, but agrees that they have no physical evidence against Walt. He's at a loss as to how to proceed: should they pursue Lydia, Vamonos Pest, or maybe the Drew Sharp case? "I say we start with this," Hank answers, pulling out Jesse's cell phone.
Hank plays Jesse the voicemail that Walt left him, in which Walt asks Jesse to meet him at noon the next day in Albuquerque's Civic Plaza "to talk." Jesse balks, suspecting that Walt will kill him at the meeting. "He's the devil," Jesse insists. Hank admits that Jesse's right, but points out how much Walt seems to care for Jesse. He argues Walt would never try anything in public, and doesn't allow Jesse to refuse. While Jesse is in the bathroom, Gomez tells Hank that he agrees with the kid: Walt might be setting a trap. Hank is unperturbed. "Pinkman gets killed?" he shrugs. "We get it all on tape" ("Rabid Dog").
Later at Civic Plaza, Gomez sets up surveillance while Hank tapes a wire to Jesse's chest. After giving him a quick pep-talk, Hank ushers Jesse out into the Plaza. Jesse nervously approaches the meeting point and spots Walt sitting on a bench. Nearby, a hard-looking dude in a leather jacket is surveying the crowd. Suspecting he's a hired gun, and seemingly with new purpose, Jesse veers away and heads to a pay phone, where he calls Walt and then departs. Hank hurtles toward Jesse and forces him into the car, blasting him for backing out of the meeting. "There's another way to get him," Jesse promises. "A better way" ("Rabid Dog").
Jesse gives Hank the idea to go after Walt's money, which Hank likes. Hank goes to Saul's assistant, Huell, and tells him that Walt has gone crazy and killed Jesse, showing him a photo of what seems like Jesse with his brains across the floor. Huell gets worried and tells them all he did was help him move some barrels filled with money. That gives Hank an idea. Hank buys a barrel, and with the help of Jesse fills it up with some money, and Jesse sends a photo to Walt, Walt not knowing the photo was a fake.
Walt rushes to where his money is buried, as Hank, Jesse and Gomez follow not far behind. When Walt gets there he realizes Jesse had just manipulated him, and runs behind a rock and calls Todd and Jack, saying he found Jesse and needs backup. He then sees Jesse get out of the car with Hank and Steve and calls off Todd and Jack. He hangs up the phone and gives himself up. Hank handcuffs him, and puts him in the car. Hank tells Steve he is going to call the police to come and dig up the money, but instead (or before he was going to) he calls Marie, and tells her "I finally got him" as she smiles in the phone. Just as he hangs up you can see two cars coming from a distance, then you realize its Jack and Todd, and Jack's crew. Immediately, both sides are fired. ("To'hajiilee")As the next episode starts, you see Hank with a bullet wound in the leg and his Partner, Steve Gomez, lying on the ground dead. Hank sees a gun out in the open and starts crawling to it, but as soon as he's about to reach it, Jack's foot is on it. They're about to shoot Hank as Walt screams for them to stop and comes out of the car trying to bargain with Jack to let him live, even offering his money, but Hank smarts off to Jack.
In his final moments, Hank states to Walt; “You want me to beg? You’re the smartest guy I ever met, and you’re too stupid to see—he made up his mind ten minutes ago.” Hank then looks over to Jack and tells him "Do what you're gonna do", before Jack shoots him in the head, killing him. After Jack's gang digs up Walt's money, Hank is buried alongside Gomez in the middle of the To'hajiilee Navajo reservation. He is later mourned by his sister-in-law, nephew and widow after Walt takes credit for the deed. ("Ozymandias")
When Walt returns to Albuquerque, he meets with Skyler, and gives her the lottery ticket containing the co-ordinates to where Hank and Gomez were buried. His death is later avenged by Walt, who kills Jack in the same manner that he killed Hank. ("Felina")
Personality and traits
- "Hank is a dogged investigator who is going to be sorely disappointed when he finds out who he's been chasing all this time."
- ―Vince Gilligan
Boisterous and outspoken by nature, Hank can sometimes come off as rude or insensitive to the viewer or to other characters. His cavalier attitude causes him to believe that having friends and co-workers of color gives him a free pass to call Mexicans "beaners," and that working for the government entitles him to certain contraband perks, like Cuban cigars. In some ways, Hank is introduced as the antithesis of Walt, in a good way: he's popular, cheerful, successful, and constantly bragging about his skills. Walt dislikes it when Walt Jr. looks up to Hank, yet he loves Hank on some grudging level. Hank has shown himself to be a good law enforcement agent and competent investigator who was able to expose Gustavo Fring for what he truly was. Despite his skills, Hank's image of Walt as a mild-mannered chemistry teacher blinded him from discovering, for a whole year, that the mysterious drug kingpin "Heisenberg" he was pursuing so vigorously was under his nose the whole time (although, admittedly, Walt's cunning schemes and lies to cover his tracks can be credited for Hank's continued ignorance as well).
In the course of his work, Hank is promoted to the prestigious yet more dangerous base in El Paso, Texas from Albuquerque for a short time, but experiences a traumatic event courtesy of the Mexican drug cartels and moves back to Albuquerque. This experience leaves him with enduring, debilitating anxiety attacks. These attacks, which reveal a more vulnerable side to Hank that he tends to disguise, increase in intensity after two brutal members, The Cousins, ambush Hank leave him with a debilitating injury. After the Cousins' shootout, Walt realizes he's partly responsible for Hank's situation and thus saves him from Gus by the end of season 4.
Hank has a cavalier exterior, but the dark side of his job affects him more than he cares to admit. Despite his considerable shortcomings, Hank is basically a good-hearted family man. Although he is loud and opinionated, he is competent at his job and, before learning Walt's secret and Skyler's complicity, cared deeply about his in-laws. Hank brews his own beer, which he has named "Schraderbräu", in his garage, and enjoys playing fantasy football. Hank drives a midnight blue 2006 Jeep Commander until he is attacked by the Cousins. After he is well enough to drive, he drives a silver 2011 Dodge Durango. During his incapacitation following the attack by the Salamanca cousins, Hank started collecting minerals as a hobby. On several occasions, he irritably corrected people (especially Marie) when they referred to this activity as "rock collecting" ("Thirty-Eight Snub").
When Hank finally finds out that Walt is the meth kingpin and mastermind "Heisenberg" he has been searching for, he feels betrayed and vengeful towards Walt, swearing he will put Walt "under the jail." He plots even more feverishly to destroy Walt, trying to gather the evidence from Skyler and trying to persuade Jesse to give Walt up. Hank's single mission in life becomes trying to get Walt to pay for his crimes, and he becomes deeply invested in making sure Walt doesn't die of cancer before he can be convicted. Jesse, furious at Walt for other reasons, forges an uneasy alliance with Hank, and Hank allows Jesse to stay at his house. Jesse states he is afraid Walt will kill him. Gomez is worried that the "kid" might be right. Hank corrected Gomez by saying "Oh, you mean the junkie murderer?" Hank believes Jesse is just as guilty as Walt is for the crimes they have committed (most notibly the Gale murder, and the manufacturing of crystal meth under Walt's drug empire). Hank tells Gomez that if Walt does kill Jesse, at least they'll get it on tape.
In the end, even in his final moments Hank maintained his composure and in a remarkable display of courage, even though Jack sadistically played along to Walt's offer that he would spare Hank if he agreed to let them go, Hank saw through this facade and refused to sacrifice his dignity and beg Jack for his life. To this end, Hank accepted his death despite Walt's pleas, knowing full well that Jack intended to kill him anyways, Hank met his fate with the same disposition that he carried throughout his life. This is a direct contrast to Jack himself, who lacked the intuition Hank possessed and attempted to save his own life by attempting to bribe Walt with the promise of telling him the location of his money when faced with death, even though Walt had already made up his mind for revenge after Jack killed Hank.
- Tuco Salamanca: Shot in the forehead in self-defense.
- Marco Salamanca: Shot in the face in self-defense.
- "So be on notice: We got new players in town. Now we don’t know who they are or where they came from, but they possess an extremely high skill set. Me personally, I think Albuquerque might just have a new kingpin."
- ―Hank talking to his DEA team about Heisenberg's arrival.
- "Chick’s got an ass like an onion… makes me wanna cry."
- ―Hank after meeting Principal Carmen.
- "I've been...unraveling, y'know? I don't sleep at night anymore. I freeze, I freeze up. My chest gets all tight, I can't breathe. Just...I panic [...] What I did to Pinkman...that's not who I'm supposed to be. All this, everything that's happened, I swear to God, Marie, I think the universe is trying to tell me something and I'm finally ready to listen. I'm just not the man I thought I was. I think I'm done as a cop."
- ―Hank talking to his wife, Marie.
- "I walked sixteen feet in twenty minutes, which is up from like fifteen-and-a-half yesterday. And I had maybe this much less shit in my pants. So, yeah, Marie, if you and him and everybody else in America secretly took a vote and changed the meaning of the entire English language, yeah, I guess I broke new ground."
- ―Hank while recovering from The Cousins' attack.
- "It was you. All along, it was you! You son of a bitch. You drove into traffic to keep me from that laundry. That call I got telling me Marie was in the hospital...that wasn't Pinkman. You had my cell number. You killed ten witnesses to save your sorry ass. You bombed a nursing home. Heisenberg. Heisenberg! You lying, two-face sack of shit."
- ―Hank confronting Walt.
- "Look, the day I go in with this, it's the last day of my career, Marie. I'm going to have to walk in there, look those people in the eye and admit that the person I've been chasing the past year is my own brother-in-law. It's over for me. Ten seconds after I tell this story, I'm a civilian. Then how can we help Skyler when she comes to her senses? When I go in there, I'm bringing proof. Not suspicion. I can be the man who caught him, at least."
- ―Hank talking to Marie.
- "You want me to beg? You’re the smartest guy I ever met, and you’re too stupid to see—he made up his mind ten minutes ago."
- ―Hank's final words to Walt.
- "Do what you're gonna do—"
- ―Hank's final words before being executed by Jack.
- Hank wears his wristwatch on his right wrist as seen in the final scene of Episode 7 of Season 4 and many other episodes.
- On the spec script of the pilot, his last name was Weld.
- Hank is the only character besides Walt and Steve Gomez to have shared a scene with every main character.
- Hank's blood type is O negative.
| Main: Walter White • Jesse Pinkman • Skyler White • Walter White Jr. • Hank Schrader • Marie Schrader • Saul Goodman • Gustavo Fring • Mike Ehrmantraut • Lydia Rodarte-Quayle • Todd Alquist
Supporting: Steven Gomez • Brandon "Badger" Mayhew • Skinny Pete • Christian "Combo" Ortega • Tuco Salamanca • Hector "Tio" Salamanca • The Cousins • Jane Margolis • Ted Beneke • Victor • Gale Boetticher • Jack Welker