- "We're going to make a lot of money together."
- ―Lydia after closing a deal with Walter White
Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (pronunciation of last name: /roʊdɑrt kweɪl/) was the Head of Logistics at Madrigal Electromotive GmbH. An executive at Madrigal, Lydia was based in the American southwest through the Madrigal office in Houston, Texas. She supplied methylamine to Gustavo Fring prior to the collapse of Gus' Drug Empire. She was also a single mother, raising a young daughter Kiira Rodarte-Quayle.
At some point in her career, Lydia joined the German manufacturing and shipping conglomerate Madrigal Electromotive, working out of Madrigal's office in Houston, Texas. She became an executive in the company and was awarded the Platinum Award in recognition of "Outstanding Leadership in Business."
After attending a meeting between Madrigal's board of directors and the DEA, Lydia met with Mike Ehrmantraut, at a diner. She hands him a list of eleven men who were on Gus's payroll and suggests Mike kill them before they can implicate either of them. Mike shoots down the idea, vouching for his men and leaving Lydia helpless and panic-stricken.
Unbeknownst to Mike, Lydia had hedged her bets beforehand by making the same pitch to another man, Chris Mara. Chris admits that Lydia was going to pay him $30,000 to kill Mike and $10,000 for each man on the list, starting with Duane Chow, who Mike finds already dead on the couch. Mike shoots Chris dead with a sigh.
Later, Mike travels to Houston, sneaks into Lydia's house (also occupied by her daughter Kiira and hired nanny) and pulls her into a bedroom at gunpoint. Mike prepared to kill her for mandating the deaths of Chris and Chow. Lydia begs him to leave her body in the house so that her daughter won't think she was abandoned. On the verge of shooting her, something stops him. He hesitates and asks if she can still get her hands on methylamine. "Maybe," she says. "Why?" ("Madrigal")
After she provides Walt, Mike, and Jesse with their first shipment of methylamine for free, Lydia receives a call from Mike at the Madrigal office in Houston. Mike warns that the police are about to arrive. A few seconds later, DEA agents Hank Schrader and Steven Gomez enter with officers in tow. Lydia escorts them to the Madrigal warehouse and points out Ron Forenall, the foreman and warehouse supervisor and the suspect who Hank and Gomez appear to be after. Ron stares daggers at her as the officers arrest him: she's thrown one of her own to the wolves ("Fifty-One").
Back in her office Lydia calls Mike, hysterical about Ron's arrest. He reassures her that Ron won't talk, but she says she cannot continue to supply methylamine without someone in the warehouse. "I'll send a new guy," Mike says simply. On a later evening, at the Houston warehouse, Lydia is standing beside an electrical control panel. After a few tries, she successfully shuts down the surveillance system. She opens a loading bay door to find Jesse outside, and a panicky Lydia interrogates about Mike’s last name before she’ll let him into the warehouse. She takes him inside, where he uses a forklift to grab a barrel of methylamine that Lydia has erased from inventory off the shelf. As Jesse lowers the barrel, Lydia yells for him to stop. "Please tell me that's not what I think it is," she says, pointing her flashlight at a GPS tracker affixed to the bottom of the barrel ("Fifty-One").
The next day, back in Albuquerque at the Vamonos Pest headquarters, Jesse and Mike discuss the GPS device while Walt listens silently. Suspicious of the GPS's sloppy installation, and that the device was attached to the only barrel Lydia allowed Jesse to touch, Mike learns that Lydia was the one who spotted it and concludes she planted it to extricate herself from the business. Mike vows to kill her, even if it means slowing down business for a while. Jesse turns to Walt for a vote to spare Lydia's life. Walt doesn't care about Lydia, but the supply problem does bother him: "Nothing stops this train," Walt finally says. It's clear that this is the end of the discussion, and Lydia has earned (yet another) stay of execution. ("Fifty-One")
Mike, Walt, and Jesse soon kidnap Lydia and bring her to an abandoned warehouse, where they handcuff her to a table. At Mike's orders, she calls Hank to report that she spotted what looked like a GPS device on one of Madrigal's methylamine barrels, and to ask how she should handle that development. On a laptop, Jesse taps into the bug Walt planted in Hank's office, and they all listen as Hank and Gomez puzzle over who planted the GPS device - supporting Mike's belief that it was Lydia who did ("Dead Freight").
As Lydia protests her innocence, the group listens as Hank calls the Houston DEA office and learns that his colleagues in Texas did indeed tag the methylamine barrels - not just the one that Lydia spotted, but all of them. Still, Mike maintains they should kill Lydia. "She's a loose cannon," he says. "The woman put a hit out on me." Besides, her barrels of methylamine are now all useless to them. Desperate, Lydia blurts out that she can direct them to "an ocean" of methylamine ("Dead Freight").
Walt talks one-on-one with Lydia, who demands a guarantee that she won't be killed once she reveals the methylamine source. When Walt asks why she went after Mike, she says she couldn't abide his decision to pay off - rather than kill - his nine men in prison, a complaint Walt definitely shares. She asks him to swear on his children's lives that she won't be harmed, then reveals how Walt can obtain 24,000 gallons of methylamine ("Dead Freight").
Once Walt brings Mike and Jesse back into the warehouse, Lydia lays down a map revealing the route for a train carrying a tanker car full of methylamine. She zeroes in on a three-mile stretch of "dark territory" - a dead zone for all lines of communication - and suggests they rob the train there. Mike points out that in order to get away with the robbery, they'll have to kill the innocent train crew, which deeply troubles Jesse. Stymied, the guys head back to Albuquerque. With Lydia's help, they identify the car carrying the methylamine by referring to the freight manifest that gets sent to Madrigal automatically once the train leaves the yard, and end up successfully pulling off the train heist, able to steal 1,000 gallons of methylamine without killing or alerting the crew or anyone else. ("Dead Freight").
Later, at a coffee shop, Walt asks Lydia for the names of Mike's men. Concerned that Walt will kill her once she gives up the list, Lydia argues for her continued usefulness by proposing he use Madrigal's resources to expand the business into the Czech Republic. Walt hears her out, and agrees to a trial run of her plan. Pleased, she shakes his hand and gives him the names. After she exits, Walt uncovers the ricin vial that he'd intended to poison her with: she'd been right about his intentions after all. As Walt and Todd cook batch after batch, Lydia becomes in charge of shipping the meth to the Czech Republic in oil drums using her Madrigal connections ("Gliding Over All").
Later, a distressed Lydia drives a rental car to the A1A Car Wash where Walt, after formally extricating himself from the meth business, now devotes his energies to managing alongside Skyler. At the cash register, Lydia complains to Walt that the purity of her product is down below 70 percent, begging him to come back and right the ship. However, Walt tells her that her problems are none of his concern, and, despite her protests, merely replies "Please give this to your carwash professional, and have an A-1 day.” As Lydia leaves, Skyler remarks at the oddity of someone driving a rental car through a car wash. After Skyler presses him, Walt honestly replies that she was one of his former business associates. Skyler angrily approaches Lydia and tells her to leave the car wash at once. Startled, Lydia departs ("Blood Money").
Later, Lydia meets with Declan in the desert to discuss the falling standards of their business operation since "Heisenberg" left. She asks to be escorted into Declan's underground meth lab, which she remarks is filthy and producing a meth that is not suitable to her business contacts in the Czech Republic. He suggests that Declan use Todd as a meth cook, pointing out that Todd's first cook without Heisenberg was 74% pure. Declan, however, refuses, much to Lydia's disappointment. At this point Declan is called up to investigate a disturbance, and orders to Lydia to stay in the lab. Knowing what is to come next, Lydia cowers in the bus and covers her ears: shooting is heard outside, and when Todd opens the hatch to the lab, it is revealed that Todd, his uncle Jack Welker, and Jack's White Supremacist Gang have shot Declan and his men. Lydia does not wish to see the carnage left by the coup she engineered, and so Todd covers her eyes as he escorts her to the car. Lydia flinches when a wounded Declan is finished off. ("Buried"). Following the heist of Declan's equipment and methylamine, she is present for Todd's first solo cook. She is perturbed at the poor quality of his meth, as well as the lack of blue color, and asks him to do better in future cooks, impressing on him the importance of the Blue Sky brand. ("To'hajiilee"). After Walter White is exposed as Heisenberg and flees to New Hampshire, Lydia and Todd meet at the The Grove to talk about the future of their deal and their freedom. Todd assures Lydia that Skyler White will not give away information about their confrontation at the car wash by use of intimidation but Lydia has her fears. As Lydia tries to call off their partnership, Todd interrupts with pleasing news, the quality of meth has vastly improved and the color is once again blue, she instantly reconsiders. ("Granite State").When Lydia meets Todd at her usual café, she is confronted by Walt, who offers to show them how to cook meth without the methylamine for $1 million. Uninterested in his offer, Lydia does not realize Walt swapped her stevia packet with ricin, which she pours into her tea. Afterwards, Lydia calls Todd, not knowing he was just killed by Jesse. Walt answers and reveals he poisoned her, leaving Lydia to comprehend her fate as he hangs up ("Felina").
Personality and traits
- "You are tying up loose ends, and I don't want to be one of them. Once I give you that list, I've served my purpose, and then maybe I'm just one more person who knows too much."
- ―Lydia shrewd comment to Walter White.
Lydia is a very high-strung and nervous character, and displays these characteristics even more so when she is under stress. She seems to suffer from panic attacks based on the fact that she will sometimes breathe quite fast and lightly from her upper-chest, rather than taking deep breaths from her diaphragm. Lydia may have abetted Gus' criminal activities, but it is clear that she is much more concerned about the blowback from Gus' death landing on her. This fear causes her to go to lengths to make an 11-person kill list of everyone who might tie her to the superlab and Gus's drug empire and asks Mike to take care of them all.
Right before Hank and the other agents show up at the Houston office, Lydia realizes that she has put on two different shoes, and after the DEA leaves she screams into a throw pillow. It is revealed that Hank did not miss that clue to Lydia's possible involvement as a link between "Burgermeister Meisterburger" in the German home office of Madrigal and Ron in the warehouse. Lydia is also prone to exaggeration, telling Mike that 14 DEA agents were screaming and yelling at her, and swarming all over the warehouse.
Despite her uptightness and energy, she can be cunning and quite ruthless when it comes to eliminating (such as Chow) or ratting out (such as Ron) other members of the organization to save herself. She is cold and calculating, and seems very much in control of her destiny: she chooses time and again to pursue the lucrative meth business, completely insensitive to the human cost. She gets lucky, though, when implacable, unstoppable Mike chooses to let her live instead of leaving her dead in a ditch somewhere. Now bartering methylamine for her life, Lydia gets lucky once again when she and Jesse discover DEA trackers attached to the barrels of methylamine they're about to steal, saving them all from prison.
However, since that means she's no longer useful to the meth operation, her life is forfeit unless she suggests a grand theft from a train to fulfill all their precursor needs. Even when she is terrified and backed into a corner, Lydia has the audacity to ask for a cut of the money from the train heist. She appears to be quite fluent in German, which is presumably necessary for anyone working at a German corporation.
In addition, when Mike was ready to kill her in her own home after she ordered the hit on him, she pleaded to Mike not to make her "disappear", even if her daughter saw the body. She wanted her daughter to see the body if Mike killed her so she would know her mother hadn't abandoned her. She seemed to see abandonment as far worse to scar a child than seeing her mother dead, showing possible hints to abandonment in her past or her kid's, possibly the father walked out on them.
While Lydia has absolutely no qualms about killing anyone she views as a threat, she never wishes to get her own hands dirty or look at the results of her orders, such as when she told Todd she didn't want to see the bodies of Declan's crew after she had ordered their slaughter at the hands of Jack's gang.
- Lydia is chronologically the last character to die (it would take some time for the ricin to finally take full effect, while Walter succumbed to his gunshot wound in minutes).
- Lydia is seen driving several rental cars, including:
- "Sorry, but I'm not gonna apologize for being careful - with all that's been happening, for all I knew you were one of those undercover people they send into high schools, so, yeah, I'll take paranoid any day over getting gang-raped by prison guards."
- ―Lydia talking to Jesse Pinkman.
- Mike: "You don't know this woman like I do. I had a chance to deal with this before, and I gave her a pass. That's what I get for being sexist. Now if you'll excuse me..."
- Jesse: "Mike, you can't, just—Look, that's our precursor. We need her."
- Mike: "Kid, if we have to ramp down for a while, so be it. It beats working with a lunatic who's gonna get us arrested or killed."
- Jesse: "Look, she didn't seem crazy to me, you know? She just seemed, like, uptight."
- Mike: "And now you're being sexist. Trust me, this woman deserves to die as much as any man I've ever met."
- —Jesse and Mike discussing Mike's plan to kill Lydia.[src]
- Jesse: "I hate to say it, but she's right, Mike. She saved our asses by finding that thing."
- Mike: "She's saving herself. She's a loose cannon. I am telling you, she will turn a gun or a badge on us the first chance she gets. The woman put a hit out on me."
- Walter: "Seriously?"
- — Jesse, Walt, and Mike discussing the captured Lydia.[src]
- Lydia: "Hey! You still need methylamine, don't you? Right? You wanna talk methylamine? Then tell your partner to stop threatening me, and let's talk."
- Walter: "Talk about what? You heard. You can't even get us a single barrel."
- Lydia: "Who said anything about barrels? I'm talking about an ocean of the stuff."
- —Lydia bartering with methylamine for her life.[src]
Murders connected to Lydia
- Duane Chow: Shot by Chris Mara on orders from Lydia. ("Madrigal")
- Gus's 10 former employees: Murdered by Jack's White Supremacist Gang on Walt's orders, with Lydia collaborating. ("Gliding Over All").
- Declan: Shot by Jack Welker under Lydia's orders. ("Buried")
- Declan's Cook: Shot by Todd Alquist and Jack and his white supremacist group. ("Buried")
- Eight of Declan's men: Shot by Todd, Jack and his white supremacist group, along with Declan. ("Buried")