- For the actor, see Max Arciniega (actor).
Maximino "Max" Arciniega was a close associate of Gustavo Fring and co-founder of the Los Pollos Hermanos franchise. He held advanced degrees in biochemistry and chemical engineering. Gus and Max were very close, and ambiguously romantic. Max's education was financed by Gus after Gus rescued him from the slums of Santiago.
Gus and Max are the hermanos ("brothers") in "Los Pollos Hermanos". Gus paid for Max's education in chemistry at the Universidad de Santiago de Chile - USACH (University of Santiago in Chile). When the pair moved to Mexico and opened up a chain of Los Pollos Hermanos chicken restaurants together, Max provided the chicken recipe, but also cooked the crystal meth of which he and Gus began to give away samples.These samples gained the attention of Don Eladio Vuente, the druglord in charge of the Juárez Cartel, whom Max and Gus had approached in the hopes of convincing the Don to distribute their meth in addition to the usual cocaine. Don Eladio, unimpressed by these upstarts and nominally dismissive of selling methamphetamine, had Hector "Tio" Salamanca kill Max on the patio of his mansion while Juan Bolsa restrained Gus. Gus was forced to watch the blood from his friend's fatal head wound drip into the swimming pool, a vision that stayed with him.
After moving to the United States, Gus endowed the Max Arciniega Chemistry Scholarship at the Chemistry department at the University of New Mexico. Gale Boetticher was one of perhaps three dozen recipients; this paid for his educaton.
As part of his long scheme of revenge against the cartel for the murder of his close friend, Fring torments Hector about the killing of Hector's nephews by Hank Schrader; Gus had told the Cousins of Hank's involvement in Tuco Salamanca's death, but then anonymously warned Hank that the Cousins were after him, giving him time to fight back. As part of this scheme, Gus turned the American and Mexican governments against the cartel, which resulted in the death of cartel druglord Juan Bolsa (also present when Max was killed). ("One Minute") ("I See You").
Using a bottle of poisoned tequila, Gus eventually kills Don Eladio himself along with the rest of his cartel capos at the same poolside where Max was murdered. This mass poisoning meant the end of the cartel's influence and the fruition of Gus's revenge ("Salud").
- Max Arciniega is named after the actor who plays Domingo Gallardo "Krazy 8" Molina in the Season 1.
- Vince Gilligan has stated that he decided against officially confirming or denying whether the relationship between Gus and Max was a romantic one. However, he has said that if you were to infer this about their relationship, you "wouldn't be wrong." If this is true, it would add much more to the emotional attachment of Gus witnessing Max's death, as well as Gus Fring's moral decline as a result of it.
- Chronologically Max is the first character in the series to die.