‘Breaking Bad’: Hank Gets Back on the Heisenberg Hunt
Dean Norris as Hank Schrader (Ursula Coyote/AMC)
Although his wife, Marie, seems powerless to ease his pain, surely his spirits would be boosted if he got a big break in the Heisenberg case, right? So when we got an early look at how this week's episode ends, we just had to get Norris on the phone to ask him about what's ahead.
It was hard not to picture him lying in bed on the other end of the line.
Warning: Mild spoilers ahead.
Even though Hank has been stuck in bed for a while now, struggling to learn how to walk again, by the end of this week's episode he's got Gale's lab notes in his hands and things start to look like they're about to get a lot more interesting for him.
Yeah, you can't keep a good man down, and he gets back into the investigation. The really interesting and funny part of the next few episodes after that is that he can't drive, so he has to get people to help him out. Of course the guy he asks, number one, is Mr. Walter White. [Laughs] It's that great "Breaking Bad" tradition of tense but funny, and it's some of the stuff I love to see Bryan do the most. He's just squirming nonstop because I have to get him to drive me to different places for the investigation, and that's a really fun part in the middle of the season.
Hank's come close to catching Walt before — the two were once separated by just the thin wall of an RV. Will it be getting that thrillingly close again?
It does, and somehow the brilliant writers are able to continue to get him close and yet not close enough. I can't give the exact details, but yeah, it gets real close. You know, Vince told me at the beginning of this season, "Look, there's only two things left to really do. One is when and how does Walt die, because he's gonna die. And two: When and how does Hank find out, and what happens when he does?" ... Certainly they've jacked up the stakes by having Hank be shot, and whenever that revelation [of Walt's involvement] comes around, I think that's gonna make it that much more intense. But I'm sure in a "Breaking Bad" way it'll be intense, scary, and funny.
You've been involved in some intense action scenes on this show, but lately you've had to act mostly from a reclining position in an adjustable bed. What's it like to shift gears like that?
I think [Hank's immobility] is really the heart of the matter at the beginning of the season, and it's really heartbreaking. Some of the scenes were difficult to play, and I know they're difficult to watch, because you've taken a guy who, you know, his physicality was a real big part of who he is. Certainly his bravado and overblown sense of his self revolved around the fact that he thought he was kind of a tough guy. And now all that's been taken away from him and he's left at the mercy of his poor wife to change his bedpan, and it's just so humiliating for him. You know, I think that's the source of his disgust and the source of his meanness towards his wife. It's tough. I think that anybody in that situation — you go through a range of complex emotions, including anger, and I think that's where Hank is right now. Eventually you find something again that makes life worth living, and ultimately for Hank that's getting back to work.