As the hysterically anticipated return of AMC's runaway smash suspense-drama Breaking Bad returns on July 17, we find ourselves recapping the series in our head in our excitement. From acclaimed writer/producer/director Vince Gilligan and produced by Sony Pictures Television, the series follows the story of an ordinary but desperate middle-aged schoolteacher who turns to a life of crime to secure his family's financial security after developing lung cancer. Utilizing his extensive chemistry knowledge, Walter White (played by the inimitable Bryan Cranston) begins to cook methamphetamine with an unprecedented level of purity. What's followed thus far has been three seasons of epically stunning, impossibly magnetic television that deeply unsettles while powerfully engaging the viewer.
After the city of Albuquerque, NM is thrown into an upheaval after the mid-air collision at the end of Breaking Bad's second season, our dark hero Walter had been left by his wife, while partner-in-crime Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) had entered rehab after a heroin binge that left his love dead and an insurmountable level of guilt in its place. Season 3 finds Walt admitting the horrible truth about his meth manufacturing to a horrified Skyler (Anna Gunn), which she uses as leverage to demand a divorce - after all, her brother in-law is a DEA agent hot on the trail. Seeing his life begin to unravel once more, Walt decides to go on the offensive.
Meanwhile, a clean, solo and determined Jesse begins cooking the premium-grade blue meth on his own with fantastic results, infuriating Walt who sees it as a theft of his formula. Power player behind the scenes Gustavo 'Gus' Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), the head of a massive statewide drug ring, ups his initial offer of $3 million for three months of his cooking time to $15 million for the year, which Walt reluctantly accepts. He needs to build a cash base again after losing nearly everything, and is given an underground high-tech meth lab with an experienced yet timid assistant named Gale. He also signs the divorce papers, but makes it clear to Skyler that he will continue to support the family with his meth money.
Meanwhile, a pair of mysterious cousin assassins from Mexico named Marco and Leonel, revealed to be the cousins of executed drug dealer Tuco, have set out to avenge their murdered bloodline. They almost kill an unsuspecting Walt before Gus interferes and shifts the Cousins' attention to Hank, Walt's DEA agent brother in-law and the man who actually killed Tuco.
Hank, deep in the blue-meth investigation but oblivious to the fact that the man at the center of his obsession is in his own family, actually contacts Walt for advice on his new information leading to the RV cook-lab. A panicked race to the crime scene ensues, followed by a game of cat-and-mouse deceit which leads to Hank beating Jesse unconscious in his house.
To shift Jesse's focus from revenge against Hank, Walt fires Gale and makes him a partner in his current upgraded operation. Relieved that the charges against him are dropped, Hank's guard is down when he's finally located by the Cousins in a parking lot. He manages to kill one and incapacitate the other, but is shot four times and nearly loses his life in the process. This leads to staggering medical bills, and Hank, his wife and Skyler are pulled into Walt's dark world when Sky offers to pay for the bills with her husband's meth profit. She tells Marie that Walt earned the money by card-counting at underground blackjack games, realizing how easily it is to get sucked into the world of lies.
Walt's regrets over reconnecting with his old partner escalate quickly, as evidence that Jesse is skimming product to sell on his own indicates much larger issues. Having met a girl from his rehab meetings, Jesse develops a new vendetta based on her brother's dubious involvements, which sets him against two dealers who work for Gus. With a price on his head and revenge on his mind, his reckless behavior nearly gets him killed before Walt saves his hide by running over the two men.
The relationship between Gus and Walt sours when the kingpin learns of Walt's assistance in helping Jesse escape. With both Walt and Jesse in the crosshairs (and a vengeful Gale waiting to assume power), they realize that the only way to ensure their value as cooks is if Gale is dead, leaving only them as the qualified talent. As the season's final moments unravel, we see Jesse aiming a gun at Gale. As the screen goes black, a gunshot is heard. And it's been a full year of impatient waiting ever since!
AMC will premiere the highly anticipated fourth season of its Emmy Award-winning series Breaking Bad on Sunday, July 17 at 10PM | 9C
Breaking Bad has garnered a total of six Emmy® Award wins and 16 nominations. Filmed on location in Albuquerque, NM, Breaking Bad stars 2008, 2009 and 2010's Emmy® Award winner for Outstanding Lead Actor Bryan Cranston as Walter White; 2010 Emmy® winner for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman; Anna Gunn as Skyler White; Dean Norris as Hank Schrader; Betsy Brandt as Marie Schrader; RJ Mitte as Walter, Jr; Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman; Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring; and Jonathan Banks as Mike.