How Hank Schrader of ‘Breaking Bad’ Became a Real Hero in a World of Sympathetic Anti-Heroes

As part of their series of deconstructing the rich symbolism and character development within the sublime AMC series Breaking Bad, film and television analysis platform ScreenPrism analyze detective Hank Schrader (Dean Norris), who despite his obnoxious hyper-masculinity and disdain for his brother-in-law Walter White (Bryan Cranston), was a good man on a heroic mission. Unfortunately, heroism is not at home in a world of sympathetic anti-heroes and that fact took its toll on Hank’s ego, career and his health. Yet, with this downfall, Hank is able to see his mission and the evil lurking in his family clearly for the first time.

Hank’s tough-guy persona is stripped away after his shootout with Tuco he suffers a panic attack and experiences hallucinations and paranoia suggestive of PTSD …So over the first three and a half seasons Hank Schrader is losing everything that forms his original macho identity; the bravado, confidence, job, weapon and then even the basic freedom of using his legs. Yet it’s only at his darkest point and not coincidentally at the point of his peak emasculation that Hank starts getting anywhere in his pursuit of Gus Fring and by proxy Heisenberg.