Throwback Thursday
Breaking Bad Hank Death Scene Ozymandias Dean Norris

Dean Norris Looks Back on Hank's Breaking Bad Death Scene: 'I Loved It'

Hank Schrader’s death was a real punch in the gut to Breaking Bad fans… but Dean Norris enjoyed every minute of it.

“Yeah, man, I loved it,” the actor tells TVLine, reflecting on filming “Ozymandias,” the pivotal episode of AMC’s Emmy-winning meth-trade drama that first aired in September 2013. In it, DEA agent Hank, wounded after a shootout with a murderous band of neo-Nazis, refused to beg for his life (despite his brother-in-law Walt’s pleas) and told Nazi leader Jack to “go f–k yourself” before taking a fatal bullet.

Breaking Bad Ozymandias Walter White Bryan CranstonNorris, currently co-starring as crime boss Uncle Daddy on TNT’s Claws, remembers that creator Vince Gilligan clued him in on Hank’s ultimate fate pretty far in advance. “Vince told me that about two years ahead, because we knew we had the last two seasons,” he says. “He kind of took me aside and said, ‘This is how it’s gonna happen.’ I think he almost said the lines, literally, two years ahead of time. ‘You’re gonna die, but you’re gonna go out with your dignity.’ And I was like, ‘Great!'”

Filming Hank’s final moments happened quickly, he recalls: “We shot the essential part of that in one shot, in one take. We had three cameras going: one to the bad guys, one to Walt, and then I said, ‘Can I just have one little camera, just a moment to myself?’ They had all three going at the same time.” (Rian Johnson, who’s currently directing Star Wars: The Last Jedi, helmed the “Ozymandias” episode.)

Norris says he “kind of intentionally” has never sat down and watched Hank’s swan song, or any episode of Breaking Bad, “but I would like to sometime, when I get some distance… Maybe when my son gets into college, I might sit down with my oldest. He’s a freshman in high school. I’m kind of thinking this would be a time I’d want to sit down and watch the whole thing, from beginning to end again… when he’s old enough to watch it.”

Breaking Bad die-hards: Drop your favorite Hank memories in the comments below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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17 Comments
  1. Chris says:

    Me too. On every of the best if not the best moment for n the show!

  2. Andrew says:

    I am sure he did love it, since he spent 3 years later on “Under the Dome.”

    • jless says:

      Yes, he died on one of the best TV shows ever, and went to H*ll on the worst TV series in the history of television! As everything on “Under the Dome” his acting there was horrible, he always seemed to be constipated.

  3. peterwdawson says:

    Understandable, it was a pretty epic way to go out. While it can arguably be meaningless, there is a certain romanticism to dying in a state of defiance, standing for your convictions.

    • DJ Doena says:

      And he was also right. He would have never walked out of there alive, no matter what Walt believed. So being defiant and dying beats begging for mercy and then dying any day of the week.

  4. Cas says:

    I was glad to see Hank go. I didn’t really like his character. He was an arrogant ass.

  5. McSatan says:

    My favorite Hank moment was when the Cousins came to kill him and he kicked their asses.

  6. gorilladunk says:

    “Ozymandias” remains one of the finest hours in the history of dramatic series television. Brilliantly written, directed and acted, it only added to the idea that Breaking Bad was the top drama series ever. Norris was spectacular and was “Hank” ’till the end….attitude and all.

    • Debbi says:

      I say this all the time. That episode was perhaps the finest hour of television ever written, acted and directed!

  7. Dilys Hoeg says:

    Loved Breaking Bad. Devasted when Hank was killed. Prayed that he would crawl out of that hole before the credits. Bad, bad ending.

  8. Sharon Ball says:

    Sat on the toilet, the moment when Hank realises Walt is Heisenberg. The camera pans up close on hanks face and the credits roll, my favourite scene. 😀

  9. CD says:

    My favorite Hank scene was when his wife convinced him to go home if his “Johnson” still worked.

  10. Elfie says:

    My fave Hank moment was when he goes to the bathroom at Walt’s house and find the book that Gale gave him, the Walt Whitman poems. Hank recognizes the hand writing and freaks right out. He takes the book with him and I thought he was going to have a heart attack and crash his car as he drove away. That moment when he knew that his brother in law was Heidelberg. Fantastic performance.

  11. Artlady says:

    Hank was the best investigative DEA agent the FBI had. He was brilliant. But it lead to an obsession with the blue meth, and finally, finding Heisenberg. But Hank Shrader was an honest cop. And a very loyal and loving family man. He was good to Marie to a fault. He was loyal to his family, period. His hatred of Heisenberg wasn’t misplaced. Heisenberg was a monster, responsible for so many deaths you can’t count, and I don’t mean meth head deaths. That’s an insurmountable number. Hank Shrader was The Hero in Breaking Bad. He really was. He didn’t deserve to die. Too bad Heisenberg could only die once. He deserved to die a thousand times for the lives he took. The only good things WW ever did were at the end, in freeing Jesse from the neo-Nazi’s, and giving Skyler the GPS coordinates to locate Hank’s body.