‘Breaking Bad’: Bryan Cranston Was Once a Murder Suspect In Real Life

Breaking Bad might have followed Walter White through the throes of committing his own crimes, but behind the camera, Bryan Cranston had something surprising in common with his character: They were both once sought by police. It turns out Cranston was once suspected of murdering his boss.

Bryan Cranston
Bryan Cranston | Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic

Walter White was based on a real person

It’s hard to believe that a storyline such as Breaking Bad could exist in real life. However, the dangerous lifestyle of dealing drugs is all too real. While the plot was certainly dramatized for television, main character Walter White was actually based on a real methamphetamine dealer.

According to Screenrant, in 2008, a man named Walter White was added to Alabama’s “Most Wanted” list. Though not much is known about the real Walter White’s case, he was ultimately sentenced to 12 years in prison for distributing more than 32 pounds of the drug.

The government has cracked down on meth production in the United States, and today, most of it is shipped in from outside the country. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, meth lab busts decreased by 80% in the U.S. between 2006 and 2015. And these days, pseudoephedrine, commonly known as a decongestant, is no longer available over the counter in large quantities. 

Bryan Cranston
Bryan Cranston played Walter White on ‘Breaking Bad’ | Ivan Romano/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

RELATED: ‘Breaking Bad’ Producers Turned Down $75 Million to Make 3 More Episodes — Here’s Why

‘Breaking Bad’ star Bryan Cranston was once a suspect in a murder case

Though Bryan Cranston portrayed drug dealer Walter White on the show, his real track record doesn’t involve drugs. Technically, Cranston doesn’t have a track record, but he was once a murder suspect in real life.

GQ reported that Cranston was once spending time with his brother traveling the country. The two took jobs at a restaurant in Daytona Beach, Florida, where they worked for a chef who wasn’t so well-liked. Cranston revealed that the staff once joked what it would be like to kill him.

Ultimately, the brothers quit the restaurant and went on with their journey, but not before their former boss was found dead. After leaving town, the brothers were viewed as possibly fleeing because they committed murder. Still, he and his brother were able to prove their innocence, and there were no further questions; it’s not entirely known what actually happened to the chef.  It likely helped Cranston get into character, though.

The 'Breaking Bad' cast in 2014
The ‘Breaking Bad’ cast in 2014 | Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Some real-life crimes have resulted from ‘Breaking Bad’

Walter White’s character inspiration existed prior to the show, but the real Walter White was not a teacher. Still, a number of cases have popped up of teachers cooking and selling meth since the show started. In 2011, a Boston University math professor was charged with distribution of the drug along with her son.

In 2019, two chemistry professors in Arkansas were arrested for allegedly making the drug. The same thing happened to a teacher in Texas. It’s unclear if Breaking Bad actually served as the inspiration for the crimes, but the real-life storylines are eerily similar to the show’s main plot.