Skip to main content

Psychoanalyzing Walter White from Breaking Bad might sound like digging into the darkest reaches of the criminal mind. In truth, Walt — portrayed by Bryan Cranston — seems tame if having to analyze other criminal characters on TV, especially ones deemed serial killers.

After fans dug a little deeper into Walt’s traits, more have come to the conclusion he had a bit of a serial killer mindset. This makes the Breaking Bad protagonist even more complex considering the sympathy he generated due to his health circumstances. Also, it might be argued he killed only because he was dragged into it.

What is it that Walt did that makes him similar to some of the most notorious serial killers in history? It might give a permanently darker view of Walt after all.

Walter White took a trophy from each of his victims

Bryan Cranston as Walter White
Bryan Cranston as Walter White on ‘Breaking Bad.’ | AMC

Media analysts have given recent examples of how Walt took little traits from each person he killed along his journey into the underworld of meth production. Yes, many of the people he killed worked in the drug trade. Nevertheless, some of them had families, making the killings major emotional burdens for Walt.

One of his first victims was his meth distributor: Krazy-8, or Domingo Gallardo Molina (played by Maximino Arciniega). When Walt killed him, it was after the former kept latter locked in a basement after being double-crossed. Just as Walt was going to let Domingo go, it was seen that latter was going to kill Walt with a plate shard.

As a result, Walt ended up strangling Domingo to death. Walt did not take this action well as seen when he broke down into tears and apologized to a dead Domingo for killing him.

Following this, Walt could be seen taking an odd trait from Domingo: Cutting the crusts off bread when making sandwiches. This was only the beginning of the “trophies” Walt took from each of his victims.

What other traits did Walter White take from those he bumped off?

BuzzFeed compiled a list back in 2013 of every victim at Walt’s hand. Some traits Walt picks up from each victim are a bit eerie. It was like he assimilated a little part of their lives to give him emotional catharsis in the actions he took.

Walt’s indirect killing of Gus Fring brought something even more tangible in the memory of Gus. During Season 5, Walt was seen driving a Volvo, just like Gus did.

Other numerous Gus-related things were seen being acquired by Walt. There was the scene of Walt placing a towel under his knees when vomiting (like Gus), not including playing the role of blameless car wash manager like Gus was.

Also, no one should forget about Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) and the trophies Walt took from him. Not only does Walt start using Mike’s lingo after killing him, but the former is also seen putting ice in his whiskey like Mike always requested.

Was Walt taking these trophies based on real serial killers?


‘Breaking Bad’: The Surprising Meaning Behind Walter White’s Last Name

Some might find it hard to take that Walt had acquired various serial killer traits as the series progressed. A lot more discussion could be broached about this, yet it certainly mirrors real-life cases.

Numerous horrific serial killers in U.S. history had similar situations. Some of them are beyond brutal and can easily make you sick upon reading them. One of the worst is Ted Bundy cutting the heads off his victims and putting them on display in his apartment.

Others were arguably worse, if also keeping physical items. A British serial killer named John George Haigh kept a dog belonging to one of his victims.

No doubt Vince Gilligan borrowed from these to make Walt within the same wheelhouse, albeit more internal traits. If one can still find room for sympathy with Walt, this is likely not the end of the story in analyzing his mental state and what he really felt under the exterior.