Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s television coverage.
It began with a pitch about a drama in which the lead character evolves from “Mr. Chips into Scarface.” But Vince Gilligan never thought he would get this far with Breaking Bad, his AMC series masterpiece that has the rare luxury of going out via a two-pronged, 16-episode final season that begins tonight and concludes sometime next summer. The onetime X-Files writer-producer recently hinted that this may not really be the beginning of the end, that Breaking Bad could spin off into another series starring Bob Odenkirk as blustery and corrupt lawyer Saul Goodman. But before that happens, there’s an Emmy-winning series to put to rest. Gilligan spoke to Ray Richmond last week for Deadline about running a drama hailed as a classic, his obsession with going out on top, and the fact everyone has a theory for how this thing should end.
Deadline: Do you ever feel like your career is kind of peaking with this show and it’s going to be all downhill from here?
Vince Gilligan: I say that a lot. And all joking aside, it’s something that you think about. On the one hand you say to yourself, I am so extraordinarily lucky to be doing this, much as a lottery winner is lucky. You think to yourself, man I worked hard to get here. On the other hand, I don’t remember doing anything specific for which I deserve this particular level of good fortune. And then once you start going down that road, you think to yourself, if this really was a matter of winning the lottery, well then how do you win twice?