Producing one of the most critically acclaimed shows of all time in Breaking Bad - which boasts an eye boggling 9.5 on IMDb - was one thing, but with the help of Peter Gould, Vince Gilligan followed up his magnificent original with another series set in the same universe.
Better Call Saul, laying out the grubby origins of Bob Odenkirk's Jimmy McGill a.k.a. Saul Goodman, was met with an identical, universally positive response from fans and critics. While perhaps not as dark and violent as the tale of Heisenberg, many argue to this day that the prequel in fact surpasses the legendary original.
Both shows played host to some of the most compelling and layered characters in television history, fleshing out the two show's enthralling - and ultimately tragic - storylines with polished ease. Unfortunately for a large number of key players within Gilligan's take on New Mexico, in order to progress the story and garner the strongest level of audience response possible, several significant members of the core cast inevitably meet their ends as the tale plays out.
Accordingly, it is a fortunate state of affairs that Gilligan and Co. are as masterful at choosing the perfect moment for one of their inspired creations to meet their end as they are.
10. Better Call Saul - Werner Ziegler
Ignorance was decidedly not bliss for Rainer Bock's Werner Ziegler.
The kind-hearted engineer was hired by Gustavo Fring to carry out the construction of his methamphetamine super lab in complete secrecy. Unfortunately for Ziegler, he soon revealed he was not cut out for the criminal life.
The German demonstrated this in the first instance by drunkenly revealing details of the lab's construction to fellow revellers on a night out - leading Mike to hand him what is clearly a final warning. However, Ziegler misses his home and wife so terribly that he breaks out of the facility to meet her, sealing his fate. Against the backdrop of the desert at night, Mike puts a bullet in Werner's head, despite being terribly conflicted at having to dispose of a man that he considers a friend.
Ziegler’s death was perfectly timed as it highlighted the moral decay of Mike’s character - the precise moment at which the majority of what remained of his humanity disintegrated. The former cop hadn't just become Gus' hitman, he had murdered a man who simply did not deserve to die. With that being said, Ziegler’s transgressions were too egregious for him to be allowed to continue living - anything other than his execution at that point in the story could have damaged the show's authenticity.
Gustavo Fring did not attain his lofty underworld standing by allowing threats to his organization.