LOS ANGELES (AP) — The wait is almost over.
Since the debut of "Breaking Bad" in January 2008, this drama series — horrifying, funny, twisted and addictive — has kept its audience guessing.
But one thing seemed certain from the earliest days. Walter White — the milquetoast-chemistry-teacher-turned-drug-kingpin — was on a collision course with Hank, his brother-in-law and a Drug Enforcement agent who was soon hot on the trail of the mysterious meth mass-producer known as Heisenberg.
In the final moments of the episode that ended last summer's run, Hank, seated on his toilet leafing through a book of poems, had an epiphany: To his shock, dismay and rage, he realized that Walt is the culprit he's been looking for the whole time.
Now "Breaking Bad" is returning for its eight final episodes starting Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT. (Stop reading if you don't want to hear about it.)
The showdown the audience awaited so long is about to take place, placing Hank in direct conflict with the villainous hero.
And it allows Dean Norris, who has played Hank so skillfully for five seasons, to boldly go mano-a-mano with series star Bryan Cranston in their roles as now-out-in-the-open archenemies.
"All along it was YOU," Hank seethes in the opener. "I will put you under the jail!"
"In six months you won't have someone to prosecute," taunts Walt, who, after all, is dying from terminal cancer. Then he adds as a barely veiled threat: "Maybe your best course would be to tread lightly."
Don't bet on Hank Schrader to tread lightly.
This is a high-profile summer for Dean Norris, who, in June, premiered in "Under the Dome," playing crafty city father "Big Jim" Rennie on the hit sci-fi thriller. Airing Mondays at 10 p.m. EDT on CBS, it's already been picked up for a second season.