The Ottumwa Courier

Entertainment

August 7, 2013

'Breaking Bad' star Dean Norris: never misses it

(Continued)

But, as Hank on "Breaking Bad" in its final weeks, Norris is about to wrap up some long-unfinished business. It's any viewer's guess how that is gonna go.

With his first appearance, showing off his Glock 22 at Walt's 50th birthday party in the series premiere, Hank seemed a potentially problematic character. With his cocky, macho style, he was perilously close to a stereotype, and his placement as a foil to a brother-in-law heading into the drug business seemed a little too convenient as a storytelling gimmick.

But "Breaking Bad" has justified its every deviant move with brilliance since that first episode, while Norris has brought depth and nuance to his character, emerging as fully the equal of his fine fellow cast mates (including Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, R.J. Mitte and Betsy Brandt) as he displayed not just braggadocio but also emotional trauma and, as the victim of an ambush for which Walt was responsible, a leg brace from that nearly fatal shooting.

"Hank obviously started out as a typical kind of cop character," said Norris in an interview earlier this week.

Indeed, series creator Vince Gilligan has conceded that Hank, initially, "was a bit of a mechanical construct" whose purpose, as much as anything, was as a source of comic relief.

"I always thought to myself, How did Vince know I could do the character Hank evolved into?" Norris mused over a Diet Coke in an L.A. hotel dining room. "It's not like he re-auditioned me and said, 'OK, now let's do some serious stuff and see how you handle it.' Based on what I did in Season One, I couldn't understand what he could've seen in me to allow him to write what he wrote later."

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