There are iconic Walter White lines every “Breaking Bad” fan can quote by heart, from “I am the one who knocks” to “say my name” and “I did it for me,” but none of those are Bryan Cranston’s favorite line from playing White across five seasons and 62 episodes. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly in celebration of the “Breaking Bad” pilot’s 10th anniversary, Cranston made a surprise choice for his favorite Walter White line in history: “Tread lightly.”
The two words are uttered by White in “Blood Money,” the ninth episode of the show’s fifth and final season. DEA agent Hank (Dean Norris) has discovered that brother-in-law White is the drug lord he has been chasing for two years. Hank tells White he doesn’t know who White is anymore, to which White replies, “If that’s true, if you don’t know who I am, then maybe your best course would be to tread lightly.”
Cranston told Entertainment Weekly he writes “tread lightly” the most when he’s autographing pictures for “Breaking Bad” fans. The line is one of White’s most cold-blooded in the whole series and Cranston finds that it sums up his character’s Modus operandi more accurately than many other of White’s most famous lines.
“It’s his credo,” Cranston said. “In many ways, he was very careful. Even though he stepped into landmines, he was very careful almost all the time. When he didn’t follow that motto is when he failed, like shooting Mike [Jonathan Banks]. It was very emotional. And the brazen hubris of telling Jesse, ‘I watched Jane die.’ It was unnecessary cruelty and emotional vomiting from his point. When he didn’t follow that credo is when he found himself in the most troubling condition.”
Cranston previously revealed to EW his favorite Walter White scene from “Breaking Bad’s” run. The Emmy winner pointed to the final season episode “Freight Train” and the moment in which Todd (Jesse Plemmons) pulls out a gun and shoots an assuming young boy who just happened to see Walt and Jesse pull off a successful train heist.
“It was such a beautifully constructed narrative,” Cranston said. “Okay, you want to experience the highs with Walter White? You want to be on that train ride with Jesse Pinkman? Here’s that rejoicing for you, the audience. And now here’s the repercussions from the business that they’re in. Here’s what happens when you forget that there’s morality connected and consequences to every action. It was just so amazing.”
For more of Cranston’s thoughts on “Breaking Bad’s” 10th anniversary, head over to Entertainment Weekly.