DIANNE BUT­LER

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EVEN when I pitched this show to peo­ple, they’d go, ‘ What’s your show about?’ And I’d go, ‘ Oh, it’s about this over-qual­i­fied high school chem­istry teacher who finds out he’s dy­ing of lung can­cer and to sup­port his fam­ily when he’s dead he de­cides to start cook­ing and sell­ing crys­tal meth with one of his stu­dents, who I play’. And peo­ple are look­ing at me with just this like, you know, blank ex­pres­sion, say­ing, ‘ Wait, that’s so de­press­ing, that doesn’t sound good at all’,’’ Aaron Paul says.

‘‘ And I go, ‘ Trust me, give it a shot, watch the pi­lot and I guar­an­tee you will be­come ad­dicted and very fas­ci­nated with the story’.

‘‘ And that’s ex­actly what has hap­pened. The au­di­ence keeps grow­ing each year, the sto­ries just keep get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter. Which just blows me away.’’

And ev­ery­one else. Break­ing Bad has won ma­jor awards, in­clud­ing Em­mys for Paul and Bryan Cranston, who has three for play­ing Wal­ter White, the teacher.

But merely talk­ing about Break­ing Bad can in no way pre­pare the viewer for its force, and the jolt of what ap­pears, su­per­fi­cially, to be a se­ries about a fam­ily man in the per­ma­cool sub­urbs of Al­bu­querque’s desert.

‘‘ Peo­ple can re­late,’’ Paul says. ‘‘ If not to Wal­ter White, to some­one in this show. We’re talk­ing about him be­ing an overqual­i­fied chem­istry teacher. We’ve all had dreams, whether we try to ful­fil those dreams is up to us. He de­cided not to. And then all of a sud­den a spark was lit un­der­neath his a--- and . . . for the first time in his life he feels alive.’’

No­body could de­scribe Paul’s Jesse Pinkman as over-qual­i­fied.

‘‘ At first glance you see this dumb-a--kid, he’s a drug ad­dict, he’s a drug dealer. Like, we’re not on his side, re­ally,’’ Paul says.

‘‘ But as episodes went on you see he’s not 100 per cent a bad kid. Ob­vi­ously he’s made some bad choices . . . but he does have a good heart, a kind heart, and more of that is re­vealed as the sea­sons have gone on.’’

As sea­son four winds down on Foxtel and Aus­tar (and sea­son three on ABC2) Paul is brac­ing for the end.

‘‘ Yeah, we got of­fi­cially picked up for one more. It’s go­ing to be our fi­nal sea­son, we’re not go­ing to do 13 (episodes), we’re go­ing to do 16. It’s go­ing to be very sad to say good­bye to this show.’’

Has it oc­curred to Paul it’s pos­si­ble he may never work on any­thing as good as Break­ing Bad again?

‘‘ I’ve al­ready ac­cepted I know that,’’ he says. ‘‘ Dean Nor­ris (DEA agent and White’s brother-in-law Hank Schrader) told me, ‘ You know, 10 years from now we’re go­ing to think back on our time on Break­ing Bad and go, I used to be on Break­ing Bad and now I’m do­ing this s---’. It’s very true.’’ Break­ing Bad, sea­son four fi­nale, Show­case, Sun­day 8.30pm

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