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Gustavo "Gus" Fring

Portrayed By: Giancarlo Esposito

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    Gus on Breaking Bad

"If you try to interfere, this becomes a much simpler matter. I will kill your wife. I will kill your son. I will kill your infant daughter."

Gus is the largest distributor of crystal meth in the American Southwest. His front is a chain of fast food chicken restaurants, Los Pollos Hermanos, which he uses to give money to law enforcement and otherwise come off as an important member of the community. He employs Walt and Jesse in season two, but almost immediately looks for a way to get his hands on Walter's recipe and replace the two.

  • Ambiguously Evil: Initially, Gus doesn't come across as a full-blown villain and indeed he isn't one until Walter and Jesse complicate matters. He's polite, impeccably professional and entirely reasonable. Coming on the heels of the Salamancas, he seems like a Godsend for Walt. It isn't until much later when the full extent of his ruthlessness is revealed, even if it was alluded to in his earliest appearances.
    • However, Word of God confirmed that he had some role in the Pinochet dictatorship, which... isn't good.
  • Ambiguously Gay: There seemed to be vibes between him and his late ex-partner Maximino. Openly discussed by the creators in the Insider Podcast as a valid interpretation of their relationship. However, when he makes dinner for Walter and Jesse, it appears that he has an unseen family: a wife and children, presumably. Whether they exist at all is another matter, and if they do exist, whether he actually loved the hypothetical wife or if she was just The Beard.
  • Affably Evil: Gus is a polite and reasonable man, even behind his public mask. His politeness isn't an act, either, he genuinely believes in running his meth empire as professionally as any other company and shows some disdain for the blood-soaked gangland-style Stupid Evil management of the South of the Border Cartel and Salamancas. If you respect him and abide by the rules, he'll be fair to you. But if you cross him, he will absolutely destroy everything you are.
  • Arch-Enemy: Over time, Walt came to view Gus as his greatest enemy, but Gus didn't hold Walt in quite as much regard. His true enemy was the Juarez Cartel and specifically Hector Salamanca.
  • Badass Boast: After murdering the entire Juarez Cartel, he says this:
    Gus: Don Eladio is dead. His capos are dead. You have no one left to fight for. Fill your pockets and leave in peace, or fight me and die!
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: He's always sharply dressed and takes care to make himself presentable.
  • Bait the Dog: He first appears in "Mandala" to be no more than the pleasant, mild-mannered proprietor of a fried chicken franchise. This continued for the first half of Season 3. Then "One Minute" and "I See You" came along.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • His ploy to have two attackers come after Jesse and Mike to cause Jesse to spring into action and then start questioning his loyalty to Walt. It extends even further because Gus allows Walt to do much of the damage to their relationship himself, which he proceeds to do so through his Jerkass behavior driven by his massive ego.
    • Before that, granting Leonel and Marco permission to go after Hank instead of Walt. This played into Gus' plans perfectly: if Hank dies, the police turn up the heat on the cartel's operation, allowing Gus to corner the market; if the attack fails, Walt is safe, two of the cartel's biggest hitters are down, and Gus can force a sitdown.
  • Black and Nerdy: The nerdy part is Justified by the glasses and hyper-competent business acumen. A darker Four Eyes, Zero Soul variation.
  • Benevolent Boss: From Walt's point of view at first. Gus really is this to his Los Pollos Hermanos employees, and his drug empire employees who follow his orders and don't compromise themselves, to the point that he made sure his meth-manufacturing associates got hazard pay in the event of his death. Gus only kills Victor after he makes a mistake he can't fix and sours on Walt when he starts to become a huge liability.
  • Beneath the Mask: An Exaggerated Trope. A mild restaurant owner is secretly a ruthless drug kingpin.
  • Best Served Cold:
    • Gus drags out his revenge against Hector Salamanca across 20 years, slowly picking off all of his relatives (save for Tuco, who was solely Hank's doing) as he wastes away in a retirement home. This ultimately leads to his own undoing, though.
    • Whatever Gus was before planting his feet in New Mexico, it was scary enough that Don Eladio spared his life at the cartel manor. The Don instead killed his partner, then reminded Gus to restrict his business to chicken. Gus would pitch the same deal decades later, whereupon Eladio fell dead at the exact same spot where Max was shot.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's nicer and more stable than Tuco but more lethal due to his professionalism and superior business intelligence enough to match Walt for a time.
  • Big Bad: The biggest one of the series. He's introduced late in Season 2 and holds the position from the middle of Season 3 until his death at the end of Season 4.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: With the Cartel and the Salamanca family, even if they're at odds.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: To the public, Gus is a very respectable and compassionate entrepreneur who does much to give back to the community. In reality, he is a ruthless drug lord who has no qualms with ordering murders and callously manipulating those around him to maintain power and get revenge.
  • Blofeld Ploy: Pulls this in "Box Cutter" by slitting Victor's throat in front of Walt and Jesse with a boxcutter. Justified in that Walt has him at a standstill so that Gus can no longer kill him, and Victor had been seen at the site of Gale's murder, which could potentially lead the investigation back to Gus.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Gus makes it a rule to always be calm, composed, and think about what to say and do ahead of time. He breaks this rule in his interactions with Hector, a mistake which directly leads to his demise.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The seemingly polite and legitimate owner of Los Pollos Hermanos is actually a drug kingpin.
  • The Chessmaster: If he does anything, there are probably far more layers to his decision than you would originally think.
  • Consummate Liar: On par with, if not surpassing, Walt himself. Gus is incredibly meticulous in protecting his double life and effortlessly spins lie upon lie to the DEA, most of whom believe every word coming out of this mild-mannered good Samaritan's mouth.
  • Consummate Professional: Holds himself and his employees in the meth business to the same high standards of professionalism as he does his employees in the chicken business. Subverted at the very end when it turns out it's not all business to him, but a very long-term plan for revenge.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: To Tuco in Season 2; in fact, both are complete opposites. While Tuco was explosive, deranged, emotionally unstable, childish, openly sadistic, rude, blunt and unsophisticated; Gustavo was characterized for being calm, cool, collected, polite, sophisticated and professional.
  • The Corrupter: He takes both Gale and Jesse under his wing in order to turn them into his ideal subordinates: loyal, grateful, and beholden to no one but him.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • He has a secret hospital set up with medical staff on his payroll to revive him when he self-poisons. Not only that, the hospital is supplied with matching blood types for himself, Jesse, and Mike (and they even know Jesse's entire medical history).
    • He made arrangements for his entire meth operation in the event of his death, including hazard pay for any employees that might be sent to prison.
  • Create Your Own Villain:
    • Though Walt was by no means a pure-hearted hero beforehand, Gus's influence and Walt's exposure to his money and power hastened his transformation into a Villain Protagonist that ultimately outwits and destroys Gus.
    • This arguably goes both ways. Gus was perfectly happy to be a reasonable employer for Walt at first, but as Walt and Jessie go off increasingly half cocked, it doesn't take long for Gus to rethink Walt's usefulness.
  • Cultured Badass: Gus is one of the most intelligent and cultured characters in the series. It also takes balls to poison himself to take down the Cartel leadership. A few episodes before THAT, he walks straight into sniper fire, daring Gaff to kill him.
  • The Dandy: Generally very well dressed. Even when stuck in his garish yellow shirt at the restaurant, his clothing is always as neat and impeccable as always. On the rare occasion when he personally gets his hands dirty, he will even take the time to remove as much outer clothing as possible (hanging it up neatly) so as not to mess his outfits up. This even includes stopping to place a towel on the floor before he kneels at a toilet to induce vomiting, before the poison he took kills him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has a sarcastic sense of humour when tormenting Hector, "Last chance to look at me, Hector - sarcastic sigh".
  • Decapitation Strike: His ultimate gambit against The Juarez Cartel. With their entire leadership dead, there's no one left for cartel members to fight for, and all but one of the remaining members fled.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: He is a minor public figure, a well-known businessman and philanthropist who gladhands with high-ranking DEA agents, none of whom suspect a thing until Hank.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Invoked in "Full Measure" when he gets affronted at the implication that he ordered the death of a child. Subverted when he threatens to kill Walt's entire family, including his son and his infant daughter.
  • Evil Counterpart: Partially to Walt. Like Walt, he is a highly intelligent, well-educated, and largely thoughtful and cunning businessman. When Walt meets him, however, he begins to emulate him and so
  • Evil Gloating: He's generally too smart and cautious to indulge in it, which makes it telling when he begins to do so late in Season 4.
  • Evil Mentor: Largely an unintentional one to Walt, who clearly envies his success and business style. The writers have admitted that, while he'd never admit it, Walt looks up to Gus and sees him as a role model for his criminal behavior.
  • Face Death with Dignity: After a bomb literally blows half his face off and leaves him looking like Harvey Dent, Gus walks calmly out the door, straightens his tie, then falls over dead.
  • Facial Horror: Walks away after an explosion and straightens his tie with half his face blown off right before he dies.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: He'll occasionally do this when speaking to employees who aren't exactly treading on thin ice yet, but still need a reminder of whom they're talking to.
  • Fatal Flaw: His obsession with personal revenge against Hector proves to be his downfall.
  • Faux Affably Evil: From time to time, this flashes a fin before it can get solidly shoved under his façade. But, the clincher is when he can't help but see to his revenge personally and even indulges in Evil Gloating. When he doesn't feel the need to keep himself restrained any longer... ouch.
  • Foil: To Walt, as the framing frequently accentuates. He and Walter are similar in that they are both (ostensibly) reasonable men hiding their criminal enterprises in plain sight, but this ultimately serves to highlight the differences between them—namely, Gus being much, much better at this than Walter. See this video essay on the subject.
  • Gut Feeling: Has a very good sense for when he's in danger, occasionally bordering on Spider-Sense territory. Unfortunately for him, it fails him at the worst possible time, resulting in his death.
  • Hypocrite: Wants revenge against the Jueraz Cartel for the murder of his friend Max, then he goes onto threaten to harm Walt's innocent children.
  • Karmic Death: Hector's bomb destroys half of Gus' face, making him resemble a certain supervillain. The camera focuses on his uninjured side (the "legitimate" fast food mogul which everyone sees) - and slowly pans around to his disfigured side (representing the blood-soaked meth dealer). His death is also a reference to how a chicken will continue to walk around for a bit even after it's beheaded. A fitting end.
  • Kick the Dog: His threat to Walt that he would murder his entire family, including his infant daughter, should Walt interfere with Hank's murder. But it may have just been a bluff, since if Walt's family was suddenly wiped out, Jesse would probably figure out Gus was responsible.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • His business strategy regarding the Mexican twins,
    • Mass-poisoning the cartel.
    • Works both ways during his conflict with Walt, on the one hand its satisfying seeing the arrogant chemist be brought down a peg after having Gale murdered as well as being an Ungrateful Bastard towards Gus' at first reasonable management style, but on the other hand its equally satisfying seeing Walt get his revenge on Gus after the latter threatens to have Hank murdered as well as Walt's whole family including the infant daughter.
    • Tormenting Hector. While Hector had it coming Gus has Hector's nephews killed, the drug empire Salamanca worked so hard for destroyed and keeps taunting a man in wheelchair to the point of sadism.
  • Knife Nut: He slashes Victor's throat with a box cutter.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Granted, Krazy-8 and Tuco were quite dangerous, but the show still retained a prominent comedic element. However, after Gus is introduced, the show starts to gradually take a much darker turn.
  • Lured into a Trap: At the climax of Season 4, Gus visits Hector at the nursing home to put him down after the latter went to the feds... only Hector didn't tell the feds anything (he was just trolling the feds) and the trip was made to coax Gus to get close to him and the pipe bomb Walt strapped to his wheelchair.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: Gus refuses to accept Mike's suggestion that he use the threat of the Cousins coming after Walt in order to scare him into working for him, stating that "I don't believe fear to be an effective motivator." Subverted in season 4, where he's not above doing things like brutally killing Victor, or threatening to kill Walt's family in order to keep Walt in line. Double Subverted when his very ruthlessness proves to be his undoing. If Gus hadn't outright threatened Walt's family, Walt might not have have been desperate enough that he was willing to poison Brock — a new Moral Event Horizon for Walt — to win Jesse back.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He convinces the cousins to go after Hank instead of Walt, and tips Hank off about a minute before they come to kill him. This starts his scheme to take over meth production and distribution in the region. He also nearly succeeds at turning Jesse against Walt.
  • Master Actor: His ability to remain in character as a polite, honest and low-key restaurant owner. Best demonstrated when he successfully convinces George Merkert, Steven Gomez, and Tim Roberts that he's innocent in Hank's investigation.
  • Mysterious Past: All we know for certain is that he is Chilean, and did something down there during the Pinochet dictatorship to make Don Eladio spare his life. The Chilean government has no record of his being born or living in that country, and Mike's investigations have turned up nothing.
  • Not So Different:
    • From Walt. As Walt goes further off the deep end, he becomes more and more like Fring; deceptive, manipulative, and leading a double life. This trope was invoked by Saul when Gus is first mentioned:
      Walt: Well, what's his name?
      Saul: No idea... he's very low profile, he's careful like that... ya know, from what I do hear about him, he sounds a little like you.
    • However, this can be considered a Deconstructed Trope as well. While they have personality similarities, Gus himself does not believe he and Walt are very similar at all due to what he perceived as Walt's carelessness; Walt, with his pride and ego, believes he and Gus are very similar — criminal equals, in fact — and that he can run a meth empire just as well as Gus. This is ultimately one of the things that leads to Walt's own downfall. In the end, it turns out Gus was right; Gus cautiously and successfully ran a massive multi-million dollar meth empire with not a single lead on himself for over twenty years, only falling because of the unavoidable Doom Magnet Walt screwing him. Walt's careless mistakes led to him being outed as Heisenberg just a little after a year of working and dead a few months after that.
      Mike: Listen, Walter. Just because you shot Jesse James, don't make you Jesse James.
  • Not So Stoic: Seconds before the bomb goes off, his calm exterior finally crumbles into confusion and panic. His last act is to recompose himself from this, stoic to the bitter end.
  • Oh, Crap!: Right before he dies.
  • Only Bad Guys Call Their Lawyers: Plays this straight when he's asked questions for a police investigation by the DEA.
  • Overarching Villain: He is one of the few antagonists of the show who stayed alive for more than one season. He is also Walt's greatest enemy.
  • Out-Gambitted: By Walt in Season 4's finale.
  • Perfect Poison: He uses the same bottle of tequila to dispatch Don Eladio and all his capos at once.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: One of his defining traits.
  • Playing Both Sides: Plays the US and Mexican governments against the Mexican cartel to seize control of the West Coast meth trade. Also pulls this by telling the Cousins that they can kill Hank in place of Walter — since Hank is the one who actually shot Tuco — but then proceeds to anonymously tip Hank so that he can get the jump on them and take them out of the equation.
  • Properly Paranoid: In the end, it turns out he really should have turned Walt away as soon as he saw trouble. Played with, however, in that Jesse was the one who Gus was more worried about, and while he does initially prove a major loose cannon, he ends up becoming arguably even more loyal to Gus than he is to Walt by late Season 4.
  • The Quiet One: Gus is very soft spoken, calm, and collected even in the most stressful situations.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He prefers to motivate his employees by appealing to their higher natures (Gale's love of science, Walt's desire to provide for his family) and only uses fear as a last resort. He also makes allowances for the personal situations of his employees and does his best to make sure everyone is nice and happy under his employ.
  • Revenge Before Reason: One of the main reasons for his war against the Mexican cartel is his desire for revenge. This turns out to be his Fatal Flaw in the season 4 finale when he chooses to kill Hector himself.
  • Self-Made Man: Gus is able to cover distribution of drugs by simply using the refrigerator trucks that were used to deliver supplies to the Los Pollos Hermanos restaurants, rather than hire "mules" to distribute the product (although "mules" would be used to get the drugs from the restaurants to the dealers). Mike makes it very clear to Walt that Gus was so successful with his business because Gus handled so much himself and started with nothing 20 years prior.
  • Self-Poisoning Gambit: How he dispatches the heads of the Juarez Cartel. He brings an extremely rare and expensive bottle of tequila as a peace offering to his meeting with Don Eladio. The Don insists that Gus drink first, so Gus does, tricking the Don and the rest of the capos into believing that the tequila was safe and thus also drinking. Unlike the others, Gus has the advantage of having taken some pills first and then going and inducing vomiting, which helps slow down the poison long enough for him to get medical attention.
  • Signature Move: Straightening his tie / changing his clothes in a dramatic fashion in general.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Male example. He cooks meals for guests he invites for dinner in his home and performs chores like throwing out the garbage at his fast food restaurants, then as a drug kingpin he is brutally killing his own employees for their failures.
  • Start of Darkness: The death of his "brother" Max turned him into the cold, ruthless meth kingpin we all know and love, although it's implied he had some dark history in Chile before ever coming to America. A story of his childhood that he tells in Better Call Saul suggests that he may have always had a taste for vengeance, given that he tortured an animal to death as a child for eating fruit from a tree he had cultivated.
  • Stepford Smiler: Type C and terrifyingly so. That which lies under the smile is Nightmare Fuel inducing. Arguably the depressed type as well where his friend Max is concerned.
  • The Stoic: Not even the terror-inducing Salamanca Cousins scare him at all.
  • Straight Edge Evil: Gus lives quite comfortably, but apart from that has few visible vices and even expresses distaste for the addicts who buy his product. His one real indulgence in life ends up getting him killed.
  • Supreme Chef: Gus has standards: from the best goddamn spicy-fried chicken in the state, to a carefully prepared gastro-foodie delight cooked at home... to producing the highest standard of meth in the business. If he can't do it all himself, he makes sure to train and supply the people who can with the best available ingredients.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Invoked, and implied to be why he dresses like middle-aged middle-management.
  • Tranquil Fury: Especially in "Box Cutter". When Gus is more quiet than usual, that's when to be afraid. Just ask Victor.
  • The Unfettered: Obsessed with avenging Max's death, and not above harming innocents along the way.
  • Unflinching Walk: Into a hail of sniper bullets. And again in his death scene.
  • Villain Has a Point: A sociopathic murderer who is ultimately proven correct about Walter, who's carelessness destroys both of their empires and gets himself killed not even a year and a half into the business.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: He's the well-respected owner of the successful Los Pollos Hermanos chain of chicken restaurants, who publicly supports the DEA at fundraisers and sends in free chicken to all the cops waiting by Hank's hospital bedside. He even contributed to Walt's cancer treatment fund.
  • Villainous Breakdown: An eerily calm example in Box Cutter, knowing he's been Out-Gambitted by Walt and Jesse, he theatrically strolls around the room before ultimately slashing Victor's throat and then telling Walt and Jesse to get back to work.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: The Mexican cartel killed Gus' partner and mocks him about it. He ends up killing all of them.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Oh boy, is he ever. Under that concerned, upright citizen's face hides a world of hurt for people who cross him.
  • Would Hit a Girl: "I will kill your wife. I will kill your son. I will kill your infant daughter".
  • Would Hurt a Child: When he promises to stop using children in his drug business, he has the children under his employ (including the kid brother of Jesse's girlfriend) killed. Later, when he fires Walt, he warns him not to interfere in his dealings with Hank, promising to murder his son and infant daughter.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Sending the Twins after Hank. No matter who loses, he wins.
  • You Have Failed Me: Initially, he appears to be a nicer, stabler person than other druglords Walt and Jesse have encountered (and by comparison, he arguably is), but he soon starts showing his more ruthless side:
    • He first pulls this on both Walt and Jesse after they kill a couple of his drug dealers in revenge for their murdering Tomás Cantillo, and quickly begins plotting to eliminate them both and bring Gale back into the fold as the lab's sole cook, with things going From Bad to Worse when Jesse kills Gale on Walt's orders. While Gus eventually warms up to Jesse again, he remains permanently soured on Walt.
    • When Victor screws up and is seen leaving Gale's apartment after possibly leaving evidence there, he shows himself to be just as willing as Tuco to violently dispose of an employee who has become a liability.
    • Walt nearly takes Hank to the location of his manufacturing business for investigation, despite Walter managing to avoid confrontation by staging an accident, it finally gives Gus the pretext he needs to ditch him once and for all (only stopping short of just killing him straight away because Jesse talks him out of it). He has Tyrus abduct Walter outside of Jesse's house, has him taken out to the desert, and fires him, warning him about approaching Jesse or his labs again, and telling him that not only will Hank die for Walt's meddling, but if Walt tries anything to prevent Hank's assassination, his entire family will pay with their lives. One of the few times he has ever raised his voice beyond his usual cool and even tone — which makes what he says even scarier.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: It's indicated that he only ever intended Walt to be a temporary solution while Gale (and later Jesse) was trained up to precisely duplicate his formula, but was content to let Walt stick around until his cancer inevitably returned and he either died or become too ill to work. However, Walt ends up causing him to pull the trigger prematurely when he proves too much of a liability.

    Gus on Better Call Saul
"From now on, You. Are. Mine."

"When you are at Los Pollos Hermanos, you are under my protection."
Los Pollos Hermanos Employee Training: Emergency Situations

Gus is a local Albuquerque businessman, the respected proprietor of Los Pollos Hermanos, a thriving local fast food restaurant. A man of many secrets, Gus is as careful, deliberate, and meticulous with his employees and customers at Los Pollos Hermanos as he is navigating the politics of the Mexican drug cartel. When we meet him in Better Call Saul, Gus is on the front-end of building both his fast food and his drug empires, brick by brick.

  • Almighty Janitor: Even disregarding his status as a drug lord, he's the owner of Los Pollos Hermanos and still finds time to do some menial work around the place.
  • A Father to His Men: Part of his public figure (and arguably one of the only aspects of his personality that translates both in his private and personal life). Gus insists on maintaining a healthy workplace environment and tries to keep a good relationship with his employees, offering advice and training. This serves him well as a motivating productive factor (happy workers means better production), but it's also a personal ethos: when you're under his wing, you're safe. Anything less than that is unacceptable.
  • And Starring:
    • "with Giancarlo Esposito" in season 3.
    • "and Giancarlo Esposito" in season 4.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: True to form, he wears a smart suit and is a fearless badass in the face of danger from Hector Salamanca.
  • Benevolent Boss: Compliments his staff on how they handled the hostage situation, promises to compensate them for the lost work time, offers them professional counseling to deal with any distress, and makes sure to give them a positive speech (along with a good cover story for why Hector was harassing him) to raise their morale.
  • Best Served Cold: Prevented Hector's murder because a bullet to the head was "too humane" for him.
  • Converse with the Unconscious: A rather grim, twisted example: Besides paying for his treatment, Gus visits Hector in the hospital. He tells him a story about the way he made a creature suffer beyond any reason by keeping it alive for having crossed him. As such, he's determined to keep Hector alive...since he's not done with him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gus shows signs of this sort of banter in his interaction with Mike. "I am not completely unsympathetic towards your.... sense of justice".
  • Difficult, but Awesome: His plan of building from scratch an underground meth lab beneath a laundromat, which takes most of season 4. Not only does it involve contacting architects from all around the world (most of them wearing a hood to keep them from knowing the location), the one hired to oversee the construction, Werner Ziegler, spells out the difficulties of building such thing: taking into account the budget and material needed, the structure could collapse, not to say cause such noise to attract attention. This, of course, without taking into account human resources like the rabble rousers like Kai or the increasingly homesick Werner. However, the work moves forward per Gus' instructions since once finished, it'll allow him to produce his own product without relying on the Cartel, avoid possible detection and keep a stable space for everyone to work without any restraints.
  • Eagleland: He invokes this in his speech to his Los Pollos Hermanos employees.
  • Enemy Mine: Forms an alliance with Mike out of the realization that their hatred of Hector Salamanca is mutual.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • The tone of his voice suggests even he found Hector's ruthless killing of a civilian distasteful.
    • He finds Hector's decision to take his restaurant hostage to be a bit excessive. Given those are his employees, this is understandable.
    • His professionalism shows up again when he refuses to take a 'commission' from the money Mike wants to launder for this family, as his stated objection is that he will not steal from Mike's family.
    • He absolutely can't stand Lydia's nervousness, and his response to her complaining to him about Mike is to tell her "Then I suggest you give the man a badge" with a very no-nonsense.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He seems to be quite fond of Gale, though he has no qualms manipulating him in order to further his own ambitions.
  • Gut Feeling: Like in the previous series Gus has great intuition, realizing right away Nacho is the one behind Hector's heart attack.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: See the Eagleland entry above.
  • It's All About Me: He is pretty angry to find that Nacho was responsible for Hector's heart attack. It doesn't occur to him that Nacho's father's safety may be more important than Gus getting his revenge for his friend's death as a direct consequence of selling meth in Don Eladio's territory. Even before he had Mike's car bugged in case he had the audacity of trying to kill his mortal enemy and even snarks at Mike's sense of justice when his reasons are similarly petty.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: As a variation of his infamous Blofeld Ploy. He and Victor murder Arturo Colon in front of Nacho Varga and hold him as he sees his life fade away to highlight three points: 1) No unwarranted alpha posture on the Cartel's part (Arturo demanded a bigger supply by gun force as a way of peacocking); 2) Nacho made a huge mistake by trying to off Hector Salamanca on his own and will step in line, even if he won't die today; 3) As punishment, Nacho will follow every single one of Gus' orders or else he'll serve him to the Salamancas as a gift. This way, Gus punishes Arturo for his cockiness and has Nacho under his thumb to act as a mole within the Salamanca organization.
  • Knight of Cerebus: When he shows up, the show acquires the same tone as Breaking Bad.
  • Manipulative Bastard: With Mike's help, he quickly maneuvers the cartel into turning to him as their supplier, and then starts interrupting the cross-border supply line that he himself controls so that the cartel will have to turn to a "local producer," namely him. And despite his initially cordial relationship with Mike, the first time Gus needs Mike to do a job beyond their existing money-laundering arrangement, his initial move is to try to use Nacho Varga as an excuse to coerce Mike into it. Mike sees through it instantly and puts things back on a strictly professional footing.
  • Mask of Sanity: Gus is a cold blooded killer motivated by revenge alone, he wants Hector to suffer and die by his machinations and will not accept anyone interfering. All the professionalism a politeness is just a cover for his obsession.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • Has a goofy moment where he throws the paper with Hector's shoe shit into the bin - and nails it in one shot!
    • A darker example when he drops his stoic nature when he talks about a bullet to Hector's head being far too humane.
  • Not Worth Killing: His general opinion of Hector Salamanca - or rather, "Not Worth Killing Quick and Painless". Why waste time and ammo in having a quick revenge on a man too despicable for such compassion instead of giving him the slow, painful demise he so richly deserves without raising any suspicions?
    Gus: A bullet to the head would have been far too humane.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Goes to great length to ensure Hector lives long enough to receive the comeuppance he had prepared for him, such as thwarting an assassination attempt, giving the old man CPR when he collapses, and flying in specialists from Baltimore to get Hector the best treatment.
  • Pet the Dog: Compensates his employees after Hector pays an extortion visit and promises not to take money from Mike that he could use for his family. Also appears to have warm relations with Gale Boetticher.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: True to form, he teams up with Mike due to this.
  • Pulling the Thread: In spite of Mike giving him the excuse that Hector threatened his family, Gus, deductive as ever, points out that Mike was already willing to let bygones be bygones when he stole Salamanca's money and made him look like a fool. Then, he goes further and makes him admit that this has something more to do with assuaging guilt over the death of a passerby because of his stunt.
  • Saved by Canon: He's a major player in Breaking Bad, so he'll be fine by the end of the series.
  • Secret Test of Character: He's been doing these for a long time, secretly testing Mike's abilities from the shadows.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: He's got his men bugging the cars of anyone who could become useful or are a liability to his organization. Additionally, as a child he once waited hours to catch an animal that had eaten the fruit he cultivated and sold to support his family, having tracked it and trapped it earlier.
  • Verbal Tic: Tends to say "Unfortunate", a lot.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When Hector had a stroke, Gus rushed to his aid and goes to great length to keep his enemy alive and conscious so he can execute his vendetta. He also personally kills Arturo in a gruesome manner to show Nacho his displeasure of almost being robbed of his revenge.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: As part of his cover. He's in good standing with major organizations; the Albuquerque Fire Department, for one, is very taken in with his support and even the chief praises him as a pillar of the community. If they only knew.


Example of: