Why does Tuco want to kill Walt and Jesse in ‘Breaking Bad?’

AMC’s award-winning series Breaking Bad is a masterful crime drama with a plethora of evocative characters that establish the ever-present chaos in the show. The show is synonymous with many intimidating villains, including Gustavo Fring and Jack Welker. However, before those antiheroes eventually came to fruition, Walt and Jesse found themselves involved in a difficult situation with Tuco Salamanca, one of the show’s original drug dealers and the force behind the Mexican cartel’s operation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Tuco is the hot-headed, overly-aggressive distributor for Walt and Jesse’s growing methamphetamine business during seasons one and two of Breaking Bad. Jesse was first introduced to Tuco through his friend Skinny Pete, who had history with Tuco. When Jesse’s initial meeting with Tuco went south, Walt got involved by causing a portion of Tuco’s office building to blow up, which resulted in Tuco respecting Walt’s courage and ultimately landed Walt and Jesse a deal with Tuco himself. All three men began working together to distribute meth, though Tuco’s disillusions and paranoia eventually deteriorated the operation.

So why does Tuco want to kill Walt and Jesse?

Throughout the entire series, Walt often avoids being killed due to the high quality of his meth, also known as “Blue Sky.” Initially, Tuco never actually wanted to kill Walter White. Tuco recognized Walt’s near-perfect product as an essential for his meth operation and knew that keeping Walt on good terms with him would keep the purest meth in his arsenal.

On the other hand, Tuco had very little respect for Jesse Pinkman. Tuco, much like Gus Fring at first, viewed Jesse as a low-life drug addict with no real motivation. Because of this, Tuco wanted to kill Jesse simply to just get rid of him, but Walt refused to work with him if Jesse was not involved as well. This, in turn, resulted in Tuco wanting both men dead, especially after Tuco’s uncle Hector hinted that Walt was trying to poison him.

Additionally, Walt and Jesse accidentally witnessed Tuco murder one of his henchmen, No-Doze, in a junkyard where their meetings with Tuco would take place. Tuco was known for being extremely short-tempered, and in a fit of rage, Tuco beat No-Doze until he was unconscious, which eventually resulted in his death. In the aftermath, Tuco feared that Walt and Jesse would inform someone of what they had seen, which would put Tuco’s entire drug operation at risk. As such, Tuco kidnapped both men while on the run from the DEA with the hopes of having Walt cook for him in Mexico, but Walt refused. Thus, Tuco wanted them both dead. However, plans would not work in his favor, as he was eventually killed by Hank Schrader.