Actor Jeremiah Bitsui, Navajo and Omaha, played Victor in eight episodes of Breaking Bad, the AMC television series that is set to end on Sunday night. The character was the subordinate of drug kingpin Gus, played by Giancarlo Esposito, who ended up killing Victor at the beginning of season four. Bitsui, who has remained an avid fan of the series, took a few moments to look back on the experience and share his thoughts on the finale with ICTMN.
How did you land the role of Victor?
In season two I auditioned for the part of "Nondescript Customer," which I landed. It was for just one day — one scene. I was honored just to be on the show since it was so well done and had a small cult following. Season three they invited me back, at that time telling me they expanded Giancarlo's storyline and created my character to be Victor, his loyal henchman.
Victor came to a violent end in the season four premiere — his jugular vein loses a fight with a box cutter. Did you know he had it coming when you started on the series, or do the writers keep it mysterious?
As we started filming I always felt the next episode would be my last, because bad guys were so easily disposable. Going into season four, I had forgotten about my shelf life. A few cold days before Christmas, I received a call from the producers; they told me season four was starting off with a "big bang," but unfortunately I was the big bang. I wasn't at all disappointed because it was way more then I could have ever planned. In retrospect I wouldn't have changed a thing because I totally trusted the team, and story is always the main objective!
Breaking Bad is being called by some critics and viewers the greatest television series of all time. What does it mean to you to have worked on such an acclaimed project?
Working on the greatest show on television for 3 out of the 5 seasons on Breaking Bad was a blessing. We just won an Emmy for Best Drama and are going into the Guinness Book of World Records as the Highest Rated TV show. It has been amazing.
Breaking Bad portrays a lifestyle and settings that most people can't directly relate to. Why does this extreme story connect with such a large audience?
In my opinion, the show reflects our sincere intentions that inevitably unwind through overindulgence. For example family — for those who haven't watched the show, it's about Walter White, a chemistry teacher who has cancer, a special needs teenager, a baby on the way and of course a cashflow problem. He had an earnest want to provide for his family in a bad economy, which we can all relate to. The show is not about meth but about people making choices, and the choices they make are extreme, which is very entertaining. Again story is key!
What are your thoughts on the show's final season? Has anything surprised you?
This final season has been a roller coaster! I've had the opportunity to join a few viewing parties; there was one in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which was very entertaining. The crowd was so serious and it would erupt in conversation at the commercials, then go back to stark silence when the show would come back on. At this point I'm not surprised by anything — yet always surprised to see how it all unfolds.
What are your expectations for the final episode? How would you like for it to end?
My expectations are for Jesse and Walt to go to battle with the white supremacists then end up having a man-to-man showdown at the end. Walt dies, and Jesse inherits $60 million, marries Skyler and becomes the father of Walt's kids, living happily ever after! But at this point I'm along for the ride, just like I take my career — the minute any of us have expectations we set ourselves up for disappointment.
What's next for you?
This year had been a great year for me in terms of film and TV projects. For me it's about good intriguing stories and portraying a character I believe in. There's a pilot we shot earlier in the year called Red Clay, in which I played the lead, Leonard, who is a bad guy turning good. Then I made an appearance on Things People Do with Wes Bentley. Over the summer I was in NYC filming The Life, which is like The Wire but dealing with human trafficking. Most recently, I just wrapped a film as the lead Luther "Sickboy" Maryboy, a young man at a crossroads with a baby on the way, in Drunktown's Finest, which Robert Redford executive-produced. Right now, you can watch Blaze You Out which is at Redbox near you. I play Isaiah who is a loverboy and hustler.