In Breaking Bad season 4 episode 1 "Box cutter", Gus kills Victor. Why does he do this? What does he gain from it other than scaring Walt and Jessie? Or is making them fear him his only motive?

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    Maybe it's because Victor studied the cooking skills without the permission of Gus? Sep 12, 2013 at 10:00
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    Well exactly, Victor is now a major liability, he's been spotted at Gale's murder crime scene, plus the fact he's picked up Walt's cook recipe (or enough of it) gives him some major leverage if he gets caught and decides to bargain: "Walt and Gus are cooking the blue meth, I know cause here's how they do it..." Oct 21, 2013 at 12:50
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    All the questions I would like to answer about BB are protected because of low quality answers? I don't have enough rep to see the deleted posts, but what I do see are good posts. . . sigh I can't contribute and answer one myself (sad face)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 17, 2015 at 7:00
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    Not enough rep to answer this but this always seemed obvious to me. Gus had lost control, and Victor was attempting to take control by cooking. But Victor was out of order... he thinks he can solve a problem like this as simply as that, after Gus (a mastermind) spent years building his empire and investing in schooled chemists, while Victor wasn't even competent enough to stop Jessy. Killing Victor like that was about taking back control and getting rid of a fool.
    – user67703
    May 23, 2019 at 13:36

10 Answers 10


I've always assumed it's because Gus knows that Victor was seen at the house (the house where Gale Boetticher was murdered by Jesse Pinkman) -- remember that Victor and Mike had a conversation about the fact that he'd been seen (Mike was upset at it, and Victor didn't think it was that big of a deal). Gus isn't one to leave any possibility that he could be discovered by Victor's carelessness, so he knows it has to be done.

Of course, he does it in the way that he does as a power play, hoping that the shock of it will convince Walt and Jesse to fall in line (i.e. "Hey guys, if I'm willing to kill my trusted assistant because he screwed up, do you really think I won't do it to you if it comes to that?")

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    His face is shown on a wanted poster when Gus goes in to be questioned by the DEA. Gus is the paragon of caution. He would like to be rid of Walt and Jesse at that point but he needs them to continue production. I think you can call it a warning, a necessary act, and an expression of his displeasure towards them.
    – Clay
    Aug 25, 2015 at 14:58
  • Why would Walter say later that another reason for Victor to be killed is that he was flying too close to sun? That happens pretty much when Walrer and Jesse start their own empire.
    – Ilya
    Mar 5, 2016 at 13:43
  • This doesn't make a lick of sense. There is no indication whatsoever that Gus knows that Victor was seen at Gale's apartment. Not only that, but Victor could have just been a friend of Gale's so there is nothing incriminating about just being there. Not only that, but it is entirely unlike Gus to murder someone with his own hands. Even if he felt Victor had to go, he would have had Mike take care of it later. I think this is where the show jumped the shark. It's just entirely out of character and without explanation or motivation.
    – Chloe
    Oct 8, 2016 at 3:47
  • Chloe, that Victor having been seen at the crime scene is not reason enough for Gus to take that extraordinary initiative is sensible conjecture but not sufficiently reliable in my sense to conclude anything from. However I was about to ask jlmcdonald - as you observed - how Gus was to know that Victor was seen. Mike is first to be informed of this and neither him nor Victor communicate with Gus until he walks into the lab. I'd like to think jlmcdonald is right because it brings a lot of things together, but that detail needs clearing.
    – James Well
    Aug 13, 2017 at 22:55
  • I think this was also done to shock Mike thereby sending a message to everyone Feb 23, 2018 at 6:29

There is no need for Victor to be killed. In fact for a person who takes fastidious care of his employees it is a very bad move. Victor being seen was not that big a deal. He might even have been able to manufacture Meth. At least he would have been useful as a reminder that Walter is not indispensable. There is absolutely no need for him to be killed. However, if you were writing the scene, how would you have it resolved? Gus comes in and just tells Walter to go back to work? Just admitting that he had been outsmarted? Gus picks up a cutter but then does not actually does anything with it? The writers went with the shock and drama that the sudden killing of Victor produced.

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    Alternate ending: Walt gives his speech criticizing Victor's chemistry skills, Victor realizing he has a point says we (ie Gus) should then just kill Jessie and accuses Walt of bluffing about quitting, Jessie realizing he's probably dead anyway physically attacks Victor, Mike tries to intervene but Gus indicates he should let them sort it out themselves, then we have a laboratory fight - how many ways could that go? For the sake of the ongoing story Victor has an interesting death and Jessie, as usual, gets badly injured. Walt goes to help and Gus walks out without another word. Jan 24, 2016 at 23:14
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    I agree! This show went downhill fast when Gus broke character and became a bloodthirsty psychopath! It totally jumped the shark! There are many alternate ways it could have played out: 1) Gus could have done nothing, yes Walter won, but Gus's investment still pays off. 2) Gus could have waited for Victor to complete a full cook. He already said he was happy with 96% purity. If Victor was successful, he could have Mike take care of Walter & Jesse. 3) He could fire Victor, or demote him to the streets. (But really there is no reason for him to be punished either.) 4) Gus kidnaps Walt's family.
    – Chloe
    Oct 8, 2016 at 3:59
  • I disagree with this completely. Victor was always someone Gus could rely on. He was calculating, precise, and never overstepped his boundaries. But all the qualities that Gus admired about him started to crack along the surface, and Gus saw that. And those cracks would only deepen over time, and Gus knew that. Victor became an unreliable liability. He had to die.
    – arkon
    Apr 8, 2020 at 22:40

Just before Gus kills Victor, Walt monologues about how Victor is not as good of a cook, how he needs Jesse alive to help him cook, etc

Gus's subsequent actions act as a punishment to Victor for being substandard, while simultaneously yet silently "accepting" Walt's request to leave Jesse alive.

The act of Gus slicing Victor's throat demonstrates his ruthlessness and willingness to "just get the job done", which serves as a message for Walt and Jesse, that he won't accept excuses or messing around. Gus eyes them both up afterwards to ensure they understand their place and then leaves.

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    Why would Victor be punished? He did everything he was supposed to do. There was no way Victor or anyone could have known about Walt's plans or any way Victor could have stopped them. Not only that, but Victor knew the recipe, so if Walt and Jesse got hit by a bus, he had someone to fall back on. Maybe his 3rd-4th choice, but someone nonetheless. If Victor was being punished, then why wasn't Mike punished as well? This answer doesn't make sense.
    – Chloe
    Oct 8, 2016 at 3:53

There are many reasons:

  • Gus may have been convinced that Victor's batch would be substandard
  • Victor probably needed to die anyway. He had screwed up by failing to kill Walt and had also gotten himself seen after the Gale murder
  • To send a message, as we are lead to believe at the time. Either to scare Walt/Jesse or to send a message to Mike; it could even be both.

There is another possible reason mentioned in Season 5 Episode 3:

I've been thinking about Victor. All this time, I was sure that Gus did what he did to send me a message. Maybe there's another reason. Victor trying to cook that batch on his own, taking liberties that weren't his to take. Maybe he flew too close to the sun and got his throat cut. - Walt

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    Gus had no way of knowing Victor's batch would be substandard. Gus said at the beginning he was happy with 96% purity, unlike Walt's 99%. Victor wasn't supposed to kill Walt. He was only supposed to bring him to the lab, for Mike. OK the quote is a good reference.
    – Chloe
    Oct 8, 2016 at 4:34

I believe he did it

  1. to scare Walt and Jesse and
  2. because he was cooking below Walt's standards and
  3. because he failed to stop Jesse from killing Gale.
  • Are there any quotes or references from the show to support your speculation? 1) He already had Mike's gun on them. They were already scared. Walt almost started crying again just by holding the box cutter near him. 2) In the beginning of the episode, Gus already indicated he was happy with 96% purity and it didn't matter to him. 3) Then why didn't he also kill Mike? How could Victor be blamed? There is no reasonable way for him to know Walt & Jesse's plans.
    – Chloe
    Oct 8, 2016 at 4:15

Gus kills Victor because Victor has shown himself to be irresponsible and untrustworthy.

Victor has created loose ends, and in many ways his actions exacerbated a bad situation to the point that Walt and Jesse had to kill Gale.

I'm sure that the manner of his death is also meant as a warning to Walt and Jesse, and I'm also sure that Gus' anger at Victor wasn't a show. But either way Victor had to go.

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    Any references to Victor being untrustworthy? Irresponsible? Which loose ends? Victor was one of Gus's most trusted accomplices. He watched the lab, sat in during mediation, and went with him to see Walt after Walt ran over his employees.
    – Chloe
    Oct 8, 2016 at 4:36

Someone had to be killed by Gus Fring to show that he wasn't a man to be trifled with and because his plans to use Gale and eliminate Walt and Jesse had been circumvented. With only five people in the room, who else could he have killed?

  1. He needed Walt - After all, Gale was backup for Walt and Gale was now dead.
  2. He couldn't kill Jesse - He knew or strongly believed that Walt would not cook without Jesse and he couldn't afford to be wrong about that.
  3. He couldn't kill Mike - Not only was Mike the de facto underboss of his criminal organization, he had also shown himself to a very deadly opponent and Fring knew this. In fact, it's a tossup between Walt and Mike as to the one who the most immune to Fring's anger on that occasion.
  4. He obviously wasn't going to kill himself.

That left Victor.

Killing Victor offered the greatest amount of shock value with the least amount of damage to Fring and his criminal organization. Victor certainly didn't help his case by speaking as it focused Fring's attention and anger upon him. However, it's likely that he would have been killed anyway as Fring needed to make a point.

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    No, Gus didn't have to kill anyone. Even if Gus wanted to kill someone, it is totally unlike Gus's character to be a bloodthirsty psychopath. Even if Gus wanted to kill Victor, he would have had Mike do it later. I believe Gus states he abhors violence. Even though he knows it's necessary in his work, he doesn't do it himself. He certainly called the assassin brothers 'animals'.
    – Chloe
    Oct 8, 2016 at 4:30
  • That's a very faulty opinion.
    – Mistah Mix
    Nov 28, 2016 at 22:48

Some points from me. Victor was a very loyal and dedicated team member, and Gus being a man of reason must have had a strong motive to eliminate him. There was a pause before he killed he when he thought this through, so that's definitely not an impulse.

  • Who is responsible for Gale's death? Most probably it's Victor because he is the only one from the gang who's been on the crime scene. Of course, he's been outsmarted by Walt, but for Gus this might not be an excuse.
  • Victor giggled at a very tense moment + his is the one responsible, he does not understand he should not do the giggles, so for Gus this could be a sort of immature behavior which makes him look very stupid having such a team member.
  • In mafia you don't start speaking before your boss in such moments, because it lowers your bosses rank. Remember how the same situation ended in the very first season with Tuco and his hitman? Even asking seems awkward, not to mention that Victor made a statement.
  • Tuco was a bloodthirsty psychopath. Gus wasn't a bloodthirsty psychopath. That is especially what attracted Walt to Gus's way of doing business. Gus called the assassin brothers 'animals' which shows his distaste for violence. Gus always (has always) had someone else do his dirty work.
    – Chloe
    Oct 8, 2016 at 4:42

This is for all of you who are bringing up that this is out of character for Gus. Nobody has mentioned the thing that actually does make it in character for him. PTSD. For those of you that know the show well, you'll remember that Gus had a partner when he first tried to get into the meth business. He tried to appeal to the cartel. He liked the guy very much and was horrified when the man was killed right in front of him.

He also liked Gale. Gale was another chemist he had helped train to become his main chemist. And once again... he lost his friend and partner. Now I understand that Gus is a hardened business man. But everyone has a breaking point. And you guys are all missing one very solid reason for Gus' actions. He threw a tantrum. He was pissed off. You could see it in his face.

Now I agree also that he was sending a message not to mess with him. And I also agree that killing Victor made little sense beyond that alone. Except... we see later how well it goes when an inexperienced cook (Todd) is given full control over a lab. He starts fires, his quality is very low. We never actually see the quality of meth that Victor would have produced. We only see him performing the beginning steps in the process of making it. So honestly, I believe Gus, being as intelligent as he is and this not being his first rodeo, believes that Victor had very little potential value as the main cook of their operation. There are little steps to every process that only experience, not watching, can teach a person.

So now that we've determined that Victor is not valuable as a cook, let's discuss his value as a henchman. He just failed horribly. He failed to get to Gale and stop his murder. And really when it came down to it, Victor was watching Walt and Jesse like a hawk supposedly but what did he ever actually help? Did he analyze their behavior? Did he determine they were up to something? Did he stop Jesse skimming meth off the top of their cooks? No... when it comes down to it. He was shit, and useless as far as helping to control the situation.

So, in the end, Victor was the only disposable person there, he had just failed and had thus far failed to show any real value as more than a lackey. And then he presumes to start cooking the meth before getting the orders to do so from his METH KINGPIN. Remember, this is a businessman, but also a crime lord. He's been in this business for more than 20 years without being caught. Talk about flying too close to the sun. The man stepped out. Big time. What's next if Gus allows this to happen without consequence? Maybe Victor starts cooking extra for himself? He's already got his hands full with Walter and Jesse. Walter and Jesse have done a great job making themselves invaluable, as has Mike. So Victor is the winner. Sorry buddy, you shoulda been more cunning and useful like Mike and Walter, and you've got no protection like Jesse.


This point was addressed at the end of S05E03:

Walt: I've been thinking about Victor.

Jesse: Yeah?

Walt: Yeah. All this time I was sure that Gus did what he did to send me a message. Maybe there's another reason.

Jesse: Like what?

Walt: Victor trying to cook that batch on his own? Taking liberties that weren't his to take? Maybe he flew too close to the sun ... got his throat cut.

(My guess is that the writers probably heard the criticism about this possible plot hole in S04, and the above lines are their way of addressing it, while also depicting Walt's transformation. At the same time, the above is merely speculation by Walt and we the viewers still don't know for sure what Gus's actual motivations were.)

  • Could be. Personally this struck me mostly as a revelation of Walt's rapidly growing ego. The "sun" here would be Walt himself: Victor tried to replicate the glory that is Walt, and paid the price for such arrogance and presumption. Nov 12, 2020 at 5:43

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