In the Season 5B episodes "To'hajiilee" and "Ozymandias", Hank and Gomez are cornered by Jack and his men in the desert. Once it's clear that they're both outnumbered and outgunned, why doesn't Hank or Gomez call for help?

Let's look at the situation in more detail:

Hank was armed with a pistol, Gomez with a shotgun. I'm no expert, but I'm sure I'd rather have a rifle at this distance:

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Especially when faced with four automatic files and two handguns:

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The view of Jack's men:

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My immediate reaction would be to get into cover and call for backup. Both Hank and Gomez get into cover:

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But they both pop out again, risking their lives with crappy weapons (a handgun and a shotgun -- both utterly useless at such distances):

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Couldn't they have tried to signal for help? I know Hank was worried about his career being ruined, but I don't believe that either he or Gomez were concerned about that in the heat of an overwhelming battle.

Can someone explain it to me?

  • 8
    Hank was about to when he instead, called Marie. The time wasted on Marie's call was time he could have spent calling for backup before the Nazi's arrived. In addition to that, the entire shootout happened over the course of literally seconds. Hard to imagine with how it was shot.
    – Tablemaker
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 18:40
  • @TylerShads Why do you think Hank was about to call for help...? He was in no danger whatsoever when he called Marie. Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 18:48
  • 2
    Not exactly for help, but he mentioned to Gomez that he was going to call in a team to search for the money and pick up Gomez/Jesse. He mentioned this to him before Gomez puts Jesse away in the car.
    – Tablemaker
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 20:02
  • I think the bigger question here is why didn't Hank or Steve show Jack and his men their badges when Jack asked to see them? It's possible that Jack would have decided to open fire anyway, but Hank could have played it by showing Jack his badge and lying about backup being on the way. Then, Jack must weigh his decision a little more. However, Jack didn't seem too broken up about it when his men found Steve's badge, so maybe he wouldn't of cared either way. It seemed to me like Hank didn't pull his badge out and opted for a shootout because he knew it was over and knew that he would likely be k
    – user8364
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 22:29
  • 1
    Is it only me or nobody else thought that the moment they saw a unwanted car they could have hurried in and escaped from the other road cause they had two cars and could easily confuse jacks crew.(cops are given special driving tranning).
    – user22124
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 17:07

7 Answers 7


Looking at it again, it appears that it just wouldn't have made any difference. Although there was unquestionably time to call for help, Hank and Gomez were only concerned with surviving... and hiding behind the vehicle probably wasn't their best chance of survival.

For example: Even though Hank and Gomez were shielded behind the SUV (see the view of the SUV from Jack's men's POV below), they didn't have many options.

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Even if Gomez had continued to fire, while Hank called for help, it was inevitable that they'd run out of ammunition before anyone arrived. Once that happened (or even before), Jack's men could have moved around either side of the SUV, attacking Hank and Gomez from several sides at once.

This made their best chance of survival to attack... despite the overwhelming odds.

It's a strange way to end an episode. It appeared to be a cliffhanger, but thinking about it, there was practically no chance for it to end any other way.

  • 1
    The fist line of offense is a good offense: cops are trained to react unflinchingly to intimidation like this, to automatically call the assailants bluff in the hope they lose their nerve, even after they've opened fire. It's called an Adrenaline Dump. Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 17:36
  • An Adrenaline Dump is when you're hit with a bunch of adrenaline (see: lawofficer.com/article/leadership/adrenaline-dump), but I get your point. The thing is, Hank and Gomez immediately (and sensibly IMO) get into cover. Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 22:01
  • Sure! an Adrenaline Dump is part of the 'Fight or Flight' response, but officers are trained to exploit both sides of this coin: to persuade themselves to 'Fight', and their assailants to 'Flight'. This can be achieved through intimidation or even confusion. Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 22:58

Yes, I think may be that's possible.

But I guess Hank and Gomez didn't expect Jack and his crews to shoot. Hank and Gomez are both high profile DEA agents and killing them is going to get Jack and his crews in major trouble. So Hank and Gomez expected may be at best Jack and his crews will try to rescue Walt at gun-point. And keeping Walt in custody was their topmost priority, so calling for help won't do them any good. Their best bet was to scare Jack and his crews away as soon as possible.

Remember one important point, Hank knew Walt wouldn't kill him. Because if it was his intention, then he would have Hank killed long before. Hank knew they are Walt's men, so he guessed they won't try to kill them.

  • @DjangoReinhardt: Do you really think killing DEA agents are so easy? Watch Season 5 Episode 15, listen to Saul Goodman, he made it clear how serious is killing DEA agents.
    – user
    Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 13:20
  • Since you've edited your post to make it clearer, I get what you're saying now. Before it sounded like you meant Hank and Gomez would get into trouble! Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 15:01
  • PS - They knew the co-ordinates of where they were, so it's possible it would have easy to share their location. Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 17:52

I think there was no time to call for help. It all happened so quickly. Until Todd and his uncle had arrived, Hank was totally clueless about who is coming. Second when guns are pulled out, Hank and Gomez have literally no time for anything. In the torrent of bullet exchange, the only thing which they can do is fire back, which was exactly what they did.

There was no time for calling for help.

  • Hmm. As I recall, "To'hajiilee" ends with Hank shielded by his car... A perfect time to get his phone out. Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 13:41
  • 1
    I don't think so. Hank is shielded, but he also has to cross fire. As you said they were out numbered. Only two guys against many. If Hank had taken time to get his phone out, it would have meant leaving hs partner alone for the cross fire who was not shielded. So what happened was like this - once the firing began, it was like madness, within minutes Hank and Gomez had their guns empty with Gomez dead and Hank shot in the leg. Within minutes the guys get to him behind the car. Hank knew that even if he called for help at this point, help could not arrive in time.
    – Ankit
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 13:49
  • Gomez as also shielded, but I guess you're right. If they stopped shooting they would have been surrounded immediately -- and help couldn't get there in time. But still: Worth a chance, I would have thought. Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 18:49
  • Ankit, there was definitely time to call for help, but it would have been pointless. If you revise your answer, I can accept it! Commented Sep 30, 2013 at 23:40
  • 1
    Believe what you wish, Ankit. You admit you can't remember the scene and need to watch it again, but insist you're still right. That's a stubborn attitude. As a result I've been forced to write a new answer and accept it, which is a shame, because I would have been happy to give you the rep. Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 16:37

Usually cops call it in even when they know they are going to lose the gunfight, especially when they are outnumbered. In reality Schrader would've known better and called for help while sticking out his hand to shoot and keep the gang behind their cars. Gomez and his shotgun were enough to keep the enemy far while Hank called for backup. It's what cops do.

Now, would the cavalry be there before they got killed... I don't think so.


Most of these answers seem a little too hopeful. They were caught with their pants down. There's no way Hank could have called for help in that scenario. They had concealment but not much cover. The wheels and engine block offer marginal cover, but only at very precise angles. The fact was that they had maybe 30 seconds of defensive firepower in their guns before they were empty and flanked and either dead or surrendered. Backup is a moot point completely. They should have made a run for it immediately if they sensed danger and wanted to survive. That would have meant jumping in one of the cars and driving, or trying on foot. Only driving would have had half a chance.

  • What you say makes sense, but I know how I felt when I actually watched these episodes. It was just so bizarre, and I'm sure if I watched it again, I'd feel the same. Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 17:28

I believe there is a combination of things that lead to Hank's and Gomez's deaths:

  1. Hank was overwhelmed with his success in finally hand-cuffing Heisenberg, which has lead him to getting caught off-guard.
  2. Neither Hank nor Gomez could expect any sort of backup from Walter's side.
  3. They got caught up in the open (at least Gomez), so making any sort of advancement towards the car would've got them killed on spot.
  4. I still think that Hank did not want to put his reputation on the line and did not even attempt calling for backup.
  5. Lastly, there was no time. They hoped Nazis would not go as far as killing them.

Hank (and sort of) Gomez got Hank and Gomez killed. They should not have gone to catch Walt with his barrels of millions of dollars without bringing backup.

That Walt went there alone was somewhat foreseeable but it was definitely foreseeable that Walt had buddies he could call, exactly what happened. Hank might have been convinced Walt wouldn't kill him but that was just a hunch and Hank had never directly threatened Walt's millions.

Cops just don't operate that way. That Hank did so is certainly believable because it was personal and he probably still found it hard to believe that who he had believed for years was an inferior wimp was really a threat.

The weird thing is, had Walt desired, he could have easily spun the situation into the "Hank was the mastermind and I was just his slave" narrative he had created in his false confession video. With Hank and Gomez dead, and apparently no one else in the DEA knowing the truth, Walt could easily claim he was dragged or lured to the site by Hank and that it was some drug deal gone bad.

  • This doesn't really answer the question "why did they not call for help". You say that they should not have been in that position in the first place. But that doesn't take into account the extraordinary circumstances of a ASAC's brother in law being a drug 'kingpin' who was blackmailing him with that video.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 17:23

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