6

I can recall thinking something was a little off in the conversation in which Mike is discussing the hazard pay he sets aside for his guys, after Fring is dead and Gus, Lydia, Walter & Jesse were using the pest company as cover in Breaking Bad season 5. This happens as they are splitting up the first take..

Mike: ..Legacy cost, $351,000. That's 117,000 each.
Walter: "Legacy cost"?
Mike: I got nine guys. You don't know them, but they were part of the previous operation and they know a lot. And right now, some of them are in jail and more will be soon. The feds RICO-ed their hazard pay. So we are gonna make them whole.
Walter: We are gonna make them whole? What is this "we"? These were Gus' employees, not ours.
Mike: They might have been Gus' employees, but they're my guys.
Walter: So, what are they doing to further our interests?
Mike: The cops are looking at them very closely. We don't want them furthering our interests.
Walter: So we are paying them, why?
Mike: Because it's what you do.
Walter: It's what you do.
Mike: My guys are keeping their mouths shut. We make them whole. One hand washes the other. It's as simple as that.
Walter: It sounds like a simple shakedown simple as that. We're paying for their silence. That's blackmail.
Mike: Business is my end. This is business. End of story.
Walter: This is your problem. It should come out of your end.
Jesse: Hey. Hey. Just take it out of mine..

From Hazard Pay: subtitles

Then I realized what was astray.. about the time Mike says:

Because it's what you do.

I somehow, in the back of my mind, expected him to say..

Because it's what you do. Especially when they wouldn't even be in jail if it hadn't been for a bomb in a nursing home, followed by a smoking pit of a meth lab in one of Fring's laundries just hours later, ..Walter.

So that leads to my inquiry..

Presuming Walt/Jesse were able to do/did the following:

  • Kill Fring using Ricin in a way that appeared to be a natural death.
  • (Not have Jesse trapped in the lab, guarded over by a belligerent looking thug.)
  • Just walk away from the (well hidden) meth. lab (and not kill the last two guys that Walter killed there).

If it had gone that way, would any of the wrong doings of Fring have come to light, resulting in the loss of the nest eggs and freedom of Mike's guys?

4

No, they wouldn't have. Why?

  1. The show's narrative never demonstrates a link between Mike's guys and Gus Fring other than Mike himself - If Mike wasn't arrested, then it would make no sense for his men to have been. He was the link between them and Gus Fring's suspected drug activities.
  2. Criminal groups don't pay by check or EBT - Mike guy's were paid in cash by Mike. Unless the authorities found some link between Mike and guys he was paying (in which case Mike again would have been under arrest) then the men working for him an Fring would have been in the clear, at least for a while.
  3. The cartel probably knew who Gus' men were, but they weren't in a position to tell - The destruction of the cartel's leadership by Fring ended it as a direct threat to his organization. Whatever remained of it would be more interested in consolidating its position or making money than it would be getting revenge against Fring or his men.
  4. Walter White certainly wasn't going to tell - Considering that Mike would have killed him or that he would have had to divulge his own involvement in the meth business, there was no threat of Walter White informing upon those of Mike's people who he knew.

Having Mike's people arrested (but not him) and then having them all still in jail at the time that Walt had them murdered is a narrative device and not a reflection of what would have happened.

1

Yes, definitely. Don't forget that Hank already had very strong suspicions that Gus Fring was in charge of the operation, and it would not have been much longer before he managed to find enough evidence to come in with a search warrant and find the lab.

  • 5
    "Don't forget that Hank already had very strong suspicions that Gus Fring was in charge of the operation.." I hadn't. Don't forget that he'd already tried (and failed) to convince ASAC Merkert and Steve Gomez that Gus was the head of a drug syndicate. If Gus had have died 'peacefully' I don't see why Hank would have been given authority to pursue possible crimes. – Andrew Thompson Sep 14 '14 at 21:29
0

I don't think Gus's death would have made any difference to whether the lab was found or not. Remember when Hank sent Steve to investigate and later went with Walt himself to the laundry? It wouldn't have taken him long to conduct an independent search and find the lab.

  • 1
    "It wouldn't have taken him long to conduct an independent search and find the lab." In neither of the first two visits did they gain anything more than 'suspicion' which wasn't enough to get a search warrant. A flaming hole in the ground (combined with a murder in a nursing home) were what gave them the extra legal justification for going in there with dogs and a CSI team. – Andrew Thompson Oct 10 '15 at 10:52

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