I mean, exactly what is preventing Hank in Breaking Bad to tell the DEA the whole story after he learns that Walter is Heisenberg? Also, when Marie tells Hank that Walter has paid for Hank's physical therapy, Hank tells that he is ruined. What would happen if Hank just went to DEA and told the whole story, since he knows it now (S05E11)?

Also, does the "confessions" clip Walter made has really a significance? Can't Hank say that it is just a big lie? I mean, I understand that Hank does not enough proof to convict Walt at the time (S05E11) but neither does Walt. I mean Walt doesn't have any "evidence" on that "Hank was a drug kingpin" claim he makes in his "confessions" clip. So, how does that clip have any significance in the purpose of keeping Hank back?

EDIT: If the reason is Hank's (possible) thought: "If DEA learns that Heisenberg was under my nose all this time, and I was not able to see it, everything would be done for me.", how accurate is such a thought? I mean, who thinks of looking to the people closest to them when looking for "such a monster"? Would DEA make such an evaluation on Hank? If they would, how sound would it be? If they wouldn't, what else keeps Hank from telling DEA about Walt?

P.S: Please do not give spoilers from after S05E11.

  • 1
    Hank was supposed to be some super drug-hunter. How would that look to his bosses if he confessed that his suspect, the KINGPIN of a major drug ring, was his brother-in-law, a confidante who regularly sat across the table at dinner, and drinks, and he DID NOT KNOW for nearly 2 years? How competent would he look as an investigator, as a leader of other investigators?
    – wbogacz
    May 14, 2015 at 19:51
  • But I think it is very much reasonable. Who would look at the person that is closest to him when "chasing a monster"? I think this is very much psychological. Who can be close to someone if he thinks that that person may be "a wrong person" (except for pretending to be close)? Isn't the same thing happened with Merkert as well (having Gus eating with his family)? Would DEA really look down to Hank for not realizing Walt was Heisenberg for a long time?
    – Utku
    May 14, 2015 at 19:57
  • 2
    Yes, they would look down on him. A good investigator really should trust nobody. To exclude those closest to you as an impossibility lends credence that this investigator is not credible, and comes into an investigation biased. Either for-or-against, bias in an investigation implies poor skills.
    – wbogacz
    May 14, 2015 at 20:24
  • Whether the court believed Walter or not, Hank was implicated. He took Walt on the ride-along in S01E01, allowing him to meet Jesse in the first place and start on the long road to becoming a drug kingpin. If Jesse testified to this, Hank would already be finished for bending the rules and taking his brother-in-law to a meth den raid, and ultimately allowing him to become the criminal he was. May 15, 2015 at 9:23

2 Answers 2


Because the fact that his own family member was doing all of this right under his nose would be enough to discredit him and his position as a member of law enforcement. No one would take him seriously, his name would come up in any searches related to the matter, and he'd likely never be able to find steady employment again or could face jail time himself.

The mere act of having to admit that his own brother-in-law is the mastermind behind the purest form of meth his department had ever seen would be enough to force him to resign. Walt had been in action for quite some time, and it would be a massive embarrassment for Hank to have been looking for the party behind this new, super pure drug, only to find out it had been a member of his own family all this time.

Further, given Walt and Skyler paid for Hank's recovery in the middle of the series, it would mean Hank basically took money from a known drug dealer even if he didn't know it. The only reason he's able to stand and hold the position he does is because of the treatment Walt was able to provide for him. Given he thought his own insurnace or the police force was paying for it would make him look even more foolish.

Once it got out to his colleagues in the department, no one would take him seriously, and he'd be considered an embarassment to the force, likely forced into resigning in disgrace or straight up dismissal, and would never be able to hold a job in law enforcement ever again. Taking money from Walt could also have him and Marie in some legal hot water, creating a record that would easily come up in a background search, thus making it nearly impossible to find a steady line of work going forward.

Regarding the fake confession Walt makes, sure Hank could claim it's all a lie, but given what you've observed with how the public takes information of this nature, do you really think it would matter? The impetus would be on Hank to disprove the claims, but even still he'd already be judged in the court of public opinion, as some people say. He'd still be an embarrassment, and now there would be some out there who would still think he did it in the back of their minds.

Walt is not an idiot, and will leverage anything he can get his hands on to protect what he's built.

  • 2
    Indeed, consider that ASAC Merkert was forced out due to his friendly association with Gus Fring. How much worse would the fallout be when the drug lord in question is a family member?
    – Kyralessa
    Apr 24, 2016 at 5:32
  • But matt, instead Hank doesn't tell the DEA immediately and starts reviewing evidence on his own. Isn't this worst? Couldn't he be charged for not immediately reporting it to the DEA ?
    – Dan Ivanov
    Dec 30, 2016 at 5:53
  • @DanIvanov Possibly, but Hank was more or less working on a hunch based on a conversation he remembered between him and Walt, and happening to find the book Gil gifted Walt with a referential passage. Hank knows you can't just come out and accuse someone without evidence, and he had to be damn sure that he wasn't only right, but had sufficient means to back up his claim, and to likely evaluate his own options if they turned out to be true. Remember: in legal matters it's not what you know, it's what you can prove.
    – MattD
    Dec 30, 2016 at 15:10

Adding to MattD's answer, Hank said also that he has no real evidence of Walt's actions, besides Jesse's own words. He wanted to get strong evidences before talking open to the whole DEA.

Note that Hank got the help of his fellow trusty DEA agent and friend Steve Gomez.

Hank used Jesse first, asking him to wear a wire, trying to get Walt to give himself away. That didn't work.

A really strong evidence would be Walt's money. And this is what Hank targets next.

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