He was so careful about everything, why would he leave the book in the bathroom? Was it anything more than the writers just not knowing how to make Hank figure it out, so they came up with that nonsensical plot device?

Or was there some legitimate reason he left it there (other than the dumb "he wanted to get caught")?

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    In my opinion it was a very good plot device. Note that it was just a poetry book with a (not signed) dedication. The probability that anyone would connect it to the narco business is close to zero.Thinking that it's risky to keep it at home would be a sign of paranoia. Walter was extremely careful about everything, but he wasn't paranoic. Alternatively, you can simply consider it his mistake. Because, you know, everyone makes them. Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 23:28
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    It was signed. And how is it paranoid to worry about that, when he knows that bathroom will be used frequently by the man in the world most knowledgeable of the case, and leading the case for the DEA?
    – ineedahero
    Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 23:32
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    It was signed with initials only. In my opinion there are two things to be considered here. Firstly, Walt loved to be Heisenberg and he was extremely flattered by the opinion Gale had about him. Secondly, the probability of connecting the book with his 'other occupation' was extremely low. So he decided to keep the book at home to gloat over it while sitting on the toilet. In my opinion it fits the character very well and that's why I wrote it's a good plot device. Still it's my opinion only. Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 23:42
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    "He was so careful about everything" — no, he wasn't. He bought his son a wildly over-the-top sports car, then blew it up, in public. By the time Hank found the book, Walt was driving to the both the headquarters of his meth operation, and Jesse's house, in his own car, rather than parking a block away as Mike suggested. He's continuing to work with a guy who shot a kid with barely any hesitation, and showed no remorse afterwards, whose uncle is a neo-Nazi who arranged simultaneous prison murders. At this point, Walt thinks he's invincible. He's beyond caring about little details. Commented Aug 22, 2022 at 12:11

3 Answers 3


I disagree that it was out of character. Walt is arrogant, and while cautious he's also an amateur criminal as pointed out many times through out the series. This is why Saul was able to easily find him in Season 2 Episode 8 where he confronts him in his classroom and tells him if I can find you, how far behind can the cops be? And also a big part of why Mike hates him so much. He's arrogant and reckless.

Walt even confesses outright to Hank in Season 3 Episode 1 that he has half a million in cash.

Hank: Jeez, what do you got in there, cinder blocks?

Walt: Half a million in cash.

Hank: That's the spirit.

There are plenty of other moments throughout the series which build Walt's character as someone who is yes smart and cautious, but also very arrogant and reckless and its not much of a leap to assume that he might keep the book in his bathroom where others might see it.

  • Albeit that "confession" is perceived as a joke, which was probably intended, since the truth seems so unlikely.
    – Joachim
    Commented Aug 22, 2022 at 10:30

The problem is not the book itself, it's the dedication from Gale on page 3 that shows the same "W.W." Hank saw in season 4 (after he was given Gale's file). Hank recalls that very scene ("To W.W. my star, my perfect silence" etc.)

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Walt might not have even seen that dedication, or paid attention to it. He didn't give much esteem to the book (nor to Gale), otherwise it wouldn't have ended up in the toilet!

  • Yeah I don't think we ever see Walt seeing the dedication. Commented Aug 22, 2022 at 12:05
  • This can be countered by the fact that walt immediately starts searching for the book when he realizes hank is acting weird around him. If he didnt have any idea about the dedication he would not have thought about the book
    – user13267
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 12:06

I think because 'Gale Boetticher' was the only person who truly admired and appreciated Walter White for who he was; a great chemist. That book was literally Gale's declaration of love to 'Heisenberg'; Walter White could never part with such evidence of love.

  • That may have been part of why Walt kept the book .... doesn't really explain why he just dumps it in his bathroom.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Aug 22, 2022 at 3:50

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