YouTube right now! “Breaking Bad” in the style of “The Wire”

What if Jimmy McNulty were on the case of Walter White?


Kris Holt


Published Dec 12, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 5:41 am CDT

What if Jimmy McNulty were on the case of Walter White?

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A YouTuber has created a Breaking Bad supercut set to each season’s opening sequence of HBO’s Baltimore crime drama The Wire. The video begins with visuals from the first season of Breaking Bad rolling under The Wire’s theme song, the Blind Boys of Alabama’s take on Tom Waits’s “Way Down in the Hole.” The other seasons of each show are recut in the same way.

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YouTuber James Montalbano has done a tremendous job of aping the style of The Wire’s credits, giving a terrific sense of the world of Breaking Bad (tread carefully, though: There are some pretty big spoilers tucked in here). 

The clip focuses on the hands and the objects of Albuquerque more than it does faces, helping viewers understand exactly what Breaking Bad is about. The quick cuts show the mechanics of life in White’s universe, as The Wire’s opening credits did for the show’s version of Baltimore. Perhaps the most effective aspect is the way in which a hammer breaking a sheet of meth uses the sound of the glass on a CCTV camera shattering in The Wire’s real credits.

As with The Wire, there’s an emphasis on phones (a key aspect of the HBO show), drugs, and police work in the re-cast title sequences. The various versions of “Way Down in the Hole” used in each of The Wire’s seasons brilliantly complement Breaking Bad’s visuals. 

Fingers crossed that lawyers for HBO and AMC let Montalbano’s great work stay on YouTube. Otherwise, he better call Saul.

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Photo via James Montalbano/YouTube

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*First Published: Dec 12, 2012, 12:22 pm CST