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As Mike, the muscle for meth kingpin Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), the bullet-headed character actor makes sequences like Sunday's heart-stopping opener — in which he blasted his way out of an ambush, then calmly bent his nearly blown-off ear back into place — look like a walk in the proverbial park. A veteran of crime dramas stretching back to Barnaby Jones, Banks most notably played Ken Wahl's FBI handler in the cult favorite Wiseguy, an apt description of the sly sense of humor he brings to his roles, including his surprising recent guest shot as Ed O'Neill's cancer-stricken brother on Modern Family.
This week's Breaking Bad ended with Mike driving a drug-addled Jesse (Aaron Paul) into the desert and towards an uncertain fate. A peek at the next two episodes, tensely titled "Shotgun" and "Cornered," reveals more twists and turns ahead for the bandaged-up thug. Maybe he'll lend an ear to a support group with Evander Holyfield?
How good is Jonathan Banks on Breaking Bad?