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|“||La familia es todo (Family is all).||„|
|~ Hector's lesson to his nephews.|
|“||The boss can suck me. (Bolsa: I'd watch what'd I say if I were you.) Who do you think you are?! You should be kissing my ass right now! Me, and my family? We built this whole business. (Bolsa: We all did. Together.) No, no! Salamanca did! Salamanca money! Salamanca blood! (Bolsa: You have to calm down.) That hacienda, I PAID FOR IT! And you treat us like dogs! (Bolsa: Hector, this isn't personal!) It is! It is personal!||„|
|~ Hector to Juan Bolsa, his last spoken words before his crippling stroke.|
Hector Salamanca is one of the two overarching antagonists (alongside Don Eladio) of Breaking Bad and the secondary antagonist of its prequel series Better Call Saul.
In Breaking Bad, he served as a supporting antagonist in Seasons 2 and 3, and a major character for Season 4. In Better Call Saul, he served as one of the two main antagonists (alongside Charles McGill) of Seasons 2 and 3, a supporting antagonist in Season 4 and a minor antagonist in Season 5.
He is a ruthless drug kingpin, the former right-hand man and enforcer of Don Eladio, and the arch-enemy of Gustavo Fring. Hector groomed his many nephews as his successors. In 2003, he is rendered paralyzed and unable to speak following a stroke caused by empty pills sneakily given to him by Nacho Varga.
He is identified by the DEA as Hector Salamanca of the Juarez Cartel. They know that he is an ex-con and an uncle to meth kingpin Tuco Salamanca, but they think he hasn't been a major player in the business for years. Hector also mentored Marco and Leonel.
He is paralyzed and unable to speak as a result of a stroke (portrayed in Better Call Saul), and uses a brass service bell taped onto his wheelchair armrest to communicate. Generally, one bell means "yes", zero bells means "no", but sometimes Hector is able to get his message across with a flurry of bell rings and the expression on his face. It is apparent, based on his facial tics, that he has tardive dyskinesia, which can be a result of heavy or prolonged antipsychotic use (sometimes used as a sedative); he has not yet developed this condition by the time he is introduced in Season 2.
Despite his infirmity, he was a high-ranking member of the Juárez Cartel and was referred to as "Don Salamanca" by contemporary cartel leaders like Juan Bolsa. He is the most feared of the Dons and was the patriarch of the Salamanca family. When his nephews were children, he taught them brutal life lessons such as "family is all" by nearly drowning Marco until Leonel punched him in the face.
However, as his remaining male family members all predeceased him, it appears that the Salamanca name died along with him.
A flashback revealed that he was working for cartel patriarch Don Eladio at the time Gus Fring made an overture toward the cartel. At the time, he disparaged Gus as "the Chicken Man" and a "dirty South American." He executed Gus' business partner (and implied lover) Max right in front of him, igniting a decades-long feud between the two men. After Hector's paralysis, Gus regularly visits his nursing home to taunt him with news of his progress in eliminating the cartel.
Better Call Saul
Hector meets Mike Ehrmantraut at a diner, after Tuco is arrested for assaulting Mike. Hector tries to bribe Mike into lying to the police that the gun that Tuco dropped was Mike’s. When Mike says no, Hector sends Marco and Leonel to threaten Mike's granddaughter Kaylee. After that, Mike agrees to the offer but demands more money, to which Hector agrees.
Mike robs one of Hector’s trucks of $80,000. When Hector arrives to the scene he has a samarite killed for no apparent reason. When Mike finds out that Hector killed an innocent person because of him, Mike plans to assassinate Hector, but is stopped by Gus, who tells Mike that "a bullet in [Hector's] head would be far too humane".
Hector wants a new front for transporting his drugs after confronting Gus for not having enough space in his Los Pollos trucks, so he asks Nacho Varga to talk to his father Manuel about letting Hector own his car upholstery shop to transport his drugs via the distributors trucks. Nacho asks Hector to leave his father out of the business as he is an ordinary man and does not want him to get involved with any criminal activities. But Hector asks him to do it anyway.
After visiting Manuel’s shop and being told to get out. He tells Nacho that he doesn’t trust his father, making Nacho desperate to have Hector killed. Nacho replaces Hectors heart medication pills with ibuprofen that has no effect.
When Hector is met by Juan Bolsa and Gus who tries to explain that the Cartel will only be transporting their products via the Los Pollos trucks and not by Hector's new way, Hector gets mad for thinking that the Cartel starts to lose respect for him and his family. This causes him to suffer a massive stroke, leaving him crippled.
After crossing the border into New Mexico, the Cousins seek out their Tio in his Albuquerque-area nursing home. Familiar with the routine, the cousins procure a Ouija board from a pile of board games and Hector uses his bell to spell out the letters of the real name of the meth cook the cartel knows only as Heisenberg, the man that killed their cousin Tuco. The Cousins move to Walt's house to execute him immediately, but are called off by a last second text message: "Pollos"
Following this incident, Bolsa arranges a meeting between Gus, Hector, the Cousins and himself. Juan is clearly uncomfortable in the same room with Hector and his family, and it is only due to Hector's ill health that he agreed to mediate. He explains to Gus that Don Salamanca saw Tuco as a son and groomed him to take his place in the organization, and that Walt's betrayal of Tuco has earned him a death sentence sanctioned by the Salamanca family and the Cartel—an assertion Hector emphasizes with one ring of his bell. When Gus says that he needs Walt alive for the time being, Hector angrily rings his bell many times.
In Mexico, Gus murders all the major members of the cartel with poisoned tequila. After returning to New Mexico, Gus takes Jesse to meet Hector so they can tell him what has taken place: Don Eladio and all the others are dead. Gus also tells him that Jesse killed Joaquin, Hector's grandson and the last remaining male member of the Salamanca family. Gus dangles Don Eladio's amulet necklace in Hector's face and says "look at me!" When Hector refuses, Gus places the necklace in Hector's shirt pocket.
In the season finale, Walt convinces Hector to help him kill Gus. Hector demands to talk to the DEA, but provides them no info. However, the fact that Hector visited the DEA at all prompts a visit from Gus and his henchman, Tyrus, to Hector's room at the nursing home. Gus is about to inject Hector with a lethal medication when Hector finally looks at Gus and rings his bell repeatedly, triggering the explosion of the pipe bomb attached to his wheelchair, killing everyone in the room.
- Max Arciniega - Shot in the head on Don Eladio's orders.
- Unnamed Good Samaritan - Shot in the face off-screen, mentioned.
- Ximenez Lecerda - Shot by The Cousins on Hector’s orders.
- Unnamed Hotel Owner - Tortured and burned alive off-screen, mentioned.
- Gus Fring - Blown up with a pipe bomb to avenge the death of his family and friends.
- Tyrus Kitt - Blown up along with Gus.
- He was originally supposed to be the main antagonist of Breaking Bad's third season.
- He eventually becomes one of the two main antagonists for Better Call Saul's second and third seasons.
- Hector Salamanca - Breaking Bad Wiki.