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Juan Bolsa is a major antagonist in the AMC crime drama show Breaking Bad and its 2015 prequel Better Call Saul.
He is a high-ranked member of the Juárez Cartel as one of its cofounders along with Don Eladio and Hector Salamanca. He had a partnership with drug kingpin Gustavo Fring for a while before the latter betrayed and had him killed.
Bolsa was one of the three founding members and dons of the Cartel, alongside Eladio and Hector. One day, the three dons arranged a meeting with Gustavo Fring and Max Arciniega, where the two wanted to partner up with the Cartel to sell meth. Eladio, however, felt disrespected by Gus and Max selling meth to his men, so he had Hector kill Max.
When Gus rushed at Hector in anger, Bolsa pinned him down on the floor and, alongside Hector, forced him to look at Max's dead eyes. Eladio explains that Gus is alive only because of his mysterious past in Chile. Despite this, he still allowed Gus to work for the Cartel.
Gus would bring tons of money to the cartel while secretly planning his revenge. Bolsa and Eladio were unaware of this, with Bolsa serving as Gus' boss while Eladio was away in Mexico.
Better Call Saul
Hector and Gus meet at a location. Hector talks with Bolsa through a speakerphone, who explains that Don Eladio is satisfied with the new method of transporting drugs to Mexico and wishes to use Gus' distribution network exclusively. That angered Hector, who smashed the phone, cursed everyone, and took some pills due to his heart problems.
During the season finale, Bolsa arranges a meeting with Gus and Hector. He explains that Don Eladio still wants to only use Gus' network. Hector starts screaming in rage at Bolsa, explaining that his family sacrificed both their money and blood for the Cartel only to be treated like dogs. Bolsa tries to explain that the situation isn't personal, but Hector says that for him, it is personal, before suffering a stroke and taking his pills; soon after, he collapses on the ground and almost die, as Nacho Varga poisoned them previously to kill Hector. Gus tells Bolsa to escape before the law arrives as he performs CPR on Hector, as he doesn't want him to die before he executes his revenge plan.
Bolsa sets up a new meeting and explains that while Hector suffered a stroke, the Salamancas will still keep their territory. Gus tells Bolsa that he thinks someone will start a drug war with the Salamancas and cause the DEA to interfere. After Gus injures Nacho and kills Arturod after an ambush since he deduced Nacho's plans and wanted to keep Hector alive, Bolsa and Gus agree to run dummy loads over the border until they identify the culprit. He also tells Gus he should find a supplier north of the border.
Bolsa and Lalo Salamanca talk to Gus about some altered cocaine the latter found, then switch to Werner Ziegler. Gus falsely admits he replaced some cocaine with meth after Werner stole it and had the two shown the superlab while claiming it's an industrial chiller. Bolsa warns Gus that Don Eladio is not pleased, advising him not to keep secrets. Bolsa and Lalo then leave, before Bolsa berates Lalo for burning down a building with a man inside, causing unnecessary attention. When Lalo suggests that Gus might be vengeful towards Max's death, Bolsa shuts it down and says that Gus is only about business and doesn't take things personally.
Later on, Bolsa would attempt to prevent Lalo from getting bailed to help Gus. Unbeknown to him, Gus wished to set Lalo free so he could send mercenaries to his home and deal with him permanently. He would set up an ambush for Saul Goodman, a crooked lawyer tasked to carry Lalo's bail money. He hired a team of Colombian mercenaries to steal the bail money he transported (worth $7 million), to no avail as Mike Ehrmantraut, Gus' right-hand, killed the gunmen just as they were about to retrieve the money and kill Saul. A few days after, Goodman brought the bail money as ordered, freeing Lalo.
After a secret meeting with the DEA, Bolsa confronts Tortuga at a Mexican bar. Bolsa comes in looking for Tortuga, sarcastically complimenting him (though Tortuga, quite drunk, doesn't realize his sarcasm). After promising him a gift, Tortuga follows Juan to the back, and Bolsa tells him the tortoise on the ground is his gift. Tortuga is enthusiastic about his present until Bolsa signs it with the words "Hola DEA" ("Hello DEA") on the shell, making it clear that he knows Tortuga is a DEA informant. Seconds after, The Cousins, on the orders of Bolsa, enter the room and swiftly decapitate Tortuga as punishment for his betrayal.
Later in the season, Juan Bolsa arranges a grand meeting between himself, Hector, the Cousins, and Gus Fring. He tells Gus he will urge the Salamanca family to stay patient. He also warns Gus that he risks losing the cartel's favors if Gus doesn't conclude his business with Heisenberg quickly and that he cannot guarantee the Cousins will listen to reason to Bolsa any longer. Gus finds a compromise and allows the Cousins to go after Walter's DEA brother-in-law Hank Schrader.
After the ambush on Hank leaves one Cousin dead and another in the hospital, Bolsa is confined to his home as Mexican federal agents are watching Bolsa closely due to pressure from the American government and the attack on the DEA agent's life. He suspects Gus of having warned Hank but fails to understand why. He promises that he will get the surviving Cousin, Leonel, the best lawyer possible he can.
But before Bolsa could get any evidence on Gus, Mike Ehrmantraut poisons the surviving cousin on Gus' orders to avoid Leonel telling Bolsa that it was Gus that allowed them to go after Hank. Later, Bolsa rings Gus to inform him about the second Cousins death and that he speculates that Gus is connected to his death. Before Bolsa could finish the conversation with Gus over the phone, his hacienda was raided by Mexican Federal Police, killing both of Bolsa's bodyguards. Before he could escape, two officers gunned him down as he reached the front door. Gus hears his brutal death on the phone, smiling evilly as his plan to dismantle the Cartel comes more and more to fruition.
Juan Bolsa is seen during a flashback, where he's present during Max's execution.
Bolsa is a cold, no-nonsense drug kingpin, only focused on earning as much money as he can through the sale of various drugs, namely methamphetamine. While not as petty as Don Eladio, nor as sadistic as Hector Salamanca, Bolsa can enact brutal punishments on those who betray the Cartel, such as ordering the Cousins to decapitate Tortuga for talking to the DEA. His attitude towards betrayal veers towards hypocrisy, as he himself betrays the Salamanca by attempting to sabotage Lalo's bail, in an attempt to strengthen his business relationship with Gus. Thus, Bolsa is mostly self-serving and opportunistic, though he would never betray Eladio, even warning Don Hector to maintain a respectful attitude towards Vuente.
Bolsa is also unable to understand why Gus would sabotage his relationship with the cartel, even though Lalo warned him that Gus would sooner or later avenge Max's death by destroying the cartel. As a result of his lack of empathy and over-confidence, Bolsa is short-sighted and particularly gullible.
Bolsa is also quite prideful and arrogant. Upon deducing Gus' true intends, he had a hard time concealing his contempt towards the Chilean, boasting that the police will protect him, even though his fate was sealed minutes ago, with the Mexican Federales raiding his hacienda and killing him.