Breaking Bad is at the center of a new political debate.
Two statues of Breaking Bad characters Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) were erected at the Albuquerque Convention Center in New Mexico on July 29, according to Variety. However, one of the state's leaders doesn't fully understand the reason for having these sculptured figures on public display.
At the statues' unveiling, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan said he understood that not everyone would be a fan of the statues, considering the fictional characters are infamous meth dealers who operated in New Mexico.
"In all seriousness, no doubt some folks are going to say, ‘Wow, just what our city needed.' And I get that," he said, according to Variety. "I see two of the finest actors America has ever produced. I see them, in character, as two larger-than-life tragic figures, cautionary tales."
New Mexico State Representative Rod Montoya is now sounding off on the topic, telling Fox News on Aug. 15, "I'm glad New Mexico got the business, but really?.. We're going down the road of literally glorifying meth makers?"
As far as what Albuquerque's mayor Tim Keller has to say about all this? He supports the statues and noted the positive economic impact the show has had on the city.
"While the stories might be fictional… jobs are real every single day," he said at the unveiling, according to Variety. "The city is also a character… We see ourselves in so many ways, good and bad."
Sculpted by artist Trevor Grove, the figures depict Cranston's Walter White—a New Mexico-based high school science teacher who becomes a crystal meth cook and White's former-student-turned-business-partner Jesse.
"I was so touched by the very kind words from Vince," Grove said on Facebook on July 29 after the unveiling. He'd previously noted, "What a privilege to be chosen as the artist to help bring Vince's vision to fruition! I'm so grateful for the belief in my ability and enthusiastic support that I received from these terrific creators throughout the entire process. Their stellar work on these shows is a reflection of their quality of character, and an example for all creators to follow."
The statues were commissioned in 2019 by Sony Pictures Television, according to Collider.
To learn more about these characters, you can watch Breaking Bad on Netflix.