Law journal publishes special issue examining ‘Breaking Bad’


ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Die-hard fans of “Breaking Bad” may be buying a law journal and have a sudden interest in becoming lawyers. The University of New Mexico Law School’s student-edited journal has published a special issue analyzing legal issues related to the story line of AMC’s “Breaking Bad.”

Matthew Zidovsky, editor-in-chief of the New Mexico Law Review, said, “‘Breaking Bad’ was a natural for the New Mexico Law Review to tackle. The show was set here in New Mexico. It utilized a lot of the backdrop of New Mexico including some of the legal and social issues our community deals with.”Eight articles related to legal issues related to “Breaking Bad” appear in the New Mexico Law Review.

“We got to view a wide array of topics and kind of see ‘Breaking Bad’ through the eyes of all these legal scholars around the country,” he said.

Among the eight articles are hypotheticals. What if the feds captured the Albuquerque high school chemistry teacher-turned-drug kingpin Walter White? What if he was tried in a capital punishment trial given his involvement in meth-related deadly crimes? Would a jury give him the death penalty? Attorney Bidish J. Sarma, a teaching fellow at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, authored that article.

“What he concluded was that a jury, in this case viewers, would feel such a close relationship with Walter, based on viewing the series year after year after year, that they would see mitigating circumstances, that would, to a degree, excuse his crimes,” Zidovsky said.

Legal scholars also looked at Skyler White facing justice for knowing her husband’s role in the drug trade.

“She could go away as an accessory for ten years,” Zidovsky said. “This article talks about the inequities of our systems, particularly as it relates to women who get caught up in the legal system purely through the activities of their partners,” he said.

The law review delves into attorney-client privilege issues, examining the defense attorney Saul Goodman, the fictional character who is now featured in AMC’s spin-off series “Better Call Saul.”

Another article addresses the constitutionality of searches, analyzing the DEA’s search of a laundry facility in “Breaking Bad” Season 4, Episode 12.

“Did the laundry manager really give consent? Did he give consent for the full search that the DEA did? These are issues people deal with all the time,” Zidovsky said.

In “Breaking Bad” Season 2, Episode 6, Walter White vents about Gray Matter Technologies, the company white co-founded. “It was my hard work. My research. And you and Elliott made millions off it,” White told his old college chemistry assistant.

“There’s an article focused on business law, and what you should do if you’ve started a business and you’re seeking to leave it, how you can protect yourself,” Zidovsky said. “In this context, the author comes to the conclusion that if Walt had protected his interest in his business Gray Matter, he might never had to become a meth kingpin because he would have been financially secure,” Zidovsky said.

While the jury is still out, it’s likely this special edition law journal will be popular among avid viewers who love “Breaking Bad.”

Zidovsky hopes the articles and essays will fulfill a primary goal. “One of the purposes of the issue was to start a conversation about how media can influence people’s perception of the law and what their rights are and how the legal system works in our society,” he said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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