Two days ago, TIME columnist James Poniewozik wrote a blog entry where he asked his readers what Walter White (Bryan Cranston) on Breaking Bad deserves. Considering the fact that the current fifth (and last) season of the show starts today, the time has come to sum up what Walter’s been through and how his journey is going to end. Poniewozik is correct to note that it cannot end on a happy note; our hero’s too far gone. As on The Sopranos and The Shield, the troubled, murderous protagonist needs to face justice in one way or the other.
Reading that blog, I just felt that I should add a few other shows that face the same conundrum. Dexter begins its seventh season on September 30th and will end after the eighth. Ever since the first season, we’ve been wondering about the serial killer’s final moments. How will the showrunners end his days? Will they allow him to escape justice (which I think would be a cowardly decision)? Or will he face trial and the death chamber?
And then there’s Boss. The show, which is a prioritized project for Starz, begins its second season on August 17. Kelsey Grammer plays a Chicago mayor doing pretty much what the nation expects from a Chicago mayor – talking about Democratic values and ideals while engaging in blackmail, corruption and murder when no one is watching. At the same time, this mayor also suffers from a severe degenerative disease that could incapacitate him permanently. I have no idea when Boss will end its run, but the question is how Grammer’s character will leave audiences. A crippled wreck? Murdered? Anything is possible… but it won’t be pretty.
You want a notable exception? Well, Damages started its fifth and last season a few days ago. The trailer has bad news for Rose Byrne’s character… which could mean that Glenn Close’s evil hotshot attorney Patty Hewes gets away with murder.