"Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan: I was teary-eyed writing series' last episode

(CBS News) Vince Gilligan set out on a mission to turn a mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher into a murderous drug kingpin on the hit AMC series Gayle and Charlie watch "Breaking Bad" finale
Stars, cast members react to "Breaking Bad" finale

The Emmy-winning drama received a record 10.3 million viewers for the highly anticipated finale, which aired Sunday night.

One of the critically acclaimed lines from the finale is the admission from Walter White the show's protagonist, that "I did it for me." It was a stunning revelation that -- despite what he'd claimed throughout the series -- he engaged in all of his misdeeds for himself -- and not his family as he'd repeatedly claimed.

Gilligan said on "CBS This Morning," "It was a long overdue bit of honesty from Mr. White. I think he was doing it for him all along. And he finally copped to it, which I think was very important to have in that final episode."

Writing the final episode -- and completing it -- was an emotional process for Gilligan who said he got teary-eyed writing the last paragraphs. "It was very emotional," he said, "because that was the last time I was ever going to write that character."

However, the version that aired wasn't the only way the story could have ended. Gilligan said during the early writing processes -- called "breaking the story" -- he and the show's six writers and assistants would figure out "every permutation and possibility" they could imagine.

One of the "Breaking Bad" plot lines featuring Charlie Rose did break through. Gilligan sang the "CBS This Morning" co-host's praises on "CTM": "Well, we all love Mr. Rose, and I have to say (to Rose) you did such a wonderful job. You were just absolutely fantastic. He was, I think, the best person we could have picked to play Charlie Rose."

Watch Gilligan's review of Charlie Rose's performance below.

Turning to the show's themes, Gilligan said the show is about being afraid. He explained, "It's really a story about fear, and living with fear, and learning to live without it.

"And a story about mid-life crisis," he continued. "I was about to turn 40 when I came up with this story six or seven years ago. And I was thinking in those terms. I was thinking about -- what is it to face the middle of your life and have you done enough with your life thus far. And so all of those thoughts and fears perhaps, if you will, informed Mr. White, as I was constructing him."

So what's next for Gilligan? He's currently working on a series he wrote 11 years ago called "Battle Creek" for CBS.

"It should be a lot of fun," he said. "I'm working with the excellent David Shore who created and ran...and made a hit of the excellent TV show 'House' for so many years. He is going to be point man on it and do a great job."

But looking ahead, Gilligan said, isn't without its pep talks. "('Breaking Bad') was lightning in a bottle," he said. "I try to give myself a pep talk every day now. I will say, 'It's OK. You can go on from here. It doesn't have to be the end. It's very likely never going to be as good as this was, but that's OK'."

For more with Gilligan, watch his full "CTM" interview at the top of this article.

  • Amanda Cochran

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