50 best television shows set across the United States

32 of 52

New Mexico: Breaking Bad

The premise: Another installment in epic television dramas, Breaking Bad tells the story of a middle-class chemistry teacher who gets diagnosed with lung cancer and turns to drug distribution to help pay his medical expenses.

Bryan Cranston plays Walter White, and throughout the run of the series, he transforms from a mild-mannered family man into a dangerous, and possibly sociopathic, drug lord. He is unafraid to hurt the ones he loves to maintain his power and authority over his territory.

The setting: Famously set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the town and desert setting became very important to Walt’s transformation. Not typically considered a major crime hub, it seemed a neutral and bland location to install a crime boss. This quickly became a metaphor for Walt and his march into the world of evil villainy.

As Walt changed, the show’s use of the landscape and location did as well, evolving into a scary adversary, at times, with which Walt must continually grapple.

The most New Mexico thing about it: The show using sweeping, wide shots to establish place and how the characters fit into it. Early on in the series, Walt drives into the desert in an RV, and calamity happens. Later, much more adeptly, he uses the desert as a dumping ground and cover up for some of his illicit behaviors.