'Breaking Bad' Showrunner's Secret For Real-Looking Meth: Strawberry Quik

Vince Gilligan
Brigitte Sire

"I’ll come up with something, some bit of dialogue, for instance, and I’ll say, 'Oh, that’s good,'" Gilligan says of second-guessing himself. "And then I’ll get neurotic and freak out and say I must’ve heard that in a movie somewhere."

Breaking Bad will air its fifth and final season beginning July 15, but that doesn’t mean that showrunner Vince Gilligan is completely sure how the show will end -- but he promises that whatever happens, the details will be right.

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Gilligan, who joined fellow drama showrunners Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal), Howard Gordon (Homeland), Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead), Veena Sud (The Killing) and Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire) for The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Emmy roundtables, was the first to admit that he didn’t know exactly how the critically acclaimed series will wrap up.

“With every day we have a little bit clearer picture of how it ends,” he said. “I would like to know more about how it ends, frankly. I would feel more comfortable.”

The show, which stars Bryan Cranston as chemistry teacher turned meth maker Walter White, has been on the air since 2008.

Gilligan also revealed that he sometimes hears from real-life Walter Whites.

“We do hear from the occasional partaker of meth and former cooks,” he said. “I assume they are former. They are impressed with our meth skills.”

He added that the show gets input from the DEA in Los Angeles, Albuquerque and even in Dallas.

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“We have a DEA chemist who oversaw our very first meth-cooking sequence in our RV, back in the pilot. ‘OK, this step here, this is where you detract the blah, blah, blah.’ I asked, ‘What would it look like?’ He said, ‘Sort of like Strawberry Quik.’ So I said, ‘Go get some Strawberry Quik!’ ”

A season later, Gilligan revealed that he got some high praise from members of the DEA.

“Some DEA honchos were in our meth lab and were like: ‘Wow. This is like the real thing,’” he said. “That made me feel good. You take the pleasures where you can find them.”

View THR's drama showrunners roundtable here.