Oklahoma actor does good on 'Breaking Bad'

Norman-based actor Chris Freihofer gets more screen time as corrupt lawyer Dan Wachsberger on AMC's hit series, “Breaking Bad.”
BY GEORGE LANG glang@opubco.com Published: August 8, 2013
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Last year, Chris Freihofer was on the “Breaking Bad” set in Albuquerque, N.M., talking to his friend and fellow actor Charlie Baker, who plays babbling, low-level methamphetamine dealer Skinny Pete on the show.

It was Freihofer's first day of filming on what was supposed to be a single-episode appearance on “Breaking Bad,” one of the most acclaimed television dramas of the past decade, and the Norman-based actor did not want to leave.

But Freihofer said Baker told him the cameras might not stop rolling for him after all on “Breaking Bad,” which returns for the first of its final eight episodes at 8 p.m. Sunday on AMC.

“I've known him for years, and he was like, ‘You never know! I was supposed to do only one episode, so you never know — you might be back!' And I was like, ‘Don't even tell me that kind of stuff.' It was such a great experience that I didn't want to be disappointed,” Freihofer said.

“Then, two weeks later, I got an email from my agent: ‘Check your availability for two more episodes.' I can't explain how excited I was, because it was such an easygoing, nice set. Everybody there was just fantastic.”

Freihofer, who has acted for more than two decades, found out later from “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan that the expansion of his character, corrupt lawyer Dan Wachsberger, was done based on what Gilligan saw from the actor's initial performance.

“We had a wrap/kickoff where he showed the premiere of Season 5 at this big party,” Freihofer said. “I was talking to Vince there, and he said they liked what I did in episode three so they wrote me into a couple more episodes.”

Those episodes included the 2012 finale, a landmark “Breaking Bad” installment in which Walter White, the high school chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin played by Emmy winner Bryan Cranston, protected his power by ordering a series of prison murders. The series of deaths played out like the climactic murders of rival mafia bosses in “The Godfather,” and Freihofer's character was at the center of it all.

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