Breaking Bad: Why Marie Steals (& What It Really Means)

Throughout Breaking Bad, Marie Schrader had a problem with shoplifting, but the reasons behind her kleptomania went much deeper. Betsy Brandt played Marie for all five seasons of the AMC series. Marie was the wife of DEA agent Hank Schrader (Dean Norris), and the sister of Skyler (Anna Gunn), making her the sister-in-law to drug kingpin, Walter White (Bryan Cranston). Although she often put herself on a pedestal, Marie had plenty of her own struggles that she tried to hide.

Marie was a bit controlling when it came to her family ,but she was also deeply loyal. She tried to be the perfect wife to Hank while also telling Skyler how she should run her own household. Marie worked as a radiology technologist, but her career was never a main focus of the series. Instead, Marie served as a supportive figure in Hank’s line of work, particularly after he was shot and bedridden. When Marie encountered high levels of stress in her life, her kleptomania always returned.

Due to her overbearing personality, Marie had problems with control. She clearly had obsessive-compulsive tendencies that manifested in her kleptomania. In Breaking Bad season 1, Marie attended Skyler’s baby shower and gifted her a white gold tiara for her unborn daughter. Skyler later learned that Marie had stolen the tiara after trying to return it to the store, but Marie denied it, causing tension among the sisters. It was then revealed that Marie was seeing a therapist for her shoplifting. The problem seemed to go away until season 4, when she began stealing items from real-estate open houses. But Marie’s kleptomania was never about the objects themselves.

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Marie’s Kleptomania Had A Deeper Meaning In Breaking Bad

Even though Marie seemed to have it all, she carried a feeling of emptiness at times. When Hank became bitter towards her or she was going through something, she turned to her old shoplifting ways. It seemed to fill some kind of void in her life. Maybe it was the thrill of committing a crime while her husband was in law enforcement, or going against what she preached. Either way, there was a pattern to Marie’s stealing and she eventually attracted enough attention for Hank to step in and stop it.

The moral integrity of the main characters was also a major focus of Breaking Bad. While Walt was the central character due to his illegal actions, many of the other figures partook in questionable actions. Marie was always so quick to judge others while she too had her own secrets. She hid her kleptomania but never hesitated in shaming other characters, especially her sister. This was a way of demonstrating that all members of the series had questionable morals, even if some were far worse than others. Marie’s judgment of Walt was eventually justified after his actions wound up killing Hank. If Marie spiraled following her husband’s death, it would have been interesting to learn whether she went back to shoplifting.

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