Vince Gilligan
Vince Gilligan by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
Gilligan at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con
George Vincent Gilligan Jr.

(1967-02-10) February 10, 1967 (age 56)
Alma mater New York University (BFA)
  • Writer
  • producer
  • director
Years active1992–present
Holly Rice
(m. 1991)
AwardsFull list

George Vincent Gilligan Jr. (born February 10, 1967)[2] is an American writer, producer, and director. He is known for his television work, specifically as creator, head writer, executive producer, and director of AMC's Breaking Bad (2008–2013) and its spin-off prequel series' Better Call Saul (2015–2022). He was a writer and producer for The X-Files (1993–2002; 2016–2018) and was the co-creator of its spin-off, The Lone Gunmen (2001).

Gilligan has won four Primetime Emmy Awards, six Writers Guild of America Awards, two Critics' Choice Television Awards, two Producers Guild of America Awards, a Directors Guild of America Award, and a BAFTA Television Award. Outside of television, he co-wrote the screenplay for the 2008 film Hancock and wrote, produced and directed the Breaking Bad sequel film, El Camino, released on October 11, 2019.

Early life

Vince Gilligan was born on February 10, 1967, in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Gail, a grade school teacher, and George Vincent Gilligan Sr., an insurance claims adjuster.[3] His parents divorced in 1974. He and his younger brother, Patrick, were raised in Farmville and Chesterfield County, and attended J.P. Wynne Campus School, the laboratory school run by Longwood College, where his mother also taught; Gilligan would later use the name J.P. Wynne for the fictional high school where Walter White teaches in Breaking Bad.[2][4][5]

Growing up, Gilligan became best friends with future film editor and film title designer Angus Wall. His interest in film began when Wall's mother, Jackie, who also taught alongside Gilligan's mother at J.P. Wynne, would lend her Super 8 film cameras to him. He used the camera to make science fiction films with Patrick.[6]

One of his first films was entitled Space Wreck, starring his brother in the lead role. One year later, he won first prize for his age group in a film competition at the University of Virginia.[2] Jackie would take Wall and Gilligan to Richmond and drop them off at Cloverleaf Mall to see films, and encourage both of them to pursue a career in the arts. "I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for Jackie. She was a wonderful lady and a real inspiration," he recalls.[6]

Gilligan was recognized for his talents and creativity at an early age. George Sr. described him as a "kind of a studious-type young man, and he liked to read, and he had a vivid imagination". He introduced Gilligan to film noir classics, as well as John Wayne and Clint Eastwood Westerns on late-night television.[6] Gilligan won a scholarship to attend the prestigious Interlochen Center for the Arts. After eighth grade, he moved back to Chesterfield to attend Lloyd C. Bird High School.[2]


After graduating from Lloyd C. Bird High School in 1985, Gilligan went on to attend NYU's Tisch School of the Arts on a scholarship, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in film production.[7] While at NYU, he wrote the screenplay for Home Fries; Gilligan received the Virginia Governor's Screenwriting Award in 1989 for the screenplay which was later turned into a film.[4] One of the judges of the competition was Mark Johnson, a film producer. He was impressed by Gilligan, saying he "was the most imaginative writer I'd ever read".[6]


The X-Files and The Lone Gunmen

Main article: The X-Files (franchise)

Gilligan's big break came when he joined the Fox television drama The X-Files. Gilligan was a fan of the show, and submitted a script to Fox which became the second-season episode "Soft Light".[8] He went on to write 29 more episodes, in addition to being co-executive producer of 44 episodes, executive producer of 40, co-producer of 24, and supervising producer of 20. He also co-created and became executive producer of The X-Files spin-off series The Lone Gunmen. The series only ran for one season of 13 episodes.

Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul

Main articles: Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul

Gilligan in 2010
Gilligan in 2010

Gilligan created, wrote, directed, and produced the AMC drama series Breaking Bad. He created the series with the premise that the hero would become the villain. "Television is historically good at keeping its characters in a self-imposed stasis so that shows can go on for years or even decades," he said. "When I realized this, the logical next step was to think, how can I do a show in which the fundamental drive is toward change?"[9] He added that his goal with Walter White was to turn him from "Mr. Chips into Scarface".[10] While pitching the show to studios, Gilligan was initially discouraged when he learned of the existing series Weeds and its similarities to the premise of Breaking Bad. While his producers convinced him that the show was different enough to still be successful, he later stated that he would not have gone forward with the idea had he known about Weeds earlier.[11]

Breaking Bad received widespread critical acclaim and has been praised by many critics as being among the greatest television dramas of all time.[9] Gilligan has been awarded numerous times for writing, directing, and producing the series. The Writers Guild of America has awarded him four times in straight succession, from 2012 to 2014; three as a part of the Breaking Bad writing team and one individually for writing the episode "Box Cutter".[12][13][14] He also received two Primetime Emmys in 2013 and 2014 for producing the show. In 2014, he won the Directors Guild of America Award for directing the finale of Breaking Bad, "Felina".[15]

In September 2013, Sony Pictures Television announced a deal with AMC to produce a Breaking Bad spin-off prequel entitled Better Call Saul, to focus on character Saul Goodman from the original series, before he became Walter White's lawyer, and to star Bob Odenkirk reprising his role as the title character.[16] Gilligan co-created the series with Breaking Bad writer Peter Gould, with both of them acting as showrunners. The first episode, which Gilligan directed and co-wrote, premiered on February 8, 2015.[17] He would leave the Better Call Saul writing staff early in the third season to focus on other projects, resulting in Gould becoming sole showrunner. This transition had been planned since the show's debut.[18] Gilligan remained involved in Better Call Saul's production in a reduced role, directing episodes in the fourth and fifth seasons, before returning to the writers room in the sixth.[19][20][21]

In July 2018, it was announced that Gilligan had agreed to stay with Sony TV on a new three-year deal.[22] His deal via his High Bridge Productions company was renewed more recently.[23]

Gilligan quietly developed the script for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, which wraps up the story of Jesse Pinkman following the events of "Felina", Breaking Bad's finale, ahead of the show's tenth anniversary. Gilligan subsequently led its direction and filming. The movie was released in a limited theatric screening and on Netflix in October 2019.[24]

Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, and El Camino, along with various short-form web series associated with these series, have been described informally by the shows' staff and fans as the "Gilliverse".[25]

Following the broadcast run of Better Call Saul, Gilligan said he does not plan to create any more works related to Breaking Bad,[26] but instead was working towards a new show, a science fiction genre piece that has been compared to The X-Files and The Twilight Zone.[27] The yet to be titled show received a two-season order from Apple TV+ in September 2022, with confirmation that Rhea Seehorn, who played Kim Wexler on Better Call Saul, would be in a starring role.[28]

Other work

Gilligan first had a screenplay produced in 1993 for the romantic comedy film Wilder Napalm. While working on The X-Files, one of Gilligan's early screenplays was produced as a film, Home Fries, which starred Drew Barrymore and Luke Wilson.[29] Gilligan was hired by The X-Files creator Chris Carter to be a consulting producer on his new series Harsh Realm. After The X-Files, Gilligan wrote three episodes of the short lived police procedural series Robbery Homicide Division and an episode of the ABC series Night Stalker. In 2007, Gilligan and fellow The X-Files producer Frank Spotnitz wrote a sci-fi pilot entitled A.M.P.E.D., which was not picked up for a full series. He also rewrote the screenplay for the 2008 Will Smith film Hancock, which was originally written by Vincent Ngo.[30]

Gilligan made his acting debut in 2014 in "VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing", the ninth episode of the fifth season of NBC's comedy series Community. He plays a cheesy actor hosting "Pile of Bullets", a fictional 1990s VCR-based video game.[31] In September 2013, Sony announced that it struck a deal with CBS to produce a new television series created by Gilligan and David Shore entitled Battle Creek. Based on a script written by Gilligan ten years prior, the show follows the partnership of two police detectives who must compete with a seemingly-perfect FBI agent. Gilligan co-wrote the first episode with Shore, the showrunner of the series.[32] CBS ordered thirteen episodes and the series aired on CBS starting March 1, 2015.[33] CBS decided not to renew the series for a second season.[34]

Personal life

Gilligan has been with his wife, Holly Rice, since 1991.[3] In an interview in 2011, Gilligan's mother stated that he was raised in the Catholic Church, but he said "I'm pretty much agnostic at this point in my life. But I find atheism just as hard to get my head around as I find fundamental Christianity. Because if there is no such thing as cosmic justice, what is the point of being good?"[35]

He further stated his philosophy as: "I feel some sort of need for biblical atonement, or justice, or something. I like to believe there is some comeuppance, that karma kicks in at some point, even if it takes years or decades to happen. My girlfriend says this great thing that's become my philosophy as well. 'I want to believe there's a heaven. But I can't not believe there's a hell.'"[35]


Gilligan and Aaron Paul at the 36th Saturn Awards on June 24, 2010
Gilligan and Aaron Paul at the 36th Saturn Awards on June 24, 2010


Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1993 Wilder Napalm No Yes No
1998 Home Fries No Yes No
2008 Hancock No Yes No Co-written with Vincent Ngo
2019 El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie Yes Yes Yes


Year Title Creator Director Writer Executive producer Notes
1995–2002 The X-Files No Yes Yes Yes Also creative consultant, consulting producer, co-executive producer and co-producer
1999–2000 Harsh Realm No No No Consulting
2001 The Lone Gunmen Yes No Yes Yes Co-created with Chris Carter, John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
2002 Robbery Homicide Division No No Yes No
2005 The Night Stalker No No Yes No
2007 A.M.P.E.D. Yes No Yes Yes Pilot
Co-written with Frank Spotnitz
2008–2013 Breaking Bad Yes Yes Yes Yes
2015–2022 Better Call Saul Yes Yes Yes Yes Co-created with Peter Gould
2015 Battle Creek Yes No Yes Yes Co-created with David Shore


Year Show Season Episode Episode number Original airdate Notes
1995 The X-Files 2 "Soft Light" 23 May 5, 1995
1996 3 "Pusher" 17 February 23, 1996
4 "Unruhe" 4 October 27, 1996
"Paper Hearts" 10 December 15, 1996
1997 "Leonard Betts" 12 January 26, 1997 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
"Memento Mori" 14 February 9, 1997 Co-written with Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz and John Shiban
"Small Potatoes" 20 April 20, 1997
5 "Unusual Suspects" 3 November 16, 1997
"Christmas Carol" 6 December 7, 1997 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
"Emily" 7 December 14, 1997 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
1998 "Kitsunegari" 8 January 4, 1998 Co-written with Tim Minear
"Bad Blood" 12 February 22, 1998
"Folie a Deux" 19 May 10, 1998
6 "Drive" 2 November 15, 1998
"Dreamland" 4 November 29, 1998 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
"Dreamland II" 5 December 6, 1998 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
1999 "Tithonus" 10 January 24, 1999
"Monday" 14 February 28, 1999 Co-written with John Shiban
"Three of a Kind" 20 May 2, 1999 Co-written with John Shiban
"Field Trip" 21 May 9, 1999 Teleplay co-written with John Shiban (story by Frank Spotnitz)
7 "Hungry" 3 November 21, 1999
"Millennium" 4 November 28, 1999 Co-written with Frank Spotnitz
2000 "The Amazing Maleeni" 8 January 16, 2000 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
"X-Cops" 12 February 20, 2000
"Theef" 14 March 12, 2000 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
"Je Souhaite" 21 May 14, 2000 Also directed
8 "Roadrunners" 4 November 26, 2000
2001 The Lone Gunmen 1 "Pilot" 1 March 4, 2001 Co-written with Chris Carter, John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
"Bond, Jimmy Bond" 2 March 11, 2001 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
"Planet of the Frohikes" 7 April 6, 2001
"Maximum Byers" 8 April 13, 2001 Co-written with Frank Spotnitz
"All About Yves" 12 May 11, 2001 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
"The Cap'n Toby Show" 13 June 1, 2001 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
2002 The X-Files 9 "John Doe" 7 January 13, 2002
"Jump the Shark" 15 April 21, 2002 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
"Sunshine Days" 18 May 12, 2002 Also directed
Robbery Homicide Division 1 "Free and Clear" 4 November 30, 2002 Co-written with Frank Spotnitz
"City of Strivers" 7 November 8, 2002
"Life is Dust" 9 November 30, 2002 Teleplay co-written with Todd A. Kessler and Sean Jablonski (story by Michael Mann)
2005 Night Stalker 1 "What's the Frequency, Kolchak?" 10 March 17, 2006
2007 A.M.P.E.D. Pilot Co-written with Frank Spotnitz
2008 Breaking Bad 1 "Pilot" 1 January 20, 2008 Also directed
"Cat's in the Bag..." 2 January 27, 2008
"...And the Bag's in the River" 3 February 10, 2008
"Cancer Man" 4 February 17, 2008
2009 2 "Peekaboo" 6 April 12, 2009 Co-written with J. Roberts
"ABQ" 13 May 31, 2009
2010 3 "No Mas" 1 March 21, 2010
"Full Measure" 13 June 13, 2010 Also directed
2011 4 "Box Cutter" 1 July 17, 2011
"End Times" 12 October 2, 2011 Director only
"Face Off" 13 October 9, 2011 Also directed
2012 5 "Live Free or Die" 1 July 15, 2012
"Madrigal" 2 July 22, 2012
2013 "Felina" 16 September 29, 2013 Also directed
2015 Battle Creek 1 "The Battle Creek Way" 1 March 1, 2015 Co-written with David Shore
Better Call Saul 1 "Uno" 1 February 8, 2015 Also directed
Co-written with Peter Gould
2016 2 "Klick" 10 April 18, 2016 Also directed
Co-written with Heather Marion
2017 3 "Mabel" 1 April 10, 2017 Also directed
Co-written with Peter Gould
"Witness" 2 April 17, 2017 Director only
2018 4 "Wiedersehen" 9 October 1, 2018 Director only
2020 5 "Bagman" 8 April 6, 2020 Director only
2022 6 "Carrot and Stick" 2 April 18, 2022 Director only
"Point and Shoot" 8 July 11, 2022 Director only
"Waterworks" 12 August 8, 2022 Also directed


Year Title Role Notes
2014 Community Devon / Pile of Bullets' Host Episode: "VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing"
2015 Comedy Bang! Bang! The Commissioner Episode: "Lil Jon Wears a Baseball Cap and Sunglasses"
2017 Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero Axalon (voice) Episode: "Mr. Rippen"
2018 American Dad! Himself (voice) Episode: "(You Gotta) Strike for Your Right"
2019 What Just Happened??! with Fred Savage Himself Episode: “Spoiler”

Awards and nominations

See also: List of awards and nominations received by Vince Gilligan


  1. ^ Broadbent, Eric (August 5, 2022). "Inside The Gilliverse - S3E15 Vince Gilligan & Peter Gould - Concluding BCS". YouTube (Podcast). Event occurs at 10:47. Retrieved August 7, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d McConnell, Jim. "Our Man in Hollywood". Chesterfield Monthly. Archived from the original on September 26, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Segal, David (July 6, 2011). "The Dark Art of 'Breaking Bad'". The New York Times. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Breaking Bad Biography" AMC June 29, 2013
  5. ^ "Breaking Bad" Creator Vince Gilligan Congratulates Longwood University on YouTube
  6. ^ a b c d Foster, Richard (July 2011). "Bad Man". Richmond Magazine. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  7. ^ "Biography at Mahalo" November 25, 2009.
  8. ^ Lowry, Brian (1995). The Truth is Out There: The Official Guide to the X-Files. Harper Prism. pp. 219–221. ISBN 0-06-105330-9.
  9. ^ a b Klosterman, Chuck (July 12, 2011). "Bad Decisions". Grantland. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  10. ^ Bowles, Scott (July 13, 2011). "'Breaking Bad' Shows Man at His Worst in Season 4". USA Today. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  11. ^ "Vince Gilligan Talks 'Breaking Bad' Beginnings, 'Weeds'". Huffington Post. July 17, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
  12. ^ "2012 Writers Guild Awards Winners Announced". Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  13. ^ "2013 WGA Awards Winners Complete List". February 18, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  14. ^ "WGA Awards 2014 Winners Complete List". Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  15. ^ "66th Annual DGA Awards". Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  16. ^ Arons, Rachel (September 12, 2013). "Better Call Saul! Breaking Bad's Spinoff Series". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  17. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (February 9, 2015). "'The Walking Dead' Returns to 15.6 Million Viewers + 'Better Call Saul' is Biggest Series Premiere in Cable History". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on February 10, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  18. ^ Birnbaum, Debra (April 5, 2017). "'Better Call Saul's' 'Breaking' Point: How It's Gearing Up for Gus Fring". Variety. Archived from the original on July 22, 2020. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  19. ^ Grant, Drew (October 4, 2018). "'Better Call Saul' 4x9 Recap: So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu". Forbes. New York, NY. Archived from the original on February 19, 2022. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  20. ^ Schneider, Michael (April 6, 2020). "'Better Call Saul' Co-Creator Vince Gilligan on Directing the Most Challenging Episode of His Career". Variety. Archived from the original on April 7, 2020. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  21. ^ Schneider, Michael (April 21, 2020). "Better Call Saul Co-Creator Peter Gould on That Explosive Season Finale and How Kim May Be Breaking Bad". Variety. Archived from the original on April 22, 2020. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  22. ^ "'Breaking Bad' Creator Vince Gilligan Staying at Sony TV With New Three-Year Deal". July 16, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  23. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 12, 2021). "Vince Gilligan Inks New Four-Year Overall Deal With Sony Pictures Television". Deadline. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  24. ^ Farokhmanesh, Megan (November 7, 2018). "Vince Gilligan is writing a Breaking Bad sequel film starring Aaron Paul". The Verge. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
  25. ^ Grobar, Matt (August 18, 2020). "'Better Call Saul' EP Melissa Bernstein On 'Legal Ethics' Short-Form Series, "Sewing Up" Saul Goodman's Story & Getting "Complicated Show" Back On Set Amidst Pandemic". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 21, 2022.
  26. ^ White, Peter (August 10, 2022). "Vince Gilligan Says 'Better Call Saul' Will Be Last Show In 'Breaking Bad' Universe: "You Can't Keep Putting All Your Money On Red 21" – TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 10, 2022.
  27. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (August 10, 2022). "Vince Gilligan Prepping New Series; 'Better Call Saul' Followup About To Hit TV Marketplace With A Bang". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 10, 2022.
  28. ^ "Vince Gilligan's Next Series Starring Rhea Seehorn Lands at Apple TV+ with Two-Season Order". September 22, 2022.
  29. ^ Boone, Christopher (October 28, 2013). "Vince Gilligan: From Breaking In to 'Breaking Bad' at the 20th Austin Film Festival". No Film School. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  30. ^ Cieply, Michael (May 4, 2008). "A Man of Steel With Feet of Clay". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2008.
  31. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (March 12, 2014). "'Breaking Bad' Creator Vince Gilligan's Next Project: An Appearance on 'Community'". ArtsBeat. The New York Times. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  32. ^ Carter, Bill (September 25, 2013). "'Breaking Bad' Creator Gilligan in Deal for CBS Show, 'Battle Creek'". The New York Times. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  33. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (December 5, 2014). "CBS Announces March Premiere Dates for 'Battle Creek' and 'CSI: Cyber'". Archived from the original on December 17, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  34. ^ "CBS Cancels Vince Gilligan's 'Battle Creek,' 'Stalker'". The Hollywood Reporter. May 8, 2015.
  35. ^ a b Segal, David (July 6, 2011). "The Dark Art of 'Breaking Bad'". The New York Times.