INTJ Character Analysis: Gustavo Fring

New Image794Over the summer I had way too much time on my hands, so I watched a series that was quite popular a couple years ago called Breaking Bad on Netflix. I was not crazy about all the drama on the show, however I just had to know how it would end so I kept watching. The last few seasons of the show they introduced a fascinating antagonistic character named Gustavo Fring. This character, many people have speculated closely represented the INTJ personality type based on the MBTI personality theory. While I still debate whether the MBTI theory is sound, I can relate to the type as it is described. (Also in evaluating the criticisms of MBTI, I find the arguments easy to categorize into one of many logical fallacies, which really makes me question the educational standards of becoming a journalist these days; in addition to lack of counter-arguments or acknowledgement that the field of psychology as a whole is based on intangible grounds).

Gustavo Fring

Gustavo Fring

Gustavo Fring operates a large drug empire secretly behind a front of legitimate businesses, including an extremely successful fast-food chain and laundry facility. To keep up appearances Gustavo is on the board of directors at a hospital and a huge contributing philanthropist to the Albuquerque Drug Enforcement Agency. In managing his business front Gustavo Fring is charismatic, charming, and very hands on in managing his fast-food chain personally. However, behind that veil of benevolence he is very much darker, ruthless, crude, and dangerous.


The main character of Breaking Bad, Walter White, seeks out Gustavo in order to gain access to his resources and logistical capabilities for methamphetamine. Walter White is a middle-class high school chemistry teacher who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. In order to secure the future of his family before he dies, Walter uses his in depth knowledge of chemistry to manufacture superior methamphetamine.

The past of Gustavo Fring is one of turbulence. He immigrated to Mexico from Chile in 1986 during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet with his friend  Maximino Arciniega. The two opened a chain of restaurants called Los Pollos Hermanos in Mexico and had a plain to use the chain to distribute a drug with rising popularity called methamphetamine. So Gustavo and Maximino Arciniega sought out the help of the Juárez Cartel, the leader of the Juárez Cartel was not impressed by the idea of a methamphetamine start-up over their success with cocaine. So one of the leaders of the Juárez Cartel named Hector Salamanca, kills Maximino as the helpless Gustavo Fring weeps on the ground staring at the lifeless body of his dear friend as blood spills from his fatal head wound into the nearby swimming pool. The cartel then spares  the life of Gustavo and he moves to the United States where he establishes his food chains and drug empire. The experience of losing his friend changes Gustavo forever, pushing him to the more extreme side of the INTJ personality type; ruthless, extreme, and machiavellian. Gustavo builds his empire over the next 20+ years, and plots his revenge against the man who took the life of his friend. This whole backstory adds amazing depth to the character and really draws you in!

Gustavo Fring weeping as he looks at the body of Maximino Arcinega.

Gustavo Fring weeping as he looks at the body of Maximino Arcinega.

At the end of the series Gustavo attends a celebration with the Juárez Cartel to celebrate a new partnership of sorts. At this celebration he presents a bottle of poisoned tequila, everyone pours a shot as the cartel kingpins stare down Gustavo to watch him take the first drink to ensure it’s not poisoned. Gustavo takes his shot and poisons himself and the rest of the cartel members follow suit, Gustavo goes to the restroom and attempts to throw up as much of the poison as possible. Soon after the cartel begins to suffer the effects of the poison and Gustavo is rushed to a doctor they have waiting as this was all planned out, as of course any INTJ would do.

Gustavo Fring, just before he gets revenge for the death of Maximino.

Gustavo Fring, just before he gets revenge for the death of Maximino.

I honestly thought the acting and portrayal of Gustavo Fring was amazing. In addition there are many parallels between the backstory of Gustavo Fring and the development of Walter White in season four of the series; I believe that was very masterfully written and planned out. I also think it”s awesome that there’s a lot parallel to the INTJ personality type. Although I am not nearly as ruthless, I can relate to shifting between charismatic and detached like this character does more than anything. So what happens to Gustavo Fring? Well, to find out that you will ether have to watch the series or already know what happens, because it’s truly beyond my writing ability to portray it as masterfully as watching it does. However, here is a tribute video of Gustavo Fring.


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