Gilligan’s Archipelago: Justice and Mercy in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul

The study of moral choice, character, and identity in “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” was unprecedented in TV drama. Many experienced the two TV series as a journey through Dante’s underworld, and even through his Purgatorio. This conference discusses the moral and spiritual imagination of the shows' creator and head writer George Vincent Gilligan, Jr.

Conference Videos

The conference included five lectures which have been recorded:

“A Sense of Ending: Reflections on ‘Felina’ and ‘Saul Gone’” – presented by Thomas Hibbs

“Marriage and Science in the Life of Walter White” – presented by Gary Anderson

“‘Say My Name:’ Self-Deception, Transparency, and Redemption in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul” – presented by Kenneth Craycraft

“Chuck and Jimmy: The Parable of the Prodigal Son” – presented by Mary Hirschfeld

“Men and Women in Gilligan’s Archipelago” – presented by Francesca Murphy

Speaker Biographies


Gary Anderson

Gary Anderson is interested in all dimensions of Biblical studies. His specialization is in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, but because of his interest in the history of interpretation, he also works in Second Temple Judaism and early Christian sources.





Craycraft Headshot

Kenneth Craycraft is the James J. Gardner Family Chair of Moral Theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary & School of Theology, the seminary for the Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He writes a monthly syndicated column for OSV News (“Redeeming the Time”), a weekly column for Our Sunday Visitor (“Grace is Everywhere”), and monthly columns for The Catholic Telegraph (“A Closer Look”), and the U.K.-based Catholic Herald. Dr. Craycraft is the author of The American Myth of Religious Freedom. His forthcoming book, Neither Left nor Right: How Catholic Moral Theology Transcends Partisan Politics, will be published by OSV Press in the Spring of 2024. A licensed attorney in Ohio, Dr. Craycraft holds a Ph.D. in theology from Boston College and a J.D. from Duke University School of Law.


Hibbs Headshot

Thomas Hibbs is currently J. Newton Rayzor Sr. Professor of Philosophy at Baylor University where he is also Dean Emeritus. Hibbs has published more than thirty scholarly articles and seven scholarly books, including three on the thought of Thomas Aquinas. He has also published two books on film and co-authored a book, Soliloquies, with the Japanese-American artist, Makoto Fujimura. A new book, Theology of Creation, is set to be published in August of 2023 by Notre Dame Press.

Hibbs has published widely in the popular press, with more than 100 reviews and discussion articles on film, theater, art, and higher education in a variety of venues including First ThingsThe Chronicle of Higher EducationThe New Atlantis, The Wall Street Journal, and National Review. He writes regularly for The Dallas Morning News


Mary Hirschfeld

Mary Hirschfeld works on the boundaries between theology and economics using an approach rooted in the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. She has written on economic inequality, the technocratic paradigm, the financial crisis and the common good.





Francesca Murphy

Francesca Murphy is the author of numerous books, including Christ the Form of Beauty (T & T Clark), God is Not a Story (OUP) and a theological commentary on I Samuel (Brazos). She is currently editing a series for Bloomsbury Academic called Illuminating Modernity.