As most people probably already know, the creator of Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan, previously worked as a writer on The X-Files for several years, as well as its spin-off The Lone Gunmen. Also common knowledge is that Bryan Cranston once appeared as a guest star on the show, in a sixth season episode called “Drive,” which was written by Gilligan.
Minimal internet research reveals that a couple of other very familiar faces from Breaking Bad also previously appeared in The X-Files:
Aaron Paul appeared as a Jackass-wannabe in the season nine episode “Lord of the Files.”
While Dean Norris was a detective way back in the season two entry “F. Emasculata.”
And that’s pretty much where the easy pickings dry up. But I dug deeper. What follows is – I’m pretty confident – the most comprehensive list of actors who appeared in both The X-Files and Breaking Bad. Interestingly, Gilligan probably had very little to do with any of these coincidences, as he has repeatedly credited his casting team for finding all the actors who appeared in Breaking Bad, save for Cranston.
Raymond Cruz was the violent drug kingpin Tuco Salamanca in Breaking Bad, but back in the day he was a lovelorn illegal immigrant who may also have been El Chupacabra in The X-Files‘ fourth-season episode “El Mundo Gira.”
Before he was Hank’s boss at the DEA, Michael Shamus Wiles was a three-time assassin, popping up in two X-Files episode (“The End” and “En Ami”) as well as the first movie, Fight The Future.
I’d recognize those ears anywhere! Adam Godley appeared in the second X-Files movie, I Want To Believe, as well as in both the first and final seasons of Breaking Bad as Walt’s old friend and former business partner, Elliott Shwartz.
Murderous Uncle Jack (a.k.a. Michael Bowen) played the legally-blind brother of a man with x-ray vision in XF ep “Surekill.”
Since Danny Trejo is the Hispanic equivalent of Samuel Jackson (as in he’s in practically everything), it should come as no surprise that he popped up in both shows over the years. He was in the season eight episode of XF, “Redrum,” while his BB character was memorably called Tortuga.
Dale Dickey. She’s been the skanky wife of an ATM thief and a cop who turned out to be an alien. I’ll let you figure out which show was which.
Dan Desmond had a memorable turn as the gruff-then-bereaved Mr. Gardiner in BB. So memorable that it’s hard to believe he was only in two episodes. He was in XF episode “Salvage.”
Javier Grajeda rose from the ranks of a lowly Desk Sergeant in a season six XF episode to become a high-ranking member of the Juárez drug cartel in BB.
This guy was a doctor in the uber-bizarre XF episode “Field Trip,” then the guy who sold Walt the M6 (appearing in episodes “Live Free or Die” and “Thirty-Eight Snub” of BB.) His name? Jim Beaver.
Jamie McShane was apparently an Injured Soldier in season nine XF ep “Providence.” He was more memorable as the delayed train conductor in BB‘s “Dead Freight.”
Michael Bryan French may look for all the world like the guy who played Ted Beneke in Breaking Bad, but that was actually Christopher Cousins. Instead, this guy was a doctor in S3 ep “I See You.” In XF, he was there way back in the very first regular season episode “Deep Throat” where he played a shady military spook pretending to be an upstanding reporter.
Ralph Alderman actually appeared in two X-Files episodes (“Mind’s Eye” and “The Pine Bluff Variant”). He later went on to play First Realtor in the BB episode “Open House.”
You might know him as Krazy 8’s cousin, Emilio, in Breaking Bad, but actor John Koyama is actually a seasoned stunt man who previously worked on The X-Files.
Finally, Toby Holguin is another onscreen performer – another stunts person – who worked on both shows (not pictured).