How To Be A Drug Dealer (According to TV)

So, you want to cook meth, do you? Better get cable.

When budding drug-pushers first enter the illicit realm of slanging dope for cash, conventional wisdom (and Biggie) tells them they should “never get high on their own supply.” As of late, television has become the perfect medium for providing additional tutelage for the drug game, boasting a diverse cast of characters who have all perfected their craft – or at least seen the error of their ways. In honor of the final season of Breaking Bad, this is how to be a drug dealer…according to television. (Note: Spoilers to follow.)

Snuff Out the Competition: Breaking Bad

Photo: Lewis Jacobs/ AMC

Mild-mannered Walter White officially became Heisenberg when he gave Tuco Salamanca a lesson in advanced chemistry by blowing his office and cohorts to smithereens. Further down the line, he took more final measures (no half measures, remember?) with Gustavo Fring, because he realized that in the rough and tumble world of cooking meth, it’s best to be the Chief Executive Officer rather than the dead sous chef.

Be The One That Nobody Suspects: Weeds

Photo Courtesy of SHOWTIME

At first glance, Nancy Botwin seemed like the type of woman who would want another iced coffee in between AYSO games rather than copious amounts of sativas and indicas. Sure, her cover got blown as the seasons progressed, but in initial plotlines of Weeds, she used her standing in the gated community of Agrestic as a Maybelline-sleek camouflage to deal pot with no one the wiser.

Think Innovation:The Wire

Photo Courtesy of HBO

While it was Commander of the Eastern District Howard “Bunny” Colvin who proposed the idea of “Hamsterdam” – a “free zone” of sorts for drug activity in exchange for peace and quiet in the rest of the neighborhood – you better believe that Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell benefited from his progressive thinking. When it comes to the drug-dealing encyclopedia, innovation is always ahead of incarceration.

Don’t Trade One Enemy for Another: Sons of Anarchy

Photo: Prashant Gupta/FX

When stuck in between a rock and a hard place – in this case, SAMCRO’s situation with the Russians and the Galindo Cartel during season 4 – Charming’s finest decided it was in their best interests to mule cocaine for the dangerous Mexican outfit rather than deal with the Russians. Ultimately, this foray into being mules proved more deadly than wise, suggesting that allies are always first in line to do the backstabbing.

Don’t Get Caught: Orange is the New Black

Photo: Paul Shiraldi/ Netflix

Even on television, the consequences for dealing drugs are pretty clear: Do the crime, get caught, and you will indeed do the time. For those who watch Orange is the New Black and think, “That doesn’t look much worse than sleep away camp,” we bid you to remember a little show called OZ, where those charming and intricate inmate back stories were replaced by a load of gang rape.

Blend In By Selling Other Stuff, Too:Shameless

Photo: Monty Brinton/SHOWTIME

With a patriarch like Frank Gallagher, it’s no surprise that these kids have a similar – albeit more genuine – hustle, that keeps food on the table and pampers on little Liam. Rather than sell a few dime bags here and there on the streets of the South Side of Chicago, when Kev turned the basement of The Alibi Room into a grow house, he and Lip took it upon themselves to spruce up an old ice cream truck as a means to serve the community with both drugs and snacks. Everyone knows that on a hot summer day, a little White Widow is the perfect complement to a Choco Taco. Pre-rolled joints for everyone!

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