From a reader:
Have you followed the TV show Breaking Bad at all? It has a fantastic premise: a middle aged chemist is diagnosed with cancer, and this in combination with a mid-life crisis of sorts leads him to begin cooking meth. The various travails of his life in the aftermath of this choice make for great viewing, and the show is great television. It's from AMC, whom you may admire already if you've ever seen the show Mad Men.M.E.: I have been a big fan of the show, initially for the fun premise and the overall bleakness. I too thought that Gus was a sociopath. When wearing a mask, he is almost obsequiously polite--classic sociopath. I particularly liked the third season for him, when he was clearly "seducing" Walter [protagonist] into going into business with him. It's so understated and tasteful the way he crawls into Walter's head and feeds him whatever he needs to hear. There is actually palpable chemistry between the two. But you are right, the portrait of Gus as sociopath was really completed in the first episode of this current season. Interestingly, the more I watch the show the more it seems like Walter leans narcissist, or at least is highly narcissistic. At first I just wrote off a lot of Walter's eccentric behavior to cancer and the premise, but the writers have actually done a great job making him seem like he was a ticking time bomb and if it wasn't the cancer scare, it would have been anything else that might have finally set him off into a narcissistic tailspin.
At any rate, there is a character named Gus who runs a massive meth production and distribution network, something he does with sterile precision and professionalism. In seasons 1 to 3, he remains courteous and polite at almost all times, although certain scenes allude to his likely sociopathy. In the first episode of the currently airing season 4, his true nature is shown for the first time, in an exhilarating portrayal of his ability to kill without the slightest hint of emotion, although it is a combination of calculation and burning anger that leads him to do it. The actor is exceptional- his face remains blank, but you can feel the smooth decision-making process happening behind it.
The link is here.
I strongly suggest you set aside 45 minutes to watch this, and I would love to know your impressions. In the event that you are too busy to spend 45 minutes on this, the scene in question is from appx. 27 minutes in until 38 minutes in.