The Superlab was a large-scale laboratory facility that was located under an industrial laundry business in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Superlab was financed by Gustavo Fring with the construction costing approximately $8 million and constructed for the purpose of manufacturing industrial amounts of illicit methamphetamine, and thus played a vital role in the expansion of Gus' Drug Empire.
The lab was capable of cooking between 100 and 300 pounds of meth per week. The lab's layout was designed by chemist Gale Boetticher, who specified its every detail, including the apparatus required.
Better Call Saul
It is implied that the superlab was originally proposed by Lydia Rodarte-Quayle, one of Gustavo Fring's partners-in-crime and an exective working for Madrigal Electromotive GmbH. The superlab is first mentioned after Gus browses Lavanderia Brillante, an industrial laundry that was for sale. Gus steps into Lydia's car and simply says that, "It could work." ("")
Gus eventually recruits his right-hand man, Mike Ehrmantraut, to help him search for structural engineers who could build the superlab without weakening the foundations of the laundry or attracting the attention of people above-ground. An engineer from France is flown in to give Gus and Mike an estimate on excavating the superlab, but his overconfidence and lackadaisical approach convince them to send him back home. The next engineer, Werner Ziegler, conducts more thorough measurements of the laundry and acknowledges the difficulty of the task at hand. Impressed, Gus decides to hire Ziegler for the construction. ("")
Gus sets up a remote warehouse containing two double-wide mobile homes, to be used as the living quarters for Ziegler's German construction crew during what is thought will be an eight-month project. Following Mike's advice, Gus installs a minibar and recreational equipment to keep the Germans entertained while they are off-shift. Tensions become immediately apparent between Mike and Kai, Ziegler's best demolition man. Work begins, but the project falls so far behind schedule that it's not even halfway done when the eight months pass by. An accident occurs during the excavation in which another workman, Casper, accidentally backs his front-loader into a support beam and knocks it over, causing it to smash the concrete form for the south wall. This causes a fight between Kai and Casper, which Mike breaks up. Mike wants to send Kai back to Germany, but Ziegler convinces to allow the crew to spend some time outside the warehouse for some "rest and relaxation." ("", "")
Mike takes the workmen to a strip club, while he and Ziegler spend some time at a bar and talk about their family backgrounds. Eventually, Mike is summoned back to the strip club to settle a dispute involving Kai. When he returns, he sees Ziegler drunkenly divulging details about the excavation to a bar patron he had met earlier; Mike collects Ziegler and drives away. The next day, Mike confronts Ziegler with a diagram he drew on the back of a coaster at the bar, and warns Ziegler to consider how Gus might react if his strict precautions regarding the construction were violated. Ziegler apologizes and promises it won't happen again. That night, Gus visits the excavation site, where Mike tells him that a large rock is obstructing the spot where they are planning to build an elevator shaft and explains that they must blast it. Gus, having been told about Ziegler's indiscretion, asks Mike if he still trusts him; Mike replies that he still has eyes on Ziegler. ("")
Despite a minor delay caused by a malfunctioning charge, the blast needed to create the elevator shaft was completed without incident, leaving the basic shape of the superlab complete and setting the stage for the real construction work to begin. However, Ziegler, who had been becoming increasingly homesick during the protracted construction period, broke out of the workmens' quarters in order to set up a rendezvous with his wife. Ziegler was eventually caught, though not before inadvertently spilling some of the details of the project to Lalo Salamanca. Though Mike reassured Gus that Lalo would not be able to determine anything useful from the information, Gus ordered Ziegler's execution, which Mike reluctantly carried out, with the remainder of Ziegler's crew being dismissed from the job and being sent back to Germany. While the superlab was clearly still nowhere near being ready to use, Gale Boetticher reassured Gus that he could still turn the unfinished site into a usable lab. Gus flatly refused this suggestion, however, making it clear that he would not allow anything to be cooked until the lab was fully constructed. ("", "")
Gus tells Mike that as long as Lalo Salamanca is north of the border, construction on the superlab is halted and Ziegler's men are sent home. Gus also invents a cover story for Lalo and Juan Bolsa to explain what Lalo learned from Ziegler about the construction. ("")
The term is first used by Tuco Salamanca in Season 2, who, after having all of his bases raided by the DEA, kidnaps Walter White and Jesse Pinkman with plans to smuggle the pair into Mexico. There, he said he planned to take Walt to some place "far out in the jungle" where his cartel cousins would set him up with a superlab to cook full-time ("").
- "Been working a lot...It's in a laundromat, it's totally corporate...It's like rigid, all kinds of red tape, my boss is a dick, the owner, super dick, don't know if we're ever going to meet him, everybody's scared of the dude. Place is full of dead-eyed douchebags, the hours suck, and nobody knows what's going on."
- ―Jesse describing his work in Gustavo Fring's meth lab to his rehab group.
Gustavo Fring had a superlab put together underneath his industrial laundry property by Gale Boetticher in his move to break away from the Mexican drug cartels. Receiving chemical deliveries every week and fitted with a state-of-the-art filtration system, the facility was capable of producing hundreds of pounds of meth a week - Gus says that he requires a minimum of 200 pounds to make the lab profitable ("").
Gus recruited Walt as his chief chemist with Gale as an assistant, though Gale was later replaced with Jesse at Walt's insistence. The meth produced in this lab was "Blue Sky," and was shipped out across the Southwest through Los Pollos Hermanos trucks, concealed in buckets of frying batter ("").
To keep Walt in check, Gus installed security cameras in the superlab to be able to monitor Walt's activities. He also ensured that either Mike Ehrmantraut or Tyrus Kitt was present at all cooks. ("")
Hank Schrader recognized that the industrial laundry was suspicious because it was owned by Madrigal Electromotive GmbH and would be "one hell of a place to hide a meth lab." Hank was still unable to drive so he had Walt take him there, but Walt intentionally got his car into an accident to avoid the visit. Nevertheless, Gus was aware that Walt drove Hank to the laundry ("").
Following the assassination of Gus, Walt headed to the superlab, where he killed 2 of Gus' guards, who were holding Jesse hostage and forcing him to cook at gunpoint. Walt informed Jesse that Gus was dead, and that they have "work to do". They then proceeded to destroy the lab, by disabling the sprinkler system, spilling hundreds of gallons of flammable chemicals and solvents onto the floor and lab equipment, and rigging an electrical timer to create a spark. They quickly left the lab, wiping their fingerprints away as they exited the basement of the laundry. They pulled the fire alarm and told the laundry crew to leave, just as the timer tripped, and the lab went up in flames. ("")
Barrels of methylamine in the superlab
Hank Schrader and Steven Gomez toured the charred remains of the superlab in dismay that the fire had destroyed any evidence. Hank noticed a camera on the ceiling with great interest. ("")
- The name of the laundry business that serves as a cover for Gus's superlab was Lavandería Brillante.
- The forklift used in the lab was a Crown RR 5700 Series.
- Real life Superlabs are run by drug cartels in Mexico, as references by Hank in "".
- According to the New York Times, a meth superlab can be defined as a lab producing at least 10 pounds a day.