There have been many complex antagonists in "Breaking Bad" but none have come close to Giancarlo Esposito's Gustavo Fring. Gus may not have the scientific prowess of his archenemy Walter White a.k.a. Heisenberg ( Bryan Cranston) but he knew how to manipulate others and was the master of playing the long game.
Everything about Fring was a front from not only his fast food business but his personal appearance and demeanor. During the day, Gus is a well respected sponsor and donor for the DEA and local communities who is always approachable with this almost Mr. Rogers like facade constantly with a smile on his face and a chip on his shoulder. But at night, the true nature of Gus would reveal itself as a cold engine of logic dressed in pitch black suits as well as being an unflinching sociopath.
Before the arrival of Gus in the tail end of "Breaking Bad's" second season, Walter would easily find a way to outmaneuver his opponents whether it was Domingo Molina a.k.a. Krazy 8 and his cousin Emilio, Tuco Salamanca, or even his unknowing brother in law Hank Schrader. Gus proved to not only be a physical challenge for Walt with all of the muscle and wealthy benefactors he had by his side but the experience Gus had gained being in the drug business for decades made him someone Walt ultimately aspired to become.
Throughout the entirety of his memorable run on the series, Gus constantly proved that he was always ten steps ahead of everyone and had contingencies in place for virtually every situation. When Gus was brought in for a cryptic interrogation by the DEA, Gus had a cover story planned before the meeting even began. In a world where everyone is out to get you, Gus can't afford to not have all of his I's dotted and T's crossed.
For someone as formidable as Gus, it would also be crucial to have a right hand man on the same level in the form of ex crooked cop and fixer Mike Ehrmantraut ( Jonathan Banks). Mike is the one that gets the dirty jobs done while his employer puts on his public face and deals with the employees up front. Gus may have Mike as his own personal attack dog, but that doesn't mean Fring refrains from getting his own hands dirty as well.
As showcased in the opener for season 4, Gus will in no way hesitate to take the life of any of his own men in order to protect his business and long term investment.
If you are putting your all into anything, you can't afford to have one weak link.
However no one, no matter how powerful, is untouchable forever. In the end, Gus ultimately lets his emotions and past rivalries get ahead of the business he had worked so hard to build.
Gustavo Fring was a black villain (Chilean in the show) who was on equal playing field or perhaps greater than that of the protagonist. Yes, Gus was the owner of a popular fried chicken restaurant Los Pollos Hermanos, but it was simply a front for a much larger enterprise. While Walt just wanted to be at the top of the drug game following Gus's defeat, Gus spent decades building up his operation and making sure every aspect of the house would be in order. In a way, Gus remained the superior meth kingpin even in death. While Fring's operation and manpower may have been extinguished, Gus remained the true master of the game.