Breaking Bad question: when was Hank "unsuspended"?

First off, I have watched the entirety of BB and season one of Better Call Saul already, so no worries about spoilers. I am re-watching BB with my wife (so much more fun when you can discuss the show with someone as you’re watching!), and something occurred to me last night:

So my understanding is that Hank was fired from the DEA and asked to turn in his badge and gun. The same day, he gets attacked and severely injured by Tuco’s cousins and called a “hero” for defending himself. While he’s recovering, his DEA/Cop buddies are bringing him information on Gale Bottiechers (sp?) death; photos, fingerprints, notebooks, etc. He matches some of the fingerprints found in Gale’s apartment to Gustavo Fring and traces possible meth lab equipment to him from Madrigal. He then sets up a meeting with Gomez and Merkert to explain all this to them.

My question is: what is Hanks DEA status during this time? Is he still suspended/fired from the DEA? Or was he reinstated after he got shot or during his recovery and I just missed it? I know they called him a hero but don’t remember anything about Hank getting his job back. He wasn’t just looking at photos and hearing descriptions, he had actual crime scene evidence in his possession, including Gale’s “Lab Notes”. Seems strange that they would allow someone who had been suspended for going off the rails about the Heisenberg case to have evidence in…the Heisenberg case. Am I missing something? 'Cause it seems to me like a plot hole big enough to drive a truck through.

Side Question: Is Merkert accepting “look the other way” payments from Gus? He seemed awfully anxious to get Hank down to El Paso when he seemed to be getting close to some breaks in the case, and was completely skeptical when Hank starts bringing Gus’ name up. Now that could be explained, but I always wondered if Merkart was being paid off.

Another side question: What happened to Gomez? It seems like the writers moved him to El Paso and forgot about him until Hank starts piecing things together. Then he just shows up with no explanation. Or maybe related to my Merkart side question: Maybe Merkart was on the take and recalled Gomez to keep an eye on Hank and try to divert suspicion away from Gus.

In season 5

This is from season 5. The events that i mentioned in my post occur in the first half of season 4. Nothing in your linked site answers my questions (although it was very interesting and i have bookmarked it for future reference).

It was never clearly stated, but Hank was reinstated when Merkert was forced out, or he had already been reinstated by then. His suspension at some point turned into medical leave, and it was never explicit when that happened.

As for Gomez, when Hank refused the DEA assignment, it was given to Gomez instead. That’s why Gomez disappeared for a while, but I don’t remember why he returned. He had mapped out the blue meth throughout the Southwest by that point, so maybe his bosses figured he would be more useful taking that info back to Albuquerque.

I’ll have to re-watch, but IIRC Hanks’s original Texas assignment was a short term (maybe six month) assignment.

Hank is administratively suspended because of his assault on Jesse Pinkman, but Pinkman later drops the charge and Hank is presumably reinstated. (It’s not clear if he was ever formally suspended; the typical process should include an interview and Hank should have a lawyer or union rep on hand to represent his interests.) Hank is on medical leave after the attack by the Cousins. Later, when his investigation reveals that Gustavo Fring was using his philanthropy to exploit his relationship with George Merkert to get information about the DEA investigation into his methamphetamine distribution, Merkert is relieved (or resigns…it isn’t clear) in disgrace and Hank is offered his job as the ASAC of the Albuquerque office.

Hank was originally assigned to the Tri-State Border Interdiction Task Force, which is obviously a TDY assignment, headquartered in El Paso. After the turtle-head bomb kills most of the task force, Hank suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and finds reasons (e.g. his investigation of the Fring organization and the revelation that blue meth is still showing up) to avoid returning to El Paso. He’s also not a very good fit for the role as he speaks no Spanish and has little detail knowledge of the Mexican drug cartels, so when he declines the job his partner, Steve Gomez, is offered and accepts it. However, Steve returns to Albuquerque to tell Hank that the blue meth is showing up in Texas (and elsewhere) and when Fring’s organization is revealed the Madrigal connection is discovered, Steve agrees with Hank’s theory about “Heisenberg” being still around and cooking meth.


I don’t know if this helps with an answer, but Tim gives Hank a copy of Gale’s Lab Notes, not the actual original evidence. Presumedly, the rest of the documents are copies, too.

And as you noted, Tim, the guy who gives Hank the Lab Notes, is an Albuquerque cop, not DEA. The investigation of Gale’s death is originally an APD case. Tim is also a friend, so maybe there is more leeway (officially or unofficially) in an APD cop asking a DEA buddy for help on the case.

Ok yeah Jesse dropped the charges. Plus Hank wasted the cousins, which would have been well covered in local news at least. So if the news story revealed that Hank was suspended at the time, it would not have made the DEA look good. And i think i remember Marie saying something to that effect. Still not Kosher, but they have showed the cops/dea bending the rules in lots of other little ways on this show, especially hank, so i can live with it.