ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- the Southwestern New Mexico City That's Played Home to "Brea
Byline: Russell Contreras Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The southwestern New Mexico city that's played home to "Breaking Bad" is preparing for the end, with the Emmy-award winning series airing its last episode on Sunday.
As the AMC finale approaches, Albuquerque is planning on celebrating with watch parties and red carpet casting events in a city still benefiting from a tourism boost thanks to the drama's popularity.
Despite the show's dark themes of drug trafficking and violence, tourism officials say "Breaking Bad" highlighted neighborhoods around the city and gave viewers a sense of Albuquerque. The show displayed the city's downtown Route 66, its various stores and restaurants, and even took audiences to Latino barrios and nearby American Indian Pueblos -- places rarely seen in Hollywood.
"Before the show, Albuquerque didn't have an image," said Ann Lerner, Albuquerque's film liaison. "When I started this job in 2003 and I mentioned New Mexico, people would say, 'Oh, I love Santa Fe.' No one thought of Albuquerque."
That has changed in the five seasons that "Breaking Bad" has aired on AMC, growing its reputation and buzz as Netflix users raced to catch up on previous episodes. Since then, trolley and private limo tours of scenes from the show have sold out and created waiting lists that go on for weeks. …