07/31/2012 08:43 am ET

'Breaking Bad' Boosts Tourism In Albuquerque

Go figure.

AMC's meth-lab saga Breaking Bad- an Albuquerque-based series the Washington Post's Hank Stuever says "comes from such a dark hole of the American cultural psyche that you sometimes have to wonder how it ever made it on TV" - is now fodder for the city's tourism bureau.

"When Breaking Bad began airing five seasons ago, we were less than thrilled by the subject matter, which is based on a fictional character and story," says Dale Lockett, head of the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau.

But given its popularity, "people are traveling to our city to see the locations featured in the show and then spending time at our attractions, restaurants and hotels," he adds. "This unexpected new visitor market is definitely a pleasant surprise, and we will soon be marketing it more aggressively" - including a self-guided tour that links Breaking Bad filming locations (an Octopus Car Wash, among them) with nearby museums and other, more conventional draws