Breaking Bad finale enjoys record ratings in US
The final episode of Breaking Bad saw the drama draw its biggest audience to date, with 10.3 million viewers tuning in to US cable channel AMC.
According to Nielsen figures, the 75-minute finale set a series record in viewership, breaking a record set one week earlier by the previous episode.
Some, however, have sought to watch the programme by less legitimate means.
According to the TorrentFreak website, the show has been illegally downloaded more than half a million times.
"Just 12 hours after the first copy appeared online, more than 500,000 people had already downloaded the show via various torrent sites," the online piracy news site reported.
It said that most of the downloaders come from Australia, followed by the US and the UK.
Set in Albuquerque, Breaking Bad revolved around a high school chemistry teacher who becomes a methamphetamine dealer after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The show's conclusion followed its success at this year's Primetime Emmys, where it was crowned best drama and won an additional prize for best supporting actress.
In a statement, AMC president Charlie Collier paid tribute to Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan for ending the show "on his own terms".
In terms of cable show finales, Breaking Bad's ranks third behind The Sopranos and Sex and the City, whose final instalments on HBO were seen by 11.9m and 10.6m respectively.
Zombie thriller The Walking Dead remains AMC's most-watched show, achieving ratings of 12.4 million.