The Pickaxe Lawyer Who Took On A Life Of His Own: “Better Call Saul” Remains On The Rise

In five seasons of “Better Call Saul”, the long-awaited cameos from Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, from “Breaking Bad” (2008-2013), never happened. And it may not even happen in the sixth and final season of the “spin-off”, which begins to run when the pandemic breaks.

At least that’s what Peter Gould, the producer of the series aired in Brazil on Netflix, implies. “Better Call Saul” would not need the illustrious characters’ appearance from the original series because it has its own merits. And in that he is right.

Since it premiered in 2015, the series has emerged as a rare case in the entertainment industry. It is a “spin-off” (a development from a previous program) as good or better than the original. He has received 32 Emmy nominations and three Golden Globe nominations.

He appears in a select club, next to “Frasier” (1993-2004), in which the radio psychiatrist came from the cast of “Cheers” (1984-1993). “Daria” (1997-2001), the animated series derived from “Beavis and Butt-head” (1993-2011), is another example.

“What we have planned for our last season are things that have never been done before,” said Gould, dismissing the overriding idea of ​​cameos. From his home in Los Angeles, the series commander participated in an online event about “Better Call Saul,” with NeoFeed coverage.

“Everything will unfold naturally, taking into account what has already happened in the series and where the story ended in the previous season,” said Gould, without further details about what lies ahead.

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There is still no preview of the debut of the last season of “Better Call Saul”, which also works as a “prequel”. Set before the events of “Breaking Bad”, the plot here should delve even more deeply into the psyche of the protagonists themselves.

It would not even make sense to rescue meth dealers from the previous program right now. After all, the public already equally (or even more) loves fifth-rate lawyer Jimmy McGill (played by Bob Odenkirk) and his partner Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), with seemingly more rigid professional conduct.

Only the choice by the creators of the series (Gould and Vince Gillian) to follow Jimmy McGill in the “spin-off” represented the first step towards success. The decision was made to highlight a minor character from the original series, showing that the lawyer curiously also had a bow – until he became Saul Goodman.

But his trajectory is different from that of Walter White (Cranston), the chemistry professor who, after being diagnosed with cancer, went into the drug underworld.

“It is not the story of a guy who, when struck by lightning, becomes a different person,” said Gould, referring to the petty lawyer who will be the favorite of criminals. “The character is trying different identities, looking for the one that will work best.”

While the most obvious was to show Jimmy releasing his darkest side, that was not what the series had bet on in previous seasons. 

“Jimmy is accepting that he is also Saul, which he consciously tries to compartmentalize,” said Bob Odenkirk, who attended the event. “He thinks that if it’s Saul at work and Jimmy at home, everything will be fine. But he already realized that these two could overlap in dangerous and scary ways.”

Another point that contributed to “Better Call Saul” never being in the shadow of “Breaking Bad” was that the story followed its course, almost independently. “At first, I don’t think we thought of the series as a love story, but it became one,” said Gould.

As the lawyer gets closer and closer to the precipice, when he agrees to work for the drug cartel, the focus falls on his relationship with Kim. Since the character is not in the cast of “Breaking Bad”, it would be easy to deduce that the lawyer would have a tragic fate as collateral damage for being beside the protagonist.

However, the path does not seem to be that way, as Kim is more inclined to break the rules as much as his companion. It’s a masterstroke, surprising the viewer who spent the first few seasons worried about what could happen to Kim, because of Jimmy.

“It’s really fun to have to do mental stunts to understand the characters,” said actress Rhea Seehorn. “Upon receiving the scripts, I am as surprised as a fan. Looking more closely, however, you can see where it came from, a testament to our writers’ genius.”

For Gould, there is the grace of the series. “We hope the characters continue to surprise us, but not arbitrarily,” he said. The secret is letting the character make a choice or behave unexpectedly, as long as it still makes sense in the plot. “The best time is when the pieces of the puzzle fit together.”

Bryan Cranston is an avowed admirer of “Better Call Saul”. “What I like most because I feel familiar with ‘Breaking Bad’, although it is a different story,” said the actor, during an event in Berlin.

Alex Marshall

My responsibilities include interacting with the Board of Directors, data entry, accounts payable, payroll, grant report entry, managing the organization's HR, helping and creating organizational and program budgets in collaboration with the ED and Program Direct, and other misc. tasks.

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