Better Call Saul

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Better Call Saul
Better Call Saul logo.png
Genre Crime drama[1]
Black comedy[2]
Tragedy[3]
Legal drama
Created by Vince Gilligan
Peter Gould
Starring Bob Odenkirk
Jonathan Banks
Rhea Seehorn
Patrick Fabian
Michael Mando
Michael McKean
Giancarlo Esposito
Theme music composer Little Barrie
Composer(s) Dave Porter
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 36 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Vince Gilligan
Peter Gould
Mark Johnson
Melissa Bernstein
Thomas Schnauz
Gennifer Hutchison
Producer(s) Bob Odenkirk
Nina Jack
Diane Mercer
Robin Sweet
Gordon Smith
Jonathan Glatzer
Production location(s) Albuquerque, New Mexico
Cinematography Arthur Albert
Marshall Adams
Running time 42–56 minutes
Production company(s) High Bridge Productions
Crystal Diner Productions
Gran Via Productions
Sony Pictures Television
Distributor Sony Pictures Television
Release
Original network AMC
Picture format
Audio format 5.1
Original release February 8, 2015 (2015-02-08) – present
Chronology
Preceded by Breaking Bad
Related shows Talking Saul
External links
Website

Better Call Saul is an American television crime drama series created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. It is a spin-off prequel of Gilligan's prior series Breaking Bad. Set in the early 2000s, Better Call Saul follows the story of con-man turned small-time lawyer, Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), six years before the events of Breaking Bad, showing his transformation into the persona of criminal-for-hire Saul Goodman. Jimmy becomes the lawyer of former beat cop Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), whose relevant skill set allows him to enter the criminal underworld of drug trafficking in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The show premiered on AMC on February 8, 2015. The 10-episode fourth season started airing August 6, 2018; the show has been renewed for a fifth season.

Jimmy initially works with law firm Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill (HHM), alongside fellow litigator and romantic interest, Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn). Partners of HHM include Jimmy's nemesis, Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian), and brother, Chuck McGill (Michael McKean). Mike conducts illegal drug-related activity with protégé Nacho Varga (Michael Mando), in addition to becoming right-hand man for drug lord Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). Odenkirk, Banks and Esposito are all reprising their starring roles from Breaking Bad.

Like its predecessor, Better Call Saul has received critical acclaim, particularly for its acting, writing, and directing, with many critics calling it a worthy successor to Breaking Bad as well as one of the best prequels ever made.[4] It has garnered several nominations, including a Peabody Award, 23 Primetime Emmy Awards, seven Writers Guild of America Awards, five Critics' Choice Television Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and two Golden Globe Awards. The series premiere held the record for the highest-rated scripted series premiere in basic cable history at the time of its airing.

Premise[edit]

Better Call Saul follows the life of the character Saul Goodman about six years prior to the events of Breaking Bad.[5] In 2002, Goodman, born as James "Jimmy" McGill, is a former con artist trying to follow a legitimate career as an aspiring lawyer in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[6] He seeks to become a partner in the law firm in which his older brother Charles "Chuck" McGill is a senior partner. However, Jimmy's work is frequently overshadowed by Chuck's past reputation, and he struggles to find a way to prove himself, even with the help of another associate in the firm, Kim Wexler, with whom he also becomes romantically involved. At the same time, Jimmy frequently takes care of Chuck, who claims to have electromagnetic hypersensitivity, a condition that makes him physically ill in the presence of anything with an electrical component and has caused him to take an extended leave from his firm and regular law work. Interspersed among Jimmy's activities are the prior histories of other Breaking Bad characters, including Mike Ehrmantraut, a former police officer who becomes involved in illegal drug trafficking schemes, and drug kingpins Hector Salamanca and Gus Fring, who help distribute drugs illegally brought to the area from Mexico.

The series also provides brief glimpses of Saul's fate some time after the events of the penultimate episode "Granite State" of Breaking Bad, in which Saul, fearing for his own safety, takes on a new identity in Omaha, Nebraska, as a Cinnabon manager and goes by the name Gene. Saul, as Gene, reminisces about his past, but remains paranoid that someone might discover his true identity.

The fourth season features scenes taking place closer to the timeframe of Breaking Bad, which was set in 2008; the story, as described by co-creator Vince Gilligan, "brings us into the world — or at least points us on a path toward the world of Walter White and the territory of Walter White".[6] In "Quite a Ride", the cold open takes place concurrent to events near the end of Breaking Bad, with Jimmy as Saul destroying documents and taking money from the Saul Goodman office made memorable in that series.[7]

Production[edit]

Conception[edit]

In July 2012, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan hinted at a possible spin-off about Saul Goodman.[8] In a July 2012 interview, Gilligan said he liked "the idea of a lawyer show in which the main lawyer will do anything it takes to stay out of a court of law", including settling on the courthouse steps.[9] Gilligan noted that over the course of Breaking Bad, there were a lot of "what if"s their team considered, such as if the show won an Emmy, or if people would buy "Los Pollos Hermanos" t-shirts, not expecting these to come to pass. When these events did actually occur, they started considering a spinoff featuring Saul as a thought experiment, seeing if this has similar possibilities to come true. Further, Saul's character on Breaking Bad became much more developed than originally planned, having only been originally slated to appear on three episodes; with the growth of Saul's character, Gilligan saw ways to explore Saul's backstory.[10]

In April 2013, the series was confirmed to be in development by Gilligan and Gould; the latter wrote the Breaking Bad episode that introduced the character.[11][12]

Casting[edit]

Bob Odenkirk stars as lawyer Jimmy McGill (known as Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad). In January 2014, it was announced that Jonathan Banks would reprise his Breaking Bad role as Mike Ehrmantraut and be a series regular.[13]

New cast members include Michael McKean as McGill's elder brother Chuck. McKean previously guest-starred in an episode of Odenkirk's Mr. Show and Gilligan's X-Files episode "Dreamland".[14][15] The cast also includes Patrick Fabian as Howard Hamlin, Rhea Seehorn as Kimberly "Kim" Wexler, and Michael Mando as Ignacio "Nacho" Varga.[16] In October 2014, Kerry Condon was cast[17] as Stacey Ehrmantraut, Mike's daughter-in-law. In November 2014, it was announced that Julie Ann Emery and Jeremy Shamos had been cast as Betsy and Craig Kettleman, described as "the world's squarest outlaws."[18]

Going into Season 3, it was announced that Giancarlo Esposito would return to play Gus Fring.[19]

The showrunners have teased that "familiar faces" from Breaking Bad will make appearances during Season 4. They will also cast an actor for the character "Lalo", mentioned only by name in the episode "Better Call Saul" episode of Breaking Bad.[20] Both Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul said, as of Season 3, they are both open to reappearing on the show as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, respectively, if asked, believing that Gilligan would have a sufficiently good reason to bring them in.[21] Paul had previously mentioned the possibility of a cameo during Season 1 but this fell through.[22][23] Anna Gunn also mentioned a "talk" with Gilligan over possible guest appearances as Skyler White.[24] Dean Norris, another Breaking Bad alumnus, stated he could not be part of the earlier seasons, partly due to his involvement in the CBS series Under the Dome.[25] Gilligan said that by Season 3 that show had been on long enough that any reuse of Breaking Bad characters would be more than "just a cameo or an Alfred Hitchcock walkthrough", and that their appearances would be necessary for the story.[21]

Development history[edit]

By July 2013, the series had yet to be green-lighted.[26] Netflix was one of many interested distributors, but ultimately a deal was made between AMC and Breaking Bad production company Sony Pictures Television.[27] Gilligan and Gould serve as co-showrunners and Gilligan directed the pilot.[28] Former Breaking Bad writers Thomas Schnauz and Gennifer Hutchison joined the writing staff, with Schnauz serving as co-executive producer and Hutchison as supervising producer.[29] Also on the writing staff are Bradley Paul, and Gordon Smith, who was a writer's assistant on Breaking Bad.[28]

In developing the series, the producers considered making the show a half-hour comedy,[11] but ultimately chose an hour-long format more typical of a drama.[9] In October 2014, Odenkirk called the show "85 percent drama, 15 percent comedy."[30] During his appearance on Talking Bad, Odenkirk noted that Saul was one of the most popular characters on the show, speculating that the audience likes the character because he is the program's least hypocritical figure, and is good at his job.[31] Better Call Saul also employs Breaking Bad's signature time jumps.[32]

As filming began on June 2, 2014,[33] Gilligan expressed some concern regarding the possible disappointment from the series' turnout, in terms of audience reception.[34][35]

The first teaser trailer debuted on AMC on August 10, 2014, and confirmed its premiere date of February 2015.[36] In November 2014, AMC announced the series would have a two-night premiere; the first episode aired on Sunday, February 8, 2015, at 10:00 pm (ET), and then moved into its regular time slot the following night, airing Mondays at 10:00 pm.[37] In May 2015, Gilligan confirmed that more of the prominent characters from Breaking Bad would be making guest appearances in season 2, but remained vague on which characters were likely to be seen.[38]

In June 2014, prior to the series' launch, AMC had renewed the series for a second season of 13 episodes to premiere in early 2016;[28] however, it was later reduced to 10 episodes.[39] The second season premiered on February 15, 2016.[40]

In March 2016, AMC announced that Better Call Saul was renewed for a 10-episode third season which premiered April 10, 2017.[41][42] AMC renewed the series for a 10-episode fourth season in June 2017, and is scheduled to premiere on August 6, 2018.[43][44] The series was renewed for a fifth season on July 28, 2018, just prior to the airing of the fourth season.[45]

Like its predecessor, Better Call Saul is set and filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[46]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast[edit]

Recurring cast[edit]

Introduced in season 1[edit]

  • Kerry Condon as Stacey Ehrmantraut, Mike's daughter-in-law and the mother of Kaylee Ehrmantraut
  • Faith Healey (season 1) and Abigail Zoe Lewis (season 2–present) as Kaylee Ehrmantraut, Mike's granddaughter
  • Eileen Fogarty as Mrs. Nguyen, owner of a nail salon which houses Jimmy's law office (and home) in its back room
  • Peter Diseth as Bill Oakley, a deputy district attorney
  • Joe DeRosa as Dr. Caldera, a veterinarian with ties to the criminal underworld
  • Dennis Boutsikaris as Rick Schweikart, the attorney for Sandpiper Crossing
  • Mark Proksch as Daniel "Pryce" Wormald, a small-time drug dealer who hires Mike as security
  • Brandon K. Hampton as Ernesto, Chuck's assistant who works at HHM
  • Josh Fadem and Julian Bonfiglio as Joey Dixon and Sound Guy, film students who help Jimmy film various projects
  • Jeremy Shamos and Julie Ann Emery as Craig and Betsy Kettleman, a county treasurer and his wife, accused of embezzlement
  • Steven Levine and Daniel Spenser Levine as Lars and Cal Lindholm, twin skateboarders and small-time scam artists
  • Míriam Colón as Abuelita, Tuco's grandmother and Hector's mother
  • Barry Shabaka Henley as Detective Sanders, a Philadelphia cop who was formerly partnered with Mike on the force
  • Mel Rodriguez as Marco Pasternak, Jimmy's best friend and partner-in-crime in Cicero, Illinois
  • Clea DuVall as Dr. Cruz, a doctor who treats Chuck and suspects his condition is psychosomatic
  • Jean Effron as Irene Landry, an elderly client of Jimmy McGill overcharged by the Sandpiper Crossing

Introduced in season 2[edit]

  • Ed Begley, Jr. as Clifford Main, managing partner at Davis & Main
  • Omar Maskati as Omar, Jimmy's assistant at Davis & Main
  • Jessie Ennis as Erin Brill, a lawyer at Davis & Main who is ordered to shadow Jimmy
  • Vincent Fuentes as Arturo, a criminal associate of Hector Salamanca (seasons 2–4)
  • Rex Linn as Kevin Wachtell, chairman of Mesa Verde Bank and Trust and a client of HHM and Kim
  • Cara Pifko as Paige Novick, senior legal counsel for Mesa Verde Bank and Trust and a friend of Kim
  • Ann Cusack as Rebecca Bois, Chuck's ex-wife
  • Manuel Uriza as Ximenez Lecerda, an associate of Hector Salamanca
  • Hayley Holmes as Drama Girl, a film student who helps Jimmy on various projects

Introduced in season 3[edit]

Introduced in season 4[edit]

  • Rainer Bock as Werner Ziegler, an engineer hired by Gus to plan and oversee construction of his meth "superlab."
  • Stefan Kapičić as Casper, a member of Werner Ziegler's team for the construction Gus' meth "superlab".[49]

Yet to appear[edit]

Breaking Bad characters[edit]

  • Raymond Cruz as Tuco Salamanca, a ruthless, psychotic drug distributor in the South Valley (seasons 1–2)
  • Cesar García as No-Doze, Tuco's henchman (season 1)
  • Jesús Payán Jr. as Gonzo, Tuco's henchman (season 1)
  • T.C. Warner as Nurse (season 1)
  • Kyle Bornheimer as Ken, an arrogant, self-absorbed stockbroker (season 2)
  • Stoney Westmoreland as Officer Saxton, an Albuquerque Police Department officer (season 2)
  • Jim Beaver as Lawson, a local weapons dealer in Albuquerque (season 2)
  • Maximino Arciniega as Domingo "Krazy-8" Molina, one of Tuco's distributors (seasons 2–3)
  • Mark Margolis as Hector Salamanca, Tuco's uncle and high-ranking member of the cartel (seasons 2–present)
  • Debrianna Mansini as Fran, a waitress at Loyola's Diner (seasons 2, 4)
  • Daniel and Luis Moncada as Leonel and Marco Salamanca, Tuco's cousins and Hector's nephews who are hitmen for the cartel (seasons 2, 4)
  • Jennifer Hasty as Stephanie Doswell, a real estate agent (season 2)
  • Tina Parker as Francesca Liddy, Jimmy's receptionist (seasons 3-present)
  • Jeremiah Bitsui as Victor, Gus' henchman (seasons 3–present)
  • Ray Campbell as Tyrus Kitt, a henchman on Gus Fring's payroll (seasons 3–present)
  • JB Blanc as Dr. Barry Goodman, a doctor on Gus Fring's payroll (seasons 3–present)
  • Steven Bauer as Don Eladio Vuente, the head of the Juarez drug cartel (season 3)
  • Javier Grajeda as Juan Bolsa, a high-level member of the Juárez drug cartel (seasons 3–present)
  • Lavell Crawford as Huell Babineaux, a professional pickpocket hired by Jimmy (seasons 3–present)
  • Laura Fraser as Lydia Rodarte-Quayle, a Madrigal Electromotive executive and associate of Gus Fring (seasons 3–present)
  • Eric Steinig as Nick, a member of Gus' security team, later managed by Mike. (season 4)
  • Franc Ross as Ira, a burglar Jimmy hires; in Breaking Bad, he is the owner of Vamonos Pest who appears in "Hazard Pay". (season 4)
  • David Costabile as Gale Boetticher, a chemist who is consulted by Gus (season 4)

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
110February 8, 2015 (2015-02-08)April 6, 2015 (2015-04-06)
210February 15, 2016 (2016-02-15)April 18, 2016 (2016-04-18)
310April 10, 2017 (2017-04-10)June 19, 2017 (2017-06-19)
410[51]August 6, 2018 (2018-08-06)October 8, 2018 (2018-10-08)[52]

Season 1 (2015)[edit]

Jimmy inadvertently becomes entangled in an embezzlement case involving the Kettleman family, who are represented by Chuck's firm Hamlin Hamlin & McGill (HHM). Jimmy schemes to become the Kettleman's lawyer, which causes Kim, the HHM associate overseeing the case, to be demoted. Jimmy gains public attention from the case, and finds himself taking up several elder law clients. He discovers that Sandpiper Retirement Homes have been mishandling their residents' funds, leading to a potential multi-million class action lawsuit. Jimmy offers to hand off the suit to HHM because of their superior resources, and tries to persuade them to hire him to work on it, but Chuck secretly blocks this effort. Jimmy discovers Chuck's involvement and turns the Sandpiper case over to HHM in exchange for minimal counsel's fees and Howard Hamlin's commitment to take over caring for Chuck. Later, Jimmy learns that the Sandpiper case has gotten too big and HHM is portioning part of the work to a second firm, Davis & Main, who want to hire Jimmy due to his knowledge of the case.

Mike, a former police officer now relocated to Albuquerque to be close to his daughter-in-law and granddaughter, works as a parking booth attendant at the courthouse, where he meets Jimmy. Mike also moonlights as "muscle for hire" within the Albuquerque criminal underworld, and in this capacity helps Jimmy burgle the Kettlemans. In the same way, he is hired as a bodyguard by Pryce, a pharmaceutical industry worker who steals valuable drug samples from his employer for resale on the black market. Through this, Mike attracts the attention of Nacho, a trusted associate of the Salamanca crime family.

Season 2 (2016)[edit]

Jimmy is put in charge of outreach for the Sandpiper case, but traditional notifications by mail produce few responses from potential class members. Jimmy does face-to-face solicitation to bring in more class members, but Chuck points out this could run afoul of state law. Jimmy then creates a TV ad targeted to seniors and airs it without prior approval from the senior partners at Davis & Main. While the ad draws in many clients, Jimmy is reprimanded, and Kim, who was aware Jimmy was making the ad, is demoted to entry level document review work at HHM. To regain her position, Kim tries to solicit major new clients for HHM, and eventually arranges a meeting between HHM and Mesa Verde, a large regional bank. Though HHM secures Mesa Verde's business, Howard denies Kim any credit. Jimmy, who has quit Davis & Main, convinces Kim to quit HHM and establish her own firm co-located with his as a way to share overhead. She nearly persuades Mesa Verde to become her client, but Chuck persuades them to stay with HHM. Jimmy falsifies copies of documents concerning construction of a Mesa Verde branch to make Chuck look incompetent. When HHM and Mesa Verde present the construction proposal to the state banking agency, the discrepancies cause the plan to be put on hold. Kim obtains Mesa Verde as a client, while Chuck becomes obsessed with proving that Jimmy sabotaged him. When Jimmy next visits Chuck, Chuck feigns illness, provoking Jimmy to admit falsifying the documents. Unknown to Jimmy, Chuck has recorded his confession.

Nacho approaches Mike in secret and tries to hire him to murder Tuco, the nephew of his boss Hector Salamanca, because Nacho fears Tuco's volatile behavior is drawing too much attention to the Salamancas' drug business. Mike refuses, knowing that if the Salamancas identify him as the killer they will take revenge on his family. Instead, he deliberately provokes a public altercation with Tuco outside a cafe, resulting in Tuco's imprisonment for assault with a deadly weapon. Hector has no objection to Tuco spending a stint in prison as a learning experience, but objects to the length of the sentence, so he approaches Mike and bribes him to tell the police the gun found at the scene was his, not Tuco's, which reduces the charge and therefore prison time. Mike begins to wonder if Hector suspects the truth about the fight, making him uneasy about the safety of his granddaughter and daughter-in-law. He attempts to draw the police into investigating the Salamancas by intercepting one of Hector's smuggling trucks and stealing the $250,000 it's carrying, while leaving the driver tied up on the side of the road. He intended for a passing motorist to render aid, but finds out from Nacho that when a passer-by stopped and freed the driver, Hector dispatched a crew to clean up the scene of the accident, including killing the good Samaritan. Mike then prepares to assassinate Hector, but an unseen third party disrupts his plan.

Season 3 (2017)[edit]

Chuck plots for Jimmy to learn through Kim of the existence of the taped conversation. Jimmy breaks into Chuck's house to destroy the tape, but finds he's been set up; Chuck has Howard and a private investigator hiding nearby to witness Jimmy's actions, enabling Chuck to file a bar association complaint that could result in Jimmy's disbarment or suspension. At the hearing, Jimmy secretly creates a situation where Chuck's supposed electromagnetic hypersensitivity is tested, prompting behavior that makes Chuck's mental competence an issue. Jimmy's law license is suspended for a year, so to cover his portion of the expenses for the office he shares with Kim, he turns to producing commercials for local businesses in which he uses the screen name "Saul Goodman". Kim takes on additional clients to fully cover expenses, leading to sleep deprivation, which causes her to crash her car and break her arm. HHM's insurance carrier learns from Jimmy about Chuck's condition and threatens to raise their malpractice coverage rates as a result, while Chuck works with a doctor to try overcoming his hypersensitivity symptoms. Chuck and Howard's relationship turns sour as Howard becomes increasingly concerned about Chuck's apparent obsession with Jimmy and the general impact Chuck's erratic behavior has had upon HHM. Howard pays the several million dollars necessary to buy out Chuck's share of the partnership, resorting to personal savings so that the buyout doesn't bankrupt the firm. Jimmy tries to make amends with Chuck, but Chuck rebuffs him, stating that Jimmy has never been particularly important to him. After Jimmy leaves, Chuck's hypersensitivity symptoms return, and after a fit of action that includes tearing the wiring out of his house and stacking his appliances outside, Chuck purposely starts a fatal fire inside his house.

Gus Fring warns Mike not to kill Hector, because Gus intends to take over the Salamanca drug business and believes the time is not yet ripe. Instead, Mike disrupts Hector's drug shipments in an effort to have the police investigate the Salamancas. Nacho switches Hector's heart medication with a placebo in an attempt to kill him without detection by inducing a fatal heart attack. Gus agrees to launder the money Mike stole from Hector by paying him for contracted security consulting at Madrigal Electromotive, the company that supplies Gus with the ingredients to make methamphetamine. In a sign of respect and anticipation of a future working relationship, Gus pays Mike's withholding taxes, ensuring he won't sustain a financial loss as a result of the laundering. During a meeting with Gus, Hector suffers a stroke and collapses in front of Gus and Nacho.

Season 4 (2018)[edit]

The fourth season deals with fallout from Chuck's death. Jimmy enters a period of depression and self-defeatist behavior while trying to find a job, despite Kim's efforts to be supportive. Jimmy eventually finds work as a clerk in a cellular phone store, but discretely engages in criminal activity once again. Meanwhile, Kim learns that Mesa Verde seeks to expand greatly across the western states, which concerns her; bored with corporate law, she offloads most of the Mesa Verde work to a paralegal while accepting cases as a pro bono criminal defense counsel.

Despite Lydia's misgivings, Mike fully embraces the duties of his security consultant contract with Madrigal Electromotive as a way to avoid questions related to his laundered money. Gus learns of Nacho's hand in Hector's near-death, and uses the opportunity to secure Nacho as a mole within the Salamanca organization, while also using Nacho to trick the Salamancas into wiping out a rival gang, the Espinosas, which allows Gus to secure more territory for his own operation. Gus begins constructing his meth "superlab" under the industrial laundromat, enlisting Mike's help to find the right engineer and crew to build it.

Talking Saul[edit]

Talking Saul is a live aftershow hosted by Chris Hardwick, which features guests discussing episodes of Better Call Saul. The show uses the same format as Talking Dead, Talking Bad, and other similar aftershows also hosted by Hardwick. AMC announced that Talking Saul would air after the second season Better Call Saul premiere on February 15, 2016, and again after the second-season finale on April 18, 2016.[53] It returned following the season 3 premiere and finale.[54]

Season 1 (2016)[edit]

These episodes discuss season two of Better Call Saul.

No.
overall
No. in
season
Episode discussedGuestsOriginal air dateUS viewers
(millions)
11"Switch"Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Bob Odenkirk and Rhea SeehornFebruary 15, 2016 (2016-02-15)0.744[55]
22"Klick"Jonathan Banks, Vince Gilligan and Peter GouldApril 18, 2016 (2016-04-18)0.641[56]

Season 2 (2017)[edit]

These episodes discuss season three of Better Call Saul.

No.
overall
No. in
season
Episode discussedGuestsOriginal air dateUS viewers
(millions)
31"Mabel"Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Jonathan Banks and Rhea SeehornApril 10, 2017 (2017-04-10)0.545[57]
42"Lantern"Peter Gould, Patrick Fabian and Michael Mando; Michael McKean via satelliteJune 19, 2017 (2017-06-19)0.589[58]

Broadcast[edit]

In December 2013, Netflix announced that the entire first season would be available for streaming in the U.S. after the airing of the first-season finale, and in Latin America and Europe each episode would be available a few days after the episode airs in the U.S.[59] However, the first season was not released on Netflix in the U.S. until February 1, 2016.[60]

Netflix is the exclusive video-on-demand provider for the series and makes the content available in all its territories, except for Australia and New Zealand.[59] In Australia, Better Call Saul premiered on the streaming service Stan[61] on February 9, 2015, acting as the service's flagship program.[62] In New Zealand, the show is exclusive to the New Zealand-based subscription video-on-demand service, Lightbox.[63] The episodes were available for viewing within three days of broadcast in the U.S.[64]

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the series was acquired by Netflix on December 16, 2013,[65] and the first episode premiered on February 9, 2015, with the second episode released the following day. Every subsequent episode was released each week thereafter.[66] In India, the series is broadcast on Colors Infinity within 24 hours of the U.S. broadcast.[67]

The series premiere drew in 4.4 million and 4 million in the 18–49 and 25–54 demographics, respectively, and received an overall viewership of 6.9 million.[68] This was the record for the highest-rated scripted series premiere in basic cable history, until it was surpassed later the same year by another AMC series, Fear the Walking Dead.[69]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Better Call Saul has received widespread critical acclaim.

Season Critical response
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 98% (62 reviews) 78 (43 reviews)
2 97% (30 reviews) 85 (18 reviews)
3 97% (36 reviews) 87 (18 reviews)
4 99% (30 reviews) 87 (16 reviews)

Season 1[edit]

The first season of Better Call Saul received critical acclaim, particularly for its acting, writing, and directing with many critics calling it a worthy successor to Breaking Bad. On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has a rating of 98%, based on 62 reviews, with an average rating of 8.17/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Better Call Saul is a quirky, dark character study that manages to stand on its own without being overshadowed by the series that spawned it."[70] On the review aggregator website Metacritic, the first season has a score of 78 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[71]

Season 2[edit]

The second season, much like the previous, received critical acclaim from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season has a score of 97%, based on 30 reviews, with an average rating of 8.69/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Better Call Saul continues to tighten its hold on viewers with a batch of episodes that inject a surge of dramatic energy while showcasing the charms of its talented lead."[72] On Metacritic, the second season has a score of 85 out of 100, based on 18 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[73]

Season 3[edit]

The third season, much like the previous two, received critical acclaim, particularly for the character development of Jimmy McGill. On Rotten Tomatoes, the third season has an approval rating of 97% based on 36 reviews, with an average rating of 8.78/10. The site's critical consensus is, "Better Call Saul shows no signs of slipping in season 3, as the introduction of more familiar faces causes the inevitable transformation of its lead to pick up exciting speed."[74] On Metacritic, the season has a score of 87 out of 100, based on 18 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[75]

Season 4[edit]

The fourth season has also received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a 99% approval rating with an average score of 8.86 out of 10 based on 30 reviews. The site's critical consensus states, "Well-crafted and compelling as ever, Better Call Saul deftly balances the show it was and the one it will inevitably become."[76] On Metacritic, the season has a score of 87 out of 100, based on 16 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[77]

Awards and accolades[edit]

Year Ceremony Category Recipients Result
2015 2015 American Film Institute Awards[78] Television Programs of the Year Better Call Saul Won
5th Critics' Choice Television Awards[79] Best Actor in a Drama Series Bob Odenkirk Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Jonathan Banks Won
31st TCA Awards[80] Outstanding New Program Better Call Saul Won
Individual Achievement in Drama Bob Odenkirk Nominated
67th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards[81] Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series Kelley Dixon ("Five-O") Nominated
Kelley Dixon and Chris McCaleb ("Marco") Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series Phillip W. Palmer, Larry Benjamin, Kevin Valentine ("Marco") Nominated
67th Primetime Emmy Awards[81] Outstanding Drama Series Better Call Saul Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Bob Odenkirk Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Jonathan Banks Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Gordon Smith ("Five-O") Nominated
2016 73rd Golden Globe Awards[82] Best Actor – Television Series Drama Bob Odenkirk Nominated
22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards[83] Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Bob Odenkirk Nominated
68th Writers Guild of America Awards[84] Drama Series Better Call Saul Nominated
New Series Better Call Saul Nominated
Episodic Drama Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould ("Uno") Won
20th Satellite Awards[85] Best Drama Series Better Call Saul Won
Best Actor in a Drama Series Bob Odenkirk Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or TV Film Jonathan Banks Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or TV Film Rhea Seehorn Won
32nd TCA Awards[86] Outstanding Achievement in Drama Better Call Saul Nominated
Individual Achievement in Drama Bob Odenkirk Nominated
68th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards[81] Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series Kelley Dixon ("Rebecca") Nominated
Kelley Dixon and Chris McCaleb ("Nailed") Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series Phillip W. Palmer, Larry Benjamin, Kevin Valentine ("Klick") Nominated
Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role For the episode "Fifi" Nominated
68th Primetime Emmy Awards[87] Outstanding Drama Series Better Call Saul Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Bob Odenkirk Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Jonathan Banks Nominated
7th Critics' Choice Television Awards[88] Best Drama Series Better Call Saul Nominated
Best Actor in a Drama Series Bob Odenkirk Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Michael McKean Nominated
2016 American Film Institute Awards[89] Television Programs of the Year Better Call Saul Won
2017 74th Golden Globe Awards[90] Best Actor – Television Series Drama Bob Odenkirk Nominated
21st Satellite Awards[91][92] Best Drama Series Better Call Saul Nominated
Best Actor in a Drama Series Bob Odenkirk Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or TV Film Jonathan Banks Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or TV Film Rhea Seehorn Won
53rd Cinema Audio Society Awards[93] Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Series – One Hour Phillip W. Palmer, Larry B. Benjamin, Kevin Valentine, Matt Hovland and David Michael Torres ("Klick") Nominated
69th Writers Guild of America Awards[94] Drama Series Better Call Saul Nominated
Episodic Drama Gordon Smith ("Gloves-Off") Nominated
Heather Marion and Vince Gilligan ("Klick") Nominated
Thomas Schnauz ("Switch") Nominated
Location Managers Guild Awards[95] Outstanding Locations in a Contemporary TV Series Christian Diaz de Bedoya Nominated
33rd TCA Awards[96] Outstanding Achievement in Drama Better Call Saul Nominated
69th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards[97] Outstanding Music Supervision Thomas Golubić ("Sunk Costs") Nominated
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series Skip Macdonald ("Chicanery") Nominated
Kelley Dixon and Skip Macdonald ("Witness") Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour) Phillip W. Palmer, Larry Benjamin, Kevin Valentine ("Witness") Nominated
69th Primetime Emmy Awards[98][99] Outstanding Drama Series Better Call Saul Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Bob Odenkirk Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Jonathan Banks Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series Vince Gilligan ("Witness") Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Gordon Smith ("Chicanery") Nominated
2018 75th Golden Globe Awards[100] Best Actor – Television Series Drama Bob Odenkirk Nominated
24th Screen Actors Guild Awards[101] Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Bob Odenkirk Nominated
70th Writers Guild of America Awards[102] Drama Series Better Call Saul Nominated
Episodic Drama Gordon Smith ("Chicanery") Won
Heather Marion ("Slip") Nominated
22nd Satellite Awards[103] Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or TV Film Michael McKean Won
54th Cinema Audio Society Awards[104] Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Series – One Hour Phillip W. Palmer, Larry B. Benjamin, Kevin Valentine, Matt Hovland and David Michael Torres ("Lantern") Nominated
44th Saturn Awards[105] Best Action-Thriller Television Series Better Call Saul Won
Best Supporting Actor on Television Michael McKean Won
Best Supporting Actress on Television Rhea Seehorn Won

Ratings[edit]

Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes First aired Last aired Avg. viewers
(millions)
Date Viewers
(millions)
Date Viewers
(millions)
1 Monday 10:00 pm 10 February 8, 2015 6.88[106] April 6, 2015 2.53[107] 3.21[108]
2 10 February 15, 2016 2.57[55] April 18, 2016 2.26[109] 2.16[110]
3 10 April 10, 2017 1.81[111] June 19, 2017 1.85[112] 1.64[113]
4 Monday 9:00 pm 10 August 6, 2018 1.77[114] October 8, 2018 TBD TBD

Home media[edit]

The first season was released on Blu-ray and DVD in region 1 on November 10, 2015. The set contains all 10 episodes, plus audio commentaries for every episode, uncensored episodes, deleted scenes, gag reel, and several behind-the-scenes featurettes. A limited edition Blu-ray set was also released with 3D packaging and a postcard vinyl of the Better Call Saul theme song by Junior Brown.[115] The second season was released on Blu-ray and DVD in region 1 on November 15, 2016. The set contains all 10 episodes, plus audio commentaries for every episode and several behind-the-scenes featurettes.[116] The third season was released on Blu-ray and DVD in region 1 on January 16, 2018. The set contains all 10 episodes, plus audio commentaries for every episode and several behind-the-scenes featurettes.[117]

Comics[edit]

AMC has released two digital comic books for Better Call Saul. The first, titled Better Call Saul: Client Development, released in February 2015, in advance of the series premiere, details the history of Saul and Mike, acting as a spin-off of the Breaking Bad episode that introduced Saul.[118] In February 2016, in advance of the second-season premiere, AMC released Better Call Saul: Saul Goodman and the Justice Consortium in the Clutches of the Judgernaut![119]

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External links[edit]