Why Better Call Saul Showed So Little Of Bob Odenkirk As Saul Goodman

The February 2023 issue of Empire magazine includes a feature where Bob Odenkirk reflected on his time playing Saul/Jimmy/Gene. Also quoted is Vince Gilligan, creator of “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul.” When asked if he was “surprised” by how little Saul there was in “Better Call Saul,” Odenkirk felt the show spent enough time with the character for him:

“Oh, that was a perfect amount for me. There’s not a lot to Saul. Saul is actually one of the easiest iterations of the character to play. Life is kind of simple for him.”

Jimmy McGill is a man of conflicting desires. He wants to go legitimate, but he’s not willing to change himself to get there. He wants the respect of elite lawyers, like his brother Chuck (Michael McKean) or Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian), but resents them for looking down on him in the first place. Gene Takovic, meanwhile, is a husk of a man, always keeping his head down and looking over his shoulder for the heat around the corner.

Saul Goodman, on the other hand, has three modes: greed, self-preservation, and smart-ass. As we see in “Better Call Saul,” he’s also developed no attachments since his relationship with Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) failed. Saul probably sounds fun to play (and he definitely always has the best lines in any given scene), but I can see why Odenkirk would regard the persona as “less challenging” than Jimmy or Gene.

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