In the 10-epsiode fifth season of Better Call Saul, Jimmy McGill’s (Odenkirk) decision to practice law as “Saul Goodman” creates unexpected and profound waves of change for those in his orbit.
Release date: February 23, 2020 at 9pm
Cast: Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn, Jonathan Banks
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), beginning six years before the events of Breaking Bad, showing his transformation into the persona of criminal-for-hire Saul Goodman. Jimmy becomes the lawyer for 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 aired between August and October 2018. The show has been renewed for a fifth season, which is scheduled to premiere on February 23, 2020.
Jimmy is initially working as a low-paid sole practitioner, with the back room of a nail salon as his home and office. His friend and romantic interest, Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) works as a lawyer at the firm of Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill (HHM), where Jimmy and she were once employed in the mailroom. Partners at HHM include Jimmy’s nemesis, Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian), and brother, Chuck McGill (Michael McKean). Mike conducts illegal drug-related activity with Nacho Varga (Michael Mando) in addition to becoming right-hand man for drug lord Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) who runs a fast food restaurant as a business front. Odenkirk, Banks, and Esposito are all reprising their roles from Breaking Bad.
Like its predecessor, Better Call Saul has received critical acclaim, with particular praise for its acting, characters, and cinematography; many critics have called it a worthy successor to Breaking Bad and one of the best prequels ever made. Some have also deemed it superior to its predecessor. It has garnered many 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. Despite the initial popularity, Better Call Saul has not attained the same viewership numbers as Breaking Bad did at its highest.
Better Call Saul follows the life of the character Saul Goodman beginning about six years prior to the events of Breaking Bad. 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. After secretly completing law school and attaining admission to the bar, he unsuccessfully seeks to become an associate 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, and he struggles to find a way to prove himself, even with the help of an associate in the firm, Kim Wexler, with whom he also becomes romantically involved. At the same time, Jimmy 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 after the events of “Granite State”, the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad, in which Saul fears for his own safety and takes on a new identity in Omaha, Nebraska as Gene, the manager of a Cinnabon store. In Better Call Saul flash forwards, “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 time of events in 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”. 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.
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