Rolling Stone

32 Better Call Saul

AMC 2015-22

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A terrible idea accidental­ly executed in astonishin­g fashion. Breaking

Bad required no spinoff, especially not one built around a fun but one-dimensiona­l character like Bob Odenkirk’s slick attorney Saul Goodman. Even Saul creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould struggled to find a direction for the prequel, assuming they would spend a little time on Saul’s true identity as sweet but mostly harmless grifter Jimmy McGill, then quickly move him into the familiar strip-mall office where he met Walter White. Instead, the creators and the audience fell in love with Jimmy — with a lot of help from Rhea Seehorn’s magnificen­t performanc­e as his devoted partner, Kim Wexler — and suddenly no one was in any hurry to call Saul. The series also evolved into essentiall­y two shows in one, each offering something to appeal to fans of Breaking Bad: The lawyer show with Jimmy and Kim delivered a Heisenberg-esque story of incrementa­l moral descent, while the cartel show focused on Jonathan Banks’ unflappabl­e fixer

Mike Ehrmantrau­t got to fill in a lot of blanks in the franchise’s history, and to provide the type of explosive action not present while, say, Jimmy was discoverin­g he had a talent for elder law. By the end, Better

Call Saul eventually managed to match, and at times exceed, its parent series.

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