Better Call Saul has finally come to a close, and while it did not end with Saul getting away with everything he had done — as most of us had thought he would — it did conclude with Jimmy McGill being sent behind bars for all the decisions he ultimately made in his life.
Bob Odenkirk transformed the seemingly one-dimensional, extremely sleazy scumbag lawyer from Breaking Bad into a psychiatric case study for the ages over the course of six amazing seasons. Even before the series finale aired, his role as James McGill/Saul Goodman was recognised with a Hollywood Critics Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series, and his work in Saul Gone alone could bring him that elusive Emmy.
But now that Better Call Saul has concluded and Vince Gilligan has said that he would not be producing any further television projects set in the world of Breaking Bad, we felt this would be the ideal opportunity to fully explain to you all how Jimmy gets to be known as Saul. Without further ado, here is James Morgan McGill’s full timeline as Saul Goodman.
November 12, 1960
Ruth and Charles Lindbergh McGill Senior welcome their second child, James Morgan McGill, into the world. Charles Lindbergh “Chuck” McGill Junior, Jimmy’s 15-year-old brother, graduated as Francis Xavier High School’s valedictorian a year before Jimmy was born and spent the most of his formative years as a student at the University of Pennsylvania. Jimmy was born in the Illinois town of Cicero, which bears the name of the renowned Roman lawyer and diplomat who served as a prominent figure before, during, and after the ascent and fall of Julius Caesar.
Harry Thurston Peck wrote the children’s fantasy novel “The Adventures of Mabel,” which Chuck reads to his brother Jimmy. Jimmy is listening to him read a passage about a wolf that is ostensibly stalking Mabel as its prey. Chuck assures Jimmy that Mabel will be OK when he questions if she will be alright. Chuck merely tells his brother to listen so he may see for himself when the latter queries how he is so certain about this. The two brothers are seated in their parents’ garden under a tent that is illuminated by a lamp.
To support his family, Jimmy begins working at his father’s business, but instead of really accomplishing anything at the business, he spends his time reading Playboy magazines. A customer enters their shop seeking assistance; it appears that he is experiencing a medical emergency, and he asks Charles Senior for some spare change and medication. While his father foolishly looks for supplies to aid the con artist, Jimmy recognises right away that the man is a con artist and goes to protect the cash register.
Jimmy stops the man from tricking his father, but he learns a lesson that will stay with him for the rest of his life. Jimmy is informed by the con artist that there are two different kinds of individuals in the world: sheep and wolves. He calls Jimmy’s father a sheep, describing him as naïve, helpful, and utterly blind to social reality. Jimmy is asked if he wants to be a sheep or a wolf when he grows up, and the young boy decides on the former as he steals some money from his father’s tiller and starts his life as a criminal.
Jimmy McGill enrolls in high school and begins operating a false ID business to assist his friends in purchasing booze while they are underage. One of Jimmy’s first sophisticated fraud businesses would turn out to be this one. Around this time, he also quickly grew close to Marco Pasternak, a fellow student and aspiring con man. Together, they frequently engaged in frauds, especially slip-and-fall accidents in the winter when they could find a decent piece of ice, earning Jimmy the moniker “Slippin’ Jimmy.” The couple established themselves as a local nuisance in Cicero.
Chuck, Jimmy’s brother, comes to Cicero after receiving his magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center to assist his father in turning around the family’s failing corner business. Chuck learns that his father had lost $14,000 over several years when counting the store’s accounts, and he quickly surmises that Jimmy must have been the thief. Chuck, of course, considers his father to be a god and will not consider him anything less.
He dismisses the idea that Charles Srkind .’s approach to business might have been the real cause of the store’s demise and accuses Jimmy right once, calling him the “only logical suspect” in this situation. Chuck is partially right, but his father closes the shop because he does not think Jimmy would have stolen money from the tiller. After completing this task, Charles McGill Sr. dies six months later. Jimmy sobs uncontrollably during the funeral, but Chuck realises that this is all an act and begins to view his brother quite differently.
To retrieve something, Jimmy and Marco Pasternak go back to the family’s former department store, which has been abandoned. Jimmy breaks a ceiling tile to reveal an antique, metallic Band-Aid box. He then removes an Indian-head coin that he plans to use in a con from the box. He tells Marco that once, due to his father’s “kind nature,” he attempted to part with a valuable George Washington half-dollar bill without receiving any payment in exchange.
Jimmy lays the blame squarely at his father’s feet, showing you that he never really felt as strongly for his old man as he made it look like at his funeral — something we would also see from him later. Marco expresses sincere regret for the closing down of Jimmy’s family store, but Jimmy directly places the blame there.
In order to fully embrace his life as a con artist, Jimmy breaks off touch with both his mother and brother. He acquires the persona of Saul Goodman over these four years and marries his first wife, who is never given a name in the series. Jimmy and Marco carry on living comfortably in Cicero by operating several frauds, but when Jimmy discovers that his wife has been having an affair with a man named Chet, his life takes a drastic change.
Jimmy- using his Saul Goodman alias- runs a fake Rolex scam on an unsuspecting mark with help from his buddy Marco. After running this scam, Jimmy ends up in serious legal trouble for performing a “Chicago Sunroof”; a drunken Jimmy encountered his ex-wife’s new lover Chet and decided to take revenge on him for stealing his girl. So, he defecated through the sunroof of Chet’s car, but he was unaware of the fact that his children were in the backseat, which landed him in serious legal trouble.
Jimmy called his mother for the first time in 5 years to get himself the best legal representation that he could think of. Chuck re-enters Jimmy’s life as one of the most-respected criminal law-practicing attorneys from the Southwest. He informs his delinquent brother that the only way he is going to help him is if he quits his life as a con artist, moves to Albuquerque with him and starts over in the mail room of Chuck’s law firm HHM. Jimmy, knowing that this is a crossroads moment for him, accepts his brother’s deal.
After meeting Marco one last time- who bemoans the fact that going straight is a waste for Slippin’ Jimmy’s skills- he moves to New Mexico and starts working at HHM in earnest. A week after working at HHM, Jimmy is invited to meet Chuck’s then-wife Rebecca Dubois. Chuck, free of Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity at this point, warns his wife that their guest is an acquired taste but Jimmy manages to charm the pants off of Rebecca with his natural charm and lawyer jokes. Chuck is visibly jealous of his social skills, but remains silent.
Jimmy settles into his HHM mail room job and becomes a hit with the other employees as well as Howard Hamlin who nicknames him Charlie Hustle. Jimmy organizes betting pools for the Oscars whilst doing his rounds and is seemingly in something of a relationship with fellow mail room employee Kim Wexler.
Kim, who is an aspiring lawyer herself, is being tutored and mentored by HHM name partner Howard Hamlin and looks up to Chuck for his brilliant legal mind. Chuck answers Kim’s questions on case law but continues to treat Jimmy like a nuisance, despite the fact that his brother is actually doing honest work at this point. Jimmy, inspired by the two most important people in his life, resolves to become a lawyer himself.
From 1993 to 1997, Jimmy spends his time divided between working at the HHM mail room and preparing to become a lawyer. He enrols into a distance-learning course from the University of American Samoa and works hard to earn his occupation, but he fails his first two attempts at clearing the bar exam. Jimmy passes the Bar Exam on his third try in 1997 and tells his brother Chuck about it, hoping it would eventually land him a job at HHM.
He celebrates in the mail room with his friend Ernesto and Kim as well, sharing a warm kiss with the latter. But his party is cut short when Howard Hamlin enters the mail room and informs Jimmy that the partners have unanimously decided not to take him on as an attorney because it would look like “nepotism”.
Jimmy, unaware that Chuck has put Howard up to this, develops a grudge against the man. He quits HHM and starts a solo practice from the back of Mrs. Nguyen’s nail salon. Chuck vouches for Jimmy at his swearing in ceremony, and the two brothers get drunk with each other and sing karaoke at a local bar. They return home singing ABBA’s The Winner Takes It All.
During this time, Kim Wexler becomes one of HHM’s go-to attorneys and her life becomes separated from Jimmy’s. We can assume that this is the time period where Jimmy marries his second wife, because he later tells one of his business associates that he caught said spouse in bed with his step-father; and the Chicago Sunroof incident happened with a man called Chet.
In fact, it is quite possible that this discovery is what caused Ruth McGill to go into a coma in 1999, but we can never be sure because that is never revealed. Neither are the identities of Jimmy’s ex-wives or the duration of their marriages. But it is in 1999 that Jimmy visits Cicero again, after 7 years of having been away from his past. He spends 3 days with his brother in their mother’s hospital room.
The whole time, the pair decide not to leave the room because anything might happen at any moment, but an optimistic Jimmy finally gets up to go bring his brother some hoagies. Unfortunately for him, tragedy would strike right then, as Jimmy’s mother would pass away in his absence.
When he realises what has happened, he breaks down, asking Chuck if their mother said anything in her final moments, but his brother only replies that she said nothing. It is revealed to the audience that she asked for Jimmy with her dying breath, and a jealous Chuck hid that fact from him for the rest of his life. It is also around this time that Chuck’s EHS symptoms start showing up, though he is able to manage going about as usual for most of his days.
2001 is the year that Chuck’s EHS symptoms reach their peak, and he can no longer hide his condition. He has Jimmy aid him in an elaborate scheme to hide his condition from his wife whilst having dinner with her but it all breaks down thanks to Rebecca’s “phone etiquette”. Shortly after this incident, Rebecca and Chuck get divorced and Chuck takes an extended sabbatical from HHM. Jimmy, feeling responsible for his brother and having great respect for the man he was, decides not to delegate Chuck’s care to HHM but to look into it himself. This begins his daily routine of visiting multiple newsstands, motels and grocery stores to get Chuck the supplies he would need to live properly on a day-to-day basis.
James Morgan McGill struggles to make an honest living as a public defender whilst trying to take care of his house-bound brother. He provides his services to three teenagers who had violated a corpse at a morgue and is dismayed to say the least by the pay he receives for his efforts. He is visibly struggling with the demands of his brother’s lifestyle but refuses to delegate the work to anyone else and resolves to find himself a new, more lucrative client however he can.
He comes into contact with the Kettlemans and decides to con the embezzling couple into getting their services and puts the Lindholm twins into his employ, after bedazzling them with stories about Slippin’ Jimmy. Unfortunately for all three of them, their plan ends up getting them into contact with Tuco Salamanca, giving Jimmy his first taste of real cartel violence. He is able to talk Tuco down from brutally killing the twins for disrespecting his abuelita to breaking one leg each, for which he calls himself the “world’s greatest lawyer”. Jimmy’s brother finds out about the incident but he insists that he is still on the straight and narrow.
Jimmy is approached by Nacho Varga- one of Tuco’s lieutenants- with a proposition. If Jimmy helps Nacho rip off the Kettlemans, he will get a neat sum as a “finder’s fee”. Though visibly desperate for the money, Jimmy declines. Nacho ominously informs Jimmy that he was in the game now, but Jimmy reasserts his position as a legit lawyer and even alerts the Kettlemans to Nacho’s robbery attempt anonymously.
When they disappear and Nacho is picked up by the cops based on his information, Jimmy is forced to work out a deal that will spring Nacho while also bringing the Kettlemans “to justice”. He is able to pull it off, but not without great personal loss. After getting a $30,000 retainer from the Kettlemans, Jimmy decides to mess with Howard Hamlin for asking him to not practice under the name McGill by putting up a billboard promoting his own firm which is near-identical to HHM’s trademarked branding.
After being forced to take down the billboard, he stages a fall-and-rescue incident to drum up publicity for his practice, and it works; he gets a few eccentric clients, yes, but he also meets Geraldine Strauss who asks him to draw up her will and opens the doors for a legit practice in Elder Law. Chuck is understandably furious by the fact that Jimmy was slipping back into his old habits and ends up being hospitalized in his attempt to expose Jimmy, which reveals that his EHS is completely psychosomatic.
Jimmy refuses to have his brother institutionalized and takes him home, determined to remain on the path he has chosen. While doing the rounds for his elder law practice, Jimmy visits Irene Landry at Sandpiper Crossing and comes across information that helps him create a class-action lawsuit against a national housing company. Jimmy brings his findings to Chuck and the brothers manage to spend a brief few moments of togetherness while working on the case.
Chuck even forgets about his EHS for a brief moment, and it encourages Jimmy to fight Schweikart & Cokely alongside his brother. But he is betrayed by Chuck when he gives the case over to HHM behind Jimmy’s back, and he later finds out that his prospects dying out at HHM were his brother’s doing.
He realises that his brother is only okay with him as long as he is under his thumb, so he hands over the Sandpiper case and Chuck’s daily care to HHM and leaves. During all this, he also represented Mike Ehrmantraut when Philadelphia PD visited him regarding the case of a few dead cops and helped him clear his name, which started their long-term criminal association. In fact, Mike was the one who helped Jimmy locate the Kettlemans, and he would also provide his services as a cleaner to Jimmy, which solidified him as a contact for him.
Jimmy is conducting a Bingo game at one of his client phishing spots and has a complete mental breakdown which culminates in him returning to Cicero. There, he reconnects with his old buddy Marco, who is sad that Jimmy didn’t come to see him when he visited in 1999 and also extremely depressed with his current job situation. Jimmy finds him asleep at the table of their old haunt and the two immediately run a scam on a nearby patron.
Marco and Jimmy slip right back into their old ways, going on a con binge that lasts for 3 weeks and ends with Jimmy- sorry, Saul Goodman- living through his Kevin Costner story. At the end of the 3 weeks, Jimmy checks his phone and realises he has relapsed- hard- and wants to return to his clients and Kim. Marco expresses his admiration for Jimmy- saying that Slippin’ Jimmy as a lawyer was the dream job for a con artist like him- but Jimmy wants to stay genuine to the ideals he has developed.
He clearly struggles with his moral fibre, but agrees to running one last scam before going back to ABQ. Sadly, Marco passes away in the middle of the scam and Jimmy is left devastated. His best friend’s last words to him were that these 3 weeks were the best of his life, and Jimmy receives Marco’s pinky ring as an inheritance.
After leaving Marco’s funeral, he gets a call from Kim who informs him that Davis & Main have become involved with the Sandpiper Case and that they are willing to offer him a partner-track position. Jimmy realises the amount of effort Kim must have put into getting him this offer and accepts on call, for her sake. Jimmy arrives at the meeting but pulls Kim aside and asks her if his answer would change things between them.
When she says it wouldn’t, he politely declines the offer and tells Mike that he is never making the same mistake he made with the Kettlemans ever again while humming Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple. Jimmy “moves out” of his law office and starts scamming guests at a luxury hotel, telling his clients he has stopped practicing law. Kim tracks him down and tries to convince him to take the Davis & Main job, but he convinces her to run a scam with him.
The couple spend a passionate night together but the next morning Jimmy realises what Kim truly wants from him and takes the job at Davis & Main. Despite it being everything he wanted from his job as a lawyer, Jimmy is clearly dissatisfied. He works hard on the Sandpiper case but knows that his con artist tricks won’t work anymore so he grows ever more frustrated by the dissonance between who he is and who he is supposed to be.
And this is only exacerbated when Chuck enters the deliberations as co-counsel at HHM, which throws Jimmy completely off his game. He decides to let off some steam by helping Mike with a morally flexible defence for one Daniel Warmolt, for whom Jimmy creates the infamous Squat Cobbler story- and video. After regaining the taste of creative conning once again, Jimmy embarks on a scheme to bolster the Sandpiper case using tactics that Kim tacitly disapproves of.
This entire month is a representation of Jimmy choosing the illegal life over the straight and narrow path his brother had laid out for him years ago. The first indication comes when Jimmy bribes a bus-driver working for Sandpiper into allowing him to solicit more clients for his class-action lawsuit. The scam works perfectly, but Jimmy’s antics are questioned once Chuck enters the proceedings to “bear witness”.
Jimmy manages to prevent any heavy scrutiny from Chuck or Cliff Main, but finds that Sandpiper has caught onto him and “advised” their residents to reject legal solicitation. So he tries to air a very provocative ad- filmed illegally besides- in order to draw more attention to the case Davis & Main were building. Jimmy thinks about clearing it with Cliff Main first but decides against it ultimately and airs the ad by himself. It works; the ad brings in dozens of new plaintiffs for D&M in relation to the Sandpiper Case.
But because Jimmy did not follow the rules, he is reprimanded for his actions and saddled with a babysitter in the form of Erin Bell. Unbeknownst to Jimmy, Kim is being punished by Howard at HHM for her involvement with the airing of the ad. Once he does find out he realises the true extent of the consequences of his actions, but Kim simply tells him that she fixes things for herself and works hard to get out of doc review by landing Mesa Verde for HHM; but things don’t work out the way she had hoped.
After realising that the life of a squeaky clean desk job isn’t for him- and that he won’t get his bonus if he resigns- Jimmy pulls out all the garish suits in his wardrobe and becomes as much of a nuisance as he can to get fired from Davis & Main whilst retaining his bonus. Cliff Main reluctantly does so, knowing full well Jimmy’s intentions, but when he questions Jimmy why he went to such lengths, Jimmy only replies that he’s a square peg trying desperately to fit in a round hole and that it was time for him to be himself.
He later breaks the news to Kim, who realises that Jimmy is right about going off on your own and becoming your own boss. Kim decides to take up Jimmy on his offer of starting a joint practice- with her own addendums of course- and thus Wexler-McGill is born in a former dentist’s office. The pair decides to hire Francesca Liddy as their receptionist and Kim prepares to take Mesa Verde with her but Howard and Chuck beat her to it, just as Jimmy had predicted.
Outraged by HHM’s treatment of Kim, Jimmy takes matters into his own hands and uses his old school forgery tricks to end HHM’s business relationship with Mesa Verde. He arrives at Chuck’s home when he is asleep and doctors the files overnight right before the day of an important hearing. Chuck realises what has happened and pulls Jimmy up on it but cannot come up with any proof. Kim knows as well, but while she is happy to regain Mesa Verde, she is deeply concerned with what Jimmy did in order to help her.
Chuck starts obsessing over his “mistake”, and deduces that Jimmy had done something to his files when he was without. He interrogates the copy-store owner who helped Jimmy with his scam, but fails to get anything out of him and has an EHS attack which ends with him cracking his skull on the counter. Jimmy- who was witnessing his master plan unfold expertly- is horrified by his brother’s predicament and immediately rushes to help him.
When Chuck is better in the hospital the next day, he immediately accuses Jimmy of tampering with his documents but Ernesto clears him, much to Jimmy’s surprise. He then learns from Ernie just how deep Chuck’s vendetta against him is, to the point it consumes his every waking hour. Jimmy helps Chuck get out of the hospital and brings him back home, but is later called by a panicked Howard who claims that Chuck “has quit HHM”.
When Jimmy arrives at Chuck’s home, he finds it covered in space blankets and worries that his scam has broken his brother’s already-disturbed mental state. Jimmy ends up confessing to the scam in order to help his brother recover mentally, and tells him he did so to make them both feel better. Chuck is outraged that Jimmy committed a felony, but seemingly understands why it had to happen.
The brothers take down the space blankets from the walls and have a brief moment of genuine bonding when they discuss reading The Adventures of Mabel together as children, but Chuck leaves Jimmy with an ominous warning; he says he will not forget what has happened here and that Jimmy will pay. Jimmy doesn’t get it at first, but when he hears from Kim that Ernesto overheard the conversation he had with Chuck regarding the Mesa Verde numbers, he realises his brother had extended an olive branch and then decided to stick it in the jugular.
Enraged and ignoring Kim’s advice, he breaks into Chuck’s home and destroys the tape, berating his brother for having always hated him but is witnessed in the act of committing a felony by Howard and Chuck’s PI. Chuck presses charges and Jimmy is arrested, spending a night at Bernalillo County Detention Centre. Ignoring Kim’s advice yet again, he represents himself and posts bail, intent on fighting his legal problems himself. But when Kim realises that Chuck’s true goal is to get Jimmy disbarred from ever practicing law again, she forces her way onto his legal team with a new plan.
Jimmy hires Mike to pose as a repairman and has him take dozens of pictures of Chuck’s living conditions. When Chuck was hospitalized the first time, Dr. Cruz made note of the fact that all the lanterns and loose paper he was keeping around were an invitation for a house-fire and Jimmy knew that no jury would be able to deny that Chuck was mentally ill after seeing these pictures. Mike executes his job flawlessly, as usual, and hands over the pictures to Jimmy at Loyola’s Diner where he is called the Ansel Elgort of covert photography; and we find it hard to discredit this particular analogy of his. He and Kim spend the next 3 months preparing his defence against Chuck.
A few days before Jimmy’s disbarment hearing, he contacts Dr. Caldera and acquires the services of the light-touched Huell Babineux, who helps Jimmy plant a fully-charged battery on Chuck on the day of his hearing. At the hearing, Jimmy presents Mike’s pictures and his own personal testimony as evidence that his brother hates him and the entire hearing has been orchestrated by Chuck to get Jimmy to never practice law again.
Chuck, of course, denies this, calling Jimmy’s arguments and off-book methods “sorry little tricks”, but then his brother goes in for the kill. Jimmy asks Chuck to check his right breast pocket, and when his brother realises that he has had a battery on him this entire time, he launches an angry tirade against Jimmy which proves to a stunned courthouse that this was, in fact, all personal.
As a result of Chuck’s meltdown, Jimmy avoids total disbarment but is still suspended from practicing law for a calendar year, so he calls all his clients with Francesca and tells them he is on a sabbatical. He also attends a visit from a distraught Rebecca, who has been trying to contact Chuck since the hearing incident, but finds out that she was only a pawn in Jimmy’s scheme to expose his brother.
Disgusted by what has happened, she tells Jimmy Chuck was right about him all along and leaves. Jimmy tries to recoup the money he had already spent on several commercial slots but when he fails to do so, he runs an advertisement for Saul Goodman Productions instead, which is the first time he officially uses the identity to promote himself. Kim notes that this Saul guy had a certain energy about him, and this seems to intrigue Jimmy.
Jimmy struggles to make ends meet. He is running out of cash very quickly as every advertising opportunity he has comes to a dead end. He tries to keep it quiet when he’s with Kim, but she can see how bad things are and starts considering taking on a second client. Jimmy, instead, begins resorting to cons once again. He first cons the owners of a music store into buying his commercial slots by staging a slip-and-slide incident.
He tries to get something out of his insurance company but when he fails to do so, he reveals Chuck’s mental illness to them, causing HHM’s malpractice insurance rates to skyrocket. He then helps a drug dealer at his community service go attend to business by telling off his bullish supervisor using his legal knowledge, which earns him $700. He visits a bar with Kim and starts talking about a credit card scam they can pull at one of the patrons, in desperate need of money, but calls it off when he sees Kim is genuinely upset by all of it.
Jimmy decides to solve his monetary problems another way and works on manipulating Irene Landry- the representative of the Sandpiper Case- into accepting the settlement, which would see him personally net a little over a million dollars. He meets with Howard first, trying to do things the right way, but when that doesn’t work, he dupes Irene into agreeing with his proposition, effectively alienating her from her friends in the process.
Jimmy’s various cons work out, and Irene gets into a position where she is ready to do what he has been suggesting to her all month long, but when Kim has her car crash, he realises how big of a mistake he was making. Jimmy calls Erin Bell from Davis & Main and has her help him help Irene get her friends back by “exposing” his manipulation of them. While taking care of Kim, he has a change in heart and goes to see Chuck but is shocked to see his brother having re-installed electrical appliances again.
Jimmy is genuinely happy for his brother, expressing joy at the fact that Chuck has finally overcome his EHS. He moves to apologize for his actions, but Chuck cuts him short and coldly tells him that he never cared for him and that Jimmy should own who he is.
At least that way, Chuck would respect him more. He leaves, thoroughly depressed by this revelation, but is forced to face his own actions when Howard calls him later and tells him that Chuck has tragically passed away. Jimmy and Kim rush to Chuck’s place and are met with a horror scene; the entire place is burned down and Chuck’s electrical appliances are in the backyard.
Jimmy realises that his brother relapsed and something must have happened to cause it; he blames himself for it and spends the rest of the day in deeper despair than before, to the point he doesn’t even hear Howard narrate Chuck’s obituary. Jimmy goes to Chuck’s funeral and receives sympathy from everyone there but Howard and Rebecca. Howard later turns up at Kim’s apartment and tells Jimmy what he thinks has happened; he believes that Chuck passed away because Howard pushed him out of HHM, thanks to an issue with the company’s malpractice insurance.
Jimmy realises he was right about why Chuck died, but seeing Howard take the blame upon his shoulders, he lets it slide onto him, telling him it was his cross to bear. Jimmy, like much of his biggest mistakes in life, defers responsibility to someone else and starts going about his own life in a dangerous casual manner.
Jimmy, as part of his PPD, starts looking for jobs but struggles to find something to his liking. He scams the owner of Neff Copiers out of an expensive Hummel figurine and splits the proceeds with Ira, surprised at the amount of money one job had yielded. While collecting his inheritance from Chuck’s estate- a measly $5,000- he notices that HHM looks more bare-bones than before and enquires as to what had happened. Howard admits the firm was struggling because of Chuck’s estate and Jimmy gives Howard a speech that inflames him enough to abuse Jimmy out of his office. Jimmy asks Howard to use that rage and get the firm back on its feet.
After returning home from his scam with Neff Copiers, Jimmy reads the letter that Chuck left him. It was clearly written while Jimmy was working in the mail room, and it was a genuine admission of pride from Chuck in Jimmy’s new life choices. While it makes Kim break down, Jim dismisses the letter nonchalantly, further indicating how far down the rabbit hole he truly was.
During this time, Jimmy also starts a new job at a mobile company called CC Mobile, where he discovers a secret that would become a trademark of his characterization in the future. Jimmy initially struggles to sell a single phone, but when his ploy of selling privacy attracts a customer looking to hide from the IRS, Jimmy comes up with a plan. He decides to start an illicit drop phone business, whereby he would sell phones at an up-marked price to criminals whilst also promoting his law practice when he regains his license.
Using his Saul Goodman alias, he arrives at the Dog House-the site of the birth of Wexler-McGill- and sells a bunch of phones that he came with. On the way back, he is mugged by three teenagers whom he later punks into silence with a little help from Huell and his friend Clarence. From this point onward, Jimmy McGill begins selling drop phones attached with his business card out of his car trunk under the alias Saul Goodman, and starts effectively leading a dual life.
May 2003 to January 2004
During these months, Jimmy spends his time building up his drop phone business while serving his suspension. Huell becomes his personal bodyguard and the pair makes bank selling pre-paid phones to Albuquerque’s criminal element whilst also promoting Saul Goodman’s eventual return to the law.
Jimmy and Kim drift apart due to the difference in their life choices, to the point that even though they live together, they barely see each other. Jimmy had hoped to restart Wexler McGill with Kim when he got re-instated but it became clear to him that Mesa Verde and pro bono work is what truly made Kim happy, so he backed off and focused on his future career as Saul Goodman.
Jimmy attends a party with Kim at her firm and is shaken by her success. Feeling belittled but not wanting to emasculate Kim, Jimmy begins frolicking a bit too much at the party, essentially mocking the guests with disguised holiday destination suggestions. Kim doesn’t say anything about it but she is clearly concerned. Later, Jimmy is approached by a plainclothes officer named Platt who asks him if he is Saul Goodman.
Jimmy realises Platt wants to get him out of his business, but isn’t able to convince him to leave him alone legally because Huell arrives and takes Platt out as soon as he smells trouble. Problem was, if he had been hearing Jimmy, he’d have heard him tell Huell that the guy was a cop, which could’ve saved them both a lot of trouble. Jimmy realises Huell is more inclined to D.B. Cooper this situation rather than deal with it so Kim steps in and helps him run a scam to get Huell off without jail-time, after she realises that Huell is being held because of a bias against him and Jimmy.
Kim takes on Huell’s case and represents him in court. Meanwhile, Jimmy executes the illicit part of their plan by travelling to Coushatta, Louisiana in a bus and forging dozens of letters in support of Huell as a “local hero”. Jimmy also sets up a massively complex sound board at Mrs. Nguyen’s backroom to aide with the scam when the ADA’s office inevitably calls to check in with Huell’s supporters.
Kim, meanwhile, uses shock and awe tactics to force Suzanne Erikson to comply with her terms. When Jimmy is able to successfully con Suzanne into thinking he is the local pastor of Coushatta and that Huell is, indeed, a local hero, she has no choice but to comply with Kim’s demands. Jimmy assumes that going through all this with Kim yet again has finally soured her on him, but to his surprise, she shoves him against a wall at the courthouse stairwell and passionately kisses him yet again. The next time they run a con together, it would be Kim who would propose it.
Jimmy helps Kim pull off a scam to get Mesa Verde a bigger branch in Lubbock, Texas, after Kevin- Kim’s boss- expresses that desire to her in a meeting. They manage to dupe the clerk in charge of approving the plans into signing off on duplicates with much larger building dimensions and later celebrate their victory. Jimmy is a week away from regaining his law license at this point and has decided to use the client base he has created with his drop phone business to practice criminal law.
Kim expresses doubt, but Jimmy reminds her that it is no different from her scamming Mesa Verde. When Jimmy’s hearing comes up, he is sure that he will be reinstated but is enraged to find out he hasn’t because he failed to express remorse over or even mention the very victim of his first hearing- Chuck. Jimmy visits Kim in an irate state and starts blaming everyone for his problems- as usual- and later comes to her place to gather his things and leave. But she manages to make him stay and comes up with a plan to help him regain his license.
Through a series of obviously-staged yet just convincing enough displays of grief- which included Jimmy “mourning” over Chuck’s grave at his one year death anniversary and “donating a law library anonymously” in his brother’s name- Jimmy manages to get a second hearing for his reinstatement. At the hearing itself, he plans to use Chuck’s letter to win the panel over but noticing that it wouldn’t be enough, breaks into an impromptu speech about how Chuck and the law meant the most to him. It was so moving that the panel immediately reinstated his license and it even moved Kim to tears.
But when she met up with him outside, she realised he had been faking it the entire time; Jimmy didn’t care about a single word he had said in there and was never going to go by the name McGill again. Picking up a DBA form from the clerk who was handing him his reinstatement forms, he told Kim “It’s All Good Man” and walked away with a smile, thus birthing Saul Goodman.
Jimmy- now going by Saul Goodman- plans to start his new venture by hosting a sale of his remaining drop phones and putting his number on their speed dials. He sells out, and promises the people that didn’t get his phones a 50% off on non-violent felonies. Huell tells him he did good, but Saul only says that they’re getting started. Goodman spends April taking on way too many cases and scamming his fellow lawyers into concluding plea deals with him that will allow him to make a lot of money very quickly. He does so with Bill Oakley and Suzanne Erikson, and starts working with a Bluetooth headset that would eventually become a part of his daily attire.
But everything changes for Jimmy when he is approached by one of his former clients with a business proposition. Nacho Varga brings Jimmy to Lalo Salamanca, who wants Jimmy to talk to their guy in prison and give him some info to rat out a rival party. Jimmy is reluctant to accept cartel business, but does so when Lalo pays him 8 grand upfront and tells him he is the guy for this.
Jimmy manages to engineer a deal for Lalo’s guy that turns him into the DEA’s personal snitch, going above and beyond what was required of him, and impresses Lalo. During this time, he is also visited by Howard Hamlin who offers him a job at HHM with a clean slate. But Jimmy being the person he is, decides to take retribution against Howard instead and starts harassing him with bowling balls and prostitutes whilst putting off his job recommendation as much as he could.
Saul Goodman also becomes involved with a certain Everett Acker on the recommendation of Kim Wexler, which leads to the couple conning Kim’s client- Kevin Wachtall- into practically admitting that his father violated copyright law with Mesa Verde’s logo and allows Acker to keep a hold of his land. Off the back of this victory, Saul and Kim plan the downfall of Howard Hamlin and get into worst deal that they will ever cut with anyone when they come across a certain Salamanca.
When Lalo is arrested for the murder of Fred Whelan, Nacho picks up Saul to represent him in court. Saul tries to explain to Lalo that the circumstances of his case do not make it feasible for him to get out at all, but Lalo asks him if he wants to be a friend of the cartel. Saul reluctantly agrees and demands $100,000 as his fee for bringing Lalo’s bail money from across the border. After staging an elaborate hearing where he was able to successfully prove that the opposition’s defence had been coached- thanks to Mike- Jimmy manages to get Lalo out of jail on bail.
He goes through hell to recover his money, being set upon by assassins sent by Juan Bolsa, and is only saved because Mike was out there protecting him. Oh, and Jimmy also gets married! On May 6th, James Morgan McGill gets married for the third time in his life to Kim Wexler in order to keep all their secrets safe from the scrutiny of the law. Huell serves as their witness.
However, after getting married to Kim and going through a literal life-or-death situation, Jimmy realises that the only way to cope with the stresses of his choices were to stick to the road he had chosen, as explained to him by Mike. He does so, not faltering for a single second when Lalo comes to his home to enquire about his shot-up car. Saul and Kim move to a hotel temporarily to protect themselves from the consequences of the visit from Lalo and decide to put into action their biggest scam yet; the take down of Howard Hamlin.
Through a series of carefully-planned steps, they are able to convince Howard’s co-counsel on the Sandpiper case- Cliff Main- that he was under the influence of drugs and was into hookers. Jimmy had interrupted one of Howard’s lunches with Cliff using hookers previously, so the ruse would be believable for Cliff. While their scam against Howard proceeds without a hitch, Saul Goodman finds himself a pariah at the courthouse, thanks to his defence of Jorge de Guzman- who the authorities have figured out was Lalo Salamanca.
Everyone thinks Saul is downright filthy for what he has done- with Suzanne Erikson even urging Kim to ask Jimmy to inform on the Salamancas- but she reminds him that being a friend of the cartel is better than being a rat. Jimmy is also rewarded for his efforts in the form of multiple new clients the next day because by this point, Saul Goodman was a budding legend. People started recognizing him as Salamanca’s guy, and he suddenly had clients from all over Albuquerque begging to represent him.
Saul and Kim’s scam against Howard Hamlin is successful. Using a combination of drugs, faked images and a fake PI, they manage to convince everyone involved in the Sandpiper case that Howard was out of control and get the settlement that Jimmy had been looking for all along. And after learning that Lalo was dead, Jimmy was in a celebratory mood. He and Kim were in the middle of their victory party when Howard showed up, a bottle of Macallan in his hand and accusation in his eyes. Howard expertly deduced the entire plan that Jimmy and Kim had laid out for him and then went on to call them Leopold and Loeb.
He promised to bring them both to justice, but at that moment, Lalo Salamanca walked into Kim’s apartment and shot Howard dead. This stunned Saul, who till this point had assumed Lalo was dead. The cartel boss proceeded to tell Saul about Nacho being a rat, and gave him a simple mission- to point and shoot at Gus Fring.
Saul manages to get Kim to do it instead, and Lalo ties him up, leaving him staring at Howard’s dead body till Mike arrives with him men. After Jimmy recounts everything that happened to Mike, he waits for Kim’s return anxiously, and when she comes back, it’s clear that things will never be the same. While Saul Goodman is able to go about his day normally, Kim Wexler isn’t.
When they attend Howard’s funeral, his widow Cheryl nearly figures out what they did to him but is dissuaded by Kim, who wants nothing more than to admit it. Jimmy is more than happy letting Kim handle the talking and focusing on letting the healing begin, but he doesn’t realise that this is the last time he will probably ever be talking to the love of his life.
The day after Howard’s death, Jimmy gave Kim the same speech Mike had given him after their day in the desert. But instead of sticking it out with Jimmy, Kim decides to quit the law and leave Albuquerque because of the immense guilt she carries with her now. Not even an open admission of love from Jimmy can stop her from leaving, and so there is nothing left of James Morgan McGill in the man we now call Saul Goodman.
Saul Goodman is living his life as the ABQ’s best “criminal lawyer” and has finalized his immortal catchphrase “Better Call Saul”. His office looks like the one we will always remember- not the feng shui stuff that Francesca had picked out earlier- and he is waiting to attend to a rather tricky piece of business. Kim returns to Albuquerque to divorce Jimmy, and he puts it off until he no longer can. When he does invite Kim in to get over with the entire ordeal, he ignores looking at her directly and constantly works on hustling his clients and bragging about his profits.
He tells Kim she is stupid for not taking her half of the Sandpiper settlement, which ended up going to him as well, and tells her to have a nice life as Emilio Koyama walks into his office. Emilio is the cousin of Krazy-8, the same guy Saul turned into the DEA’s personal snitch for Lalo. This indicates that not only has he continued to represent cartel members, he isn’t averse to meth cooks as well. After finalizing his divorce to Kim, Saul dives headfirst into building his own criminal empire.
In the 3 years that followed, Saul Goodman became the face of Albuquerque’s criminal law community- for better or worse. Using his obscene wealth, Saul was able to launch an aggressive advertising campaign for his business, and became something of a local celebrity as a result. He opened up at least 2 shell corps- Ice Station Zebra Associates and Tigerfish Corporation- to keep his money safe, and he bought dozens of nail salons all over Albuquerque. He also bought Lazer Base, which is where Pryce works.
Saul Goodman is also the possessor of Dr. Caldera’s infamous “black book”, which gives him access to the names of criminals all across the city who are useful for various purposes. This is where he would later find Patrick Kuby- the character portrayed by Bill Burr. He has also sleeping with prostitutes frequently and bought the mansion he wanted to buy with Kim earlier in his life, filling it with memorabilia of his past and other luxury items. Saul provides successful legal defence for Emilio Koyama twice, which causes Jesse Pinkman to trust him implicitly as a criminal lawyer and suggest him as the guy Walter White approaches for their “Badger problem”.
Saul Goodman wakes up in his mansion and immediately starts working. He dismisses his lady for the night with a breakfast bar, and doesn’t stop talking from the moment he showers to the moment he starts driving- and even then he only stops to critique his on-radio advertisement. His assistant Francesca Liddy- who is now entirely implicit in his illegal business- calls him about a “public masturbator” who turns out to be Brandon Mayhew; aka Badger.
He is visited by Badger’s “uncle” in his office and asked to not cut a deal or give anything up to the DEA in exchange for $10,000, which he initially refuses. Saul is dragged out to the desert by Walt and Jesse, with him praying the whole time that this wasn’t Lalo coming back for answers. After he realises that Walt and Jesse are connected to Badger, he is able to talk them into hiring him as their lawyer and gives them an impromptu plan for helping Badger get out of jail.
After entering the RV with Walt and Jesse and seeing the lab set up in the back, he realises that Walt is Heisenberg, and promises to get his guy off clean. Saul employs Jimmy In-And-Out to help con Albuquerque police into thinking he is Heisenberg, and it appears that that’s that. However, we later find out that Saul had Mike look into Heisenberg because he thinks the guy’s product is top-shelf and can make a lot of money for Mike’s mystery kingpin. Mike is vehemently against the idea, calling Walt a complete amateur, but Saul decides to pay Walt a visit anyway, which signifies the choice he makes that ends up ruining hundreds of lives down the line.
After calling Walt out for being the equivalent of Fredo Corleone in the drug business, he offers his personal services as his lawyer and launderer and encourages him to “Better Call Saul”. Walt takes Saul up on the offer, thus starting their relationship. After Combo- one of Walt and Jesse’s dealers- is shot dead by a rival gang, Saul manages to convince Mike to give Walt a meeting with Gus. Walt & Jesse arrive for the meeting but don’t make contact with Saul’s contact. Upon inquiring what happened, Saul tells them that his contact was there and that they blew it.
Saul Goodman sends Mike to Jesse’s apartment to “clean up” after Jane Margolis’ tragic passing. Fun fact: Bob Odenkirk was supposed to shoot this scene himself but couldn’t because of a scheduling conflict, so Mike’s character was created.
Saul Goodman draws up a class-action lawsuit in lieu of the Wayfarer 515 tragedy and attempts to lure Walt back into the drug business. When he refuses, Saul calls Mike and has him install surveillance equipment at Walt’s home just in case they have a problem. When Walt doesn’t return immediately, Saul gets to working with Jesse instead. He helps Jesse acquire his aunt’s newly-refurbished home by blackmailing his parents with knowledge of the meth lab and manages to close the purchase for less than half the asking price. He visits Jesse multiple times trying to get him to get Walt cooking again, but it is to no avail.
So when Jesse starts cooking again, Mike relays this information to Gus, who buys Jesse’s product and splits the payment 50-50 between him and Walt as a psychological ploy to get Walter back into cooking meth. Instead, Jesse decides to restart the Crystal Ship, and he gets Badger and Skinny Pete to join him in his venture, unaware that Hank has caught on. When Hank locates Jesse’s RV, Walt calls Saul, who has Francesca pose as a police officer to draw Hank away from the RV. After Hank brutalizes Jesse, Saul is giddy at the prospect of getting Schrader for police brutality but privately muses that they might have to get rid of Jesse if he becomes a problem.
Later, he gives Jesse advice on how to launder his money if he wants to keep his riches, and offers him the nail salon he was getting a manicure and pedicure at. Saul is also briefly fired by Walt for having bugged his home but that is promptly ignored once the Cousins turn up as dead bodies and Walt realises who their target really was. What concerns him more is the fact that Skyler has discovered his business, but Saul manages to contend that she won’t be a credible witness even if Walt goes to trial.
After Skyler White decides to become Walt’s new money launderer, she meets with Saul and instantly rejects all his ideas for prospective options. Saul and Skyler do not like each other but Walt assures both of them that they are the right people for their respective jobs. Saul and Walt realise that Jesse is about to kill some of Gus’ dealers in retaliation for getting his friend Combo killed by his current girlfriend Andrea’s brother Tomas.
After Walt helps clear Jesse with Gus and then protects him from Gus’ anger by taking out the problematic dealers himself, Saul helps Walt stash Jesse and even lies to Mike about his whereabouts. He later brings Walt to Lazer Base- where Jesse is hiding- and facilitates the meeting between them that eventually leads to the death of Gale Boetticher. After Mike threatens to beat Saul till his legs don’t work, he hires Huell Babineux again, as his full-time bodyguard.
Saul Goodman puts Walter White in touch with Lawson, who the gives Walt an untraceable gun “strictly for defence”. He also puts Skyler White in touch with Kuby, who she uses to successfully scam Bogdan into selling the car wash to the White family. Though Saul manages to pull it out of the bag for Walter every time he is called upon, it seems like Walter always has more for him to deal with. When Walt realises that Hank has procured Gale Boetticher’s lab notes and might be able to catch on to him, he asks Saul to help him. Saul suggests that Walt “disappear” with his family but also states that it is a last-minute resort, which causes Walt to reconsider. In June, after Walt destroys a Dodge Challenger out of the stress of dealing with Gus, he asks Saul if he can hire hitmen.
Saul points out that Mike knows all the hitmen he knows, so it would be next-to-impossible to do so. He helps Jesse deliver money to Andrea and Brock Cantillo, and asks him why he doesn’t see them himself, unaware of Walt’s manipulation. He instead helps the Whites solve their Beneke problem, which arises when Skyler realises that Ted defaulting on his tax payments could implicate her as well, thereby ruining Walt’s business.
Saul calls Ted into his office and presents him an inheritance from his fictional aunt Birgit, with the amount being nearly exactly the sum he owes to the IRS. When Ted uses the inheritance to indulge himself instead, Saul points this out to Skyler White, who asks him to handle the situation. Saul sends Huell and Kuby to Ted’s place to convince him to pay his taxes and while the intimidation works, Ted slips and falls trying to escape the two men and nearly dies in the process. He is forever terrified of Skyler thereafter and ponies up immediately. Saul has bigger problems on his hand when he realises Gus is about to kill Walt.
He suggests Walt disappear with his entire family but when Walt is unable to do that thanks to Skyler giving away all their money, he comes up with a different plan. Using Saul and Huell, Walt pickpockets the Ricin cigarette from Jesse and makes it appear as if Gus has poisoned Brock. He has Saul keep up the pretence of being unaware of the poisoning attempt whilst acting as his liaison with Jesse, because Jesse gets picked up by the cops for being a bit too specific with the description of Brock’s “illness”.
Saul gets Jesse out of there instantly and also passes along the information that eventually allows Walt to win his war with Gus; Saul reveals Tio’s location and grudge with Gus to Walt, who uses it to kill three birds with one stone. Saul visits Skyler at the car wash to inform her that Ted Beneke has woken up and advises Junior to call him if he ever drinks and drives, and later, after Walt is done tying up loose ends from Gus’ death, he confronts Saul about the Beneke payment. Saul counters by saying the payment kept Walt safe and that he too had Saul unwittingly poison a child, and screams that they are done. Walt menacingly stalks Saul and tells him they are done when he says they are done.
Saul Goodman continues to serve as Walter White’s go-to counsel and is now integral to his business. Goodman helps Walt acquire Vamonos Pest, which ends up becoming his new in-town front for cooking meth. Despite Saul’s suggestion of retirement, Walt is adamant to start anew. Saul is present when Mike, Walt and Jesse decide the percentages and responsibilities of everyone involved. He privately asks if Walt is okay with letting Mike run the business, to which Walt replies that he runs Mike.
When the DEA picks up Mike for questioning, he initially goes alone but after getting tailed incessantly, he brings in Saul who files a restraining order against the DEA on grounds of stalking, Turns out that Saul was correct in worrying about Mike but for entirely different reasons; the lawyer Mike had hired to pay off Gus’ guys had flipped on him and had put everyone at risk.
So when Walt calls Mike with this information from Saul’s office, Mike wants Saul to deliver a duffel bag to him to facilitate his escape. Walt goes instead, and Mike never returns, which gives Saul pretty much the right idea about what exactly happened to Mike. He becomes even more scared of Walter and does as he is asked to.
November 2009 – March 2010
Over the course of 5 months, Walter White and Saul Goodman earn millions of dollars thanks to their new meth operation whose reach extends to the Czech Republic now.
Saul Goodman alerts Walter White as to the guilty conscience of his former business associate; Jesse had just showed up to his office with his $5 million and he wanted to give it away to the families of Drew Sharpe and Kaylee Ehrmantraut. Saul holds on to the money for Walt, and gives it to him after he believes that Jesse has been placated enough. The bigger problem arrives in the form of Hank discovering Walt is Heisenberg; Saul immediately suggests sending Hank to Belize just like Mike, but Walt angrily shoots the idea down.
Instead, as soon as he realises he has been made, he makes Huell and Kuby pick up his cash and bring it to Saul’s office in 7 50-gallon barrels which he personally buries in the desert. Saul tells Walt that most of what Hank knows is not something the DEA would buy, and Walt creates a fake confession that seemingly ends Hank’s dream of catching Heisenberg. But where one door closes, another blows open.
Jesse is arrested and brought in front of Hank. Saul bails him out but chastises him for his decisions, and involves Walt in the discussion about Jesse’s future. Slowly, deceptively, but surely, Walt is able to convince Jesse to leave Albuquerque and disappear. But when Jesse shows up at Saul’s office for his appointment with the disappearer high and in possession of weed, Saul has Huell lift the stuff lest Ed rejects taking Jesse, but this would turn out to be his undoing. Jesse connects the dots and realises that Walt had Brock poisoned with Saul’s help, so he goes to Saul’s office, beats him up and steals his car to go confront Walt.
After Walt discovers Saul’s car outside his home and his living room covered in gasoline, he realises Jesse has snapped and calls Saul to discuss options. Saul once again suggests sending Jesse to Belize, but Walt shoots it down, stating he will not entertain such options; even though it is what he ends up doing, anyway. Thanks to the “disappearance” of two DEA agents and the fact that most of the people Walt was close to now hated him, news of his identity as Heisenberg broke and spread like wildfire across America.
April 2010 – September 2010
Saul Goodman realises his ride is pretty much over and tears apart his office, gathering up all the valuables that he can carry with him after he “disappears”. He has Francesca shred all the documents that are present in the office and then dump them 5 miles away from the office. He also tells her to be present at a certain payphone on November 12th of the same year to attend a call, and she agrees, but says that if it doesn’t ring, she will be leaving. Saul assures her that it will ring, and then offers her a hug, which she rejects with disgust evident on her face.
He then calls Ed the Disappearer and orders a pick-up. Arriving at Ed’s store, he has his picture taken and is asked to bunk with another occupant who turns out to be Walter White. As it happens, relocating Walt has been a particularly difficult task, and Saul is admittedly still kind of afraid of him when he enters the basement of Ed’s shop. He tells Walt that it is all over and if he himself was lucky, his best case scenario was becoming a Cinnabon manager in Omaha someday. Walt tries to assert it’s not over once again but his coughing bout spells the end of their arrangement.
Later, when Walt is fixing the basement out of frustration, Saul asks him where he would go if Walt had a time machine, and Walt simply berates him for having been a con man his entire life. The next time we see the man we know- and somewhat love- as Saul Goodman, he is going by the name Gene Takavic.
In October 2010, Gene Takavic works as an assistant manager of a Cinnabon in a mall in Omaha, Nebraska. Though he has a regular routine and a seemingly regular life, he is clearly paranoid 24/7 and reminisces about his old life constantly. He watches tapes of his old advertisements when he is free and is generally severely depressed about the state of things. One time, he gets locked in the trash room of the mall where he works and refuses to ring the emergency bell, worried that his rescuers might just as easily become his prosecutors.
He spends the entire night waiting for someone to open the door while growing ever more anxious. Finally, when the door is opened, he silently strides out and it is revealed that he scratched “S.G. was here” into the wall of the trash room. Gene later passes out while working at the Cinnabon out of sheer stress, because he thinks that giving legal advice to a criminal he spotted at the mall might have blown his cover. Instead, it’s the cabbie that comes to pick him up that realises his true identity, with the driver- Jeff- being a huge fan of Saul Goodman.
Gene manages to get Jeff to stay silent but is perturbed by being made, so he calls Ed to disappear once again. But he seemingly changes his mind and says he’ll take care of it himself, and returns to Jeff with a proposition. Saul, Jeff and Jeff’s buddy run a scam at the mall where they make off with tonnes of expensive contraband in the form of luxury clothes. Saul seemingly orchestrated this scam to buy Jeff’s silence but not being able to resist his own nature, embarks on more such scams with his new lackeys.
One of his marks turns out to be a cancer patient, and Saul is ruthless enough to go after him despite his condition, his recent experiences with cancer patients having soured him on the entire disease itself. Saul manages to run a tight ship and steer clear of the cops, just like he used to.
November 12, 2010
Gene Takavic calls Francesca Liddy at the promised date and time to get an update from her on the state of things back home and is disheartened to find that everything and everyone he knew in his previous life was either gone or vanished. He beseeches Francesca to give him some good news, but the best she can manage to come up with is the fact that Kim called, asking about Jimmy 6 years after their divorce.
Saul calls Kim immediately after he is done with Francesca and starts talking about wanting to catch up as if nothing had happened, but realising that Kim’s conscience was weighing heavy on her, breaks into his accusatory routine that Kim has heard and seen a million times over by now. Saul starts telling Kim she should turn herself in if she feels that guilty, and then tries to apologize for it but Kim simply tells him she is glad he is alive and cuts the call.
A frustrated Saul breaks the glass of the phone booth and smashes the receiver on the bank multiple times, frustrated at not being able to catch a break. Saul decides to run that scam on the cancer guy anyway and breaks into his home in the middle of the night, with Jeff as his getaway driver.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, Jeff gets caught by the police but Jimmy promises to give him the best criminal defence that he can provide and goes to meet Jeff’s mother Marion to help her bail out her son. But once he arrives, he realises that Marion has discovered who he is; Marion is an avid fan of YouTube and a quick search for con man + Albuquerque yielded up Saul Goodman to her. Saul tries to threaten Marion into staying quiet, even moving to possibly kill her, but she manages to call the cops on him and he is captured from a dumpster, where he was desperately trying to call Ed for another pickup.
Saul Goodman hires Bill Oakley- the beat lawyer he used to compete with- as his defence attorney and proceeds to represent himself for the most part during his dealings with federal prosecutors. Using his immense acting capacity and his legal knowledge, he is able to poke enough loopholes in the government’s case to get himself a mere 7 and a half year sentence and also manages to avoid spending that term inside of ADX Montrose- one of the worst prisons in New Mexico.
Saul appears rather proud of himself for being able to get such a lenient sentence in light of his crimes, but he realises that this is the only chance he has left to redeem his humanity, so he calls Kim and asks her to attend his hearing. At the hearing, Saul goes back on his signed confession to the government and gives a proper, more-accurate confession from the stand, admitting everything- about Walt, Howard, Chuck, and everything in between.
This act gets his sentence increased to 86 years. He also insists that the judge call him Jimmy McGill, and gives Kim a look that says, I heard you and I am sorry for taking this long to do the right thing. Jimmy is taken to ADX Montrose-naturally- and on his way there, the entire bus full of inmates starts chanting Better Call Saul. Once he gets there, he is visited by Kim, who tells him her New Mexico Bar License doesn’t have an expiration date so she came to see him.
They share a cigarette as Kim bemoans the fact that Jimmy got his sentence upped from 7 and a half to 86. Jimmy simply replies that with good behaviour, who knows how his life will play out. The final shot we see of James Morgan McGill/Victor Sinclair/Gene Takavic/Saul Goodman is him standing on the prison exercise yard, staring intently at Kim as she exits the prison. He blows two finger guns at her and exits the screen, bringing his life story to an end.
It is implied that James McGill was transferred to Bernalillo County Detention Centre after a few years thanks to the “good behaviour” he was referring to with Kim. Saul Goodman is currently serving an 86 year sentence which gets over in 2096, technically. Jimmy was born in 1960 and captured in 2010, exactly at the age of 50.
It is unlikely that he will ever see his prison sentence reduced or even get the time to see the light of day again, but he will live free of the shackles he put upon himself. After spending 50 years as a mostly free man, Jimmy McGill aka Saul Goodman will spend the rest of his life behind bars, and while we aren’t thrilled at the prospect, following the franchise finale, we can certainly say that there was no more fitting end for him. This is the full timeline of the descent of a young kid from Cicero into a life of organized crime, and how it took realisations that came from within for him to come to terms with his destructiveness.
Jimmy McGill is not a person who we should be feeling sorry for. He has conned his way into every criminal lifestyle possibility imaginable. And perhaps that is the lesson that the showrunners wanted to give us with his story. Better Call Saul showed us how the loss of moral fibre can push people beyond what can be defined as a limit, and then some; and cautions us to never take the chances that Jimmy did, lest we want to find ourselves spread-eagled in front of a ditch out in the desert.