When Breaking Bad appeared on screen for the first time in 2008, probably no one imagined that with only 62 episodes spread over five seasons it would be considered one of the programs of its genre that would mark a before and after. So much so, that more than 8 years after its end in 2013, the keys to its success are still being discussed and even attempted to be imitated.
In addition to Bryan Cranston as the mild-mannered chemistry teacher Walter White, who on screen has become one of the top meth producers in the drug world; added impressive performances by Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman), Anna Gunn (Skyler White), Dean Norris (Hank Schrader), RJ Mitte (Walt Jr.), Betsy Brandt (Marie Schrader), Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring) and Jonathan Banks (Mike Ehrmantraut). But without a doubt it was Bob Odenkirk with his character of Saul Goodman, who changed everything.
Many Breaking Bad fans argue in favor of the character of Mike Ehrmantraut, played by veteran actor Jonathan Banks, as one of the best examples of how successful a creative decision can be when it comes to late and additional characters in the series. However, it was Bob Odenkirk’s Saul Goodman who ultimately walked away with all the awards.
The excellence of Breaking Bad was amplified with the appearance of Goodman, to the point that the appearance of the spin-off Better Call Saul was inevitable, to delve deeper into the life of the character and satisfy the curiosity of the fans. It all started in the eighth episode of the second season of Breaking Bad (titled Better Call Saul), in which Walt and Jesse get help from this very peculiar lawyer, when Badger (Matt L. Jones) is in trouble with the law.
No one imagined that it would end up being the gateway to one of the best characters on the show and its respective spin-off. Even the writers themselves went so far as to admit that they enjoyed writing it so much, that when they were making material for Breaking Bad they focused on Saul Goodman to the point that they had to get rid of a lot of him at the time because he wasn’t the lead.
Saul went from being a joke to an important character, capable of sustaining a complex and compelling story on his own. Everyone knows that a character like that doesn’t show up very often, so it’s no wonder they wanted to stick with him a little longer for this idea they called Better Call Saul alongside Netflix.
Saul was everything that didn’t belong in Breaking Bad, he wasn’t violent, he didn’t have a big drug empire, but he was also sleazy and slippery when it came to avoiding the law. Although the first season of the series was excellent, the critics and the public agree that it did not have the same magnitude until people like Saul and Mike arrived.
Saul wasn’t more of the same in terms of him being an accomplice to Walter and Jesse, he had a completely different level of experience that completed the Breaking Bad universe and connected all the dots in ways that the audience couldn’t even imagine, until who saw it. After all, it was Saul who had the number of the vacuum cleaner repairman that would give them an escape to a new life and it was Saul who introduced Walter to Gus Fring to save his business. Breaking Bad just wouldn’t have been the same without him.