The Genius Behind Better Call Saul

Noah Greenblatt, Writer

Better Call Saul just finished its 6th and final season as of August of this year and it was nothing short of a masterpiece. The thought, care and dedication by Bob Odenkirk, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, and everyone involved with this Breaking Bad spinoff may have made a better show than the original. From the acting, the plot, the visuals, and everything in between, each scene was filled with meaning.



This show follows the life of Jimmy McGill (also known as Saul Goodman), the comic relief lawyer from Breaking Bad. Throughout the show, Jimmy has to choose to walk down a narrow path of crime, fraud and manipulation or to be honest and a pillar of justice through his law practice. Saul had occasional references to his past throughout Breaking Bad, but they never were entirely fleshed out until his own spinoff story began. The show explains how someone could ever lead a life of crime and manipulation in a way that Jimmy McGill did in such a beautiful fashion.




Vince Gilligan uses a countless amount of similarities and callbacks throughout the show.

 To begin, the first episode features a scene between Jimmy and Kimberly Wexler, one of his coworkers and future wife, smoking a cigarette together outside of his brother’s law firm. This scene displayed Jimmy’s frustration with his brother’s refusal to withdraw from the firm (Hamlin Hamlin and McGill) and the fact that two potential clients of his were then brought in by HHM. This fan-favorite scene was mirrored in the final episode of the series, as Kim shows up to see Jimmy in jail “as his lawyer” after his life of crime finally caught up to the both of them. One of the final scenes of the series was almost identical to one of the first, the two sharing a cigarette together after hitting a turning point in their lives. 

Season 1, Episode 1. Jimmy shares a cigarette with Kim. (AMC)
Season 6, Episode 13. Jimmy shares one last cigarette with Kim in prison. (AMC)

Another great parallel in the series occurred between Jimmy and Kim during the Season 5 episode, “Bagman”. Jimmy is called upon by the Mexican drug cartel to retrieve seven million dollars in the middle of the New Mexico desert. The pickup doesn’t go as planned, as the deal becomes comprised and a rival gang starts a shootout. Jimmy barely escapes his life. Kim is left wondering if he’ll ever come home, but she obviously can’t notify anyone due to the nature of why Jimmy goes missing. A side-by-side montage ensues as the two both go through their daily routines for a few days, backed by a cover of “Somethin’ Stupid” by Frank Sinatra. They unknowingly mirror each other’s behaviors even hundreds of miles apart. The montage and song end as Jimmy finally miraculously receives cell service just as he thinks he won’t make it much longer. 

The creative choices that Gilligan and Gould took give such a huge payoff emotionally and thematically once you finish the show. Overall, these parallels give the series so much depth and character to it.

Season 5, Episode 8. Jimmy gets jumped in the desert. (AMC)


The use of color in Better Call Saul is used throughout the entire series help the audience reveal characters’ true colors, no pun intended.

In once aspect, all characters involved with the law are shown to wear muted colors, and for a while, Jimmy complies with this dress code. Early in the show, Jimmy is brought on to another firm to help HHM settle a case that Jimmy alone brought to both firms’ attentions. He’s given a company car, a nice office and other perks during his time at this firm. But, he doesn’t fit in whatsoever, so he begins to sabotage himself in hopes of being fired. As part of his career suicide plan, he begins wearing bright, colorful suits to work. These clothes obviously made him look even more out of place, but that was the point. Jimmy later shows that he’s different than any lawyer because of his tendency to shape the law to the advantage him and his clients. He embraces these colorful suits with his alter ego, to show that it(‘s all good, man). Saul’s extroversion and “colorful personality” go hand in hand with his array of suit jackets and ties, and it’s all foreshadowed before he knew he’d life a life of crime.

Season 2, Episode 7. Jimmy chooses the “colorful” path. (AMC)


To me, these are just a few things that make this show so special. Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould made a once-in-a-generation show, and I feel lucky to have seen it while it aired. The attention to detail, the camera angles the acting, the callbacks, everything. This show is perfect.