Better Call Saul (season 1)
The first season of the American television drama series Better Call Saul premiered on February 8, 2015, and concluded on April 6, 2015. The ten-episode season was broadcast on Monday nights in the United States on AMC, excluding the pilot episode which aired on a Sunday. A spin-off of Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul was created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, both of whom also worked on Breaking Bad.
|Better Call Saul (season 1)|
Region 1 home media cover art
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||10|
|Original release||February 8 –|
April 6, 2015
The season takes place in 2002, excluding the opening scene in the pilot where Saul (under his "Gene" alias) works at a Cinnabon, and features Bob Odenkirk reprising his role from Breaking Bad as James Morgan "Jimmy" McGill, who later becomes known as Saul Goodman from the fourth season onwards. Jimmy is a struggling lawyer looking after his brother Chuck, who allegedly suffers from electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Jonathan Banks also reprises his role as Mike Ehrmantraut, a former Philadelphia police officer who works independently as a parking lot attendant, and later on a private investigator and "cleaner".
The first season of Better Call Saul received acclaim, with many of them considering it to be a worthy successor to Breaking Bad, and six nominations for the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series.
By July 2013, the series had yet to be greenlit. Netflix was one of many interested distributors, but ultimately a deal was made between AMC and Breaking Bad production company Sony Pictures Television. Gilligan and Gould serve as co-showrunners and Gilligan directed the pilot. Former Breaking Bad writers Thomas Schnauz and Gennifer Hutchison joined the writing staff, with Schnauz serving as co-executive producer and Hutchison as supervising producer. Also on the writing staff are Bradley Paul, and Gordon Smith, who was a writer's assistant on Breaking Bad.
Bob Odenkirk stars as lawyer/con-man Jimmy McGill (originally known as Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad). In January 2014, it was announced that Jonathan Banks would reprise his Breaking Bad role as Mike Ehrmantraut and be a series regular.
Dean Norris, who played Hank Schrader in Breaking Bad, announced that he would not make an appearance, partly due to his involvement in the CBS series Under the Dome. Anna Gunn also mentioned a "talk" with Gilligan over possible guest appearances.
Michael McKean was cast as McGill's elder brother Chuck. The cast also includes Patrick Fabian as Howard Hamlin, Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, and Michael Mando as Nacho Varga. In October 2014, Kerry Condon was cast as Stacey Ehrmantraut, Mike's widowed daughter-in-law. In November 2014, it was announced that Julie Ann Emery and Jeremy Shamos had been cast as Betsy and Craig Kettleman, described as "the world's squarest outlaws."
Like its predecessor, Better Call Saul is set and filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As filming began on June 2, 2014, Gilligan expressed some concern regarding the possible disappointment from the series' turnout, in terms of audience reception, giving that Saul Goodman was a supporting character in Breaking Bad.
In the first scene from the pilot episode, Saul (now under the Gene Takovic alias), is working at a Nebraska Cinnabon. This scene in the premiere is set in Omaha, but it was filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the Cottonwood Mall.
Cast and charactersEdit
- Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill, a struggling lawyer, who is looking after his brother Chuck who allegedly suffers from electromagnetic hypersensitivity.
- Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut, a former Philadelphia police officer working independently as a parking lot attendant, and later a private investigator, bodyguard and "cleaner".
- Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, Jimmy's close friend and lover who is an attorney at Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill.
- Patrick Fabian as Howard Hamlin, Chuck's law partner at Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill and Jimmy's rival.
- Michael Mando as Nacho Varga, a criminal associate for Tuco and member of Tuco Salamanca's gang.
- Michael McKean as Chuck McGill, Jimmy's elder brother, a name partner at Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill who allegedly suffers from electromagnetic hypersensitivity.
- Jeremy Shamos as Craig Kettleman, a county treasurer accused of embezzlement.
- Julie Ann Emery as Betsy Kettleman, Craig's wife, also accused of embezzlement.
- Kerry Condon as Stacey Ehrmantraut, Mike's widowed daughter-in-law and the mother of Kaylee Ehrmantraut.
- Faith Healey as Kaylee Ehrmantraut, Mike's granddaughter.
- Eileen Fogarty as Mrs. Nguyen, owner of a nail salon which houses Jimmy's law office (and home) in its back room.
- Peter Diseth as Bill Oakley, a deputy district attorney.
- Omid Abtahi as Detective Abbasi.
- Joe DeRosa as Dr. Caldera, a veterinarian who serves as Mike Ehrmantraut's liaison to the criminal underworld.
- Dennis Boutsikaris as Rich Schweikart, the attorney for Sandpiper Crossing.
- Brandon K. Hampton as Ernesto, Chuck's assistant who works at HHM.
- Josh Fadem as Joey Dixon, a film student that helps Jimmy film various projects.
- Julian Bonfiglio as Sound Guy, a film student that helps Jimmy film various projects.
- Steven Levine and Daniel Spenser Levine as Lars and Cal Lindholm, twin skateboarders and small-time scam artists.
- Mel Rodriguez as Marco Pasternak, Jimmy's best friend and partner-in-crime in Cicero, Illinois.
- Jean Effron as Irene Landry, an elderly client of Jimmy McGill overcharged by the Sandpiper Crossing.
- Raymond Cruz as Tuco Salamanca, a ruthless, psychotic drug distributor in the South Valley who works with Nacho Varga.
- Míriam Colón as Abuelita, Tuco's grandmother and Hector's mother.
- Cesar García as No-Doze, Tuco's henchman.
- Jesús Payán Jr. as Gonzo, Tuco's henchman.
- Barry Shabaka Henley as Detective Sanders, a Philadelphia cop who was formerly partnered with Mike on the force.
- Mark Proksch as Daniel "Pryce" Wormald, a small-time drug dealer who hires Mike as security.
- Steven Ogg as Sobchak, a criminal Pryce hires for security along with Mike.
- Clea DuVall as Dr. Cruz, a doctor who treats Chuck and suspects his condition is psychosomatic.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers|
|1||1||"Uno"||Vince Gilligan||Vince Gilligan & Peter Gould||February 8, 2015||6.88|
|Following the events of Breaking Bad, Saul Goodman lives as "Gene", a manager of a Cinnabon in Omaha, Nebraska. After work, he watches tapes of the television ads he made when he worked as an attorney. In 2002, Jimmy McGill (Saul's real name) is a struggling public defender in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He attempts to convince Craig and Betsy Kettleman to retain him in an embezzlement case. Jimmy cares for his brother Chuck, who is semi-reclusive and believes he has electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Jimmy confronts Howard Hamlin of Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill (HHM), the firm where Chuck is a partner. Howard attempts to buy Chuck out cheaply, but Jimmy demands HHM pay Chuck for his partnership's full value. The Kettlemans hire HHM, so Jimmy sets up a phony vehicle-pedestrian accident for Betsy, intending to arrive shortly afterwards and assist her, which will allow him to make another pitch to represent the Kettlemans on the embezzlement charge. Jimmy's accomplices, twins Lars and Cal, accidentally target the wrong car, which is driven by Tuco Salamanca's grandmother. The twins attempt to get her to pay and follow her into her house. Jimmy arrives soon afterwards, and Tuco pulls him in at gunpoint.|
|2||2||"Mijo"||Michelle MacLaren||Peter Gould||February 9, 2015||3.42|
|Tuco drags Jimmy into his house at gunpoint. Jimmy explains that the twins were part of a scam, but accidentally targeted the wrong car. Tuco leads Jimmy to the garage, where the twins are tied up. After Jimmy frees them, Lars reveals that the scam was Jimmy's idea, which infuriates Tuco. Jimmy is tied up and gagged and Tuco takes him and the twins to a remote desert site for interrogation. Tuco doesn't believe Jimmy is a lawyer and is about to kill him, so Jimmy claims he's an FBI agent. Nacho doesn't believe that story so Jimmy confirms that he is actually a lawyer. Tuco orders him released and Jimmy talks Tuco out of killing the twins, suggesting he break one leg on each as revenge for involving Tuco's grandmother in the scam and as a warning to keep quiet. Nacho reveals to Jimmy a scheme to steal the money the Kettlemans embezzled, and offers Jimmy a 10% finder's fee. Jimmy declines to participate, telling Nacho that he's a lawyer, not a criminal. Nacho leaves his phone number with Jimmy and tells Jimmy to call when he decides he's "in the game".|
|3||3||"Nacho"||Terry McDonough||Thomas Schnauz||February 16, 2015||3.23|
|In a flashback, Jimmy is in jail in Cicero, Illinois and faces multiple charges and the prospect of having to register as a sex offender because of his "Chicago Sunroof" incident. Chuck promises Jimmy he'll serve as Jimmy's defense counsel, but only if Jimmy agrees to stop running cons and engaging in illegal behavior. In 2002, Jimmy still hopes to get the Kettlemans to drop HHM and hire him to represent them in the embezzlement case. Nacho conducts surveillance of the Kettlemans, so Jimmy calls from a pay phone and uses a disguised voice to warn them they're in danger. They look outside and see Nacho's van, and when Jimmy arrives, the Kettleman house appears to have been hurriedly vacated. The police inform him the Kettlemans have been kidnapped. A neighbor reports seeing Nacho's van, so he's arrested. Nacho accuses Jimmy of tipping off the Kettlemans and threatens to kill him unless he proves Nacho's innocence. Jimmy comes to believe the Kettlemans staged the kidnapping and attempts to prove it. Based on Mike's lead, Jimmy locates them camping out in the hills above their home, along with a bag containing the embezzled $1.6 million.|
|4||4||"Hero"||Colin Bucksey||Gennifer Hutchison||February 23, 2015||2.87|
|In a flashback to Cicero, Jimmy and Marco use a fake Rolex watch to con a bar patron. In 2002, Jimmy offers his services to the Kettlemans; they counter with a $30,000 "retainer", which he accepts. Jimmy gets Nacho released from jail, but Nacho deduces that Jimmy tipped off the Kettlemans and warns him about "consequences", to which Jimmy replies that Nacho was so careless he was recognized while doing surveillance, so if anything had happened to the Kettlemans, he would have been suspected. Jimmy uses his windfall to imitate Howard on a billboard for his law firm, which mimicks HHM's logo. Howard obtains a cease and desist order, forcing the billboard's removal. Jimmy tries to generate sympathetic media coverage, then stages the phony rescue of a billboard worker. To Howard's disgust, Jimmy's stunt generates positive stories about Jimmy and generates new clients. Jimmy makes his daily trip to Chuck's to drop off groceries and newspapers, but removes the local paper from Chuck's stack. Chuck realizes it's missing, braves his electromagnetic hypersensitivity symptoms to run outside and steal his neighbor's (leaving a five dollar bill as payment), and sees the story about Jimmy's billboard "rescue".|
|5||5||"Alpine Shepherd Boy"||Nicole Kassell||Bradley Paul||March 2, 2015||2.71|
|Chuck's neighbor reports him for stealing the newspaper and the police respond. Mistakenly believing his empty camping fuel cans and damaged home electricity lines indicate illegal drug production, they break down his door and taser him. Chuck is hospitalized and the doctor wants Jimmy to have him committed to a mental institution, but Jimmy convinces her he can continue Chuck's care at Chuck's home. The doctor advises Jimmy that Chuck's "disease" is psychosomatic, based on a surreptitious test she performed at Chuck's bedside. Jimmy's newfound fame attracts less than promising clients, including one who wants to secede from the United States, until he meets an elderly woman who wants him to prepare a will. Her bequests consist almost entirely of leaving her Hummel figurines to various friends and family members, but she pays in cash and Jimmy's rapport with her causes Kim to suggest that he should specialize in elder law. Jimmy begins promoting himself at a nursing home, including clothing patterned after the titular character of the TV series Matlock. Mike is visited at home by several Philadelphia police officers. He asks, "Long way from home, aren't you?", to which one replies, "You and me both."|
|6||6||"Five-O"||Adam Bernstein||Gordon Smith||March 9, 2015||2.57|
|In a flashback, Mike arrives in Albuquerque and visits Dr. Caldera to have his wounded shoulder treated. In 2002, Mike is at the police station, requests Jimmy as counsel, and asks him to spill coffee as a diversion so Mike can steal a detective's notebook. Mike learns Stacey called police after she found money Matt hid in a suitcase. Mike tells Stacey Matt was a clean cop in a precinct of corruption that included Mike. Matt refused to participate and Mike counseled him to do it for his own safety, but Matt's partner and another cop killed him for fear that he might turn them in. In another flashback, Mike breaks into a police car outside a bar, then drinks heavily inside and tells two cops he knows what they did. When he leaves, the cops give him a ride and take his gun. They ask Mike what he meant earlier and he says he knows they killed Matt. One shoots at Mike with Mike's gun, but Mike was pretending to be drunk and it's unloaded. He pulls out a second gun, which he previously hid in the car. He kills both cops but is wounded in the process.|
|7||7||"Bingo"||Larysa Kondracki||Gennifer Hutchison||March 16, 2015||2.67|
|Jimmy and Mike return the detective's notebook, telling the owner they found it in the parking lot. The two Philadelphia detectives aren't satisfied with the explanation, but one privately tells Mike he has nothing to fear from their investigation. Jimmy finds Chuck standing outside his home, claiming to be building up a tolerance to electromagnetic waves. He stores legal documents at Chuck's house in a plan to get Chuck interested in cases so he'll regain his interest in practicing law. Jimmy asks Kim to join him in a law partnership, but she cites her loyalty to HHM as her reason for declining. The Kettlemans fire HHM and hire Jimmy after Kim tries to get them to accept a plea bargain that includes jail time for Craig. Jimmy also tries to get them to accept, but Betsy blackmails Jimmy by pointing out the "retainer" the Kettlemans paid him could be considered a bribe. Jimmy discovers Kim has been demoted to the document review office because she lost the Kettleman account. Mike and Jimmy steal the embezzled money from the Kettlemans and give it to prosecutors, compelling Craig to take a plea bargain so that both Kettleman parents don't go to jail.|
|8||8||"RICO"||Colin Bucksey||Gordon Smith||March 23, 2015||2.87|
|In a flashback, Jimmy is working in the HHM mailroom and asks Kim to open his bar exam results; he passed, and she kisses him passionately. Jimmy shows Chuck his results and explains he studied law at the University of American Samoa via distance learning. Chuck tells Jimmy he is proud of him and there's a party in the mailroom to celebrate, but Howard tells Jimmy HHM won't hire him as an attorney. In 2002, Jimmy continues to work in elder law. While assisting a resident of the Sandpiper Crossing home with her will, Jimmy discovers the company overcharges residents for expenses. After speaking to several, Jimmy suspects elder abuse, and presents a hastily written demand letter warning Sandpiper against destroying evidence. He is escorted from the facility, but can hear the staff shredding documents, so he searches the dumpster and finds the shreds. Jimmy and Chuck put the pieces together and recover an incriminating document. Realizing the potential of the case as a class action lawsuit, Chuck agrees to aid Jimmy. In the excitement, Chuck goes to Jimmy's car for more documents and is shocked to realize he went outside without suffering any electromagnetic hypersensitivity symptoms.|
|9||9||"Pimento"||Thomas Schnauz||Thomas Schnauz||March 30, 2015||2.38|
|Jimmy and Chuck work on the Sandpiper Crossing lawsuit and Jimmy wins in court when he argues against Sandpiper's temporary restraining order. Sandpiper buries them in paperwork, and Chuck convinces Jimmy to bring the case to HHM, which can handle large lawsuits. Hamlin is eager to take it but wants to prevent Jimmy's participation by buying him off with a small of counsel fee and a percentage of the judgment. Jimmy refuses and later discovers Chuck braved his electromagnetic hypersensitivity symptoms to make a pre-meeting phone call to Howard, in which he asked Howard to prevent Jimmy's participation. Chuck admits he has never regarded Jimmy as a peer, owing to his conman's past and unconventional legal training, also admitting it was he who insisted HHM not hire Jimmy back when he passed the bar exam. Jimmy stops taking care of Chuck and allows HHM to take the case. Mike serves as a bodyguard for Daniel Wormald when Daniel sells Nacho stolen pills. The payment is twenty dollars short, and Mike insists Nacho pay in full. When Daniel questions his willingness to break the deal over a small amount, Mike explains he researched Nacho ahead of time, knew he was conducting the transaction without the knowledge of his bosses, and thus had an incentive to ensure things went smoothly.|
|10||10||"Marco"||Peter Gould||Peter Gould||April 6, 2015||2.53|
|In a flashback Jimmy says goodbye to Marco in Cicero, explaining that as part of Chuck's work to get him out of jail, he's agreed to take a legitimate job in Albuquerque. In 2002, Jimmy has a breakdown while calling bingo at the senior center and returns to Cicero, where he reminisces with Marco. Jimmy's agreement to do a con with Marco leads to a week of scams, which ends after Marco dies during the last one. Kim calls Jimmy to say the Sandpiper case is so big HHM intends to work with Davis & Main of Santa Fe. D&M's partners know Jimmy has a good rapport with the elderly clients, so they want to hire him. Jimmy returns to Albuquerque to meet with them but hesitates and then drives out of the courthouse parking lot. He stops to ask Mike why they didn't keep the Kettleman money. Mike recalls Jimmy wanted to do the "right thing", and Mike merely did the job for which Jimmy hired him. Jimmy assures Mike he will not make that mistake again, and drives off humming "Smoke on the Water", the song Marco was humming just before he died.|
In December 2013, Netflix announced that the entire first season would be available for streaming in the United States and Canada after the airing of the first-season finale, and in Latin America and Europe each episode will be available a few days after the episode airs in the U.S. In Australia, Better Call Saul premiered on the streaming service Stan on February 9, 2015, acting as the service's flagship program. In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, the series was acquired by Netflix on December 16, 2013 and the first episode premiered on February 9, 2015, with the second episode scheduled for release the following day. Every subsequent episode was uploaded each week thereafter.
The first season of Better Call Saul received critical acclaim, particularly for its acting, writing, and directing with many critics calling it a worthy successor to Breaking Bad. On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has a rating of 98%, based on 60 reviews, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Better Call Saul is a quirky, dark character study that manages to stand on its own without being overshadowed by the series that spawned it." On the review aggregator website Metacritic, the first season has a score of 78 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
In his review of the two-episode premiere, Hank Stuever of The Washington Post graded it a "B+" and wrote the series "is right in line with the tone and style of the original, now-classic series", and that it "raises more questions in two hours than it will readily answer". Stephen Marche of Esquire wrote that the first few episodes were better than those of Breaking Bad. Kirsten Acuna of Business Insider declared the initial episodes "everything you could possibly want from a spinoff television series". Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times wrote, "Better Call Saul is better than good: It's delightful – in a brutal, darkly comic way, of course." Vulture writer Eric Konigsberg noted the show was special as it was "the first spinoff of this golden age of premium cable." Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com gave the first season a positive review, saying, "Better Call Saul is not only a great show in the context of the program that birthed it into existence, but would be a great show with or without Walter White."
The series premiere, "Uno" became the biggest in cable history, drawing in 4.4 million and 4 million in the 18–49 and 25–54 demographics, respectively, and received an overall viewership of 6.9 million.
|1||"Uno"||February 8, 2015||3.4||6.88||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|2||"Mijo"||February 9, 2015||1.6||3.42||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|3||"Nacho"||February 16, 2015||1.6||3.23||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|4||"Hero"||February 23, 2015||1.4||2.87||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|5||"Alpine Shepherd Boy"||March 2, 2015||1.2||2.71||1.4||2.80||2.6||5.511|
|6||"Five-O"||March 9, 2015||1.3||2.57||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|7||"Bingo"||March 16, 2015||1.3||2.67||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|8||"RICO"||March 23, 2015||1.3||2.87||1.6||2.97||2.9||5.84|
|9||"Pimento"||March 30, 2015||1.1||2.38||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|10||"Marco"||April 6, 2015||1.2||2.53||1.6||3.23||2.8||5.76|
^1 Live +7 ratings were not available, so Live +3 ratings have been used instead.
The first season was released on Blu-ray and DVD in Region 1 on November 10, 2015. The set contains all 10 episodes, plus audio commentaries for every episode, uncensored episodes, deleted scenes, gag reel, and several behind-the-scenes featurettes. A limited edition Blu-ray set was also released with 3D packaging and a postcard vinyl of the Better Call Saul theme song by Junior Brown.
AMC released a digital comic book for Better Call Saul titled Better Call Saul: Client Development in February 2015, in advance of the series premiere, which details the history of Saul and Mike, acting as a spin-off of the Breaking Bad episode that introduced Saul.
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