"Bingo" is the seventh episode of the first season of Better Call Saul and the seventh episode of the series altogether. After being given the opportunity to do the right thing, Jimmy cashes in a favor.
Late at night, Jimmy McGill and Mike Ehrmantraut wait for the Philadelphia detectives at the police station. When Abbasi and Sanders arrive, Jimmy returns the younger detective’s notebook, claiming that he found it on the ground in the parking lot. Irate Abbasi confronts Mike about stealing it, asking if there is anything he’d like to say about the contents of the notebook. Mike remains stoic, so Abbasi switches tactics. They’re meeting with Stacey first thing tomorrow: maybe she’ll have some useful information to aid their investigation. Abbasi storms out of the station, but Sanders lingers behind. Mike dismisses Jimmy so that he can talk to his old friend, privately. Sanders apologizes for Abbasi’s behavior, but Mike waves it off – the young detective was just doing his job. Mike concedes that he doesn’t know what Stacey will tell them; whatever she chooses to say is entirely her decision. After all he’s put her through, she’s earned the right to decide for herself.
Mike emerges from the police station and finds Jimmy waiting by his car. Jimmy demands to know what Mike said to Sanders, but Mike brushes him off. He no longer requires Jimmy’s services. Jimmy is shocked. Mike is almost certainly the prime suspect for the murder of two Philadelphia cops -- he’s going to need a good lawyer. Mike shakes his head, saying that it’s in someone else's hands.
A few days later, Jimmy stops by Chuck’s house with his usual groceries and is surprised to find his brother standing out in the yard. Chuck counts aloud, struggling to remain outside surrounded by the electricity that makes him so ill. He manages to last for two minutes, then races back inside. Panting, he explains to a bewildered Jimmy that he has been exposing himself to electromagnetic fields for short amounts of time in an attempt to build up a tolerance, the same way that some people build up tolerance to poisons. He’s ready to overcome this malady, and most importantly: he’s ready to go back to work. Hearing this, Jimmy remembers that he has a couple of boxes of unfinished paperwork that he was hoping to store at Chuck’s house. Before Chuck can protest, Jimmy wheels the boxes in and promises that he’ll be back to claim them as soon as possible. On the way to his car, Jimmy peers through a window and watches as Chuck begins sifting through the paperwork, just as Jimmy hoped he would.
Jimmy then takes Kim Wexler on a tour of a high-rise office space that he’s looking to lease. It’s an ambitious space, with lots of room to grow. When she is impressed by the office he’s saving for his future partner, Jimmy offers her the job – after all, she did tell him she was interested in elder law. She gracefully turns him down, reminding him that she’s too invested in Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill to leave.
In HHM's conference room, Kim meets with her clients, Betsy and Craig Kettleman. She advises them not to take their case to trial, because their chances of winning are very low. She urges the couple to take the plea deal she’s negotiated on their behalf, which would reduce Mr. Kettleman’s sentence from 30 years to only 16 months. The Kettlemans refuse and fire Kim on the spot.The Kettlemans subsequently decide to call Jimmy. They reach him in the middle of calling numbers for a bingo game at a retirement home. Jimmy meets with them at Loyola's Diner. Betsy apologizes for her bluntness when last they met, and tells him that they have reconsidered Jimmy’s offer to represent Craig. They want to hire Jimmy -- pending a few non-negotiable conditions. Jimmy is flattered, but apprises them of his new-found specialization: Elder Law. Betsy won’t let him off the hook, reminding him that they’ve already provided him with a substantial “retainer.” Privately, Jimmy dismisses himself to the bathroom, ostensibly to relieve himself, but in actuality, to make a private phone call to Kim. She begs him to persuade the Kettlemans to return to HHM. The plea deal she negotiated is the best they’re going to get. Although he does his best to point them toward HHM, Jimmy having accepted the Kettlemans’ bribe ("Hero") has tied his own fate to theirs. With great reluctance, he takes the case.
Jimmy stops by HHM to collect the Kettleman case files and learns that Howard Hamlin has demoted Kim to a far-worse office in a distant part of the building - loosely known the "Cornfield" in the firm - as punishment for losing the Kettlemans. Feeling guilty, Jimmy finds her in the parking garage and apologizes. She shrugs, knowing he did what he could. Kim warns Jimmy that Craig didn’t cover his tracks well and refuses to play the one chip he has: the missing money. It’s a loser case.
In his office, Jimmy burns the midnight oil, poring over the case files, searching for some kind of loophole. Frustrated about finding none, he hatches a plan. Late at night, Mike sneaks into the Kettlemans’ backyard, sprays a banded stack of cash with a clear liquid, then places the stack on a toy truck left outside by one of the Kettleman kids. He calmly surveys the family’s home and watches as Mr. Kettleman discovers the money when he takes out the trash. The parents scold their kids for playing with the money, then Mrs. Kettleman takes the stack of money upstairs. Mike keeps watch patiently until the Kettlemans have gone to bed and then sneaks into the house. Using a UV light, he follows a trail of fluorescent fingerprints left behind by Mrs. Kettleman after touching the wet bundle of cash that Mike had planted. The trail leads him to the bathroom, where Mike finds all of the family’s ill-gotten money hidden in a cabinet underneath the bathroom sink. Mike brings the cash to Jimmy. With a heavy sigh, Jimmy returns what he’s spent, rounding out the sum total of his “retainer” to the pile and quotes to Mike that he's doing "the right thing". The two then agree that they're even and Mike heads off to the D.A's office with the money.
The next morning, Jimmy visits the Kettlemans and informs them that their stolen nest egg is on its way to the District Attorney’s office. Betsy threatens to turn Jimmy in for taking their bribe, but Jimmy counters that Craig is currently the only one facing jail time. If Betsy reveals that she bribed Jimmy, she would be implicated in the crime as well. After that, Jimmy reveals to the couple that he has "nothing to lose" and concludes that they should see his office, and that it wouldn't effect him in any way. Craig finally puts his foot down and implores his wife to let him accept the plea deal so that their kids won’t be left with both of their parents in jail. She tearfully acquiesces. Jimmy escorts the Kettlemans back to HHM, where Kim is waiting for them. Kim gratefully mouths “thank you” to Jimmy as she brings the Kettlemans upstairs, heads bowed in defeat. Jimmy returns to the aspirational office space he can no longer afford to lease and violently takes out his frustration on the door to the corner office he’d hoped Kim would occupy. Sinking sobbing to the floor, he seems at his wit’s end – until his phone rings. He manages to collect himself and then brightly answers the call, again pretending to be his own receptionist. Back to work.
- Rick Anglada as Albuquerque Police Officer
- Gene N. Chavez as HHM Attorney
- Elizabeth M. Kallman as HHM Client
- Rodger Larance as Bingo Player
- Todd Sopher as Man in Bathroom
- One of men on the "wanted" posters in the opening scene is later spotted in the restroom of the diner whilst Saul is on the phone.
- Jimmy aka Saul would one day be on one of those Wanted posters as the camera scanned downward to his face when sitting with Mike - a mirrored effect in BB when Hank passed the donation tub around for Walt, his picture under the Wanted sign in the DEA office, portending his fate.
- The place where the Kettleman's hide their ill-gotten money is similar to where Jesse Pinkman hides the blue meth he and Walt made in his apartment in Mandala, both hiding their respective items in a cabinet under a sink.
References to other media
- Mrs. Landry mentions that her Siamese cats are named Felix and Oscar, which is a reference to the main characters from the TV series The Odd Couple.
- When talking in the phone to Kim, Jimmy says "Picture The 25th Hour, starring Ned and Maude Flanders" when referring to Craig and Betsy, which is referencing the TV show The Simpsons and the movie 25th Hour.
- In reality, Bob Odenkirk's brother, Bill Odenkirk, has been a writer on The Simpsons since 2004.
- "A deal? I hate that terminology. A deal is what they got O.J."
- ―Betsy Kettleman about plea deal Kim’s negotiated.
- Jimmy: "Hey, funny story: I found something that belongs to you, again."
- Kim: "Yeah? What?"
- Jimmy: ""Who?" Picture The 25th Hour, starring Ned and Maude Flanders."
- —Jimmy to Kim after the Kenttlemans dumped her and want to hire him.
- "We can we all three just parachute down from cloud cuckoo land?"
- ―Jimmy to the Kettlemans.
- Betsy: "Uh, we told you, there will be no deal."
- Jimmy: "You did, didn't you? However, circumstances have changed."
- Betsy: "What circumstances?"
- Jimmy: "To answer that, um... might I suggest that you go and check on that money you insist you didn't take? In the upstairs bathroom, under the sink?"
- — Jimmy putting an end to Kettleman's hopes.
- Jimmy: "Luckily, you have a very talented lawyer, who has found a way to minimize the damage you've brought upon yourselves."
- Betsy: "Oh, you're fired!"
- Jimmy: "Oh, I quit, already. No, I'm talking about Kim Wexler. Now, you're gonna go back to her, you're gonna apologize for your hasty decision to terminate her services, and you're gonna fall on her mercy and take that deal."
- Betsy: "We'll tell about the bribe you took."
- Jimmy: "You could do that. You absolutely could, and I'd be in a mess of trouble, a real pickle... But so would you, Mrs. Kettleman. Because right now, only Mr. Kettleman is on the hook, for the whole embezzlement kerfluffle. But the bribe, we're back to calling it a bribe? Yeah, that implicates you as well."
- —Jimmy putting an end to Kettleman's hopes.
- "Thing you folks need to know about me? I got nothing to lose. Christ, you should see my office."
- ―Jimmy putting an end to Kettleman's hopes.
- "Change" by Terry Gadsden
- "Coming Home 1" by R Matthews & Christopher Marshall
- "Tune Down" by Chris Joss
- "Elevator Exchange" by Dave Porter