- "You are not a real lawyer! University of American Samoa for Christ's sake? An online course? What a joke! I worked my ass off to get where I am! And you take these short cuts and suddenly you're my peer?! You do what I do because you're funny and you can make people laugh?! I've committed my life to this! You don't slide into it like a cheap pair of slippers and then reap all the rewards!"
- ―Chuck McGill.
Chuck suffers from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, an unusual affliction garnered under mysterious circumstances, which makes it challenging for him to lead a normal life.
Throughout the first season, Chuck is seen as a protagonist, up until the penultimate episode, where he is revealed as an underlying antagonist of Better Call Saul, as most of the obstacles Jimmy faces can be traced back to Chuck. Despite this, however - Chuck genuinely loves his brother, but believes his alleged nature makes him unfit to be a lawyer. He is one of the two primary antagonists of season 2.
Chuck McGill was born in Cicero, Illinois and was the eldest son of Ruth McGill and Charles McGill Sr. Chuck seemed to have a decent childhood and good relationship with his parents though it appears that Jimmy was favored over him more. Chuck once helped his father with the finances for his business and it was him who discovered that Jimmy had stolen money from their father's store over the years even though his father did not believe him. He eventually became a very successful lawyer, moving to the city of Albuquerque to, along with his business partner Howard Hamlin, co-found one of the biggest law firms in town, Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill.
Chuck's younger brother, Jimmy McGill, was constantly arrested for playing scams on other people, and Chuck got Jimmy out of every situation. Jimmy is arrested again in 1992 and faces charges including property damage and assault, as well as consequences such as potentially being labeled a sex offender. Chuck travels from Albuquerque back to their hometown in Cicero, Illinois, to visit Jimmy on his requests through their mother. Jimmy pleads for Chuck to use his magic and help his charges disappear with the help of legal loopholes. Although originally reluctant, Chuck agrees to help him after Jimmy says that if he doesn't get out of his situation his life is over. Chuck warns Jimmy not to make a fool of him if he gets back out and Jimmy vows to change and do anything for Chuck. ("Nacho").It can be assumed that Chuck convinced Jimmy to move to Albuquerque with him to make a living through legit ways, giving him a job as a mail-room clerk at HHM. Chuck reveals that he was very proud of Jimmy when he finally straightened out, however, when Jimmy became a lawyer, Chuck didn't feel he deserved it and sabotaged his chance of getting a job with his firm ("RICO") ("Pimento"). At some point Chuck was married to Rebecca McGill, a famous violinist whom he seemed to have a decent marriage with, though it appears they are now divorced.
During the following years, Chuck started suffering from electromagnetic hypersensitivity. He left Hamlin Hamlin and Mcgill in early 2001. He started living in an electricity-free home, relying on gas lamps for light. Before entering the house, visitors have to place all of their electronics in the mail-box and "ground themselves" (remove the static charge from their body). Chuck is sometimes seen wearing what Jimmy calls a "space blanket," presumably to shield himself against static electricity ("Uno").
After being house-ridden for a year and a half, Chuck begins receiving checks for $26,000 from HHM. Jimmy thinks it is in Chuck's best interest to buy out his part of the company ($17 million), as he believes that Chuck will not be returning to work due to his illness. However, Howard wants to continue paying Chuck long term, saying that it is an "extended sabbatical". On his way out, Jimmy is followed by Howard who tries to pass along some documents for Chuck, in which Jimmy declines "Chuck doesn't work here anymore" ("Uno").
Jimmy goes to visit Chuck, who insists he’s going to get better in order for him to return to work at HHM. Chuck declines Jimmy’s pleas to demand a buyout from his partners, objecting that the firm would probably have to liquidate to raise that much cash, putting more than a hundred people out of work. Jimmy tells him his public defender work isn't going to keep both of them afloat, which just results in a lecture from Chuck about how the experience of helping people is more important than money, despite the protests from Jimmy. Chuck reveals that Howard stopped by and gave him a check for $857. The first of a new weekly stipend ("Uno").
When Jimmy comes home drunk and dropped on the couch, Chuck is disturbed to see that he didn't leave his phone in the mailbox, which he does normally. Chuck has to pick up the phone with tongs and throw it out of the house to feel better. Chuck also sees that Jimmy has with him a hospital bill he paid for broken legs of the twins, Lars and Cal.
The next morning , Jimmy wakes up and sees Chuck sitting near him, wrapped in his "space blanket". Realizing that his brother has seen the hospital bill, Jimmy promises that he isn't returning any customs from the past (referring to Slippin' Jimmy). Jimmy then asks for Chuck to take off the "space blanket". Chuck reluctantly takes it off only to put it back on when Jimmy leaves the room ("Mijo").
Jimmy returns to do his thing in conducting a great deception, pretending to save the worker who was working on his own billboard when it is about to fall from a great height . As planned, Jimmy is regarded as a hero and received much media attention, even appearing in a newspaper page Albuquerque Journal.
Jimmy visits Chuck, but hides the newspaper that reported the "rescue" to keep Chuck from seeing it. Chuck congratulated Jimmy on his new success, but is oblivious to the stunt. Chuck notices that one of his daily newspapers is missing, which Jimmy dismisses. After Jimmy leaves, a suspicious Chuck painstakingly hurries to his neighbour's house and collects their copy of the newspaper, in which Chuck reads about the stunt ("Hero").
His theft of the paper does not go unnoticed by the neighbour, who calls the police and they go to Chuck's house demanding he come out. Due to his condition, Chuck insists they leave behind all electrical equipment to which they knock down the door and taser him.
When Chuck regains conciousness, he is in a hospital bed surrounded by electrical equipment and begins to panic until Jimmy arrives and removes and disables to surrounding equipment which restores him to full consciousness. He tries to explain his electromagnetic hypersensitivity to Dr. Cruz but she is unconvinced and concludes his condition is a mental problem.
After being taken home Jimmy notices the paper detailing his publicity stunt and worries the slippin Jimmy is resurfacing which Jimmy denies though Chuck remains sceptical.
Realizing he can't go on living like he does, and that he must get over his condition and return to work. Chuck begins trying to build up a tolerance to electromagnetic fields by trying to stay outside for as long as he can bear. By the time Jimmy arrives to deliver groceries and paperwork, he is able to stand outside for a solid two-minutes. After explaining his plan to Jimmy, who expresses great pride at Chuck for trying to get better and leaves behind boxes of paperwork knowing Chuck will impulsively sort them, which he does.
Jimmy enters elder law and visits numerous nursing homes to network. He learns that nursing home Sandpiper Crossing is systematically overcharging its residents, making them guilty of fraud and forming grounds for a class action lawsuit. Sandpiper bans Jimmy from the premises when he starts snooping, so he resorts to dumpster diving in an effort to find shredded documents, eventually finding an incriminating one. With a solid case against Sandpiper, Chuck decides to become Jimmy's co-counsel and assist him in the case. Sandpiper Crossing's attorneys agree to meet, and although they deny that the home is defrauding its residents, they concede that some of them were overcharged and are willing to compensate. However, Jimmy presents evidence of Sandpiper Crossing engaging in illicit interstate commerce, making them eligible for a RICO lawsuit. Chuck demands that Sandpiper Crossing pay $20 million in settlement fees, which the attorneys refuse. The case invigorates Chuck and he finds himself able to leave the house.
Chuck convinces Jimmy to refer the case to HHM due to its sheer size, to which Jimmy reluctantly accepts. The night before their meeting with Howard, Chuck secretly sneaks outside while Jimmy is sleeping and uses his phone to make a call to someone.
The next day at the meeting, Chuck is greeted with a warm welcome back from all his colleagues at HHM. Howard offers to give Jimmy a monetary reward for the Sandpiper case, but he still refuses to hire him or let him work on the case, which seems to displease Chuck. Feeling cut out, Jimmy does not release the case to HHM. The next day, Jimmy informs Chuck that he will accept Howard's deal after all, having discovered that Chuck used his phone in the middle of the night to call Howard before their meeting. Jimmy deduces that Chuck called Howard to cut him out of the case, and also deduces that it was Chuck, not Howard, who had been keeping him out of HHM since the beginning - Jimmy accuses Chuck of this, who admits to it being true, and who in turn accuses Jimmy of not being a "true" lawyer and believes Jimmy could never be an associate for HHM, as he has not changed from being "Slippin' Jimmy", and a con man with a law degree is dangerous. Feeling hurt and betrayed that Chuck still considers him a crook after how hard he worked to straighten out and take care of him, Jimmy cuts ties with him despite Chuck's pleading for him to come back in the house.
Chuck is last seen being delivered groceries from an HHM employee and giving up a large box of case files. Chuck sees Jimmy sitting outside in his car, and Chuck slowly prepares to open the door to go out and speak with him but Jimmy drives away before this can occur, leaving Chuck disappointed.
Chuck does not appear in Season 2's first episode Switch, but is seen in the following episode when Howard is giving Chuck one of his deliveries. Howard informs Chuck that Jimmy is working with Davis and Maine Attorneys, and Chuck feigns being excited for Jimmy.
Chuck is a brilliant man of high ideals; he believes that doing the right thing is the true and proper route to success. Chuck is a highly intelligent and dedicated lawyer who views the law as being sacred and is very determined in helping his clients in any way possible. He is well respected by his colleagues at HHM and also other prestigious law firms.
In contrast to his younger brother Jimmy however, Chuck appears to be a less likeable individual and is not as humorous as Jimmy, and is somewhat uptight and serious. Despite this, Chuck appears to view himself as being superior to his brother and that he does not deserve to be a lawyer due to the simple steps he took to become one. Although Chuck does care for his brother, it is very apparent that he loathes him for many reasons. He views him as being nothing more than a conman who has not changed at all since his "Slippin Jimmy" days and that the way he obtained a law degree was a joke and also hates how he is able to win people over so easily such as his ex-wife and even their own parents. It is hinted that Chuck is jealous of Jimmy to a degree which may be another contributing factor to why he always tries to cut him down in order to prevent him from surpassing himself at feats that he worked hard at to accomplish.
Even though Jimmy himself took care of Chuck for almost a year and half while suffering with his condition, Chuck has not changed his opinions on him at all and went to extreme lengths to prevent him from working at his law firm, even after Jimmy found and built a strong legal case. This incident also shows that Chuck would rather sacrifice a potential multi-million dollar case for HHM than to have Jimmy work at his law firm. Chuck also does not appear to care much for the well-being of others who are affected by his attempts to cut Jimmy down, noticeably Kim. Chuck firmly believes that he is protecting people from getting hurt by sabotaging Jimmy's attempts to be a successful lawyer as he claims people will get hurt if the power of law is abused.
Chuck is also shown to be rather cold toward his younger brother on many occasions such as lying to him that their mother spoke any last words before her death (she called for Jimmy) and brutally telling him of how he is not a real lawyer and that "Slippin Jimmy" with a law degree is nothing short of dangerous. Chuck is also shown to be a hypocrite to a degree as seen when he snaps at Jimmy for stabbing him the back, all the while completely ignoring that he has stabbed Jimmy in the back and betrayed him numerous times.After Chuck correctly deduces that Jimmy sabotaged his Mesa Verde files in order for the case to be returned to Kim, and was completely humiliated as a result, he embarks on a warpath against him to bring him down once and for all. Chuck has been shown to possess a rather ruthless side to a degree as he cunningly gets Jimmy to confess to the deed in private while pretending to feel remorse for his "mistake" and overcoming his electricity condition to record it on tape, showing that Chuck will go to extreme lengths to succeed at his goal.
- "I know what you were, what you are. People don't change! You're Slippin' Jimmy! And Slippin' Jimmy, I can handle just fine, but Slippin' Jimmy with a law degree is like a chimp with a machine gun!" "
- ― Chuck admitting his true feelings toward his brother
- "It's not a situation, it's a condition. Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity. For reasons unknown, my nervous system has become sensitized to certain frequencies of electromagnetic radiation."
- ― Chuck explaining his condition.