"RICO" is the eighth episode of the first season of Better Call Saul and the eighth episode of the series altogether. Jimmy demonstrates to Chuck that he's willing to do almost anything to win a case, even if it means getting his hands dirty.
In a flashback, Jimmy McGill pushes a mail cart through the bustling halls of HHM. He rolls along, cheerfully distributing packages and making small talk; he fits in well with the law firm that he will one day despise. Jimmy's smile fades as he reaches Kim Wexler's office and holds up an envelope. He tells her that he can't open it, since he's too nervous about its contents. Kim takes the envelope and reads the letter, then kisses Jimmy. He then heads to Chuck McGill's office. Chuck is the picture of health, sitting in his corner office amidst various forms of electricity. He's even using a Dictaphone to compose a letter. Jimmy timidly interrupts and reveals that he passed the New Mexico Bar Exam, having taken online courses and applying to the University of American Samoa. He asks if he can come work at HHM once he is sworn in. Chuck tells him that he has to confer with the other partners, but signals optimism: "How can they say no?". Later that day, Jimmy celebrates with his fellow mailroom employees and Kim. Howard Hamlin stops by the party and -- after the others have left -- informs Jimmy that HHM will not be hiring him.
Back in the present, Kim unpacks in her old office. After salvaging the Kettleman case ("Bingo") she is back in the good graces of HHM and has been allowed to return from exile in the dreaded "East Wing." Howard knocks on her door and convinces her to attend the firm's press conference. She agrees and stands demurely in the background as Howard announces the settlement of the Kettleman case.
Elsewhere, Jimmy watches the proceedings with a scowl on his face, as he sees nothing but Howard taking credit for Kim's labors. Shrugging it off, he returns to his task at the reception desk of Sandpiper Crossing, an assisted living center where he has come to visit a client. With his usuall efficiency, Jimmy wraps up a will meeting with Mrs. Landry. When it comes time to pay the bill, she realizes that she doesn't have enough money left from her monthly allowance to cover it. Jimmy is about to leave with an IOU when he considers her predicament."What do you mean by 'monthly allowance'?" he asks. His interest piqued, Jimmy does a little investigating. He compares the bills of several Sandpiper Crossing residents and uncovers multiple cases of gross overcharging -- the groundwork for a lawsuit. He convenes a group of seniors to point out the errors in their monthly statements -- a meeting that does not go unnoticed by Sandpiper Crossings' facility manager.
Jimmy heads over to Chuck's house to consult the files of some of his other Sandpiper Crossing clients. He shares his discovery with Chuck, who has been unable to resist processing the paperwork that Jimmy asked him to store. Chuck is shocked that he missed such egregious errors but begrudgingly agrees that a class action lawsuit could be brought against the facility if Jimmy can establish a pattern of over-billing. Jimmy returns to Sandpiper Crossing but is banned from the premises. They've enacted a new policy in order to protect their residents from unwanted "legal solicitation."As Jimmy argues with the facility manager, he hears the unmistakable sound of shredding from the adjacent office. "Spoliation," he cries. Jimmy manages to talk his way into being allowed to use the restroom, where he furiously scribbles a "demand letter" on toilet paper, informing Sandpiper Crossing of pending litigation against them. He thrusts the "document" at the facility manager before he is tossed out.
At work, Mike recieves a call from Stacey, who has accepted the situation and forgiven him for his involvement in Matt's death. She asks if he could watch Kaylee later on while she is at work, to which Mike readily agrees. There will be no impositions for her; anything she needs, Mike will provide.
Jimmy returns to the assisted living facility later that night to search their dumpster for the shredded documents. As he digs through the garbage, he receives a call from Richard Schweikart, Sandpiper Crossing's attorney. Schweikart also happens to be an old acquaintance of Chuck's and asserts that he's calling Jimmy out of professional courtesy to him. He warns Jimmy not to pursue legal action against Sandpiper Crossing. But as Jimmy climbs out of the dumpster, he discovers the shredded documents deposited neatly in a nearby recycling bin.
Jimmy arrives at Chuck's house, bags of shredded paper in hand, ready to get to work. He spends the entire night trying to piece the documents back together. The next morning, Chuck finds an exhausted Jimmy, still up from the night before. Chuck steps away to make coffee and returns to find Jimmy asleep. Impressed by Jimmy's commitment, Chuck decides to pick up where Jimmy left off, and by the time Jimmy wakes up, Chuck has assembled the "smoking gun" -- an invoice for syringes from a medical supply company in Lincoln, Nebraska. Energized by the work, Chuck gives Jimmy a long list of case law to pull for research. Jimmy, ecstatic to be working with his brother, hugs Chuck. Outside, Jimmy calls Kim at HHM and asks her to print the case law Chuck requested and to bill it to Chuck's account. Although worried that Chuck's involvement with Jimmy's case could violate Chuck's contract with HHM and, more importantly, endanger his mental health, Kim proceeds.
Meanwhile, Stacey arrives home from work. Mike, who had been babysitting his granddaughter Kaylee, gets up to leave when Stacey pulls him aside to ask for advice. She shows Mike the envelope of cash from Matt's hidden suitcase, and shares her uncertainty about what to do with it, noting that expenses have been piling up. Mike encourages her to spend the money. Relieved, she thanks him, but mentions that this money is really "only a drop in the bucket."
Later, at his office, Schweikart receives a fax that includes a new, proper demand letter from Jimmy and Chuck and along with it, copies of reassembled Sandpiper Crossing billing statements. Schweikart and his team arrive at Chuck's house to negotiate with the McGill brothers: this attorney duo has their attention. Jimmy meets them at the curb, curtly asks them to leave their electronics in the car, escorts them inside and seats them at Chuck's dining room table. He then ducks into the kitchen to get Chuck, whom he finds slumped and disheveled. "I don't know if I can do this" Chuck anxiously admits. Jimmy reassures his brother, helping him into his jacket as he restores Chuck's confidence and leads him into the dining room where Schweikart and his team await.
Schweikart lays out his proposal: some Sandpiper Crossing residents were indeed over-billed, the result of an innocent accounting error. He offers $100,000 to reimburse the residents and cover legal fees, with the caveat that Sandpiper Crossing admits no wrongdoing. Jimmy responds by referencing the syringe invoice from Nebraska, declaring pointedly that the inclusion of interstate commerce means RICO provisions kick in, elevating the case to fraud and entitling his clients to much higher damages. After a moment of intense private discussion with his team, Schweikart asks Jimmy what number he's got in mind. Chuck, thus far silent, finally speaks up: "$20 million, or we'll see you in court". After Schweikart and his team leave, Jimmy panics over Chuck's high damages demand. Chuck calmly assures him that it's actually a conservative estimate for a multi-state federal class action lawsuit with RICO considerations at the penalty phase. Jimmy falls quiet, at last catching a glimpse of the magnitude of this case. Chuck emphatically lists their next steps; Jimmy's ready to dive in. Case on!
Meanwhile, Mike visits Caldera, the vet who stitched up his bullet wound. This time, Mike has a friend with him: a shelter dog he adopted. As the dog is examined, Mike asks the vet whether he still has the "work" available to which he previously alluded.
Days later, Jimmy stops by Chuck's house with boxes of new client paperwork and legal documents. He left a box in the car, but is too tired to go and get it himself. Engrossed in a file and impatient to get the code provision documents he needs, Chuck marches out the front door, grabs Jimmy's car keys from the mailbox, and retrieves the box of files from Jimmy's trunk. He's out of the house -- and not in pain. Jimmy watches from the doorway, amazed. Jimmy calls quietly to his brother. Chuck suddenly realizes where he is, and the box falls from Chuck's stunned hands to the ground.
- The episode title refers to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
- Jimmy gets his law degree from the University of American Samoa, which was mentioned in Breaking Bad. In reality, there is no such university, although there is a community college.
- Jimmy claims to be watching Mozart's The Magic Flute.
- Jimmy accuses the care home of spoliation of evidence.
- Jimmy claims that taking documents from trash is legal if it is in a public place as there is no expectation of privacy (per California v. Greenwood.)
- "Son Guajira" by Antonio Garcia Isaac
- "Coffee Cold" by Galt MacDermot
- "This is a demand letter informing Sandpiper Crossing of pending litigation for defrauding my clients through systematic overcharging. You're shredding in there! I'm not deaf! I can hear you! Stop right now! [Shredding continues] This here this makes it official, right? If you don't stop shredding right now, that's destruction of evidence spoliation! That's what it's called, and it's a felony! So call your lawyers right now and tell them I said that! Me! James McGill, Esquire!"
- ―Jimmy informing Sandpiper Crossing of pending litigation against them.
- "Don't thank me. This was a one-time thing, and don't think I don't see what you were doing here. You wanted to play Tom Sawyer, wanted me to paint the fence! And God help me, it worked!"
- ―Chuck, chastising Jimmy for tricking him into assisting.
- Rick Schweikart: "Maybe you should walk me through what you're alleging here."
- Jimmy: "I believe it's all in the letter."
- Rick Schweikart: "Uh, uh, I I'm not saying it's not, but it's a bit hard to read. Next time, I'd use double-ply."
- —Rick Schweikart mocking the letter written by Jimmy.
- Rick Schweikart: "This is a shakedown, and we both know it. Now, if you push this any further, my hands will be tied. Sorry for interrupting your evening. Enjoy "The Magic Flute"."
- Jimmy: " [after Schweikart has hung up] Blow my magic flute."
- —Rick Schweikart and Jimmy.
- "Sedima establishes a pretty low threshold for RICO provisions to kick in. Interstate commerce is a bitch, huh? As soon as we establish a pattern to, what was your word? Uh, "overbillings"? I prefer the classic term of fraud. You're looking at treble damages. So your 100 grand? I think you know where you can stick it."
- ―Jimmy to Rick Schweikart.