James "Jimmy" M. McGill, known by his professional alias Saul Goodman, is a former criminal lawyer and the former principal attorney of Saul Goodman & Associates. He operated out of a cheap strip mall office and ran over-the-top late night TV ads advising potential clients they'd "Better Call Saul" when in trouble with the law, promising "I fight for YOU, Albuquerque!"
Saul serves as the lawyer and consigliere for Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, getting them out of several difficult situations over the course of their drug business operations. Dressed in flashy suits, Saul maintains extensive connections within the criminal underworld, and serves as a go-between connecting drug distributors, evidence removers, impersonators, and other criminals-for-hire. Saul arranges for Walt to launder drug money through Walter White Jr..'s website (SaveWalterWhite.com) and dispatches a Cleaner (Mike Ehrmantraut) to Jesse's apartment to attend to Jesse and dispose of any incriminating evidence after his girlfriend Jane overdoses.
Despite his sleazy, flamboyant appearance and mannerisms — punctuated by his outrageous low-budget TV commercials — Saul is a highly competent lawyer who is able to solve problems and find loopholes in order to protect his clients. He is also reluctant to be associated with violence or murder. He has served as an adviser for Walter, Jesse, Gustavo Fring, Mike, and even for Skyler White, whom he also helped acquire a car wash in order to launder Walter's drug money.
Saul has a diploma in his office that says he is a graduate of the law school of University of American Samoa with an MA in political science. However, this may not be entirely factual, as the university doesn't exist in the real world.
Saul has had multiple wives in the past, one of which he caught having intercourse with his step-father. At a certain point, he developed a romantic relationship with his secretary, albeit short-lived. Saul claims he once successfully impersonated actor Kevin Costner. Saul tells Walter "it worked because I believed it," pitching the Laser Tag arena as a money laundering scheme.
Saul's loan-out corporation is called Ice Station Zebra Associates, and he assures his clients that the company is "totally legit" and that he uses it for "tax purposes." A city boy, he is of Irish descent and his real surname is McGill. However, he pretends to be a Jewish lawyer "for the homeboys who want a member of the tribe."
Citing rumors that Heisenberg's associate crushed a man's head with an ATM, Walt asks if Badger should fear reprisals if he snitches. "The guy who got his head smooshed used to be a client of mine. His wife killed him," Saul replies. He plans to get Badger "singing like a canary." "Ten thousand dollars," Walt blurts out before succumbing to a coughing fit. He doesn't want Saul to throw the case, but "no talking to the DEA," he says. Moments later in Jesse's car, Walt tells Jesse that Saul, who claimed to be "morally outraged," kicked him out of the office for trying to bribe him.
Walt, posing as Badger’s uncle "Mr. Mayhew", hired him to keep Badger out of prison. Unfortunately, while meeting Badger at the police station he caught a glimpse of Hank Schrader and Steven Gomez, and deducing they were interested in his client, made a deal with the DEA for Badger to testify against his dealer “Heisenberg.” Walt, recognizing the danger, offered Saul $10,000 to keep Badger from talking to the DEA, but Saul refused, claiming to be “morally outraged.”
That night, Jesse and Walt don their ski masks, kidnap Saul, and haul him to a freshly dug shallow grave in a desert wasteland. "This afternoon, an associate of ours offered you ten thousand dollars," Jesse tells him. "You shoulda taken it." Saul informs them that he doesn't take bribes from strangers. Jesse, gun aimed at Saul, instructs him to give Badger "the best legal representation ever," but says that Saul is dead if anyone snitches to the DEA. "Why don't you just kill Badger?" Saul suggests, but Jesse insists that's not an option. Walt doubles over coughing and Saul recognizes him as the "Mr. Mayhew" from his office. Saul instructs Walt and Jesse to remove their masks and "put a dollar in my pocket - both of you." Now protected by attorney-client privilege, they hear Saul's assessment of their situation: "Somebody's going to prison. It's just a matter of who."In an interview with Hank, Badger describes Heisenberg as an older bald man. Back in Saul's office, Saul hands Walt the dossier for a bald ex-convict known as "Jimmy In-'N-Out," who will go to jail as Heisenberg for a fee. "Conscience gets expensive, doesn't it?" Saul comments when he outlines the cost: $80,000 - $50,000 of which Saul takes as a finder's fee - plus a pound of meth. The next day, Albuquerque police and the DEA stake out the bus stop bench where Badger was busted. After some maneuvering to get Badger to sit next to the correct bald man, Jimmy's arrest goes down as planned.
Later, Saul visits Walt in his classroom, chiding him for being so easy to locate. Walt asks if Saul is blackmailing him, but Saul says that he isn't. Referencing The Godfather, Saul offers to play Tom Hagen to Walt's Vito Corleone. "I'm no Vito Corleone," Walt says. "No shit," Saul replies. "Right now, you're Fredo." Walt has the right product but not the right connections and strategy, which Saul can provide. "If you want to make more money, and keep the money that you make," Saul says, adding his TV flourish, "Better Call Saul!"
With the rapid improvement in his medical condition, Walt's doctors recommended surgery as the final step to making him cancer free. It would all cost $170,000 however. Walt and Jesse had another problem when one of their dealers, Christian "Combo" Ortega, is shot on the street and Jesse believed someone is trying to take over. With only Skinny left as a dealer, Jesse and Walt needed to find a solution to selling their product. Saul Goodman suggested they get someone more experienced in the trade to help them out with the large quantities they have on hand.
As a result of the Wayfarer Flight 515 aerial disaster, Saul began organizing a class-action lawsuit for victims of the crash. At one point, Saul says, "Victim's families would be great, but I'll take anyone on the ground who suffered emotionally." It is possible that Saul gained a great deal of publicity from representing victims (under a very loose definition of the term). Saul also began wearing the Wayfarer 515 blue ribbon to show his support for the victims.
Following the success of the large sale to Gus – which leads to Saul buying better suits – Saul pushes Walt to take Gus’s lucrative offer to continue cooking. He also accepts a job from Jesse, using Jesse’s half of the earnings to purchase his aunt’s house at a dramatically lowered price – strong-arming Jesse’s parents and attorney with a potential lawsuit over the undisclosed meth lab Jesse was running out of the basement.
After Walt reveals Skyler White has threatened to expose him, Saul hires Mike to bug the White house as insurance. Forced to leave early when Walt comes home, Mike witnesses the Cousins entering with an axe, and quickly places a call to Gus to call them off. Per Gus’s direction, Saul has not been informed of this threat to Walt ("Caballo Sin Nombre").
Mike later brings Walt to Saul after Walt creates a disturbance at Skyler’s office, and attempts to talk Walt into cooking meth again. Admitting that he bugged Walt’s house and making an off-color comment about Skyler, Saul is attacked and subsequently fired by Walt. Furious, Saul shuts down the laundering of Walt’s drug money.
Jesse then approaches Saul with two bags of meth he has cooked himself using Walt’s procedure, and asks to set up a deal. He meets Victor under a bridge to make the exchange, only to see he has been given half of the money – the other half went to Walt ("Green Light"). Saul sets up an intervention between Walt and Jesse offering to give Walt a percentage of Jesse’s future deals. Walt returns Jesse’s half of the first deal, coldly informing both of them that he has now accepted Gus’s offer and will be cutting Jesse out of the business. Quickly dumping Jesse in favor of the much higher profits Walt can produce, Saul is once again hired to launder money for Walt – this time for a dramatically reduced payment of five percent ("Más").
When Hank successfully deduces the existence of the RV, Walt calls Saul in a panic. Saul is at a loss, and scolds him for not having a "self-destruct" mechanism like the Starship Enterprise. After Hank locates the RV with Walt and Jesse trapped inside, Walt calls Saul for assistance. Saul has his secretary Francesca masquerade as a law enforcement official to make Hank believe his wife has been severely injured in a car accident. Saul appears regretful of his part in the cruel ruse and discards the phone used to make the call, while Francesca tells him she should be paid more for this sort of work.
Following Gale's murder, Walt and Jesse are taken to the superlab and held there by Mike and Victor until Gustavo Fring arrives to deal with the situation. Meanwhile, Saul, scouring his office for bugs, receives a call from Skyler asking where Walt is. Returning her call by payphone, Saul lies and assures her Walt is fine; then he tells his new bodyguard, Huell Babineaux, that they might need to leave town ("Box Cutter").
Later, after Skyler's unsuccessful attempt to buy the A1A Car Wash from Bogdan Wolynetz for money laundering purposes, Saul touts a nail salon as the best way to launder money as he meets with Walt and Skyler at the condo. "Ya bombed. It happens," Saul says about Skyler's attempt to purchase the car wash. Bogdan just needs an "attitude adjustment," contends Skyler, though she rules out instigating an IRS audit, INS raid or any violence.
While surrounded by the suds from Holly's baby bottles, Skyler is struck by an idea and calls Saul. Outside the car wash, a man wearing a Bluetooth headset who appears to be some kind of environmental inspector (Saul's associate Patrick Kuby) shows water samples to Bogdan and declares they're full of contaminants. Bogdan must replace his entire wastewater treatment system, and the state requires he cease operations until it's back up to code, the inspector-type says. Skyler, feeding lines to Kuby, is eventually successful and purchases the car wash ("Open House").
Meanwhile, Walt tells Saul he fears that Hank will connect Jesse to the murder. Saul says there's nothing to worry about, but Walt catalogs his woes: Gus wants to kill him, Jesse is out of control and Gus will eventually perceive Jesse as too big a risk. There's also "this stupid car wash" he's buying with Skyler, who naively thinks Walt can walk away after his contract with Gus expires. Saul mentions that as a last resort, Walt can pay to have a "disappearer" vanish his family off the grid and set them up with new identities. Walt rejects the idea, and they're stuck at an impasse ("Bullet Points").
Later, when Walter learns Jesse is off somewhere with Mike, Walt races through Albuquerque, dodging traffic while shouting instructions to Saul on his cell phone. If Walt doesn't return within 24 hours, Saul is to deliver all of Walt's money to Skyler ("Shotgun").
On a later date, Walt slumps in a chair at Saul's office while Saul handles the fallout from his client's "little joy ride" (racing around recklessly, doing doughnuts with, and ultimately setting on fire the Dodge Challenger Skyler made him return). Walt admits that the pressure of knowing Gus wants to kill him is getting to him, and then inquires about hit men. "Wrong answer!" blurts Saul, pointing out that any for hire assailant would likely know Mike, and have to outmaneuver him. Walt tells Saul that he tried to kill Gus himself but couldn't get near him. "Why not ask your partner?" suggests Saul ("Problem Dog").
Saul visits Andrea Cantillo at a house she's just rented in a nice neighborhood and delivers cash from Jesse. Afterward, in Saul's car, a concerned Jesse asks about the house and Andrea's son, Brock. Saul then prods Jesse to check on them himself ("Hermanos").
In his office, Saul mumbles to himself, "This is a bad idea," before Ted enters. Saul then informs Ted that his long-lost "Great Aunt Birgit" from Luxembourg has left him $621,552.33 -- almost precisely the amount of his debt to the I.R.S. Saul visits the car wash and shows Skyler a credit report indicating that Ted leased a Mercedes three hours after receiving Walt's money. He won't be able to pay the income tax bill in full -- and clearly wasn't going to do so anyway ("Salud").
At his home, Ted returns Skyler's money to her because paying off the IRS with Walt's gambling winnings "feels wrong" and in any case won't solve Ted's other money woes. Skyler accuses Ted of blackmailing her for more cash. Stung by the charge, Ted emphatically denies it but still refuses to pay the IRS. After leaving Ted's house, Skyler calls Saul. By phone, Saul informs Skyler that Ted doesn't own a gun or have a panic button on his alarm system. Skyler replies that she doesn't want anyone hurt, just for Ted to write the IRS a check. Saul tells Skyler that he'll assign his "A-team" to deal with Ted and sends Kuby and Huell. The two visit Ted at home, order him to write the check, and tell him they'll be staying until it clears. After signing the check, Ted tries to make a run for it but ends up tripping on a throw rug and knocking himself out on a kitchen island ("Crawl Space").
In Saul's office, Huell is describing the mishap with Ted when Walt storms in, saying that he needs to contact Saul's connection who can "disappear" the White family and give them new identities. It'll cost at least half a million dollars, says Saul, and everyone must be packed and ready before Walt makes the call ("Crawl Space"). Walt asks Saul to inform the DEA that Gus has a hit out on Hank. "My brother-in-law doesn't deserve to die because of this," pleads Walt. Saul reluctantly agrees to alert the DEA about the hit but refuses to finger Gus. Walt tells Saul to make the call in an hour ("Crawl Space").
After finishing a cook, a laundry truck drops off Jesse at his car, which he now parks in the desert to avoid arousing DEA suspicion. Jesse calls Walt, who doesn't answer, then listens to increasingly frantic messages on his own voicemail from Saul. One of which urges Jesse to come to the law office, pronto. When Jesse arrives he is aggressively patted down by Saul's bodyguard, Huell, until Saul interrupts. Saul declares, "They're here, the end times," and stuffs Jesse's meth money in a duffel bag for him. "I'm outta here," says Saul, at least until things cool down. Confused, Jesse asks what's going on and learns that Gus threatened to kill Walt and his family ("End Times").
At the hospital where Brock is being treated, two Albuquerque Police Department detectives then approach Jesse and summon him to police headquarters to question him about his theory that Brock might have ricin poisoning, which the boy's doctors think might actually be the case. Jesse says that he must have seen it on TV. "Sometimes your brain makes these connections," he explains. When the detectives press him further, Jesse stops talking and demands his attorney, Saul Goodman. At the law office, Saul's secretary, Francesca, busy shredding documents, doesn't respond to Walt banging on the office door. He then shatters the glass door with a piece of cement and enters. Francesca, furious about the mess, refuses to provide Saul's whereabouts unless Walt pays her $25,000, well more than he has on him ("Face Off").At police headquarters, Jesse stonewalls the detectives until Saul arrives. Privately, Saul tells Jesse that he'll have to remain in police custody pending a toxicology report on Brock, but that it might be just as well because someone tried to kill Walt in his own home. Following their meeting, Walt rendezvous with Saul, who relays information from Jesse about Gus's visits to Hector "Tio" Salamanca. Walt doesn't recognize their significance until Saul says that Gus gloated about Tio's family line ending and later told Jesse that Tio killed someone close to him. "They're enemies," Walt deduces. This information supplied by Jesse through Saul later becomes vital in Walt's plan on getting rid of Gustavo Fring ("Face Off").
Saul visits Skyler at the car wash and cryptically and solemnly warns her the police may call her about Ted. "Ted's dead?" she asks, tearing up. "No, he just woke up," Saul says. Later, at Saul's office, Walt scolds Saul for giving Skyler $622,000 to pay off Ted's tax debt. Saul reminds Walt that he put himself on the line by participating in Brock's poisoning (Saul had Huell lift the ricin cigarette from Jesse). Thrusting the ricin cigarette at him, Saul tells Walt that their business relationship is done. Walt bridles at that, backing Saul into a corner of the office. "We're done when I say we're done," he says ("Live Free or Die").
Walt and Jesse visit Saul to discuss finding a new venue for the lab, preferably nearby and not in an RV. Saul says an in-town venue will be difficult, but Walt snaps, "If Gus can manage it, then so can we." Jesse reports that he was able to find all the precursor chemicals except for methylamine. Walt encourages Jesse to keep looking for methylamine, but Jesse doubts he'll be able to scare any up. When Saul advises they pull out of the meth business, Walt snaps back that he's broke. "Does that seem like an acceptable stopping point to you?" ("Madrigal").
Mike waits outside Saul's office while Huell guards the door. Inside, Walt and Jesse assuage Saul's doubts about working with Mike, who once threatened to break Saul's legs. They let Mike in and he lays down ground rules: He runs the business, Walt and Jesse cover production. Saul privately asks Walt if he's okay with the arrangement, but Walt's unfazed: "He handles the business, and I handle him." Saul takes the team on a tour of potential new lab venues, but Walt, Jesse, and Mike nix them all, spotting logistical problems with each. Jesse and Mike are ready to dismiss the final venue, a pest control business, but Walt demurs, declaring, "It's perfect." The next day, the four watch the pest-control team as it tents an infested home. Walt explains his plan: If they cook inside houses undergoing fumigation, no one will bother them or question strange smells. They can hide in plain sight. Saul says the pest crew, run by a man named Ira, runs a burglary operation on the side and knows how to keep secrets. Mike suggests a vote. "Why?" asks Walt: he's already convinced, and so is Jesse ("Hazard Pay").
Later, tending to his errand, Mike visits the DEA offices with Saul. Saul tells Hank and Gomez that their ongoing surveillance of Mike is tantamount to stalking, and that he's filed for a Temporary Restraining Order with a sympathetic judge. Afterward, Saul tells Mike that the TRO won't hold up long, and Hank will be back on his tail with a vengeance within twenty-four hours. "It's enough," Mike says ("Buyout").
In his office, Saul worries that Mike will flip if captured. "He won't flip," Jesse insists, but Walt worries that one of his nine men will. Mike then calls, asking Saul to fetch his go-bag. With the police watching Saul's movements, and Jesse out of the business, Walt volunteers to retrieve it ("Say My Name"). Later, Jesse admits that Saul told him that Walt "took care" of Mike's men in prison ("Gliding Over All").
Jesse later visits Saul's office with the two bags of $5 million in cash - his pay for selling his share of the methylamine - given to him by Walt. Jesse, horrified by the "blood money," wants Saul to give the half the money to Kaylee Ehrmantraut (he fears the worst about Mike and wants his granddaughter to be looked after) and the other half to the parents of Drew Sharp, the young boy who was killed as a result of their methylamine train heist. Saul is quick to point out the flaws of this plan - how it will merely raise more questions - and Jesse leaves his office. Saul then calls Walt to inform him of the situation, and after a conversation with Walt, Jesse is saddened and guilt-ridden but nonetheless comes to terms with Saul's reasoning. Desperate to get rid of the money, he resorts to throwing stacks of money into peoples' yards as he drives by ("Blood Money").
Saul later suggests that Walt send Hank on "a trip to Belize" like he did with Mike. Walt refuses and angrily rebukes Saul for even thinking of that. Saul has Huell and Kuby collects Walt's money from the storage bin, and Walt gives Saul a cut of the earnings, and a little extra that's meant for Walt as "insurance" incase Walt needs Saul later on. ("Buried"). Saul later bails Jesse out after Jesse gets arrested for throwing money, and scolds him for not calling him sooner. He calls Walt, which leads to the three of them meeting in the desert, where Walt convinces Jesse to leave New Mexico, using the disappearer Saul mentioned to Walt earlier. While making the final preparations for Jesse's leave, Saul scolds him for smoking, and orders him to give him the rest of the drugs. When Jesse refuses, Saul has Huell pickpocket it from Jesse. Later, when Jesse discovers it missing, he realizes that Huell must have pickpocketed it from him, and realizes that Huell pickpocketed the ricin cigarette from him too, and that Saul helped poison Brock. Jesse returns to Saul's office, and brutally assaults him. Saul tries to grab a gun from his desk drawer, but Jesse grabs it from him, and points it at him, accusing him of having had Huell steal the ricin cigarette from him, and helped poison Brock. Saul admits that he helped, but tells Jesse that Walt didn't tell him of his motives, and that he wouldn't have done it if he knew what Walt was gonna do. Jesse leaves, and Saul calls Walt to warn him. ("Confessions")
The next day, Saul meets Walt at the car wash. He's concerned that Huell has gone missing and is wearing a bullet-proof vest. Walt assures him that Jesse is not on a killing spree. ("To'hajiilee")
Several days later, while Walt is being sought by the DEA, Saul avails himself of the extractors's services. Ed starts the process of setting him up with a new identity in Nebraska, to Saul's obvious displeasure. Until he can be safely moved, he has to hole-up in the basement of the extractor's shop.
Walt tries to take Saul away with him so they can plot Walt's revenge from a new location, but Saul declines to join Walt and leaves with Ed for Nebraska.("Granite State")
Personality and traits
- "Better safe than sorry. That's my motto."
- ―Saul Goodman
Saul Goodman is a classic crooked lawyer. While he may appear comical, he turns out to be quite good at what he does - manipulating the legal system to help criminals, in exchange for a sizable chunk of their profits. He is also one of the criminal underworld's greatest connectors, hooking Walt and Jesse up with everyone from Gus Fring to a guy who can make all traces of an entire family's existence disappear. He brings like-minded entrepreneurs together, as long as he gets his percentage. His office at the strip mall is garishly decorated with imitation pieces, such as wall-sized images of the U.S. Constitution, fake plaster columns invoking images of stately Washington DC federal buildings, and an inflatable Statue of Liberty on the roof to attract customers.
With a repetoire that includes small-time drug busts, fraudulent insurance claims, and fat people class actions, Saul is easily found in the Albuquerque yellow pages. With a sleazy manner that is sometimes bordering on comical, he might seem disreputable to police and certain other lawyers. Despite his fantastically shady appearance, Saul is indeed a highly competent extra-legal operator, adept at sniffing out legal loopholes and able to negotiate cherry deals on the behalf of his clients. Many, especially those in law enforcement, are presumably unhappy with him, but for most he is a savior (who takes cash up front). His slick legal savvy keeps him on the right sight of the law, but he has been known to dabble in the criminal arts. He also employs the services of a veteran private investigator named Mike, who respects Saul for just what he is and executes often illegal commands from Saul and Gus, such as cleaning up crime scenes and bugging homes.
Saul doesn't have much of a moral compass, however; even murder doesn't faze him unless it somehow endangers his interests, and he's always happy to put one client's interests above those of another, for the right price. However, Saul's ethical limits are glimpsed when he tried to cut ties with Walt after learning that he had been used to send a young boy to the hospital.
Saul's made-up last name is a play on words to better attract clients, "it's all good man" becomes "Saul Goodman". Drives a white Cadillac with a license plate that reads, "LWYR UP," referring to the expression "lawyer up", used to describe the act of delegating one's representation in legal matters to an attorney.
- "Hi, I'm Saul Goodman. Did you know that you have rights? The constitution says you do! And so do I."
- ―Saul speaking in one of his TV commercials.
- "My real name's McGill. The Jew thing I just do for the homeboys. They all want a pipe-hitting member of the tribe, so to speak."
- ―Saul explaining his real name to Walt.
- "I caught my second wife screwing my stepdad. OK? It's a cruel world, Walt. Grow up."
- ―Saul talking to Walt.
- "Seriously, when the going gets tough, you don't want a criminal lawyer... You want a criminal lawyer.""
- ―Jesse explaining Saul to Walt.
- Walter: "I don't understand. What exactly are you offering to do for me?"
- Saul: "What did Tom Hagen do for Vito Corleone?"
- Walter: "I'm no Vito Corleone."
- Saul: "No shit! Right now you're Fredo. But, y'know, with some sound advice and proper introductions, who knows? I'll tell you one thing: you've got the right product. Anything that gets the DEA's panties in this big a bunch, you're onto something special. And I would like to be a small and silent part of it. Food for thought, yeah? So if you want to make more money and keep the money that you make, better call Saul!"
- — The beginning of Walter and Saul's partnership
- "Look, let's start with some tough love, alright? Ready for this? Here it goes: you two suck at peddling meth. Period."
- ―Saul explaining the situation to Walt and Jesse.
- Jesse: "What in the hell just happened? You're MY lawyer, not his!"
- Saul: "It's the way of the world, kid. Go with the winner."
- —Saul explaining his worldview to Jesse.[src]
- A real telephone number, (505) 503-4455 based in Albuquerque, New Mexico was created for Saul's law firm and when called it consists of Saul on an automated switchboard system with various options. It is made clear on the Better Call Saul website (www.bettercallsaul.com) and on the Breaking Bad Facebook page that this telephone number is a long distance telephone call and not toll-free.
- Saul Goodman is also the name of one of the main characters in a book trilogy called 'Illuminatus!' he is a police detective in this book trilogy.
- Saul will star in a prequel series to Breaking Bad, tentatively titled, Better Call Saul.
- Marie Schrader, Gus Fring & Lydia Rodarte-Quayle are the only main characters who never met Saul Goodman.
- Saul Goodman's name, as well as his role as a problem fixing lawyer, might be play on the phrase "It's all good, man", pronounced in the vernacular "S'all good, man".
- Saul Goodman is the only main character to survive the show that wasn't in the first season.
| Main: Walter White • Jesse Pinkman • Skyler White • Walter White Jr. • Hank Schrader • Marie Schrader • Saul Goodman • Gustavo Fring • Mike Ehrmantraut • Lydia Rodarte-Quayle • Todd Alquist
Supporting: Steven Gomez • Brandon "Badger" Mayhew • Skinny Pete • Christian "Combo" Ortega • Tuco Salamanca • Hector "Tio" Salamanca • The Cousins • Jane Margolis • Ted Beneke • Victor • Gale Boetticher • Jack Welker