‘Better Call Saul’ is a captivating TV drama that intricately explores the legal world through the transformation of Jimmy McGill into Saul Goodman. As a prequel to ‘Breaking Bad,’ the show spans 15 years, delving into the complexities of law, ethics, and personal choices. The narrative reveals legal challenges, moral dilemmas, and the tension between ambition and ethics.
CHARACTER TRANSFORMATION AND ETHICAL DILEMMAS:
“AMC’s ‘Better Call Saul,’ the prequel to ‘Breaking Bad,’ concluded its successful six-season run. It’s a captivating character study led by Bob Odenkirk’s transformation from Jimmy McGill to Saul Goodman. The progression from sincerity to the Goodman persona is tragically captivating, subverting expectations. The show’s strength lies in its well-developed characters, evolving over six seasons, including those tied to ‘Breaking Bad.’ This prequel’s exploration adds fascination by unveiling the events that shaped their futures.”
Jimmy to Saul (It’s all good?)
In “Better Call Saul,” we meet struggling lawyer Jimmy McGill, who evolves into Saul. The show starts slow as we await Saul’s charismatic emergence, initially balancing shady dealings as Saul and genuineness as Jimmy. Losses led Jimmy to embrace Saul, catalysed by his brother Chuck’s death. He targets Chuck’s partner, Howard, and sabotages with Kim before fully becoming Saul.
Saul remains unfazed when Kim confesses about Howard. He selfishly involves her in the trial, appearing in a flashy suit. He begins by mitigating his sentences, then admits to his involvement in Walter White’s drug empire, along with the deaths of Howard Hamlin and Chuck. With each confession, he sheds his defences. At the end, he lets go of Saul, declaring, “The name’s McGill. It’s James McGill.” Though Jimmy will face consequences as Saul Goodman, he embraces this as his true self, the one Kim loved.
Many can relate to Jimmy’s transformation into Saul, which isolates him from genuine connections, first with Chuck and then with Kim.
LEGAL ETHICS AND CHARACTER EVOLUTION
While taking creative liberties, “Better Call Saul” impressively maintains realism in its portrayal of a complex world.
In the inaugural episode of “Better Call Saul,” the Latin term “Res ipsa loquitur,” meaning “The thing speaks for itself,” comes to life. In a courtroom, Jimmy engages in an endearing performance while defending three young men. The opposing prosecutor avoids arguments, opting to present a tape revealing the crime: decapitating a cadaver and engaging in explicit acts with the head. This amusing and insightful scene provides a glimpse into the protagonist’s character while also reflecting the reality of situations where evidence speaks louder than persuasion.
Lawyers on screen often resort to tearing and crumpling documents for dramatic effect, injecting action into dialogue-heavy shows. When Jimmy tears up the check from Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill in the series’ opening episode, it appears he’s merely showing discontent towards Howard.Despite Chuck’s departure from the firm, cashing the check could create an implied contract through conduct, prompting Jimmy’s drastic action to destroy it and question recurring smaller payments.
The series achieved distinction by delving into a subject deeply relevant in today’s challenging times. Jimmy’s transformation from a hustler to a full-blown antagonist became a way for “Better Call Saul” to explore the dichotomy between upholding the law as an ideal versus manipulating it as a strategic game.
Initially, ‘Better Call Saul’ sets up Jimmy’s brother Chuck as his main opponent, with Jimmy striving for redemption through law. However, Chuck’s moral stance shifts perceptions. By the third season, Chuck challenges the typical attraction to charismatic but morally flawed protagonists.
The series portrays Jimmy’s manipulation of the law to undermine his brother Chuck and influence Kim. With Kim’s involvement, he concealed a colleague’s murder and framed Howard. In the end, Jimmy embraced Chuck’s respect for the law, aiming to abandon his deceitful identity as Slippin’ Jimmy.
SIC SEMPER JIMMY
When White remarks to Jimmy, “So you’ve always been like this,” the remark is layered — and not inaccurate. “Better Call Saul,” much like its precursor “Breaking Bad,” doesn’t narrate the descent of a man from grace; rather, it highlights the peril of an ill-adjusted individual achieving a pinnacle. “Saul Goodman” merely represents the refined embodiment of “Slippin’ Jimmy.” Redemption for Jimmy McGill necessitates acknowledging that, as warned by Chuck, he exploited and manipulated the law instead of regarding it as a principle.
Ultimately, Jimmy comprehends that redeeming his soul entails making a sacrifice. Following his arrest while on the run in Omaha, he employs his customary tactics to secure an advantageous seven-year plea deal — a stark contrast to the 30-year offer from federal authorities. After negotiating a favorable plea deal, he learns of Kim’s confession and her jeopardy, prompting him to confess for both their sakes. This act symbolizes his desire to rectify a lifetime of wrongs. The ending, marked by a heartfelt farewell to Kim, reflects their deep connection, captured in his signature finger guns. This sincere moment contrasts with Saul’s charm, encapsulated by a closing cigarette.
Jimmy McGill exploited the law to shield his drug lord clients from incarceration, leading to fatalities. Equitable retribution necessitates that he, along with others of his ilk, serve out his remaining years incarcerated within the tangible embodiment of the principle he consciously and repeatedly transgressed.
In the realm of legal television, the Saul of “Better Call Saul” strikes a balance between realism and tasteful exaggeration. While more authentic than his “Breaking Bad” counterpart, he represents the cautionary tale of a good man succumbing to ill-fated decisions. Serving as a reflection of lawyers’ apprehensions and a cinematic portrayal of sleazy legal personas, Saul captures the essence of a character both relatable and cautionary.
This article has been written by Adarsh Tripathi (3rd Year).