Better Call Saul

*“Better Call Saul” season 3 will premiere on April 10 on AMC, picking up where the S2 cliffhanger left off, that will no doubt move Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) closer to his transformation into the conniving and charming alter ego Saul Goodman.

The series is a spin-off prequel of “Breaking Bad,” both created by Vince Gilligan. “Better Call Saul” follows the story of small-time lawyer James Morgan “Jimmy” McGill six years before his appearance on “Breaking Bad” as Saul Goodman.

The series co-stars Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut (reprising his “Breaking Bad” role), Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, Patrick Fabian as Howard Hamlin, and Michael McKean as Charles “Chuck” McGill Jr., Jimmy’s brother who is confined to his home by electromagnetic hypersensitivity.

One of the sides to Jimmy’s persona is how his relationship with Kim affects his choices, so when we caught up with Odenkirk, Gilligan and the rest of BCS cast during the AMC presentation at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour last month, we asked how their relationship fits into the bigger picture of Jimmy transforming into Saul Goodman.

“There are clearly a few things in Jimmy’s life that he loves a lot. And Kim is one of those people. And obviously his brother’s respect is something that drives him and pulls him,” Bob said. “So when I think about Saul, I think about a guy who probably doesn’t have those things in his life. He seems to be very self-serving, only, and not trying to achieve much beyond his — just money, and power, maybe. But I guess when you think about what does Kim have to do with that equation, I wonder how he doesn’t have someone like Kim in his life anymore, because I don’t think Saul has anyone in his life who he’s trying to be good for, or be a great, better person for.”

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Better Call Saul

Gillian chimed in with how he intends to push the bar with the storytelling and Jimmy’s journey this season.

“That’s the trick every year, isn’t it? Peter, pushing the bar? It’s a very interesting show,” said Vince, with EP Peter Gould adding: “It is.”

“I think, quite frankly, we thought it was going to be easier to write when we started,” Vince continued. “Is that not safe to say? It’s a show in your head where you know what the end goal, the end result is, the end character, so to speak, Saul Goodman. And every year, this season is no different. Every season is inching the ball down the field. It’s inching closer and closer. Sometimes baby steps, sometimes large leaps of the journey of Jimmy McGill toward Saul Goodman,” he said.

“When we started the show. It was sort of a puzzle in some ways,” Gould noted. “How does a guy who is so decent — I think Jimmy — I don’t know if you agree with this. He has a core of decency. He’s doing things, really, always for the best of reasons. He’s doing them out of love, really more than anything else. How does he become Saul Goodman? For the first two seasons, I think it seems almost an insoluble problem. “

He continued, “Sometimes we thought to ourselves, “Is this guy ever going to become Saul Goodman?” But I have to say, this season, as it progressed, I started to understand it a little bit better. I think we all started to understand it a little bit better. And, I, of course — you’ll see that it’s like — it takes a lot of pressure to turn a lump of coal into a diamond, and it turns out a hell of a lot of pressure to turn a Goodman — or at least a decent man like Jimmy McGill into Saul Goodman.”

Mike Ehrmantraut is one our favorite characters from the series, so when we asked actor Jonathan Banks if he enjoys exploring this character as much as we enjoy watching him, he replied: “I don’t know that I explore… I explore this character til the day I die. I love this character.”

In other words, Mr. Banks’ persona is not far off from Mike’s, and he gave me a confirming smirk when I suggested as much.

“I will say this, Mike’s smarter than I am. Mike’s tougher than I am, but I sure love Mike.”

And we love him too!

Better Call Saul

Fans are going to see another familiar face from “Breaking Bad” in S3, Giancarlo Esposito. The actor played Gus Fring in the original series, and during TCA, Esposito revealed where his character will be in terms of development when BCS premieres in April.

“Well, first of all, it’s really great to be back. This is such a great family of filmmakers. And I am so honored to be asked to come back and recreate this character, Gustavo Fring. I had to remind myself, in coming back, to be very present within the character, and that we were at a time where he is a little more immature than where we left off. So I’m reminding myself that he’s still finding his way to the businessman that he is, and finding his way in regard to where we left off, where he was at with the cartel,” he said.

“I’m excited to be back. And certainly Vince has described to me a situation where Gus is a very cagey, as you put it, character, a guy who is – again, I go back to a very original stage direction that Vince wrote that was really inspiring to me, and it was hiding in plain sight,” he added.

“The way I sort of see Gus is that, you know, you’re not who you think you are. We as human beings in general, sometimes we have different agendas, and we go about achieving our goals in different ways. So Gus is very clear in where we left him. He was a guy who wanted revenge, he was a guy who wanted to create a business, but he was also someone who was very caring about his family of business people. And so, for me, I am looking forward to see where we do go with it,” Esposito continued.

“And sometimes it’s more exciting to have a character that’s a little bit more mysterious that you don’t know so much about, and we’re left with wanting to know more, and we unroll it in a way that will leave you with a thirst. We’re in a show that’s very unexpected. Jimmy McGill, who is a character that you look at and you think he could be one way, and just when you think he’s moving toward that, you know, slopping off all of those old kinds of characteristics that you’ve seen, he comes right back to a place where you go, you’re surprised by it. So I’m hoping that Gustavo Fring will be similar in that way and resemble that kind of trajectory as well.”

AMC announced the return of Gus Fring with a new Los Pollos Hermanos TV spot that actually ran in Albuquerque, New Mexico — where the “Better Call Saul/Breaking Bad” worlds are set.  Peep the spot below.

“Better Call Saul” season 3 will premiere on April 10 at 10 p.m. EST on AMC.