Ranking The 10 Best Characters In Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul is full of memorable characters, and here's the ten best.

Better Call Saul
Better Call Saul

When Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould decided to create a spinoff to the iconic crime drama, Breaking Bad, very few people thought that taking Walter White’s shady lawyer and giving him a backstory would eventually turn into a show that can go head-to-head with its predecessor in quality and intrigue. Fast forward to the final season of Better Call Saul, hopefully arriving in early 2022, and you have not only Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman as a seminal character from the prequel, but many other characters who will live on forever as legendary additions to the TV canon.

The slow-burn, internalized study of these characters that drive Better Call Saul means you could have a compelling argument for any one of them to rank high in a list of the best characters, so it’s time to take a crack at it and see where everyone lands.


10. Kevin Wachtell

better call saul Rex Linn

The CEO of Mesa Verde Bank, the client that Kim represents off-and-on throughout Better Call Saul, Kevin is a stereotypical big-mouthed businessman. What makes him interesting then? He makes a great antagonist to Kim as she becomes a bigger part of their law team, his corporate suit arrogance contrasting nicely with her desires to make a meaningful impact on the world beyond just being a mouthpiece for an unethical business.

Kevin takes on larger importance in the fifth season when he insists that Kim take a plot of land that a man has been living on for decades so that he can put more of his banks on the property. When she suggests that they move the project to a different area, Kevin insists that he isn’t going to let anyone take what belongs to him now. It’s a display of disgusting capitalist greed and the antithesis to what Kim wants to accomplish as a lawyer.


9. Werner Ziegler

better call saul Rainer Bock

The man from Germany who leads the construction of the superlab that Walt and Jesse will eventually cook in for Gus, Werner becomes good friends with Mike throughout the short time he is on the show. He longs to go home to his wife, and is highly sympathetic in that he engages himself in something that is criminal, but he doesn’t ever truly understand the ramifications of his actions.

The tragic final scene for his character in the fourth season finale, in which Mike has to execute him in front of the haunting New Mexico night sky at the order of Gus, is a powerful reminder to the viewer and to Mike himself about how we sell certain parts of our soul away forever when we are uncertain of our desires in life. Torn between money and love, Werner tried to have both and ended up with neither. He’s also a symbol for how far Mike continues to fall into the black hole of immorality. Even his name is a great meme.


8. Howard Hamlin

better call saul patrick fabian

Part of the brilliance of Better Call Saul is how they let you think one thing about a character, and then they unpack a little more, bit by bit, until we see the full picture. Howard is pretty unlikable when he’s introduced, mainly because he doesn’t approve of any of Jimmy’s antics and demeans him for his unorthodox style when practicing law.

As the show goes on, we see that Howard is easily manipulated by the people in his life, and resembles Jimmy much more than either one of them are willing to admit. Both men are used and influenced by Chuck’s opinion way more than they should be, and after Chuck’s death, Howard is finally able to come into his own, much like Jimmy. He always knew Jimmy’s potential as a skilled lawyer, but he wasn’t allowed to make a decision for himself, waiting to offer him a job at HHM until the fifth season.

And despite Howard being unaware and undeserving of a cruel fate, Kim has hatched a plot to ruin his career for some revenge against him for unfair treatment when she worked at HHM. There is an ominous feeling that surrounds Howard’s potential ending, but the character teaches the audience to never judge someone until you get the full story on them.


7. Nacho Varga

Better Call Saul

In a lot of ways, Nacho is  Better Call Saul’s version of Jesse Pinkman. He’s a criminal who needs to be made accountable for his poor actions, but he has a good heart and he cares for his father deeply. There is a humanity behind this man that others such as Lalo, Gus, and Hector simply don’t possess. He also is taken under Mike’s wing many times throughout the show, another symmetrical trait to Jesse.

His importance fluctuates throughout the story, and his ending next season would possibly push him a few rungs above the character in front of him on this list depending on how fulfilling it is. From what we know now, Nacho is a smart, thoughtful, and imperfect young man who is simply trying to find his way out of a situation that he got far too deep into.


6. Gus Fring

better call saul giancarlo esposito

Gus is universally loved as one of the best villains in TV history. Getting the opportunity to see him earlier in his drug-dealing career is fascinating, but it does take some of the invincibility away from the exterior. He’s a lot less frightening in Better Call Saul, although maybe slightly more human in the process.

The best insight into Gus in this show is the way he manipulates and, in a way, tortures Hector Salamanca in the aftermath of his stroke that puts him in the famous wheelchair with his signature bell. That rivalry being fleshed out more brings even greater satisfaction to the climax for Gus in Breaking Bad. Still, while he’s not quite as good of a character in this show, there’s a lot to love from the famous chicken entrepreneur.


5. Lalo Salamanca

better call saul tony dalton

It’s a damn shame this man wasn’t introduced earlier, because he’s a combination of every villain in Vince Gilligan’s worlds, a combination of Tuco’s violent tendencies, Gus’s savvy, and Hector’s loyalty wrapped up in one tremendously portrayed package by Tony Dalton. Charismatic, cunning, and ruthless, Lalo appears on the scene as an immediate threat to Gus’s operation. He’s smart and patient enough to bide his time, but quick-thinking and violent enough to save his skin when a dozen hitmen come to take him out.

His relationship with Nacho will surely be soured now that he’s pretty aware of the betrayal at the end of last season, and when Lalo is mad, he inspires the same fear that his cousin Tuco does. Whether he lives or dies at the end of the show is irrelevant: drug dealers are meant for demise. It’s the deep character study of a psychotic man who could blend into any type of person or environment that counts the most.


4. Mike Ehrmantraut

better call saul jonathan banks

Mike is a character that everyone wanted more of. We wanted to know how he came to work for Gus Fring, and we wanted to know what horrors he has experienced to become the cold-blooded criminal we all loved in Breaking Bad. Better Call Saul gave some of the answers immediately in the fifth episode of the first season when we learn that he is still traumatized by the death of his son.

Mike is a criminal with a code, a concept that somehow makes us feel he is morally superior to someone who has no limits to their atrocities, like Gus or the Salamanca family. Still, it’s very sad to watch this highly skilled ex-cop grapple with what exactly makes him fulfilled, and why he settles on helping drug dealers as the activity that fills out his golden years.


3. Chuck McGill

better call saul michael mckean

Chuck is a miserable man. We start out feeling sorry for him, inflicted with a mental health problem that keeps him from ever getting close to electricity or leaving his home. As Better Call Saul goes on, and his jealousy, rage, and insecurities start to unravel out of his sour soul, we get an empty shell of a corporate lawyer. This is a person who tied all of his worth to his job, and in turn all of his brother’s worth to that same occupation.

If he could have ever accepted the charisma, the zest for life, or the unusual techniques and passion Jimmy possessed to become the lawyer that every oddball in New Mexico wants, maybe his funeral wouldn’t have been filled with people who attended out of obligation rather than by choice. His arrogance and sanctimonious nature is what makes Jimmy turn into Saul Goodman, and his downfall is as tragic as the man he ruined.


2. Kim Wexler

better call saul rhea seehorn

The people’s favorite, and the most beloved new character of Better Call Saul, Kim Wexler is nearly as complicated as number one on this list. She starts out as a driven and competitive attorney, the best lawyer in nearly every room she walks into. Her problem is that every time she thinks she’s found what makes her happy on a professional level, she turns to something new in her personal life to fill a void that she doesn’t quite understand exists.

She marries Jimmy in the fifth season so that they can’t testify against each other in the case of one of the former’s criminal schemes, but doesn’t understand that they love each other more than anything in the world; there is nothing fake about their matrimony. Kim is split between the person she expected to be and the woman she might become at the end of the show. She is embracing dark sides of herself that even Jimmy doesn’t agree with, and breaks boundaries as a female character who isn’t afraid to be both emotionally distressed when her husband is dying in a desert, and completely badass when confronting cartel bosses.

Kim isn’t in Breaking Bad, which means her end game is the most hotly discussed of the final season. Whatever happens to her, though, there’s never been a female character quite like Kim.


1. Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman/Gene Takovic

It seems cliche to put the protagonist at the number one spot, but when a lead role is this complex and dense, there is no other choice. The wise-cracking comic relief of Breaking Bad now stands near the top of the Mount Rushmore of complicated TV anti-heroes. Portrayed with underappreciated perfection by Bob Odenkirk, Jimmy McGill gives a background and a voice to so many real-life personalities that we come across or feel within ourselves on an everyday basis.

He’s someone who just wants to be appreciated and loved for who he is, a man whose best never seems to be good enough for the people in his life, especially his older brother, Chuck. When doing things the “right” way is wrong, Jimmy turns to his slippin’ side, scamming people who are too stupid to see what’s right in front of their noses. Unfortunately, these antics usually lead to disastrous fallout for those who inhabit the character’s inner circle, and his bad influence is infectious because it’s fun to be the bad guy sometimes.

The final season of Better Call Saul will presumably see Jimmy complete his transition into the Saul Goodman persona of lore, but more importantly, the Gene Takovic pseudonym that he must take on in the aftermath of the events in Breaking Bad. We want this three-pronged person to get a happy ending, not because he deserves it, but because his character arc feels so real. He’s not a murderer like Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, and he’s not cold like Mike or Chuck. Jimmy McGill is fun and flamboyant, a rule breaker and someone who wants to be appreciated, but has to settle for less when those traits aren’t good enough for the world around him.

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