How Does “Better Call Saul” Relate to Breaking Bad? Why Create a Spinoff?


Like sequels and book adaptations, television spinoffs are made for money reasons. Several networks vied for the Breaking Bad (2008) spinoff, but Better Call Saul (2015) remained at AMC. Sequels can taint the mythology of the original film and television spinoffs often have a substantial drop in quality from the orginal show, but Better Call Saul does not fit into either category.

Better Call Saul delves into the backstory of two fan-favorite characters from Breaking Bad: degenerate lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) and lovable hitman Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks). The story depicts how Saul and Mike developed their professional association.

The series begins six years prior to the events of Breaking Bad. Saul is still using his birth name Jimmy McGill though he is teetering on the edge between being a petty criminal and the criminal lawyer Breaking Bad audiences know he eventually becomes. How did Saul Goodman become the “go-to” attorney for criminals who want to get away with criminal behavior? How did Mike have great connections and how did he become the most reliable bodyguard hitman a criminal organization could hope for? These are the questions Better Call Saul answers for Breaking Bad fans. “The folks who watch this show … they deserve to be rewarded for their strict attention,” creator Vince Gilligan told an audience at the Cary Grant Theater in Los Angeles. For an exhaustive list of the Breaking Bad references in season one of Better Call Saul, check out this article from Esquire Magazine: