Better Call Saul is almost at its conclusion, but for the stars of the Breaking Bad prequel, the end actually brings a new beginning of sorts and some low-key truths.
“I discovered that Saul is a much easier character to play than Jimmy,” Bob Odenkirk says of the now-iconic sleazy and shameless Albuquerque lawyer Saul Goodman versus the small-time scam artist he once was. “The last couple episodes, he becomes a much richer character again,” he added during Deadline’s Contenders Television: The Nominees event. “He’s no longer hiding behind that façade, and he’s actually very much confronting the demons inside him in the last four episodes of the season.”
Demons aside, the whirlwind first part of the sixth and final season of Better Call Saul, the AMC show created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould snared seven Emmy nominations this year. Heading towards the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards on September 12, those nominations include for Outstanding Drama Series, Lead Actor for Odenkirk and Supporting Actress for Rhea Seehorn. Along with Odenkirk, EP/showrunner Gould and Seehorn joined the Contender panel.
“Part of the fun of making a television series is getting to watch what the actors do with the material, and learn about the characters from that,” Gould noted of the skills and stealth of both Odenkirk and double nominee Seehorn. “We found out that Kim Wexler had so many layers and so much more depth,” he added of Seehorn’s attorney character and her transformation over the years into Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman’s partner and partner-in-crime. “And I think, a lot of the question this season was how far was she really going to go?”
That question posed by Gould also sets up the greater question that has perplexed viewers almost since Saul kicked off: What happens to Kim? A major player in the series and McGill’s life since the 2002-set show’s debut, Kim Wexler never appears in Breaking Bad, which takes place several years later. The latter part of Saul‘s sixth season, which wraps August 15, offers a lot of clues and some heartbreak.
For Seehorn, getting to the edge of that cliff was almost all in the details.
“It starts with the writing, 100%,” the actress says of the series-defining relationship between McGill/Goodman and her strong-willed Wexler. Yet, in a show punctuated by personal transformation, plus cartel murders and New Mexico’s underground, she says the fireworks often come from smaller flames.
“Bob and I also have a special affinity for the smaller scenes, that are sort of the texture and the fabric of the life between these two characters that we both feel informs those more explosive scenes, it makes them more real,” the actress says. “It’s the weight of life and the tether between these two people.”
With long-anticipated appearances this final season by Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, not to mention guest star Carol Burnett, Better Call Saul features Odenkirk, Seehorn, Jonathan Banks, Patrick Fabian, Michael Mando, Tony Dalton and Giancarlo Esposito. The Sony Pictures Television-produced series is EP’d by Gould, Gilligan, Mark Johnson, Melissa Bernstein, Thomas Schnauz, Gordon Smith, Alison Tatlock, Diane Mercer and Michael Morris.
Check back Monday for the panel video.