Season two of ‘Better Call Saul’ premieres Monday, February 15 10/9c on AMC.
In the first season of Better Call Saul, we were introduced to the people in Saul’s life before he got involved in the con game, way back when he was still a public defender living in the back of a nail salon going by the name Jimmy McGill. As season two unfolds, we’ll undoubtedly see more characters come in contact with Jimmy as he starts to tear down his old “Slippin’ Jimmy” reputation and conjure the slimy persona of Saul Goodman. For now, let’s look at who we met in season one and where you’ve seen the many familiar faces before Better Call Saul came along.
Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut
The Mike that we meet in Better Call Saul isn’t exactly the stone cold hitman for hire that we see in Breaking Bad — not yet, anyway. He’s still incredibly gruff, only he’s working at a parking lot toll booth instead of getting his hands dirty for crime lords like Gus Fring and Walter White. Actor Johnathan Banks had plenty of experience playing shady characters long before Vince Gilligan came calling, and was often cast as bad guys with names like “Slick Slim” in the TV movie Boys in Blue and “Handsome Harry” in There Goes the Neighborhood. In addition to getting shot by Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop, Banks played characters on the other side of the law plenty of times as well. He portrayed cops in shows like Dexter and movies such as Gremlins and Horrible Bosses 2 and an FBI agent on the cult-favorite late-’80s crime drama Wiseguy.
Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler
We know that Kim had some serious pull at Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill and that she has a close and complicated relationship with Jimmy. This is bound to become even more complicated and result in even more deep conversations at the nail salon as Jimmy transitions to Saul in the new season. Prior to befriending Albuquerque’s soon-to-be shadiest lawyer as Kim Wexler, Rhea Seehorn took on both cameo and regular cast parts on a number of TV shows including Whitney, Franklin & Bash, and Burn Notice.
Patrick Fabian as Howard Hamlin
Howard Hamlin is really everything that Jimmy isn’t. He’s better looking, more charming, and obviously much more successful. While at the beginning of the first season Jimmy was nothing more than a never-was clown to Howard, by the end of episode four (“Hero”) it had become abundantly clear to Howard just how cunning Jimmy could be. If upon first seeing the suntanned villain you thought to yourself “Hey, I’ve seen that guy before” that’s because actor Patrick Fabian has popped up in a ridiculous amount of TV shows over the years. Nineties kids will best remember him as the charming college professor that nearly stole Kelly from Zack Morris in Saved by the Bell: The College Years. Fabian has also worked on everything from Veronica Mars to Big Love, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and nearly all of the CSI spin-offs.
Michael Mando as Nacho Varga
While Howard Hamlin might pose a career threat to Jimmy, Nacho Varga is more of an end-your-life-and-bury-you-in-the-desert type of threat. Canadian-born actor Michael Mando is the only member of the Saul cast that’s probably best-known not for a TV or film role, but for his portrayal of another psychopath – Vaas Montenegro in the video game Far Cry 3. Mando has had plenty of practice playing bad guys over the years, though, showing up in Elysium, Psych, and as a recurring character in the sci-fi series Orphan Black.
Michael McKean as Chuck McGill
There’s something about comedians that attracts Saul co-creator Vince Gilligan and he couldn’t have found a better choice for mentally-ill Hamlin partner Chuck McGill than comedy vet Michael McKean. McKean’s film and TV resumé is incredibly long with the actor having roles in some of the biggest comedy hits of the last 40 years. In addition to being a regular cast member of Happy Days spin-off Laverne & Shirley, he’s popped up in a ton of TV shows over the years with recurring roles in Curb Your Enthusiasm and animated series like Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law and The Animaniacs. McKean’s film work is just as extensive, and the Christopher Guest ensemble regular can lay claim to playing a huge part in one of the 20th century’s greatest comedies — This Is Spinal Tap.
Kerry Condon as Stacey Ehrmantraut
We only saw Stacey in one season three episode of Breaking Bad and while we don’t know a lot about her yet, we do know that she followed her father-in-law out to New Mexico after her husband was killed in Philly. We also know that she has a somewhat reluctant relationship with Mike, though she does allow him to dote on his granddaughter. Saul fans might best recognize actress Kerry Condon from AMC’s biggest hit show, The Walking Dead, where she played Clara, a disturbed widow that Rick comes across in the woods before she ultimately became a walker. Condon left her native Ireland at age 16 to embark on her acting career, which has included roles on HBO shows Luck and Rome. And just last summer, she joined the Marvel universe providing the voice of F.R.I.D.A.Y. in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill aka Saul Goodman
If you’ve been a fan of Saul Goodman since Breaking Bad, then there’s a good chance you’re probably familiar with Bob Odenkirk’s extensive film and TV resumé. Just in case you lost track of the guy in between his revered sketch show, Mr. Show, and Breaking Bad, let’s do a quick refresher course.
The actor and comedy writer (Saturday Night Live, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, Ben Stiller Show, Get a Life) has been tied in either major or minor capacities to some of your favorite movies and shows over the years including The Cable Guy, Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, Let’s Go to Prison, and Nebraska. Odenkirk just reunited with his old Mr. Show buddy, David Cross, for the Netflix sketch series W/ Bob & David and is currently producing an indie comedy he co-wrote called Girlfriend’s Day. So yeah, the guy’s been pretty busy over the last 25 years.