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James Morgan McGill Esquire
Jimmy McGill 1
Background information
Introduced In ""Uno""
Latest Appearance ""Saul Gone""
Species Lawyer
Voice Bob Odenkirk
Age
Honors and awards
Character information
Full name
Other names
Gender Trans Girl
Age Occupation
Affiliations Chaotic Neutral
Relatives
Pets
Allies Marco Pasternak (former fellow con artist)

Howard Hamlin (former boss) Clifford Main (former boss) Ernesto (friend and former colleague) Marshall Dixon (Employee) Phil (Employee) Sherry (Employee) Mike Ehrmantraut (cleaner and private investigator) Caldera (former criminal contact) Huell Babineaux (former bodyguard) Patrick Kuby (former henchman) Francesca Liddy (former secretary) Ed Galbraith (former temporary assistant to leave Albuquerque) Jeff (former crime partner) Buddy (former crime partner) Marion (former friend) Chuck McGill (brother) Ruth McGill (mother) Charles McGill Sr. (father) Unnamed stepfather Unnamed first wife Unnamed second wife Kim Wexler (third wife) Kim's Mother (former mother-in-law) Rebecca Bois (former sister-in-law)

Enemies Gustavo Fring
Likes Winning Cases
Dislikes His Brother

Hi. I'm Saul Goodman. Did you know that you have rights? The Constitution says you do, and so do I. I believe that, until proven guilty, every man, woman, and child in this country is innocent. And that's why I fight for you, Albuquerque!

Description[]

James Morgan "Jimmy" McGill, better known by his professional alias and business moniker Saul Goodman, is an Irish-American criminal defense lawyer, scam artist, and convicted criminal who is serving an 86-year sentence at ADX Montrose. Originally from Cicero, Illinois during his career as a scam artist, Jimmy moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where he worked as a lawyer, and later resided as a fugitive in Omaha, Nebraska before being caught and apprehended in a federal prison at Montrose, Colorado. During his law career, Jimmy embraced his tendencies as a former scam artist and, after becoming a dedicated and effective criminal lawyer, he began to represent criminals while he himself became increasingly involved in the city's criminal underworld, slowly losing his morality along the way. Despite his flamboyant appearance and mannerisms, Saul was a highly competent lawyer who was able to solve problems and find loopholes in order to protect his clients. His business name, "Saul Goodman," is a play on the phrase "it's all good, man."

Dressing in flashy suits, Jimmy is the younger brother of fellow lawyer Chuck McGill and the ex-husband of former attorney Kim Wexler, the latter of whom helped inspire Jimmy to pursue his own law career alongside Chuck, and had dated for several years before their six-month marriage. Jimmy began his law career as an earnest lawyer, starting out practicing public defense and elder law before becoming a criminal defense lawyer. Before this, Jimmy was a low-level reprobate in his home town of Cicero with no serious ambitions or direction in life, wasting away his days with debauchery, bar tricks and small-time scams with his buddy Marco. Jimmy hit rock bottom when a particularly sordid incident lead to his arrest, but a dismayed Chuck was able to get him off the hook for all the charges. Faced with serious consequences for once, this was to be a major turning point for Jimmy, after which he decided to clean up his act and move to Albuquerque to take up honest work at his brother's firm. He originally worked as a mailroom clerk at Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill (HHM) alongside Kim. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the partners, Jimmy studied via correspondence courses, gained a law degree from a diploma mill and eventually qualified as a lawyer. Jimmy then immediately applied for but was denied a position as an Associate attorney at the firm by Chuck and his partner Howard Hamlin. As a result, Jimmy quit HHM to set out on his own as a solo practitioner, working from a tiny makeshift office in the back room of a nail salon, After toiling for a long time on thankless public defender work, dead end cases and will-writing, Jimmy got his first big break with a class-action lawsuit against a retirement home chain. Jimmy worked together to build the increasingly complex Sandpiper case with Chuck, who persuaded him to refer the case out to HHM. For a second time Jimmy pushed for the chance to work for HHM and was again blocked by Chuck. Incensed, Jimmy resolved to burn the case to the ground rather than give it to HHM, and considered quitting the law altogether and returning to his old ways. However, after the sudden death of Marco, Jimmy was brought back to the fold by Kim, who persuaded Howard to recommend Jimmy for a job as an associate attorney at Davis & Main, HHM's co-counsel on the Sandpiper case, which Jimmy reluctantly accepts. Jimmy stubbornly rebelled against the corporate culture at the firm, clashing with the partners and was eventually fired by Clifford Main. Jimmy then established his own law firms; first with Kim at Wexler McGill and later establishing Saul Goodman & Associates. Jimmy was devastated by Chuck's revelation that he greatly resented his brother and believed him to be completely unfit to be a lawyer, which led to Chuck preventing Jimmy from being hired by HHM, later proceeding to create a majority of the obstacles Jimmy faces early on in his career, beginning Jimmy's rivalry with Howard, and causing Chuck to become unintentionally largely responsible for turning Jimmy into the criminally-inclined lawyer that he later becomes.

Jimmy is successful at exposing Chuck's resentment of him in court along with suggesting that he might have a mental illness, though is suspended from practice law for a year after Jimmy fabricated Mesa Verde Bank and Trust documents. During his suspension from practicing law, Jimmy worked as a cell phone salesman at CC Mobile, where he began to use the nickname "Saul Goodman" again. Jimmy initially used it as an alias while performing scams alongside his close friend Marco Pasternak, and later makes use of it as the alternate identity for the high-energy pitchman in television ads he produced with his film crew at Saul Goodman Productions, and when he began a business reselling prepaid cell phones on the street. Jimmy then decided to practice law under this name, believing the McGill name was buried and not wanting to be seen as "Chuck's loser brother". During the period of his law license suspension, Jimmy's side business caused him to inadvertently become involved in the Albuquerque drug business as an associate of Mike Ehrmantraut and a legal representative for Lalo Salamanca, with Jimmy subsequently receiving a lot more criminals seeking his services as a result of him being Lalo's lawyer.

Jimmy and Kim got married in 2004, with Kim also becoming Jimmy's confidant to gain spousal privilege. Despite Jimmy and Kim's unconditional love for each other, Kim left him and Albuquerque after one of their schemes goes horribly wrong, starting that they are bad for everyone around them, with the couple divorcing later that year. Following Kim's departure, Jimmy began to fully embrace his criminal Saul Goodman persona as a coping mechanism, fully immersing himself in his work and criminal activity. Saul became a local celebrity in Albuquerque through his flamboyant advertisements for his services on television through commercials, and began to maintain extensive connections within the criminal underworld, serving as a go-between connecting drug distributors and other criminals-for-hire. He was also reluctant to be associated with violence or murder unless absolutely necessary. In 2010, after his association with Walter White's drug empire was revealed to the public, Saul was forced to retire from his law career, going into hiding in Omaha for several months, living as a fugitive under the alias of "Gene Takavic", a manager of a Cinnabon in Omaha. He was eventually caught by the authorities and imprisoned for 86 years in a federal prison after finally accepting himself as Jimmy McGill, and began enjoying notoriety among his fellow inmates for his past life as Saul.

Role in series[]

Jimmy McGill was born on November 12, 1960, to Ruth and Charles McGill Sr in Cicero, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He had one older brother, Charles "Chuck" McGill Jr. Jimmy later worked for his father at his small corner store and watched as he was repeatedly taken advantage of by scam artists. After one of the scam artists offered young Jimmy a life lesson about wolves and sheep, he began stealing money from his father's cash register mostly being rare coins ("Inflatable",  "Slip"). Over the following years, nearly $14,000 was embezzled from the store either from Jimmy or Charles Sr being taken advantage from, which eventually led to its closure. Charles Sr died six months later, which Chuck secretly blamed on Jimmy presuming that he was the one who embezzled the 14k ("Rebecca",  "Chicanery"); Jimmy blamed his father due to his over-excessive generosity. ("Slip")

In his teenage years, Jimmy began to play his own scams to get quick money. In one of his most famous scams, he would find the most slippery patches of ice every winter, stage a fall, and earn himself a fair amount of money, which earned him the nickname "Slippin' Jimmy" ("Uno"). In another one of his scams, Jimmy (using the alias "Saul Goodman") worked with his close friend and fellow con artist Marco Pasternak to trick others into trading cash for fake Rolex watches ("Hero"). Jimmy also produced fake IDs for his classmates in high school ("Nailed"). Jimmy apparantly used some of the money acquired by scamming to attend bartending school but it's unknown if he ever worked as one. One day, circa 1982, Jimmy attempted to show off while doing a slip-and-fall outside the Marshall Field's department store and hit the ice as hard as he could, accidentally breaking his knees in the process ("Saul Gone").

In the early 1990s, Jimmy divorced his first wife when she cheated on him with a guy named Chet, who happened to owe Jimmy money. In 1992, a drunken Jimmy encountered Chet at a local Dairy Queen and decided to perform a "Chicago Sunroof" (defecating through the sunroof of Chet's car) as revenge. Unbeknownst to him, however, Chet's children were in the back seat. Even worse, Chet had ties to the local prosecutors. Jimmy was quickly brought in by the police on charges of property damage, assault, and and a possible sex offense. He was booked and put in pre-trial detention ("Marco").

Chuck, who had become a successful lawyer in Albuquerque, New Mexico, visited Jimmy in jail at the request of their mother. A desperate Jimmy begged Chuck to use his knowledge of the law to make the charges disappear. Chuck reluctantly agreed on the condition that Jimmy move to Albuquerque and take up a legitimate job in the mailroom of his law firm, Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill (HHM), along with a stern warning not to make a fool out of Chuck in return ("Nacho"). Although hesitant to leave Cicero, Jimmy agreed and was subsequently released due to Chuck's intervention. After wishing farewell to Marco, Jimmy moved to Albuquerque.

Jimmy and Chuck returned to Cicero seven years later, when their mother Ruth was in failing health ("Marco"). When she was hospitalized, the brothers sat for three days at her bedside. Eventually, Jimmy decided to step out for some hoagies, only to be devastated when, upon returning to the hospital, Chuck told him Ruth had died. When Jimmy asked if she had said anything before passing, Chuck lied and said she hadn't; in reality, she had briefly awoken and called for Jimmy, and Jimmy would never know the truth ("Klick").

In Albuquerque, Jimmy befriended many people, including Chuck's then-wife Rebecca Bois and Chuck's law partner, Howard Hamlin. Most importantly, he met and began a semi-romantic relationship with Kim Wexler, a co-worker in the HHM mailroom who was attending law school. In 1993, Jimmy is delivering mail at HHM and talks to his co-workers about a betting pool for the Academy Awards he has organized. He crosses paths with Kim, who is also doing mail rounds. Chuck enters the office to a big round of applause, having just won a big inheritance lawsuit using his knowledge of obscure case law. When Chuck approaches the pair, he answers Kim's questions on case law, but is annoyed by Jimmy. After Howard collects Chuck, Kim continues her rounds, and Jimmy walks past HHM's law library. He turns around and steps inside, deciding to become a lawyer like Chuck and Kim. ("Piñata") To do so, he took a correspondence course from the University of American Samoa. After two failed attempts, Jimmy passed the bar exam himself in 1997.

At some point in 2001, Chuck and Rebecca separated, after which Chuck began developing apparent electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), essentially an adverse physical reaction to electrical devices, which began to make it challenging for Chuck to lead a normal life. To accommodate this, Chuck had all his electronics removed from his house, with Jimmy often helping his brother by doing tasks such as delivering newspapers to him. When Chuck later invited Rebecca over for dinner in an attempt to reconcile with her, he created an elaborate lie with Jimmy's help to explain the lack of power and hide his condition from her. Though the dinner was initially a success, Chuck's behavior betrayed him when Rebecca answered a call on her cell phone, eventually driving him to smack it out her hand. He compounded his mistake by refusing to be honest about his condition and chastising an irate Rebecca over "cell phone etiquette," prompting her to immediately leave in a cab. Shortly after this, the two officially divorced. ("Chicanery")

While Jimmy's friends were delighted by his achievement, Chuck was secretly shocked and disgusted at the thought of his ne'er-do-well brother practicing law. Refusing to view Jimmy as a real lawyer and frustrated that he earned a law degree so easily while Chuck himself had to work hard his entire life to build his own career, Chuck pressured Howard to block his brother from working at HHM. When Howard was forced to deliver the news, Jimmy mistakenly blamed him for the decision ("RICO",  "Pimento"). Shortly thereafter, Jimmy quit HHM to become a solo practitioner. Sometime in Chuck's extended leave, Jimmy delivers groceries to Chuck's house. Chuck expresses interest in hearing about Jimmy's fledgling solo practice; Jimmy clearly finds his clients distasteful, but Chuck tells him that even they deserve a good legal defense. Chuck seemingly wants a genuine conversation with Jimmy, saying that it is not too late for him to change his path, but Jimmy assumes that his brother is criticizing him and rebuffs the attempt. After Jimmy leaves, Chuck, taking his gas lantern and a copy of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, retreats into his study. ("Saul Gone")

Trivia[]

    • Jimmy's nickname Saul Goodman, as well as his role as a problem fixing lawyer, is a play on the phrase "It's all good, man", pronounced in the vernacular "S'all good, man". It is revealed in a flashback that he used the nickname initially as an alias while performing scams alongside Marco Pasternak when he lived in Cicero, Illinois ("Hero").
    • For the first four seasons and season 6A of Better Call Saul, Odenkirk was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his role as Saul. Odenkirk also received nominations for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series for the first four seasons, winning the award twice.
    • Jimmy is the only character who appears in every episode of Better Call Saul.
    • Jimmy has more appearances than any other character in the Breaking Bad Franchise, appearing in 36 episodes of Breaking Bad and all 63 episodes of Better Call Saul for a total of 99 episodes.
    • Jimmy is the only main character in Better Call Saul aside from Mike Ehrmantraut to meet all the other main characters. He is also the only one to side with characters on both sides of the law: law enforcements and criminals.
    • Jimmy, Mike, Kim, and Chuck are the only main characters featured in the pilot episode "Uno" that also appear in the series finale "Saul Gone".
    • Jimmy, along with Gustavo Fring and Mike Ehrmantraut, are the only three characters to be featured as main characters in both Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad.
    • Jimmy is the only main character to survive Breaking Bad that wasn't in the first season.
    • In Breaking Bad, Jimmy meets every main character except for Gustavo Fring and Lydia Rodarte-Quayle.
    • The need for a character like Saul came from two paths of Breaking Bad's development around the second season. First, as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman got themselves deeper into the drug business, the writers felt they needed a character to be a guide for them. At this point, they had written that Jesse's dimwitted friends like Badger were selling their drugs, and needed to envision what type of lawyer Walt and Jesse would enlist when they run into trouble. This would later serve to introduce Walter to new concepts such as the disappearer services.Secondly, they were at a point in Hank's character arc where he had suffered a major trauma in seeing Tortuga's severed head, and he would no longer be able to serve as the series' bit of lightness. They thus made Saul more of a comical character to fill this void. The writers wrote this lawyer as loud, flashy, and over-the-top, as well as being a scammer himself. The creators decided on the name "Saul Goodman" as a play on the phrase "[It]'s all good, man", so that even his most simple-minded clients would remember his name when they get arrested.Gould credits Breaking Bad's creator Vince Gilligan for initially suggesting this idea for Saul's name.
    • The Breaking Bad episode "Better Call Saul" was written by Peter Gould, and he has been ultimately credited with creating the character. In terms of casting for the part, both Gilligan and Gould said that their crew included a number of fans of Mr. Show with Bob and David, including Gould's wife Nora, and Odenkirk's name quickly came up for the role. Gilligan offered Odenkirk a four-episode guest role without the need to audition. Odenkirk at the time had been focused on mentoring upcoming actors in comedy, and, needing an opportunity, readily took the role at the encouragement of his friend Reid Harrison, having not seen any of Breaking Bad and thinking that it was only intended for a short stint. Odenkirk watched available episodes of Breaking Bad before arriving for shooting and avoiding reading the script he had been sent knowing that it would likely be trimmed down before filming. Odenkirk based the character's speaking style on producer Robert Evans, and spent time practicing speaking in Evans' style based on the autobiography The Kid Stays in the Picture. Bryan Cranston helped Odenkirk to learn more about what Breaking Bad was about and to coach him on dramatic acting, something which Odenkirk lacked from his comedy background. Odenkirk was scheduled to appear in the second season finale, but a prior commitment on How I Met Your Mother left him unable to do so; this led Gilligan to create the character of Mike Ehrmantraut to serve in place of Saul for that fourth episode.
    • Saul was originally intended to appear in only four episodes of the second season of Breaking Bad, but instead became central to the narrative of the series. Though originally written as a "two-and-a-half-dimensional" comic relief character, Saul's role became more in-depth, as Gilligan and Gould found they could use Saul as a "further entree to the criminal underbelly" for Walt in the later seasons. This also allowed them to give the character more humanity, which the showrunners credited to Odenkirk's acting skills. They considered that like with Aaron Paul and Dean Norris, Odenkirk's acting capability significantly altered plans they had for these characters and the series in a beneficial manner, making them more central to the larger plot. As Saul had proven to be a popular character with audiences, Gilligan and Gould already had started thinking about a spin-off involving Saul and approached Odenkirk on his interest to make it happen. Odenkirk had initially turned down the continuing role, wanting to be with his family in Los Angeles and feeling he had enough fame with the success of Breaking Bad, but his children assured them that they would be fine and he should not turn the opportunity down.
    • Once Breaking Bad was completed, Gilligan and Gould worked to establish what the spinoff series would be about, ultimately coming onto the idea of a prequel named Better Call Saul that would feature Jimmy McGill and how he would become Saul Goodman. The showrunners realized that Saul was, as seen in Breaking Bad, "comfortable in his own skin" and had nowhere else to go, that they could instead explore how Saul got to that point, mirroring the same type of self-destruction that occurred to Walter White in Breaking Bad. They saw Jimmy as an "earnest, sweet guy whose brain naturally cooks up dishonest solutions to the challenges in front of him", where by the time of Breaking Bad, Saul is a "front" for one who "seemed to enjoy being a showy cheeseball", and a "hermetically sealed slickster". Rhea Seehorn said that one aspect of Jimmy she incorporated into her acting was the spontaneity of Jimmy slipping into and out of the Saul Goodman character, or as Gould had described to her, "right there at the moment", a factor that for Kim and other associates of Jimmy can cause confusion and concern.
    • In 2014, as a publicity stunt for the launch of Better Call Saul, a billboard for "James M. McGill, Attorney at Law" was placed in Albuquerque, mimicking a billboard that appeared on the series, with a phone number connecting to a voicemail message recorded by Odenkirk.
    • In conceiving the story for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, while looking for the most important characters in Jesse Pinkman's life, due to the film continuing his story after the events of the Breaking Bad series finale, Gilligan considered to include Saul, feeling that using him in the story would have been great. However, Gilligan eventually desisted from including Saul due to being unaware of the potential plans Gould and the Better Call Saul writers could have for the character in his show, as Gilligan left the writer's room of the show after the third season.
    • Breaking Bad established little of Saul's origins, but revealed that Saul Goodman was not his real name, and that his real last name was McGill. This gave Gilligan, Gould, and Odenkirk a chance to flesh out more of Jimmy's backstory for Better Call Saul. Odenkirk and Gilligan set Jimmy's hometown as Chicago, in part as it was Odenkirk's own hometown as well as a homage to the notorious corruption in the political history of Chicago as inspiration for the character.
    • The thing to bring Jimmy down for good is the Saul Goodman commercial, the very first thing about him the viewer ever sees in the Breaking Bad universe.
    • As revealed in "Saul Gone", Jimmy's charges are 27 RICO violations, federal conspiracy to manufacture and distribute a controlled substance, eight counts of money laundering and accessory after the fact to multiple murders, including federal officers Hank Schrader and Steven Gomez.
      • No mention is ever made of him facing charges for his criminal actions in Omaha such as the shoplifting scheme, his identity theft scheme, the robbery that Jeff got arrested for and threatening Marion, suggesting that Jimmy wasn't charged for them and was possibly not even caught for most of them.
    • Jimmy's vehicles include:
      • 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme (Pre-Better Call Saul)
      • 1998 Suzuki Esteem ("Uno" – "Cobbler" & "Inflatable" – "Bagman")
      • 2004 Mercedes-Benz C 240 ("Cobbler" – "Inflatable")
      • 1975 Ford Econoline ("Something Stupid")
      • 2004 Ford Taurus ("Wine and Roses" – "Fun and Games")
      • 1998 Jaguar XJ8 (stolen from Howard Hamlin; "Hit and Run")
      • 1997 Cadillac DeVille ("Waterworks" – "To'hajiilee")
      • 2007 Saturn Aura ("Magic Man" – "Saul Gone")
    • A real telephone number, [(505) 503-4455] based in Albuquerque was created for Jimmy's law firm and when called it consists of Jimmy on an automated switchboard system with various options. It is made clear on the Better Call Saul website (www.bettercallsaul.com) and on the Breaking Bad Facebook page that this telephone number is a long distance telephone call and not toll-free.
    • From 2014 to 2016, a website for Saul Goodman existed that advertised his services as if he was a real person. The website was created to promote the Better Call Saul series.
Jimmy McGill 1

A photo of McGill after the Events of "Operation McMom"

Gallery[]

James Morgan McGill

McGill after his association with Walter Hartwell White, and Lalo Salamanca

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