Breaking Bad was one of the greatest television series ever made. The twisted story of Walter White’s criminal rise and inevitable fall had audiences hooked. Now the creators of that show have gone back into the Breaking Bad universe for a spin-off, revolving around the slimy criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. Better Call Saul takes place years before the start of Breaking Bad, and will showcase how the well-intentioned Jimmy McGill became the crooked Saul Goodman.
In Breaking Bad, sending someone to Belize was the codename used by Saul Goodman when talking to Walter White about people they felt needed to “take a vacation.” In other words, anyone they planned to knock off for getting in the way of their meth empire. In the BCS season finale, Jimmy mentions Belize while calling Bingo for the elderly.
“B as in Belize. Beautiful place. So I’ve heard. I would love to go there but let’s face it, that’s never going to happen.”
11. The introduction of Nacho
There is a line in Breaking Bad that is completely unforgettable. As a masked Walter and Jesse plan to bury Saul Goodman in the desert, he pleads for mercy, telling them. “It wasn’t me, it was Ignachio!” Who?
Turns out Ignachio is actually Nacho, one of the guys in Tuco’s crew. We meet him early in BCS. First he helps calm down Tuco when he is planning to execute Jimmy and the skateboarding twins in the desert. Then he asks Jimmy for help stealing the Kettelman’s $1.6 million. Nacho already senses exactly what kind of lawyer Jimmy will turn out to be.
10. “S’all good, man”
You may have watched the entire series of Breaking Bad without thinking twice about the name Saul Goodman. But it turns out that Saul’s real name is Jimmy McGill. So where does his new moniker come from? In episode four of BCS, we see a flashback of Jimmy hustling drunken barflys for a few extra bucks. Before fleecing his unsuspecting mark in a fake Rolex watch scam, he utters the phrase, “S’all good, man.” Saul Goodman.
9. Kevin Costner
You had to listen very closely to catch this one. In the season finale of BCS, Jimmy spends a week in Chicago, his old stomping grounds. While there he reunites with his former scam partner Marco and they have a week of hustling and drinking. After one particularly alcohol fuelled night, Jimmy wakes up next to a random woman. Her first reaction? “Hey, you are not Kevin Costner.”
Flash forward to season three of Breaking Bad, when Saul is telling Walter that you sell any lie if you just believe it yourself.
8. Origin of the Pinky Ring
This one is so subtle that we almost missed it too. In Breaking Bad, Saul wears a gold pinky ring. It’s a forgettable part of his outfit, not even mentioned in any way during the entirety of the series. But it’s important to Saul, and here’s why.
It belonged to his old friend Marco, and was given to him at the funeral by Marco’s mother. It’s a sign of his shady past, and by choosing to keep the ring on his finger, Jimmy is choosing to not walk the straight and narrow line.
7. Saul Predicted Working at a Cinnibon
“If I’m lucky in a month from now, best-case scenario, I’m managing a Cinnabon in Omaha.”
That was Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad, hoping to be able to live a safe life as the White Meth Empire comes crumbling down around him. The very first scene of BCS shows a slightly older Saul Goodman managing a Cinnibon franchise in a mall somewhere in Omaha. He is still paranoid that his old life will catch up to him though, as an intimidating customer almost makes him wet his pants.
6. No-Doze Can’t Keep Quiet
Who the hell is No-Doze? We asked the same thing, at first. Turns out that No-Doze is one of Tuco’s henchman, the one he beat to death for speaking out of turn during Walter White’s first sale of his infamous blue meth in season two of Breaking Bad.
It turns out that No-Doze has a history of crossing the boss. In BCS‘s opening episodes, No-Doze offers his unwanted opinion on what to do with Jimmy and the skateboarding brothers. Tuco quickly tells him to shut up in anger, foreshadowing No-Doze’s future demise.
5. Mike’s Past Explained
The character of Mike Ehrmantraut might be one of the best unanswered questions in the entire Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul universe. We don’t learn a lot about his past in Breaking Bad, but we are starting to chip away at those moments that turned Mike from a Philadelphia police officer into a man doing the dirty work for drug kingpins. In episode six, we find out exactly why he had to leave Philly. His son was killed by crooked cops and he took revenge on them before bolting for Albuquerque.
4. Jesse Pinkman Reference on Payphone
Creator Vince Gilligan has already said that Walter White and Jesse Pinkman won’t appear regularly in Better Call Saul. They may not even appear in the show at all, depending how long it lasts. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.
When Jimmy McGill tries to call Nacho, we can see a small piece of graffiti on the payphone, saying “JPi”. Those initials suggest a teenaged Jesse Pinkman left his mark on the phone. Not convinced? The mark turns up again in Breaking Bad, in Jesse’s (now trashed) house.
Even though at least five or six years pass between the start of Breaking Bad and the start of Better Call Saul, one thing doesn’t change – Mike’s love for pimento cheese sandwiches. In episode nine of BCS, aptly entitled “Pimento,” Mike doesn’t bring along a gun for a protection job he picked up. Instead he brings along a pimento cheese sandwich. After being ridiculed for his decision, he KO’s Mr. Camo-Pants and completes the job like a pro.
Fast forward a few years into Breaking Bad, and Mike and Jesse sit in a car on a stakeout. Pinkman may be bored to death, but no worries – Mike brought sandwiches. We don’t even have to tell you what kind.
2. Juan Tabo Ave.
Jimmy McGill’s shady nail salon office is located at 160 Jaun Tabo Avenue, as seen on his public defender paycheque. So what? Well, it’s a significant for a few reasons.
Juan Tabo Ave. is real street on Albuquerque, and there really is a nail salon at #160. It’s also the same street that Breaking Bad‘s Gale Boetticher lived on, the chemist hired by Gus Frings to help Walter make meth. Gus planned to have Gale take over his drug production and kill off Walter, but Jesse showed up at 6353 Juan Tabo Ave. and whacked Gale. Gus had no choice but the keep them alive after that.
1. Forshadowing Saul’s Future Cadillac
There are two separate parts to this easter egg. We see in Breaking Bad that Saul drives around a white Cadillac DeVille like some kind of big shot. In the very first episode of BCS, we see that car. Too bad it doesn’t belong to Jimmy, as the camera fakes us out and shows us the yellow junk-heap that he really drives. Clever.
Then, in the season finale, we get this line from Marco when he finds out Jimmy has become a lawyer, before his untimely back alley heart attack: “You gotta be king of the desert, driving around town in a white Caddy making bank.” Thus a dream was born.