A couple of days ago (04.20 to be exact), aired the finale of "Better Call Saul" 5th season. The show fan-based also consists of the fans of Breaking Bad and will return to its 6th season next year.
If you are reading this, we can assume that you watched at list one if not both of them shows, and we are happy to say that we do believe that we might surprise you when you read about the Real Saul Goodman. Yeah, You read just right. There is such a guy.
Breaking Bad Roots
Vince Gilligan, the brilliant creator of "Breaking Bad", knew that he couldn't leave the audience with that gut-wrenching ending that broke the hearts of manly men and devoted kids throughout the land.
It was rough, we had seven years following a journey unlike we have ever seen on the silver screen. Unlike other anti-heroes, this one didn't go to therapy, didn't try to get people of an Island with questionable methods - this one was just a science teacher.
Walter transformation to Heisenberg Was Amazing
We got to witness the whole "Breaking Bad" process. The sad cancer patient going through terrible decisions he had to make for his family. all the way to the man who decided to take things into his own hands so that everyone remembers his name. To Cranston's credit, and the whole Gilligan team, the transformation was so gradual and fascinating that we were always on Walter's side, no matter how "Bad" he became.
In the midst of the drama, that had moments of much-needed comedy, we came to meet a sweet, slightly pathetic, petrified and sleazy lawyer - Saul Goodman - played by the profoundly funny and nuanced character actor Bob Odenkirk (Previously known for his work with David Cross in the cult sketch series Mr. Show). Much like Cranston himself, Odenkirk finally received the recognition he deserved when he delved into the role, currently on the spinoff "Better Call Saul".
"If You're Gonna be a Criminal, Do Your Homework."
Saul was born in Cicero, Illinois, as James Morgan "Jimmy" McGill. His older brother Chuck became a successful lawyer as one of the partners at an Albuquerque law firm.
Jimmy begins to use the alias "Saul Goodman", a play on the phrase "It's all good, man". He initially uses it as the alternate identity for the high-energy pitchman in TV ads he produces during the suspension of his law license, and later makes use of it when he begins a business reselling prepaid cell phones on the street.
"Don't drink and drive. But if you do, call me."
Jimmy runs into trouble with the police, and Chuck returns to help but requires that Jimmy join him in Albuquerque and work a legitimate job in his brother's law firm's mailroom. Jimmy then starts a solo practice in the utility room of a Vietnamese nail salon.
He takes whatever cases he can get, including low paid public defender work. To the viewer's delight, he frequently gets into altercations with the stoic Mike (From BB), a former police officer working as the clerk at the courthouse's parking lot.
"Conscience gets expensive, doesn't it?"
Operating in a strip-mall, and advertising himself in late-night ads that rival any terrible cheap law-firm in real life, Saul used to be Walter and Jesse's lawyer in "Breaking Bad", and in his own series, we see the "prequel" - how Saul came to be the character we know and loved in BB.
Set in the early 2000s, we are introduced to Jimmy McGill (Saul's real name), beginning six years before the events of Breaking Bad, showing his transformation into the persona of criminal-for-hire Saul Goodman.
"Perfection is the enemy of perfectly adequate."
Though we were completely unaware, Gilligan had been planning the spinoff with Odenkirk since 2009, originally as a half-hour comedy. The humorous premise, according to Gilligan, was "The idea of a lawyer show in which the main lawyer will do anything it takes to stay out of a court of law".
True enough, Saul/Jimmy remains in the shadows helping criminals and is clearly afraid his of lawyer prowess being tested.
"May I take your order?"
It's nice to see different sides of Saul in the show, including his love life, horrible people that force his hand, and his own qualms about working with said people, with money usually trumping any other instinct he has.
We meet his older brother Chuck, and of course, the great joy of having back everyone's favorite bad guy - Gus (the eerily perfect Giancarlo Esposito). The show's fifth season will start airing next month (February) and will begin filming its' sixth and final season soon.
Straight From The Source
But what does Odenkirk think about Saul's reputation? Does he agree with comparisons to other lawyers - despicable people, supposedly, who defend any and all criminals? The actor says: "Saul is like a really good guy, comparatively to the real world."
And would his character agree to represent the current villain, Trump? "I do think he would. I do think he would love the limelight," he said. "I think they'd have a bit of a mind-meld, with how to handle things. He might have an issue with getting paid. The whole "I don't pay people, it should be an honor just to work for me," I think he'd say no".
The Million Dollar Question
The "Is Saul Goodman real" question has been getting extra attention lately, not just because of the end of the Better Call Saul season, but because of an entertaining, intriguing, and occasionally jaw-dropping Vice documentary. The news organ compares Howard Greenberg, a crazy-haired New York City attorney with a penchant for odd attire and a take-all-clients attitude, to Bob Odenkirk's TV persona.
Whether based on him or not, Greenberg is no one to mess with: He has garnered a reputation as one of Manhattan's craziest ‐ and most successful ‐ defense lawyers, having represented roughly 4,000 defendants and produced an unusually high number of acquittals and dismissals in cases where such results were thought to be impossible.
Once a cheater, casually a cheater
Greenberg's outrageous courtroom tactics and ability to successfully represent the lowest of the low has led to the press dubbing him the real "Better Call Saul." "I disavow that comparison because Saul routinely cheats," he says. "And I only cheat from time to time."
His Legendary One-Liners
For your enjoyment, please see below quotes from Greenberg, who seems to have just as many one-liners as does the fictional Goodman: "If you don't win, it's a disaster for the person. You have to win." "Hard work, in this business, makes up for a lot of sins." "If I take your money, you get all of me. I want to win." "I would defend Harvey Weinstein with great pleasure".
An Unusual Tragedy
One of Greenberg's most high-profile cases was the murder of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky by Levi Aron on July 11, 2011. Nicknamed the Butcher of Bensonhurst, Aron kidnapped Kletzky as he was walking to school and subsequently murdered and dismembered him. What was unusual about the crime was that it occurred within the insular, relatively safe Brooklyn Hasidic community.
In It To Win It
Greenberg is no stranger to taking things to a whole new level when it comes to defending a client, even getting himself admitted to the emergency room the day before a big trial.
"I go there for the ancillary purpose of getting one of these," he says, showing off a medical wristband. "And that will adorn my wrist throughout the pendency of the trial. Sometimes if I have back-to-back trials, I keep it on for months at a time."
Is there anyone Greenberg wouldn't be able to defend? When it comes to the recent mass shootings, domestic terror events, and infamous sexual harassment cases, Greenberg rises to the challenge and provides the answer: Not really.
When it comes to the individuals he defends, Greenberg seems to show an endlessly generous side: "I cannot apply the label 'evil' to someone who begs me in some manifestation for help". For those finding themselves in trouble, Greenberg has three words of advice: "Better. Call. Howard."
There Were Others
Of course, Howard Greenberg is not the first attorney to be held up as the (possible) answer to the question of whether Saul Goodman is real. Nor is the question limited to American attorneys, as a recent "Telegraph" expose made clear. There are "many Saul Goodman characters among the local criminal defense solicitors," claims the British publication, "doing mostly legal aid cases."
And, much like Saul Goodman himself, the writer of the "Telegraph" piece (which writer made his journalistic bones as a court reporter) notes that the preponderance of British Sauls "come up with excuses for their client's behavior that...read straight out of a Better Call Saul storyline," and likewise "[enjoy] minor celebrity status in the local criminal underworld".
Just Like Saul
James Warner, a defense attorney for alleged drug dealers and criminal defendants for more than 40 years, accepted the terms of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. His law office became a crime scene when federal agents, armed with a search warrant, found $200,000 cash hidden around his office.
Most of the money was in vacuum-sealed bags and was linked to drug dealers, prosecutors said. It seems there is no shortage of lawyers trying to scheme drug lords nowadays.
Better Call Bell?
This is already the case in real-life Albuquerque, where a real-life attorney is doing his best to blur the line between life and art‐and muddy the waters where the "Is Saul Goodman real" question is concerned.
Ron Bell has taken to modeling himself after Saul in post-Breaking Bad advertisements, though it's not clear whether Goodman was modeled after Bell or Bell is simply having a bit of fun with Better Call Saul Popularity.