Spurred on by his brother’s suicide, Jimmy McGill is on the cusp of embracing his destiny as criminal lawyer/lawyer criminal Saul Goodman

 

Season Premiere | Monday, August 6th @ 6 p.m., 8:11 p.m. & 12:15 a.m. on AMC

“It’s the most exciting season yet,” promises Bob Odenkirk of the much-anticipated return of Better Call Saul. “There are dimensions to the characters that I could never have guessed they would explore. I’m amazed.”

Though the idea of deep character exploration on one of the most critically acclaimed series on television is an exciting prospect, what fans of Saul and its predecessor Breaking Bad know is that evolution means the inevitable moral demise of a character many still want to hold out hope for. “The thing that’s holding Jimmy from becoming Saul, essentially, is one more person in his life who he loves and he’s trying to do right by, and that’s Kim [Rhea Seehorn],” says Odenkirk. “Even though she has a wild streak in her, you can’t imagine that she’d be OK with how Jimmy ends up [in Breaking Bad].”

Ironically, at the start of the season, Kim and Jimmy’s relationship is stronger than it ever has been. “It’s more mature and complex than I’ve ever seen a relationship in a TV show,” says Odenkirk. “This is Kim’s season, and a Jimmy-Kim season, really. It’s beautifully written, and surprising to me. Even though I’m used to the great writing of the show, even I was amazed at what they allowed these characters to do and the way they allowed the characters to grow. It was something.”

Unfortunately, some of the growth means there are difficult times in store for Jimmy McGill. At the end of the third season, his estranged brother Chuck (Michael McKean) succumbed to his psychosomatic electronic hypersensitivity and his tragic suicide will have serious repercussions for our protagonist. “There are many ways people deal with the death of somebody who is massive in their life,” says Odenkirk. “It’s such a big thing that I think it literally defines the rest of his life. But a certain degree of compartmentalization is how he deals with it. He has to put some distance between him and the impact of [Chuck’s death].”Better Call SaulFor Jimmy, his brother’s suicide is a one-two punch. It’s not just coming to terms with the fact that Chuck is gone, but also processing the last conversation he ever had with him. “That last conversation between Jimmy and Chuck, where Chuck tells him, ‘I never respected you. I never even thought much of you,’ I think that conversation has the biggest impact on Jimmy,” says Odenkirk. “If a person passes away in a sudden, unexpected manner, you think, ‘What was the last thing he said to me?’ And in this case, it was a cold, hurtful and yet seemingly meaningful expression from Chuck, that he just didn’t really think of Jimmy at all.”

It’s a conversation that will forever change the trajectory of Jimmy McGill’s life. “Chuck seemed to really mean what he said, and I do think it is one of the biggest things that kicks him down the road of, ‘Stop trying to be a respectable person,’” says the actor. “Chuck, this shining light, is gone, and he doesn’t have to live up to it anymore. He never was able to, but now he doesn’t even have to try.”jimmyIf the upcoming episodes sound dark—and they surely are—Odenkirk does promise lots of laughs this season to balance out the drama. Especially when it comes to Jimmy’s professional life, there are comedic moments in store, as his legal career is on hold for the year. “He can’t practice law if he wants to get his bar license back, so he has to find gainful employment. It’s so funny what he does. Wait till you see. I would love to tell you the crazy craft that he gets up to. It is no longer a new thing, it is extremely common, but at the time of the show it was new and people were gobbling these things up.”

For the actor—who has been Emmy-nominated three times for this role—playing Jimmy on his way to moral calcification is more fun than ever. “I entered into this thing concerned and anxious about the bigness of being the lead, and the uncertainty of what the show was,” says Odenkirk. “I really feel in season four, this is where the dominoes start to fall. Jimmy’s world and the bad guys’ world has to start to come together, and as a result of that, the show gets busier, faster and we’re having more fun.”gus fringAMCJimmy is also maturing in a way that makes Odenkirk more comfortable in his skin. “It’s a little hard for me to play a guy much younger than myself, and it’s harder to play a guy who has at times been more clueless than I wanted him to be about himself and the world,” he says. “But now they’re writing a guy who’s no longer as clueless and that’s a great thing to play. The fact that he’s become savvy to who he is, and to the people around him—I think people will like it.”