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James Morgan "Jimmy" McGill / Saul Goodman / Gene Takavic / Viktor St. Claire

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/saul_goodman.jpg
"Clearly [Walter's] taste in women is the same as his taste in lawyers: only the very best with just a right amount of dirty."
Jimmy McGill 
Gene Takavic 
Portrayed by: Bob Odenkirk, Blake Bertrand (young, "Inflatable"), Cole Whitaker (young, "Lantern")

"Seriously, when the going gets tough, you don't want a criminal lawyer, all right? You want a criminal lawyer."
Jesse Pinkman on Saul Goodman

A scam artist-turned-attorney who helps the convicts and lawbreakers of Albuquerque, including Walter and Jesse, with their legal issues. Saul operates out of a strip mall office and runs late-night TV ads advising his potential clients that they'd "Better Call Saul!" when in trouble with the law. Humorous, extremely cynical, and very greedy, Saul's partnership with Walt and Jesse is problematic, yet successful due to his unusually high skill that belies his goofiness.

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Before he became the amoral Saul Goodman, he was Jimmy McGill, a hardworking public defender struggling to make ends meet. He may not have had a Cadillac or a degree from an Ivy League university, but Jimmy's buoyant optimism and quick wit made him a forceful champion for his downmarket clients. Jimmy was a legitimate lawyer, an underdog fighting to make a name for himself, but his moral compass and his ambition were often at war with each other.

After the events of Breaking Bad, and with the help of an identity eraser, Saul Goodman has been living out his later life as Gene Takavic, the manager of a Cinnabon in an Omaha mall. Given the past he has chosen to run away from, he becomes an unassumingly-paranoid shell of a man trapped in a drab, monotonous existence, and horrified at the possibility of the authorities or former enemies finding him.

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Saul Goodman

    A-I 
  • Affably Evil: Saul is a corrupt lawyer involved in a massive drug operation that involves extortion, intimidation, money laundering, theft, and even murder, but he's still a charming and jovial fellow who's hard to dislike, even if he is sleazy.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Saul certainly isn't too proud to beg, as evidenced several times in both shows, such as when Walt and Jesse kidnap him and later when Mike threatens to beat him. After Jesse figures out that Walt poisoned Brock, he beats a confession out of Saul at gunpoint. The entire time, Saul is begging for mercy and trying to say that he didn't know what Walt was planning.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Exploited. While it seems that Jimmy McGill may originally have hit upon the name "Saul Goodman" as a simple Mondegreen Gag, when he begins practicing law under that name he realizes how Jewish it sounds and starts using his perceived Jewish background to his advantage. In Better Call Saul Yiddish words start creeping into his vocabulary and by season 6 he is even accusing people of antisemitic discrimination when they don't give him what he wants. By Breaking Bad he has fully embraced the idea that a Jewish-sounding pseudonym may help him get ahead of the pack and make him look better as a lawyer. This is all despite the fact that he is actually of Irish Catholic extraction- he plays up either his fake Jewishness or genuine Irishness whenever it suits him.
  • Ambulance Chaser: Oh, yes: on the surface, at least. But, his practice is also waaaay more complex than just using frivolous lawsuits and compensation claims as business streams, though. His image of simply being one of these is carefully cultivated, as he plays up his sleazy attorney persona to hide the fact that he's an intelligent, very savvy conman.
  • Amoral Attorney: As Jesse puts it, "Seriously, when the going gets tough, you don't want a criminal lawyernote . OK? You want a criminal lawyernote , know what I'm saying?" Played With: Saul may play fast and loose with the law, but he never betrays a client.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    Saul: Is there a God? How could He let this happen? Who did this to me? Who can I sue?
  • Artistic License – Law: Invoked in-universe. Saul, who definitely knows better given his prior attempts to go straight before Chuck derailed him, will do things like put people at ease by claiming that attorney-client privilege prevents him from betraying his clients. This in real life is not true; attorney-client privilege doesn't apply if a lawyer actively assists their client in the commission or concealment of their crimes, which is what Saul is doing. Ironically, his clients are safe from betrayal, not because of the meager legal protection of handing him a dollar as a "retainer" (and theatre), but because Saul actually is loyal to his clientele, and not just to his pocketbook.
  • Attention Whore: Specifically for Kim's attention, it being implied (and confirmed by word of god) that he's trying to be as loud as possible so she might miss him and come back. Ends up fucking him over in multiple ways, as Ed has to work harder to find him a new identity, Jeff easily recognises him and Marion finds Gene's old self on the internet as soon as she suspects something.
  • Authority in Name Only: Being Heisenberg's lawyer doesn’t give the clout you think it might. Despite the cushy position, Gus and Mike keep him out of the loop on the Salamancas, all the “guys” he knows result to just Mike, Walt and Skyler make fun of him like he were a dog who can be useful occasionally, and he remains a Nervous Wreck over the cartel killing him at any point.
  • Badass on Paper: Saul has a reputation of one of the best Amoral Attorney in New Mexico. During the "American Greed" promo Oakley mention how he could sway the jury easily, he got Lalo Salamanca out of jail and is involved in Tuco's lighter sentence and he helped build Walt's meth empire. However most of his accomplishments involved a lot of outside factors and luck, and when Saul is faced up against an actual threat to his safety, he immediately cowers and begs for mercy.
  • Baldness Angst:
    • One of his trademarks is his incredibly obvious combover. In his very first episode, we see it flipping about in a sandstorm after Walt and Jesse kidnap him and drive him out to the desert.
    • In season 6 of Better Call Saul we finally see him at home, carefully blow-drying the combover into place as he gets ready for work. We also learn that his bathroom contains an astonishing quantity and variety of hair loss treatments, some of which are prescription medications presumably obtained from a hair clinic. There is also a big box of Viagra, which may be needed to counteract the side effects.
  • Bald of Evil: In the Breaking Bad universe lack of hair generally correlates with a lack of moral fiber. With Saul this is Played With: he attempts to conceal his baldness just as he attempts to conceal his criminal activities behind the front of a legit legal practice, and in both cases, he fails to be wholly convincing.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Saul is delighted to have Jesse’s parents recognize him from late-night television, saying he gets it all the time. Turns out to be a nightmare when he’s a Cinnabon manager and desperately trying to lay low, and someone recognizes him again; only this time it’s a person who knows full well he’s vulnerable and uses it to their advantage.
  • Being Personal Isn't Professional: He never once talks about his personal life in the original show, being very much a "work front" kind of guy. There were apparently going to some scenes where he reveals some actual stuff about himself, but they were never filmed, something the Better Call Saul writers thanked their lucky stars for as they didn't even want to contradict deleted scenes.
  • Beneath the Mask: As confirmed by word of god, Jimmy McGill is still in there somewhere, and never really left, just got shoved down beneath trauma, bad choices, and fatal flaws, with Saul actively trying to behave like he has no humanity.
  • Berserk Button: Don't even think about lighting up in his office.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: He serves as the main comic relief of Breaking Bad, but that doesn't change the fact that he's a very cunning, ruthless, and manipulative conman with a strong understanding of the American legal system. When he's in hiding as "Gene", we see him become even darker. He goes as far as almost bludgeoning Mr. Lingk, a cancer patient, with his own dog's ashes, and trying to intimidate Marion, an 80-year-old woman, into silence.
  • Breakout Character: Is popular among fans for his humorous honesty and a surprising amount of depth and loyalty, to the point that Vince Gilligan got him his own spin-off show. Thanks to that show, he's actually now appeared in more episodes of the show's world than Walt or Jesse.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Saul comes off like a sleazy, cheap, two-bit lawyer, but he's actually a sleazy, cheap, surprisingly competent one. His legitimate (not respectable) lawyer business has him deal with frivolous lawsuits and class-action suits, sure, but behind closed doors, he's connected and savvy like no one's business. He's the one that basically allows Walt and Jesse to take the first step into creating an actual drug empire instead of merely selling their product however they're able. When he first meets Skyler, Walt has to reassure her afterward that Saul is a lot more competent than he seems to be. Even Mike, who is otherwise a badass who prefers to take charge, knows to just shut up and let Saul do the talking once the DEA starts investigating him.
  • Casanova Wannabe: It doesn't help he's not as young or good-looking as he is in the prequel show but he’s upped the sleaze, only sleeps with sex workers and not women he's pulled, and is a sexist creep to almost every woman around him, while in the prequel show he adored Kim, could be condescending but mostly relied on the charm (he convinced a woman he was Kevin Coster), and being gross to Fransesca in season six was a sign of what he’d eventually turn into.
  • Catchphrase: "Better call Saul!" Also played with "let's get down to brass tacks", some variation of which he says very often.
  • Celebrity Impersonator: While trying to convince Walt to buy a front despite lacking a believable cover story for his business, he tries to assure him that any lie can work if told convincingly enough.
    Saul: I once told a woman I was Kevin Costner, and it worked because I believed it! Additionally... ."
  • Cerebus Retcon: Better Call Saul recontextualizes the entire Saul Goodman persona as it was portrayed in Breaking Bad as a coping mechanism for Jimmy McGill. All those snarky quips and slimeball tactics were distractions from all the loss and heartbreak he couldn't bear to properly face.
  • Change the Uncomfortable Subject: Even just revealing his real last name is too much for him, apologizing for digressing and then only talking about business matters.
  • Character Tic: Saul frequently makes buzzer sounds whenever somebody says something stupid or is doing something wrong, adding to his Plucky Comic Relief image.
  • Characterization Marches On: In Breaking Bad, even when he was at his lowest, Saul always wanted to save his own skin and never gave any inclination that he wanted to die. In Better Call Saul, he has the same passive suicidal feelings that Jimmy had since season four, instinctively moving in front of a falling pillar, and willing to die by Lalo's men as long as it's not in the desert.
  • Clothing Reflects Personality: He's far more Jimmy-like when he's in a white shirt during "Granite State" and the flashback to that episode in "Saul Gone", trying to explain to Walt that the "fun" is over and he should stay behind for his wife's sake, getting excited like he did for Sandpiper for what he thinks would be a legit case for Grey Matter, and recoiling like a kicked puppy when Walt tells him he'd be the last lawyer he'd hire for that, and assuming he's always been like this.
  • Commitment Issues: The Better Call Saul episode "Fun and Games" features a time jump from 2004 to 2005, which cuts from Jimmy McGill's break-up with Kim to a scene of Saul waking up next to a hooker. Together Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul establish that Saul has three failed marriages behind him and believes he has been cheated on by at least two ex-wives and deceived by the third. It perhaps isn't surprising that he now prefers no-strings-attached sex with hookers.
  • Con Men Hate Guns: Prefers to let Mike handy any dirty work requiring firearms. As he finds himself in more danger towards the end of the series, he starts wearing a bulletproof vest under his flamboyant shirt. The one time he is eventually forced to get a gun, he's shown to have chosen one so small it could be mistaken for a novelty cigarette lighter.
    • The safe room in his house is more proof of this, containing bulletproof vests but no guns hung on the wall as seen in secret compartments of other characters.
  • The Consigliere: Saul is more than just a lawyer. He acts as Walt and Jesse's advisor and handles all of their business arrangements. He even lampshades it:
    Saul: What did Tom Hagen do for Vito Corleone?
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Better Call Saul reveals that Saul spent a lot of the money from his criminal activities on tricking out his own personal mansion, complete with a gold-plated toilet, an indoor Olympic-sized swimming pool, and a huge sign on his roof that says "Saul Goodman & Asso."
  • Cool Car: Had flamboyant sparkling-white Cadillac Deville.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Wanting a distraction from Kim and his own pain, he ignores Mike's advice to leave Walt alone and pushes him to make more meth. It doesn't take long for him to realise he's in way over his head.
  • Creepy Uncle: When suggesting ways for Walter to “suddenly” come into the money he already has, he mentions a “perverted” Uncle Murray, but whether that’s real or he’s making an off-color joke is anyone’s guess.
  • Deadly Euphemism: As of "Buried", he now refers to killing people as sending them to Belize. In "Rabid Dog", he even refers to his suggestion to put down Jesse as "an Old Yeller type situation".
    Walt: You're full of colorful metaphors, aren't you, Saul?
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hardly a scene he's in goes by where Saul isn't making a witty remark. It's usually just a question of how many he can fit in.
  • Desperately Craves Affection: Jimmy’s still in there somewhere, and Saul complains in “Problem Dog” that he fixed things for Walt (after Walt trashed a car out of spite) and can’t even get an “attaboy”. Amplified and explained in “Saul Gone”, as Walt reminded Saul of Chuck, and Saul couldn’t help but revert to pathetic little dog wanting this guy’s love.
    Bob: And he realizes he’s put himself in a relationship with an older, smarter guy who’s shit and who he can’t gain any respect from and isn’t that the way people in real life re-enact these relationships that they have as a child?
  • Dude, Where's My Respect??: Saul may be in it for his own greed but it doesn't change the fact that he's treated pretty ungratefully by Walter White throughout the show. Early season four has a rare bonding moment of Walter and Skyler mocking him together, treating him like a dog who was finally useful.
  • Emotion Suppression: It is implied that Jimmy McGill reinvented himself as "Saul Goodman" persona in an attempt to bury his past trauma. He appears a lot less emotional than Jimmy, but it seems this is because he fills his days with work and constant noise in order to drown out his painful memories.
  • Empty Shell: The ending of "Fun and Games" makes explicit that Saul is just a hollowed-out version of Jimmy, who crawled out of his own skin after Kim leaves.
  • Enemy Within: In BIG contrast to his original function as Plucky Comic Relief, Bob compared him to the chest-eater from Alien, spilling over everything and Gene still desperately wanting to be like that again (but not able to hide his Jimmy trauma either).
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Breaking Bad: In the episode "Better Call Saul", Saul bumps into Hank and Gomez and they trade a few barbs. Hank mocks the quality of Saul's TV commercials, Saul replies with a Your Mom joke... and then casually wonders aloud why Badger's incredibly minor street bust has attracted the attention of two Federal agents. This informs us- and them- that he is much more intelligent than his outrageously flamboyant persona would suggest.
    • Better Call Saul: The character of Saul Goodman, as a fully-realized persona fully inhabited by Jimmy, is introduced following a Time Skip in the episode "Fun and Games". We see Saul waking up next to a hooker before rolling out of bed naked, and the first thing he does on waking is put in his Bluetooth earpiece so he can conduct business even as he showers and gets dressed. This shows us how much sleazier Jimmy has become as Saul, and the lengths he has gone to in order to reinvent himself and leave his past behind him. It also establishes him as having thrown himself into his work, filling his day with noise from the minute he wakes up in order to drown out painful memories and avoid confronting his thoughts.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Despite both of them being colder to each other than in the prequel, he's still really upset when Mike presses the desert Trauma Button, bringing it up two seasons later when Walt "assures" he can handle the guy. This bites him in the ass when he refuses to pick up a bag for Mike, so Walt offers to do it instead and Mike is killed.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: There are several moments where it is possible to realize that Jimmy McGill still exists, buried under the despicable Saul Goodman.
    • After having his secretary call Hank pretending that Marie had been in a car accident to get him away from the RV, Francesca asks for a raise but Saul himself looks uncomfortable with what he's just done.
    • Saul was unwilling to give up Walt and Jesse to Gus, only doing so when Mike threatened to break his legs. And then, we find out that he feeds Mike a false location, protecting his clients.
    • When he finds out Ted slip and fell during Huell and Kuby's visit, he's genuinely horrified.
    • In late Season 4, he puts himself in harm's way and agrees to tip off the DEA to the threat on Hank's life. He was under no obligation to do so, and he could even lie to Walter that he would alert the DEA. Even so, he did.
    • In the Season 5 premiere "Live Free or Die", he is upset when he finds out that his participation in Walt's schemes led to Brock being hospitalized. He's dealt with a lot of criminal clients and has done a lot of amoral things for them, but it seems he draws the line at children.
      "I never would've agreed to it if I'd known what he was gonna do! Jesse you gotta believe me, I didn't want any of this!"
    • In his final appearance in the series, he attempts to convince Walt to give himself up to the DEA because otherwise, they'll use Skyler as their scapegoat. Again, Saul was under no obligation to advise this to Walt now that the two had had their crimes disclosed to the police and he would gain nothing from it, but he does seem genuine in trying to help Walt's family.
  • Evil Is Petty: His scene in "Fun and Games". Now that he's a full blown Amoral Attorney and lost the only person who said he was worth anything, he just wants to fuck over the thing that Chuck held in such high regard.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: His voice is noticeably deeper than it was when he was plain ol' Jimmy McGill. He reverts to speaking in his natural register when he isn't at work and "in character" as Saul, such as when Walt and Jesse kidnap him and threaten him at gunpoint ("Better Call Saul"). In "Granite State", when the character of Saul has effectively been killed off for good, he sounds much more like the Jimmy McGill of the prequel series. Essentially, the more evil his actions, the deeper his voice sounds.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: ...and it's also very, very gravelly, especially when he emits a sleazy laugh.
  • Evil Virtues: For all his sleaze and corruption, he is loyal to his clients and will never sell them out even when threatened with violence and he is damn good at his job, making him a very valuable piece in Heisenberg's empire.
  • Extreme Doormat: Ironically considering both Jimmy and Gene feel like they need him as a confidence mask, and how much he pushed the cooking at first, Saul in Breaking Bad gave up pretty fast when it came to Walt, pointing out in "Live Free or Die" in his few seconds of standing up for himself how much he's degraded himself to keep this guy out of trouble. It's revealed that Walt reminds him of Chuck.
  • Fallen Hero: He used to be a public defender who scraped by, then got a job at Davis & Main, scraped by through advertising commercials, and now is an ambulance chaser working out of a strip mall office.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: While it is implied that he wears tacky suits to give off an air of Obfuscating Stupidity, in Better Call Saul we see that Jimmy always had a penchant for flamboyant dressing, and even in his Cicero conman days he was partial to a lairy shirt. The prequel show reveals that Saul's home decor is similarly flamboyant and tasteless, suggesting that it's only partially done for show and that he genuinely likes this stuff.
  • Fanservice Pack: While a lot of it is down to Odenkirk getting into shape, there’s a big increase in quality from his Breaking Bad suits, that are peacocky but also sloppy and too big for him, to the fitted ‘lead actor now’ Better Call Saul BB-era suits. Plus a nicer combover wig.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • In their first encounter Saul clocks Walt as a liability and decides against getting involved with him. Unfortunately, his Greed then gets the better of him and he approaches Walt with an offer to launder his drug money. Ultimately his instincts turn out to have been correct, and working with Walt proves to be his downfall.
    • “Breaking Bad” shows that Walter might not have been convinced to cook meth anymore if Jimmysaul had any capacity to deal with grief, as it’s not wanting to deal with Lalo trauma or Kim heartbreak that makes him want to focus on something he thinks he can handle and cultivate, and totally ignore Mike’s advice.
  • Fate Worse than Death: It's rather clear that neither Slippin' Jimmy, James McGill nor Saul Goodman would ever have voluntarily chosen to live the highly regimented, routine life of Gene, manager of a random Cinnabon, Nowheresville Mall, Omaha unless there was no other option (and, even then, he's regretting it). The grayscale is the first hint; his hangdog expression when hitting the bottle is the second.
  • Final Boss: After he's arrested in Omaha, Saul Goodman's personality manifests to give himself the most favorable sentencing terms to game the system. Jimmy chooses to reject that part of himself in the last moment.
  • Folk Hero: Despite having masterminded Walter White's infamous rise, Saul spent many years providing top-tier legal representation to petty criminals and social outcasts. Thus, during his bus trip to federal prison, his fellow inmates not only recognize him, but chant his catchphrase in celebration. And going by the brief glimpse we see of Saul working in prison, he has the love of every convict there.
  • Formerly Fit: He’s chubbier in Breaking Bad than he is as Jimmy in Better Call Saul. Some Real Life Writes the Plot here, as in the latter, Odenkirk was older and trained up for Nobody.
  • Friend to All Children: Seems to like kids and gets along well with Brock. Brock is the only one who he gives any details of his past to.
  • Glory Hound: Mixed with the memories that being kidnapped again dredged up, Saul sees Walt as a second chance at Lalo glory, with the big draw of surely this guy with a family won’t scar him for life and make him feel helpless, right?
  • Hair Flip: Regularly flips his combover out of his eyes when it falls out of place.Like so.
  • Hates Being Alone: As seen by his personal life in "Fun and Games", he has a steady supply of hookers that he has zero interest in, and it's about fifteen seconds from when he gets out of bed to when the earpiece goes in and he's yammering all day so he doesn’t have to think about anything.
  • The Hedonist: Until Walter White comes along as a reminder of all he's lost. All the remorse and guilt and anxiety in Jimmy has been cut off with a surgical knife, and all Saul thinks about is "what do I want and how do I get it?"
  • Hero of Another Story: And that story is now being told.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The head of a major criminal empire, in hiding as a local celebrity with his face on every billboard in a two-mile radius of Albuquerque.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: Still reeling from the trauma of being kidnapped again, and not wanting to deal with emotions over Kim and... everything else, he completely ignores Mike's advice to leave Walt alone, and goes off to push him into making more meth. This ends up with Walt dominating everyone, including him, and a lot of people dead or their lives ruined.
  • Honest Advisor:
    • Part of what makes him so effective as a lawyer is his willingness to tell hard truths.
      Saul: Look, let's start with some tough love, alright? Ready for this? Here it goes: you two suck at peddling meth. Period.
    • In "Granite State", he tells Walt that it's probably better for everyone if he doesn't disappear.
  • Honest John's Dealership: From the frivolous injury claims taken up on behalf of those who really should know better to tide him over to helping a promising little meth business get off the ground so he can jump on the bonanza bandwagon. He might mitigate the careers of crooks (and be very good at that), but Saul manages to not take a direct part in anything truly heinous himself which just saves him from being the lawyer equivalent of the Friend in the Black Market. Just, though: he's very good at what he does and gives you value for (a lot of) money. He can hook you up with a guy who is that guy, though — and, may nudge you in that direction, off the record, like. For a percentage.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Beyond wanting glory and money, and a way to distract himself from pain that being kidnapped again brought up, Saul thinks Walt is a saner combo mix of Chuck and Lalo, a money-making genius he can control but a family man and chemistry teacher who won't hurt him and might give him some slightly abusive love too. By the "Saul Gone" flashback, he’s aware of how terrible an idea this was.
  • Humiliation Conga: If his purpose in an episode is more than delivering one-liners, he'll probably be debasing himself somehow, from getting kidnapped by Walt and Jesse to getting threats of the desert by Mike, forced by Walt to keep working for him or beat up by Jesse. Also a Break the Haughty, as being a Glory Hound and a fuckload of damage over Lalo/Chuck/Howard/Kim, is the mix that made him ignore Mike's advice and go see Walt at the school.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick:
    • To Walt and Jesse. In his final confession, Jimmy says that without him, Walt would've been "dead or in prison within a month." Considering Badger was inches away from ratting out "Heisenberg" and the Salamanca cousins were coming for Walt before Saul hooked him up with Gus, the appraisal rings true.
    • He also has one of his own, in the form of Mike.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: He doesn't appear until the middle of season 2, but became the show's Breakout Character and got his own spin-off.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side!: After negotiations with Walt over how much of a cut he'll get from Walt's 3 million deal with Gus...
    Jesse: What in the hell just happened? You're MY lawyer, not his!
    Saul: It's the way of the world, kid. Go with the winner.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Jimmy’s never really believed Kim loved him, despite all evidence to the contrary, but he really shows the ugly side of that trait in “Waterworks”, thinking all she told him was that he never meant that much to her, and flippantly, transparently pushing her away as Saul and telling her to have a nice life.
  • Insufferable Genius: Saul has a tendency to be an arrogant prick, but he can actually back up his boasts with his various skills, making him a crucial part of Heisenberg's rise to power. Notably, while Saul telling Mike that hiring another lawyer was a bad idea originally comes off as grandstanding, he's proven right when Dan ends up selling Mike out after being captured, something that Saul would never do.
  • I Reject Your Reality: As well as Saul being a way for Jimmy to hide his grief and trauma and regrets, it's also a way for him to hide from the responsibility that he really should take, that he's never been good with. He finally admits this in "Saul Gone", saying with a bit of pride for Kim that while she left, he was the one who ran away.
  • Ironic Name: Goodman. And it's not even his real name.

    J-Y 
  • Jerkass Has a Point: After dressing down how Walt's actions to exonerate Skyler have made it worse, Saul outright says that if he really cares about his family, he will give himself up to the Feds to spare them the suffering they are about to endure. Walt doesn't.
    • He's on the money that it would be logical for Walt to eliminate Hank and Jesse and Walt's efforts to protect them won't do him any good. In Jesse's case he also specifically points out how Walt wanting to meet Jesse and say why he had to poison a child is a beyond stupid plan.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Saul may be a sleaze and a boor but he really does care about Jesse underneath his layers of sarcasm and greed. He also tries hard to get through to Walt and stop him from going too far, even though it usually falls on deaf ears. The prequel show establishes that he also has a soft spot for elderly clients and does not want kids involved in his business.
  • Jewish Smartass: Saul invokes this on purpose with Mondegreen Gag name 'Saul Goodman' as an attempt to make himself sound more credible.
  • Karma Houdini: Downplayed. Saul is one of the few characters in the series to make it out to the end with his life and at first glance, he seems to be the only not emotionally damaged from the events that happened. His big consequence is having to now live the life of a Cinnabon manager. Compared to the suffering of all the other characters, Saul makes it out good. But then the flashforwards of Better Call Saul does show that he hates his new life as a fugitive, does not dare to form friendships or any other relationship in the city where he lives now, and is terrified of being discovered, becoming absurdly paranoid. Now he will spend the last years of his life looking over his shoulder every minute and brooding over the good and nostalgic times when he was a lawyer and celebrity. That said...
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: After committing robberies in his mall as well as scamming people (including a cancer patient), Jeff's arrest prompts Marion to investigate his son's new friend, which leads her to expose Gene's real identity, calling the police upon him, which results in his capture and sentencing.
  • Kick the Dog: Wanting to hurt her the same way he thinks she hurt him, and purposefully trying to act as bad as possible when he was crying earlier, he’s high school levels of cruel to Kim, telling her flippantly to “have a nice life” (when she’d told him she’d had the time of her life with him). Essentially his own version of “you never meant that much to me.”
  • Knows a Guy Who Knows a Guy: ... Who knows another guy. In most cases, the first "guy" in this line is Mike.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Knows when to beg and plead, knows when to seemingly give in and compromise (and often, how to without actually giving core ground), and knows when to get out of Dodge. Admit it, you probably thought he'd be the most likely one to jump ship once it started sinking the moment you first saw him on screen. Although, he never turns out to do it in the way you'd've expected, not our Saul, what with not being your common or garden rat.
  • Lack of Empathy: Some of Jimmy's basic compassion peeks through occasionally, but he shrugs off a drug dealer getting shot as an "occupational hazard", as long as the police don’t find out, and offers more than once for Jesse to be killed.
  • Large Ham: His outfit color choices say a lot about his personality.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: While he survives the series, his fame in New Mexico comes back to bite him in 'Granite State' due to having to pay extra for a new identity, even though Walt's technically the bigger target. This also means he can't practice law anywhere again, rendering his skills useless. A millionaire from assisting in Walt's drug empire, he expects to spend his remaining days destitute and anonymous.
  • Let No Crisis Go to Waste:
    • As part of his Ambulance Chaser tendencies (and act), Saul runs a few commercials calling for people to pursue legal action amidst the Wayfarer 515 tragedy. Mike sees one at a bar, and one of said commercials lists every potential reason for lawsuits and compensation. You may even notice that he wears the blue awareness ribbon for a little while longer than anyone else on the show to try to further capitalize on the incident.
    • In the Better Call Saul episode "Fun and Games" we see him talking to Francesca via his Bluetooth headset, mentioning a potential class action lawsuit before discussing a news report about a bus crash in which 18 people were injured, then asking her to get in touch with a contact of his who works at the hospital. This all happens before he has even finished breakfast.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Along with being Walt's Lawyer and Consigliere, Saul also tends to serve as the guy Walt vents to about his operations. Walt is ironically more honest with Saul than he is with Jesse or with Skyler.
  • Living Legend: The ending of Better Call Saul reveals that his commercials and action as the last known survivor of a short-lived but infamous criminal empire have actually ended up making a legendary figure dubbed "Better Call Saul".
  • Locked Out of the Loop: With everything that happened to him in Better Call Saul, apparently locks himself out intentionally, as despite the smarm and ego he’s learned he’s in over his head. There’s a hint that Mike, and even Gus, are trying to shield him from the whole Salamanca thing, either for pragmatism or Pet the Dog.
  • Lonely at the Top: With his mansion and money, Saul has come a long way from having to practice a confident speech in a courtroom bathroom. But he’s also completely alone and has flattened any kind of humanity in him as an effort to cope.
  • The Lost Lenore: Kim Wexler. She's not dead, she just became an Empty Shell of herself who left him, but every flamboyant trait he has, the car, the clothes, the office, came from her encouragement. Bob Odenkirk suggests that he plasters his face everywhere so she could maybe see him; his loan-out company is named after her favorite movie, the dollar trick is hers, and as sleazy as he is to Skyler, he defends her to Walt multiple times.
  • Lovable Coward: In the Season 3 finale, he insists he won't give Jesse's whereabouts to Mike and stands his ground... for about five seconds. Of course, there was never any question that Mike couldn't beat the information out of him eventually. Though, to his credit, the address he gave Mike was fake, protecting his clients.
  • Lovable Rogue: Oh, yes. He's a scumbag. He's a Slimeball. You know he's a scumbag. You can practically smell it off him. Good luck not liking him, though.
  • Love Will Lead You Back: Jimmy is so sure that Kim would have rather had Saul Goodman (and she did find it a hot comfort, but she loved Jimmy), so he makes his commercials as loud as possible, puts his face everywhere and makes himself a memorial to her in the hopes that she’ll come back.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Inverted. Word of God describes Saul's appearance as having been designed to convey "A man with wealth but no taste".
  • Married to the Job: He doesn't seem to have a life outside of being a lawyer. Better Call Saul reveals that he's practically a lawyer 24/7, from the moment he wakes up to the moment he sleeps. Probably the only times he pauses being a lawyer is when he indulges in his hedonistic tendencies, whether it be having frequent one-night stands with hookers or shopping for very expensive luxuries.
  • Mean Boss: For a lawyer, Saul is surprisingly fearless of sexual harassment charges, probably because Francesca is too wrapped up in his criminal schemes, and reporting him to the cops would just lead to complicity charges against herself.
  • Meaningful Name: Saul is a Biblical king of the Hebrews appointed by people against God's will, replacing judge Samuel. Though he wins the people over with his charisma, a series of selfishness-motivated decisions eventually erupt into a civil war, leading to Saul's death and the rise of David.
  • Mistaken Ethnicity: Saul has been mistaken for being Jewish, and plays up the idea that he's Jewish in order to get ahead in the world.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Saul never technically betrays Walt, but after Walt's cancer returns and he loses his intimidation factor, Saul is no longer scared into being loyal to him.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Saul is not above this when it involves being put at risk of being arrested.
    • He casually mentions to Walt and Jesse that they should just have Badger killed when he's arrested.
    • When Jesse threatens to give up Heisenberg if he ever gets caught, Saul tells Walt that they might need to go over options.
    • He mentions if Walt has given any thought to sending Hank on a trip to Belize.
    • In "Rabid Dog", he recommends this for Jesse, describing it as "an Old Yeller type situation".
  • My God, What Have I Done?: He sounds genuine when begging Jesse that he "didn't want any of this" i.e helping Walt poison a child. Gets an extra edge when it’s revealed that Mike told him to stay away from Walt, but Saul didn't listen.
  • Mysterious Past: Unlike Mike or Gus, who had their own backstories prior to meeting Walt, we had no idea what Saul did before becoming Heisenberg's lawyer. Until Better Call Saul anyway.
  • Naked on Arrival: The first appearance of "Saul Goodman" as a fully-realized persona, being inhabited by Jimmy McGill full-time, occurs in the Better Call Saul episode "Fun and Games". We see Saul wake up and get out of bed, naked after spending the night with a hooker. He then proceeds to conduct his first business dealings of the day from home and wearing nothing but a Bluetooth earpiece.
  • Never Be Hurt Again: Odenkirk’s interpretation of him, even before he had any idea that Jimmy McGill existed, as Saul is putting on a work front and telling himself that he’s enjoying all this so he doesn’t actually have to think about how much his morals have gone kaput.
  • Nervous Wreck: Beneath all the smarm and pretending he doesn't care, Saul is very often on the edge of panic, and tells Jesse he has a drawer full of xanax. Even Gus takes pity on him, deciding with Mike to leave him out of the loop when the Salamancas are trying to kill Walt.
  • Noble Demon: Despite mostly being an Amoral Attorney, his refusal to betray a client, which includes making sure to feed Mike false information to protect them as well as the standards mentioned, makes him this as well.
  • Non-Action Guy: Saul has absolutely no fighting skill. Even Jesse and Walt are better in a fight than he is. As he tells Walt Jr. in "To'hajiilee", he even considers the occasional beating "an occupational hazard".
  • Noodle Incident: When he is initially kidnapped by Walt and Jesse he begins screaming something about how "It" was "Ignacio! He's the one [you want]!" and how he's always been a friend of The Cartel, before being told they weren't sent by a "Lalo" he thought was after him. Lalo, Ignacio, and whatever he did are never referenced again in the series. However, Better Call Saul explained that Lalo accused Jimmy for conspiring with the by then dead Nacho/Ignacio to kill him and everyone at the compound, zip-tying him to a chair and promising to come back so they can "talk", and while Lalo dies, Jimmy was already told once before that Lalo was never coming back, so it stands to reason that being tied up again even six years later would trigger that terror.
  • Obviously Not Fine: The context of Better Call Saul makes it explicit that Saul Goodman is a loud and frequently failing way of Jimmy McGill dealing with trauma, wanting to be the person that he thinks Kim loves and has made far too many mistakes in his life to list.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Saul treats even deadly situations with levity, and is generally out of the firing line when it comes to drug empire conflicts, so on the few moments when even he is fearing for his life, you know that the characters are in serious danger.
    • He's genuinely upset when Walt coldly tells him he's a two-bit bus bench lawyer, being reminded of Chuck, and tries to actually defend himself until he gets backed in the corner. There's also the flashback in "Saul Gone", where Walt assumes he's always been like this, and he does the Jimmy thing of looking like a kicked puppy.
    • He gets beaten down fast by Walt, but despite this being his main source of money, in "Madrigal" he actually tries to get him and Jesse to stop making meth.
    Saul: You're alive. As far as I'm concerned, that's the Irish sweepstakes.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • His outrageously crooked lawyer persona belies his extreme intelligence. This is lampshaded in Season Five, where Walt finds that Saul wears a bulletproof vest under his flashy pink attorney shirt.
    • It's played up almost from the moment of his introduction — comments peppered throughout the series strongly suggest that the Bunny-Ears Lawyer aspect of his character is entirely a sham, to get people to underestimate him instantly. Notably, he's the biggest name in the cast never been threatened with arrest.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: When Jesse's parents try to sell the house for 800k, Saul counter-offered for a mere 400k. They are disgusted and about to leave when Saul reminds them that he knows there used be a meth lab in the basement and they can either take his offer or he will encumber the property indefinitely. Jesse's parents cave only to find out who Saul's client is: Jesse himself.
  • Only Sane Man: A rare beast for this show: he's this played as straight as a die. It might sound zany, but whatever he suggests? Has a common (if twisty and criminal) sense behind it. And keeps it after Walt's downfall, by ending contact with Walt once and for all.
  • Out of Focus: He appears in just two scenes in the last four episodes of the show. Luckily, they more than made up for it with the spin-off.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: His disguise as "Gene" is nothing more than a hat, glasses, and mustache. And on top of that, he looks a lot more like Walter White, the meth kingpin, because of this.
  • Pet the Dog: As corrupt as he is, in the penultimate episode, Saul attempts to convince Walt to face the music if only so Skyler doesn't get used as The Scapegoat. He also gladly helps Jesse deliver money to Andrea.
  • Phony Degree: His law degree is from "The University of American Samoa". Subverted in that the degree is real and he did pass the bar, he just didn't have the funds or even the time to get a degree from a more prestigious university. Possibly Played Straighter with the one in his office, considering it has an incorrect seal and displays his "Saul Goodman" alias instead of his real name.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Despite being a surprisingly skilled lawyer, pretty much every other word out of Saul's mouth is hilarious. Invoked by the writers. Vince Gilligan explained that part of the reason why Saul was introduced was that they knew the series would continue to get darker and they wanted to still have some levity.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Saul's no stranger to sexually harassing his secretary and making racially insensitive jokes, especially about immigrants. And in the Breaking Bad episode "Open House", he offers to report foreigner Bogdan as an Islamic terrorist, only for Walt to point out that he is in fact Romanian.
  • Properly Paranoid: When things get tense at the end of Season 4 and midpoint of Season 5 he cracks down on security at his office and really wants Walt and Jesse out of his hair. Considering the shanking of Mike's lawyer in the "Gliding Over All" montage, this isn't a bad idea. Also in the very first scene of the premiere of Better Call Saul, he becomes paranoid of people recognizing him after being given a new identity and relocated to Nebraska. Given his minor celebrity status in New Mexico, this isn't that exactly unreasonable.
  • Psychological Projection: One of his crappy commercials has him admitting that his getting you an eight figure settlement won't fix the massive hole in your heart caused by your loss, which he'd know a little about considering all the trauma that happened in the prequel. Mike actually raises his bar glass at the sheer audacity of it.
  • Punny Name: His name sounds like "[It]'s all good, man."
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: His very first appearance, in one of his cheesy late-night ads, shows him pretending to read a weighty legal tome before dramatically whipping off his reading glasses to address the viewer. He is not seen wearing glasses again until they become part of his disguise as "Gene Takavic".
  • Put on a Bus: Literally, to Nebraska, as of "Granite State".
  • Really Gets Around: Compared to his previous self, who had two one-night stands in season one of his series, got upset over his first two wives cheating on him, and then only really had eyes for Kim (including cooking a lot for her), Saul sleeps around so much with hookers that he has a bowl of breakfast bars that they can take but then go away.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Saul often gets away with a lot of the sketchy and immoral stuff he does, because he does it in as bombastically and shamelessly a manner as possible, often leaving people too baffled to respond before he quickly and slickly moves on to the next subject.
  • Sad Clown: By virtue of Cerebus Retcon. Comic relief with a Punny Name and a garish dress sense, but Word of God is that "Saul Goodman" gets put on when Jimmy hates himself, his first line in the show is based off a Kim suggestion (wherever she is), and he's screwed up every chance he's had to be good.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: Towards Walter and Jesse, but more for the former. He starts out as a snarky but willing advisor, eventually feeling utterly downtrodden when helping him amass his own meth empire.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: By "Granite State", Saul has finally had it with Heisenberg, and heads to Nebraska using his identity eraser guy. It's not clear if this was him having enough of Walt, and/or him wanting to avoid prosecution for his involvement with Walt's drug empire since he's almost certainly facing charges of money laundering and criminal conspiracy.
  • Sex for Solace: Judging by the way "Fun and Games" goes from Jimmy listening to Kim pack up, to Saul sleeping with hookers, it’s fair to say that devoted wife guy Jimmy went hypersexual and grossly sleazy to try and deal.
  • Sexier Alter Ego: It is a turn-on for Kim to encourage Jimmy to be Saul Goodman in early season six, treating it as a dress-up doll persona that her husband happily goes along with. But ultimately subverted as that comfort died for her when Lalo calls her Mrs. Goodman, and she loves Jimmy, though he’s convinced he’s ruined her and deserves to die and become Saul, whose loudness might get her back.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns:
    • Escapes ABQ with the help of his coveted vacuum cleaner repairman before the series finale.
    • His appearance is also an example of this, as he arrives just as Jesse goes from comic relief to being put through the wringer, and his wacky friends fall Out of Focus. Vince Gilligan states that drama and depressing material needs "a livening agent" to keep them from being unwatchable.
  • Shoot the Dog: Makes this suggestion a few times when he suggests doing it to Jesse, he even refers to it as an Old Yeller type situation.
  • Signature Headgear: His trademark Bluetooth earpiece. Better Call Saul reveals that he even wears it in the shower.
  • The Social Expert: Saul is very good in tense, social situations where a glib tongue and people-reading skills are must-haves. Not his fault Walter's dramatic metamorphosis voided his original judgment of what he was capable of.
  • Stepford Smiler: Even without the prequel fleshing it out as a tragic backstory and making him a far more hollow clown than on the first watch, he tries to act like a total pig at Walter’s misery that he’s been abandoned by his family, but is clearly uneasy, gives him an awkward pat on the shoulder and sits in his car sadly.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: While Saul was lying about being forced to work for Walt and Jesse after being kidnapped, on a personal level he still wanted some form of love and approval from the man who abducted him and was going to leave him in a shallow desert grave. Season five of Breaking Bad has him go from trying to squirm away to trying to gain Walt's favor and back again until he finally grows a spine.
  • Stopped Caring: Jimmy was full of emotion, sometimes to his detriment, while the most Saul feels is greed, fear, sleaze, and bored snark.
  • Tempting Fate: He goes to see Walt in the “Breaking Bad” episode because he want a distraction from all the trauma that's been dredged up being kidnapped again, and also because he wants a chance at another Lalo that isn't crazy and won't hurt him. Not only does Walt end up treating him like both Chuck and Lalo did (and Saul eventually needy for an “attaboy”) but that makes a lot of the resulting death his fault.
  • The Gadfly: He has his moments, especially when teasing Walt about Skyler cheating on him in Season 3, which enrages Walt.
  • Tragic Keepsake:
    • He wears a fake Rolex watch and ring that he got from his late friend Marco.
    • Amidst all the audacious luxuries in his mansion, he still kept the tequila bottle top that represented his relationship with Kim and how she was better at scams than he was. When he has to leave, the mansion gets evicted, and the bottle top falls out of a moving truck into a drainpipe, forgotten and abandoned.
  • Trash the Set: His last act as an attorney is to literally shred the Constitution-print wallpaper in his office to retrieve a special cache of contraband and memorabilia.
  • Trauma Button: For what turns out to be valid reasons, the desert, Lalo, and anything to do with the memory of his dead brother.
    Gordon Smith: He’s carried the terror of this moment all these years. I think his lizard brain is always going to be sitting there with a gag in its mouth, going, “Oh my god, at any second, Lalo could come and snuff out my life and the life of anyone I’ve ever cared about.”
  • Troll: Saul has made an art form out of deliberately acting like a pest and constantly pushing his opponents' buttons to the point they get so annoyed by him and his antics that their temper boil over and they end up saying or doing something compromising that he can use against them.
  • The Unapologetic: Really he's sick with self-loathing and guilt, but unlike Jimmy who Apologises a Lot, he'll even act like a flippant jerkass to Kim. This continues on, both lying to himself and acting like he's getting away with it, in Gene.
  • Vanity Is Feminine: He's the only flamboyant man in Breaking Bad, and the only one seen getting manicures/pedicures, and he's a giant sleazeball and sex pest. He's still vain in the prequel show, obsessed with clothes and his thinning hair, and never quite learning to not wear suits in the desert or when going through trash, but it's treated with more affection.
  • Vanity License Plate: His Cadillac has one that says "LWYR UP".
  • Villainous Breakdown: He goes through this in 5B. Jesse assaults him after having found out about Brock, Huell goes missing, and Walter is exposed. Deciding it is too much of a risk, he opts out for a new identity in Nebraska.
  • We Used to Be Friends: With Mike. As revealed in the prequel series, Mike used to put his loyalty to Saul above his loyalty to Gus, even going as far as potentially defying Gus' order to save Saul. Comes this series, and Mike has no problem threatening to break Saul's legs. While they still work together, it's clear that the relationship between them is purely professional now. This was eventually explained by the writers as Mike was fond of Jimmy, and was disappointed in him running further into "Saul Goodman", hellbent on proving Chuck right about him. And on Jimmy's side, he eventually finds out (and feels betrayed) that Mike and Kim had kept the fact that Lalo was alive a secret when he'd asked to be kept in the loop.
  • Workaholic: Puts on his trademark Bluetooth earpiece the moment he wakes up and doesn't stop talking on it even as he showers, has breakfast (a quick and convenient cereal bar), and drives to work. The prequel series suggests that he may be keeping himself constantly occupied with work in an attempt to push away his memories of heartbreak and trauma and avoid having to face them.
  • You Are What You Hate: Wouldn’t be a stretch of any kind of imagination to surmise that Saul is a more permanent version of one of Chuck’s “comforting” space blankets. He even pushes Kim away like Chuck did with him in "Lantern" flippantly telling her to have a nice life in a poor attempt to hide his pain, and has fully embraced "you'll hurt everyone so don't feel remorse".
  • You Remind Me of X:
    • In a Cerebus Retcon, while Saul already thought he could control this guy as a “Lalo who wasn’t crazy and harmful”, Walt also starts mirroring Chuck in season four, leading Saul to let slip old Jimmy things like Desperately Craves Affection (“I could at least get an attaboy”) and getting upset when Walt accuses him of not being a real lawyer.
    'Bob: That ["Saul Gone" flashback] is so great because know this, as Jimmy, I'm just picturing talking to Chuck. He's talking to Walter White and I think that emotionally he's realising, "Oh my God, what attracted me to this fucking guy?" He was like Chuck.
    • The mirrors of BCS-era Jimmy and Jesse get alluded to in "Breaking Bad" the episode, as while he covers with a joke, Saul stops Walter being a dick to Jesse as it reminds him of himself and Chuck.

Gene Takavic/"Viktor St. Claire"

    Tropes related to Gene (Spoilers) 
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Saul Goodman was a despicable and amoral lawyer who helped criminals like Walter White and whose actions contributed to dozens of deaths and tragedies for the survivors. Still, his fall is portrayed as a tragedy, highlighting how pathetic and pitiful he became in his exile. It is even worse when you remember how Jimmy McGill was a good man who foolishly wasted every chance of escaping that fate.
  • Bad Boss: Unlike Marco and Kim, who were actual partners for Jimmy, Jeff and Buddy are just tools to be used, and he makes them well aware of it.
  • Baldness Angst: Subverted. He is much more balding now than he ever was as Jimmy or Saul, but if it bothers him very much, he doesn't show it. He acknowledges that he was a sufferer of this but finally seems to be over it, and is even able to joke about it:
    "Hey, guess how many pills I took to try to keep the hair on my head? Worked like a charm."
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Jimmy "old people adore me" McGill has become someone who would be willing to strangle an elderly woman. When she tells him she trusted him, he has a minor My God, What Have I Done? moment.
  • Beneath the Mask: He plays up the Saul Goodman persona in "Nippy", and still would rather be that than anyone else, but reality seeps in as he not-quite-fake sobs about everyone he's lost and decides against buying a garish suit.
  • Big Bad Slippage: Once he outgambits Jeff and then dives into his Viktor persona. He begins to cross many lines he never would have before. He is the last criminal captured in the series.
  • Break the Cutie: In contrast with his real identity, there is absolutely nothing left of his cheery, snarky, and larger-than-life attitude as Saul or Jimmy; all that remains is a timid, anxious and, frankly, depressed man. That is, until he meets Jeff.
  • Burger Fool: There are worse things than running a Cinnabon. But Better Call Saul makes it look plain miserable. He's not even providing a useful service anymore; just hauling trash and making nauseating sweets for faceless customers. After successfully blackmailing Jeff and his friend into keeping mum about his true identity, Gene becomes much more comfortable with his job.
  • Composite Character: Gene as Viktor is portrayed as being a sort of amalgamation of Jimmy's previous personas. Unfortunately, he represents all of their worst and darkest sides and impulses, without what little personal honor or conscience they possessed to hold him back. To make matters worse, he is evidently also at least partially based on Walter White's Heisenberg persona.
  • Copycat Mockery: Saul was clearly traumatized by Walter and his way of coping with it was to imitate him, stealing mannerisms from important people in his life like he's always done. This leads him to adopt the personality of "Viktor", a sociopathic jerkass and a mirror of Heisenberg.
  • Crocodile Tears: Played with. In "Nippy" Gene initially fakes an emotional breakdown, but then he lists everyone he’s lost, as well as the fact that he’s nothing, and dredges up emotions he’s tried so hard to suppress (and is also using to manipulate). Notably, it starts off loud, dismisses his dead parents, and then when it comes to Chuck, he gets painfully quiet.
  • Death Seeker: If it wasn't obvious that Viktor is Jimmy trying to destroy himself completely (even Kim gets it and she's been away from him for years), then Bob confirmed it on "Talking Saul", as he's risking everything to try and get caught. Gilligan himself called it Self-Harm, and the Insider Podcast discussed how he was being sloppy on purpose.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Every scene with him. The one exception to the black and white scenery is his old VHS tape footage of his days as Saul Goodman, which he watches over and over.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Implied to be doing this in the cold open of the very first episode. Gene gets home from work and mixes himself a Rusty Nail, with very generous measures of whiskey and Drambuie.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: It took a lot of bad decisions, amoral deeds, and failed attempts of redemption to get "Gene" where he is today. Whether it was in his past lives as either Saul or Jimmy.
  • Emotion Suppression: Even years after Chuck's death and his divorce with Kim, Jimmy's still doing this, burying his pain. He can only admit the Awful Truth (that he’s lost everyone and that he’s nobody) when he can tell himself he’s just doing it for a conning distraction. That is, until the last episode.
  • Empty Shell: When Jimmy suffers from PTSD in late season five, you start to see where Gene comes from, but it's even worse because most of the time he’s way too afraid to show any of the charm or flamboyance or charisma he used to be so good with. He calls himself a shadow and a ghost in "Nippy", using his real feelings to distract a security guard, and channels both Saul (complete with pinky ring) and Walter to intimidate Jeff.
  • Entitled to Have You: Mixing this with Insecure Love Interest, as he still hasn’t got it through his skull that Kim cares about him, he calls her up looking to reignite something after she called to see if he was alive, and gets confused when she tells him he’s a wanted criminal who just maybe shouldn’t be calling a business, upgrading to angry brat when she says to turn himself in because the life he’s living must be pitiful.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In the cold open of "Uno", we are introduced to "Gene" and his new life as a Cinnabon manager. He spots a man apparently staring at him and freezes with fear before it transpires that the man was simply waiting for his girlfriend and had spotted her over Gene's shoulder. This establishes that Gene is now living in a constant state of paranoia, frightened of being recognized and get arrested, or worse.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Despite threatening to strangle Marion with a phone wire if she doesn't back down from calling the police, he ultimately can't go through with it.
  • Fatal Flaw: Just like Jimmy's other personas, greed, self-sabotage and impulsiveness gets the best of him. In "Waterworks", he could have left the cancer guy's house before a police car arrives by chance, but he hangs around to pour himself a drink. This triggers events that lead to him being found out and going on the run again.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Unlike his previous aliases who were genuinely Affably Evil, Gene as Viktor has no compunction threatening and bullying his partners into staying in place, and when he does become polite, it's clear it's just another manipulation tactic.
  • Foil: Gene is this to Jesse Pinkman. Both of them were forced to leave their old lives in New Mexico behind and assume new identities, but whereas Jesse is hopeful and finally free to pursue the life he so desperately craved, Gene is stuck in a boring and repetitive loop that has ground him down. What's even worse, while Jesse was able to leave the criminal world behind, recover himself from suffering and is going to put his woodworking talents to good use, Gene would rather be Saul, and breaks down when he realizes that there is no way back to his old life, and that he's put himself into a new circle of hell.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Has a pair of glasses and as Viktor, he becomes undoubtedly the most evil persona Jimmy has ever taken on.
  • From Bad to Worse:
    • "Fun And Games" recontextualizes all those years Jimmy spent as Saul Goodman as not being much better than being Gene Takovic, as while he may have been a very successful lawyer, he's still an Empty Shell who couldn't get over the personal losses and traumas he suffered as Jimmy McGill. Having to become Gene just made it worse by removing the ability to do the work he was so good at to distract himself.
    • The scams that Gene as "Viktor" takes on in with Jeff and Buddy are an effort to suppress some kind of emotional pain. However, this time, it is born from the sheer wrath he felt from his conversation with Kim in "Breaking Bad", which transforms him into a vicious thug with no virtues completely unlike Jimmy and Saul.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: After the entire series detailing Jimmy's journey through this in Albuquerque, he does it again in Omaha, and harder than ever. At first he's meek and paranoid in his new life, living alone in his soulless house and refusing to socialize with anyone. It changes when he comes across Jeff, with whom he organizes a heist in the shopping center he works in, partly to have a taste of his old life. After this he intends to stop, but one heartbreaking phone call with Kim drives him completely off the rails. He then takes on the persona of "Viktor St. Claire" and organizes a chain of cons drugging people to steal their personal info, mocks one of his subordinates for refusing to rob a cancer patient, comes close to killing said cancer patient with an urn containing the ashes of his dead dog, and threatens to strangle a disabled old lady he's befriended if she reveals him to the authorities. Even for Saul Goodman at his most detestable, this is an entirely new low.
  • Giftedly Bad: Is absolutely atrocious at singing but enjoys it all the same.
  • Gilded Cage: In true slippery Saul fashion, he escapes the events of Breaking Bad with his life, his freedom and a good chunk of his money, which is much more than what Walter and Jesse ended up with. He soon discovers that he can't actually enjoy any of it — he can't spend his millions without arousing suspicion, his local celebrity status means he can't form any meaningful relationships least anyone recognizing him, and his new job as a Cinnabon manager is soul-destroyingly, regimented and boring compared to his colorful and exciting old life where he was his own boss and free to be his own man. He is technically free but depressed, lonely and paranoid to boot.
  • Glory Days: He sometimes watches his old commercials, back when he was a slick successful lawyer and a local celebrity.
  • He's Back!: At the Season 5 premiere, after being discovered by an intimidating man with obscure purposes, Gene panics and immediately calls Ed Galbraith to get him out of town and give him a new identity. However, during the call, something happens, and it seems that this was the last straw for Gene, who tells Ed that he changed his mind and that he will resolve the situation alone. The kind of declaration you would expect to hear from Walter or Saul, not from Gene.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: A wanted criminal who works in the middle of a shopping mall where he must be seen by thousands of customers every day. He finds it a real struggle to keep up the ruse.
  • His Own Worst Enemy:
    • Even if he's slightly happier in his own job, he would still much rather be Saul, thinking "being Saul" is the only thing he could possibly be good at.
    • Gene's inability to properly deal with the pain he suffered throughout his life culminates in his new wave of scamming, under the name and persona of "Viktor St. Claire". Now that he basically lost all of his loved ones and most of the money he earned as Saul Goodman, he subconsciously channels this pain as unwavering wrath that powers the only thing he feels he has left, his con skills.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen:
    • From reliable and surprisingly clever lawyer to hypercompetent consigliere of a growing criminal business/empire... to quiet and paranoid manager of a Cinnabon who refuses to associate with anyone (and he described this in Breaking Bad as the best he could possibly hope to do after fleeing Albuquerque).
    • Gene's encounter with Jeff the cab driver has a sinister undercurrent of this. While Jeff introduces himself as a fan, he clearly recognizes this local Albuquerque celebrity as someone who is now powerless and vulnerable and ripe for exploitation. Forcing him to croak out his old catchphrase really just rubs more salt in the wound.
  • I Hate Past Me: Even after everything, he'd still rather be the confident, loud, seemingly popular Saul Goodman than Jimmy McGill, who thinks he was just a loser who meant nothing to his brother and who ruined Kim. "Nippy" shows he would "rather channel Walter traumatizing him" (along with his Saul self) than have to deal with anything he lost as Jimmy.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: According to the creators, and this goes for Saul too, Jimmy has mostly switched himself off and dissociated from running the show. It's only a few times, like trying to talk to Kim or his My God, What Have I Done? after nearly killing Marion, that he'll come back out. Saul and Gene eventually disappear though, and Jimmy is back for good, managing his identity mess.
  • Jerkass: Viktor is a sociopathic and temperamental thug willing to sink to any low to get his kicks. This is the defining distinction this identity has from the sleazy but genuinely friendly Jimmy McGill, the silly, but competent Saul Goodman, and the mild-mannered and quiet Gene.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Just like Kim telling herself that she was scamming rich people because they deserved it, Gene tells himself he's stealing from rich guys who won't even notice. In both cases, it's played as a weak justification.
  • Insecure Love Interest: He’s somehow surprised that Kim would ask Francesca if he was alive after hearing that he disappeared, despite knowing how scared she was when he was missing even a day in the desert.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • To a loud, flamboyant, larger-than-life local celebrity, the life of a quiet, unassuming fast food worker with a menial job and a uniform may seem like a particularly cruel fate. Worst of all, having lived as "Saul Goodman" for several years, filling his world with work and color and noise to block out his guilt and trauma and painful memories, he is now alone with his thoughts and can't avoid confronting them.
    • After running scams on old folks, and using Marion as a tool in his latest scheme to track down her son Jeff, Gene is ultimately undone by the very same laptop that he taught Marion to use, as she finds out Saul Goodman's old commercials and exposes him to the authorities in Omaha.
  • A Lesson Learned Too Well: Saul Goodman was disgusting, partly responsible for creating the Heisenberg Empire, and a greedy shark. But Gene is still full of traumatized self-loathing and trapped in a grey existence, even if he got some life back, so he thinks Saul was the only worthwhile thing he could be.
  • Loss of Identity: "The Insider Podcast" for "Breaking Bad" said that after the Kim phone call, an old wound was reopened and Jimmy "couldn't go back to being Gene", so changed himself yet again, still using "Gene" the percieved nice, quiet guy, but getting so much worse as Viktor.
  • The Lost Lenore: He can’t be loud and incorporate her into his personality anymore, but still loves Kim. The pilot starts out with the "Address Unknown" song playing over his pathetic existence as a Cinnabon manager, the first commercial he watches is the “I’ll fight for you” that she suggested, and he carries a "Kansas City Royals" bag like the nightshirt she used to wear. After a disastrous phone call with her, he devolves into yet another identity.
  • Meaningful Rename: Beyond the fact that Viktor was always a double act with Giselle/Kim and she's gone, "Breaking Bad" was full of Frankenstein references, and Gene, the man who scams once more as "Viktor", is a shambling amalgamation of spiritually dead men with no sense of decency that remained even in Saul buried down.
  • Mirror Character: Both physically and psychologically, Gene is the most similar to Walter White, particularly his Heisenberg persona. Both are middle-aged bespectacled men sporting a mustache who are stuck in a dull life with a thankless job, well beneath their intelligence and capabilities. They are both balding (Walt because of his chemotherapy, Gene because of the cumulated effect of all the stress he has been subject to throughout his recent life). Finally, they both embark on a crime spree when they turn 50. In contrast with the careful Saul Goodman, Gene even shows Walt's trademark carelessness and self-destructiveness. To emphasize their similarity even more:
    • The way Gene apologetically pulls Jeff back into the game with a toast after previously cutting ties with him mirrors Walt and Jesse's revolving door partnership.
    • Like how Walt became more and more casual about killing as he started slipping deeper and deeper into his Heisenberg persona, Gene has become hardened about drugging people in his "Viktor" persona, which he was remorseful about doing to Howard, but it is now a crucial part of his heists.
    • The fade-in cut from an empty grave to Gene lying in bed in "Breaking Bad" is an obvious reference to the ending of "Crawl Space", which is often cited as the moment when Walter definitively became Heisenberg.
    • Gene chewing out Buddy for having second thoughts about robbing a mark with cancer brings to mind how Walt treated Jesse at his harshest, as well as how he generally treated Saul himself. He also alternates between feigned sympathy and insults.
    • Walt was initially a cash-cow for Saul only to end up being more trouble than he was worth and pushing the latter around. Similarly, Jeff started out having the upper hand over Gene (and may have contemplated blackmailing him or turning him in for reward money) but grew terrified of him over time. Worth noting is that Jeff making Gene is very similar to Saul offering Walt his services, with both approaching the protagonist at work and seemingly threatening to strongarm them.
    • Gene already physically resembled Walter White but as Viktor the resemblance is even closer, with Viktor clearly being a sort of imitation of Walter's Heisenberg persona. When not in his Cinnabon uniform he even dresses like Walt.
    • Jimmy has always taken on traits of people he either loved or were important in some way to him, like a magpie just with personalities, and Tatlock herself said the only way Gene can deal with what happened regarding Walt is to act like him.
  • The Nondescript: He tries very hard to be this in order to hide in plain sight:
    • He takes a job that requires him to wear a uniform, leaving no room for any personal flair that might give his identity away.
    • In stark contrast to Kim's apartment with its film posters, and Saul's Trump Towers-inspired mansion, Gene's home has no personality whatsoever. This is despite the fact that he avoids forming close relationships and probably never receives visitors.
    • He has to reign in his larger-than-life personality and oodles of charm and adopt a quiet, unassuming persona. He fails horribly at this when he can't resist advising a shoplifter to lawyer up.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Jimmy did a lot of shitty things but held onto his humanity until Kim left, and Saul was a lot worse than Jimmy but was still a Noble Demon; Gene as Viktor, on the other hand mocks his underlings for caring about a mark with cancer.
    • The Non-Action Guy who was traumatised by a desert shoot out and cried at Howard's dead body, seems to be ready to garrotte an old woman.
  • Out-Gambitted: The master manipulator is undone by an old lady he dismissed as a fool.
  • The Paranoiac: Trusts nobody to the point of having absolutely no meaningful relationships in Omaha. Even having to recite his social security number is an arduous process. The stress brought on by this may also be a reason for his health problems, as shown in the Cold Opening to "Mabel".
  • Playing Drunk: While scamming bar patrons he appears to match them drink-for-drink, but he is really using a siphon hidden in his sleeve to empty his glass.
  • Pornstache: Gene got rid of his combover and grew a thick mustache to stay under the radar.
  • Properly Paranoid: Gene does have a justified reason to be scared of interacting with anybody, given that the authorities are still looking for him as much as they are for Jesse Pinkman. Not to mention his criminal connections... He's also still afraid of either Lalo coming back or sending men out to hurt him because he was so traumatized by that experience he’s always going to be scared no matter how many times he’s told the guy is dead.
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: He now wears glasses as "Gene". Justified, as it's part of his disguise to dissuade people from recognizing him.... unless you get a close look at his face like Jeff the cab driver did.
  • The Quiet One: Enforced. But our favorite Motor Mouth does a really bad job at acting like one, even with paranoia and PTSD up the wazoo, "Nippy" implicating that he only lasted five months after "Granite State" before crawling out of his skin.
  • Self-Harm: After a conversation with Kim that leads him to destroy a phone booth, Gene takes on the persona of "Viktor St. Claire" and rescinds his "we're done" to Jeff and goes on to far worse scams as self-destruction and drawing parallels with Chuck's relapse.
    Vince: It looks to me like there's a certain level of self-abuse going on here. Not in the classic teenage sense, but it's like he's trying to do harm to himself here.
  • Sex for Solace: Goes to a strip club and sleeps with several hookers, not that this seems to give him any joy.
  • The Sociopath: When you make Saul Goodman look not so bad... As Gene takes on the persona of "Viktor St. Claire", he completely divorces himself from humanity and devises a Self-Harm scam that involves drugging, stealing and identity theft, uses "one day you'll realise you can forget" as a mocking It Gets Easier to Buddy, and justifies robbing a cancer victim because "he'll be dead in a few months".
  • So Much for Stealth: As a teenage boy is getting arrested for shoplifting, the old instincts kick in and "Gene" bellows at him not to say a word without a lawyer.
  • Soul-Sucking Retail Job: As the manager of a Cinnabon.
  • Stepford Smiler: Pathetically brags to Kim that he's still alive and "getting away with it", when they both know he's leading a pitiful, terrified, colourless existence.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Gene goes deep into self-destructive awfulness in the episode "Breaking Bad" after a painful phone call with Kim, remaking himself as "Viktor", showing no shame for scamming a cancer victim and dismissing concerns from Jeff and Buddy. Even Saul, famous Stopped Caring mask himself, shows concern for Jesse being treated badly in the same episode.
  • The Unfettered: Of all of Jimmy's alternate personas, Viktor, being a twisted mirror version of Gene rendered through an emulation of Heisenberg, is notably the most ruthless, thuggish, and unscrupulous. He dismisses Buddy as pathetic for having second thoughts about scamming a guy with cancer. Also, drugging, committing identity theft and robbing is something that both Jimmy and Saul would have balked at.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Gene/Viktor personality essentially dies when he laughs hysterically in his tiny cell at "my lawyer can ream your ass", letting Saul take over for a while. This was made explicit in the script
  • What You Are in the Dark: Even after threatening to garrote Marion, Gene is unable to bring himself to do so when Marion reminds him of the trust she put in him. He even hands her back her Life Alert which she immediately uses to call the police.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: As "Viktor St. Claire", he becomes the sociopathic chimp with a machine gun that Chuck and Howard predicted Jimmy would become sooner or later, and is running a con that has no justification or redemptive quality. "Viktor" is Gene literally reborn from all the festering open wounds (Walter White, his traumatic desert trips, the daddy issues, Chuck and Howard themselves, Kim, Marco, Lalo) that Jimmy has refused to deal with throughout his life.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Gene plays pathetic and lets rich guys pat his head or set his hand on fire, when really he's leading them to get drugged by Jeff and suffer identity theft.
  • Would Harm a Senior: Threatens Marion with a telephone cable, and by grabbing the Life Alert around her neck. Ultimately is unable to go through with it. Regardless, a far cry from his elder law days.
  • You Are What You Hate:
    • Jimmy resented his dad for being gullible and too nice while running his shop, but ending up as a meek Cinnabon manager who makes himself sick with anxiety is probably far worse than the former.
    • His downward spiral in "Breaking Bad" and "Waterworks" is eerily similar to Chuck's final relapse.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Considering that the other choice is to be arrested by New Mexico authorities for his close connections to the Heisenberg empire, there's not much else that he could have done for himself.

Jimmy McGill

    A-C 
  • Aggressive Submissive: Likes to be super showy in his daily life, runs towards the quick fix, and can charm anyone, but in bed he likes Kim to take the lead, getting turned on when she (as her boss) orders him around. Rhea even teased that Kim wears his flashy suits for “fun”.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Gender inverted. Despite insecurity and worry that he's bad for her even thinking he's ruined her life when she leaves him, he also gets very turned on by Kim thinking up scams, and praises her in "Coushatta" for making his cons look amateur.
  • Alleged Car: Drives a cheap, beaten-up and poorly maintained Suzuki Esteem.
  • Allergic to Routine: Jimmy loves showing off and be flashy. One reason why he keeps slipping back to scamming is that it kills the monotony of his day-to-day work. It is at its worse when he has his license to practice law suspended and gets so bored at his retail job that he decides to start selling burner phones to criminals.
  • Alter-Ego Acting: In-universe it’s how “Saul Goodman” starts out. First, as a Go-to Alias when he’s pulling cons with Marco, then it’s used when he needs to sell commercials (and he can’t just turn into “commercial guy” as himself), but the more he hates himself - and he has plenty of reason to - the more inviting becoming someone else becomes.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Anything unsavory he does is motivated by a desire to better his lot. And it backfires on him spectacularly.
  • Amoral Attorney: Zig-zagged. At first Jimmy really wants to be good, but it's still easy for him to slide back into his former trademark tactics when he feels that he or Kim have been wronged. As this goes on, his self-justifications get more and more nebulous. When he becomes Saul Goodman for good, he throws away any remorse and just aims to get rich and make a mockery of the legal system.
  • Amazon Chaser: He’s more than happy to be pinned against the wall by Kim and get a Forceful Kiss, while they both get turned on when they roleplay Jimmy as Kim and Kim as her boss, bossing “herself” around. He also genuinely flirts with Skyler once he hears she’s pulled her own scam, obviously reminded of Kim.
  • Am I Just a Toy to You?: He has an idealized version of what his relationship and partnership with Kim should be like, and accuses her of thinking he’s good enough to sleep with but not for anything meaningful. She’s rightly pissed off, and reminds him that she has (and frequently shows) different ways of making it clear she loves him. He finally understands how much she does when she visits him in jail, and makes it clear she’ll continue to.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: In the “Nacho” flashback, it is implied that he had pleaded with his mom over the jail phone to send Chuck to help him. When his brother comes, he acts like an overconfident dismissive idiot until he starts to leave. Then, he breaks down in tears.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis:
    • Uses a single detail about the crime to deduce that the Kettlemans have not been kidnapped, but have gone on the lam. The detail? The daughter's beloved doll is missing.
    • A single word gets his major scam-detector jangling when he visits the nursing home: "allowance". Awesomeness ensues as he follows the rest of the trail like a bloodhound.
    • He can guess that someone is a drug dealer and has a thousand dollars hidden in his socks just by looking at him.
  • Anti-Hero: Starts off as a pathetic version, Reformed, But Rejected and Reformed, but Not Tamed, but gets worse and worse as the series goes on. Towards the end he is still sympathetic only when compared to the Salamancas and Gus Fring and because he is clearly deeply in love with Kim and would do anything for her.
  • Anti-Villain: Has shades of Noble Demon with a Well-Intentioned Extremist side. He has lines he won't cross and has a few morality pets to watch over, such as Kim Wexler and (before their final fall-out) his brother.
    Chuck: There's nothing malicious in Jimmy. He has a way of doing the worst things for reasons that sound almost noble.
  • Badass Boast: After talking down Tuco from executing the skateboarders, convincing him to break their legs instead:
    Lars: You're the worst lawyer ever!
    Jimmy: Hey, I just talked you down from a death sentence to six months probation. I'm the best lawyer ever.
    • Gets another one in Season 5 when confronting clients that would rather be defended by a public defenders than paying his fees.
      Jimmy: Do you twerps even know who I am? I am Saul Goodman!
  • Badass Pacifist: What else can you call a Non-Action Guy that takes on Tuco with nothing but words and cunning alone? He doubles down when he bluntly calls out Nacho on his stupid strategic mistakes with the Kettlemans leading to him getting caught in response to the latter threatening to kill him for "ratting on him".
  • Bait-and-Switch: Throughout Season 1, there are many nods towards his future as Saul Goodman, such as his clients being obviously guilty and his walking past a Cadillac over to his Suzuki Esteem.
  • Baldness Angst: While Jimmy has some way to go before adopting Saul's trademark combover, that extra-wide Sebastian hair side parting ain't fooling anyone.
    • The promo art for season 1 includes an image of Jimmy worriedly checking out his thinning fringe in the Esteem's wing mirror. Jimmy is also seen doing this while on an outing selling drop phones in "Something Stupid".
    • In "Breathe" he prepares for his job interview at Neff copiers by checking out his appearance and smoothing back his hair. He seems somewhat perturbed when several loose strands come away on his hand.
    • He even projects a bit of this anxiety onto Howard:
      "This place is all you've got — that and your hair, which — let's face it — clock's ticking there too."
    • The animated prequel series, Slippin' Jimmy, plays with this trope. It portrays Jimmy as having had a receding hairline and burgeoning combover as a child.
  • The Barnum: He slowly morphs into this over the course of the series. His cons start off with little damage, but over time with more heartbreak piling up, he starts caring less about who gets hurt and how. He's a bit more blatant at the start of Season 2, explicitly stating that he won't let doing the right thing hold him back and wanting to abandon being a lawyer in order to con people constantly.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • For all his sleaze and bastardly-ness, Jimmy is very good at pulling these off against everyone. He's not perfect in getting away totally Scott-free, but just how often he does mostly get away with it is telling, given the oddball, and downright dangerous, nature of the jams he finds himself in.
    • He pulls a savage counter-gambit on his brother in court, Jimmy hires Huell to secretly plant a cell phone battery in Chuck's pocket. He then secretly has Chuck dig his own grave when he has him describe his electromagnetic sensitivity in detail — claiming that his body will physically detect any electronic device — before revealing Chuck is carrying the battery, proving that all of Chuck's claims about his condition were either pathological lying or signs of mental illness. Chuck then goes into an enraged tirade against Jimmy in public, basically destroying any credibility as a witness.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Jimmy has always had a fractured identity, and would rather be called Saul Goodman in the second half of the show. As soon as he’s realised he needs to accept who he is, that Saul is just a shitty coping method, he’s in jail and everyone will be thinking he’s Saul until the day he dies. But it’s also okay, because he’s got Kim who knows who he really is.
    • He predicts Chuck will get sick again and die alone in early season three. That's exactly what happens, in a way that's partly his doing (the insurance, and Chuck's breakdown after his visit) and the guilt-slash-denial takes a huge chunk out of him.
  • Because I'm Good At It: Not vocalized, but by the end of Season 1, after having his good intentions and hard work dumped in the garbage, and spending a week working cons with his old buddy, Jimmy decides no, he's not going to play by the rules anymore, he's going to do what he loves doing and does best. In season 2, he tells Kim that he doesn't need to be a lawyer for doing what he likes. The points he listed are all things a con man can do.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Chuck saving him from being labelled a sex offender seems to be the reason why he became such an enabling caretaker, wanting to be good and not let everyone down, as beforehand he'd ran from the family and not called in five years. Marco warns him after getting out of jail that Chuck will just use him like a slave, but Jimmy doesn't listen.
  • Being Good Sucks: A lesson Jimmy learns. Over and over... though some of his bad luck is down to his inability to play by the rules as well.
  • Benevolent Boss: Jimmy is this towards his secretary Omar in Season 2 as well as Francesca in Season 3, praising her for her hard work. A far cry from his Mean Boss harassment tendencies as Saul in Breaking Bad. He does veer into Pointy-Haired Boss territory when hiring Francesca on the spot without checking for other candidates however.
    • This starts to become inverted by Season 6 when he hires Francesca again, he instead becomes a condescending, Mean Boss as part of his development into Saul.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Whenever shit happens to Kim, like getting put in doc review, or getting a client stolen from her by Chuck, it's gloves off for Jimmy.
    • In Season 4, feeling sorry for Chuck after his death or even acknowledging his big brother gradually becomes one for Jimmy, eventually leading to a blazing row with Kim.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Flies off the handle when he realizes Chuck's tape. His schemes can be downright vicious, especially when the person on the receiving end very much deserves it.
  • Big Brother Worship: At the start of the series, he sees Chuck as the smartest man he knows and tries to clean up his act so he can be proud of him. The reveal that his brother repeatedly sabotaged his career as a lawyer and always resented Jimmy for being (in Chuck's eyes) the prodigal son is a devastating blow for Jimmy and the first step toward embracing his Saul Goodman persona. This trait even continues when he’s finally Saul, as he’s still convinced that Chuck was telling the truth when Jimmy never meant that much to him, and he seems hellbent on proving him right about “being a chimp with a machine gun” regarding the law, both mocking him and what he loved but still letting him dictate his life. Yet in the finale of the series, his last words about Chuck are that "he was the most brilliant guy I ever met."
  • Blood-Splattered Innocents: Gets covered in his would-be executor's neckblood in Bagman.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Gould said of Jimmy that his main goal is affection and love, he just doesn’t give a shit if it comes from criminals or from Kim going down a bad road or in the form of a lot of money, and he never thinks about the resulting consequence of doing terrible things so he can get it. Kim did terrible things with him, but she was also the only one who told he was worth anything, so when she leaves he essentially dies.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Well, not a surprise if you've seen Breaking Bad, right?
    • His first appearance in his own show as "Jimmy McGill" is actually an Inversion. He wears a plain suit and actually tries to defend his clients with according conduct. As loud and bombastic as he is, the most he's seen doing is a personable argument and appeal to emotions. Unfortunately, for as straight-laced as his act is, the defendants were decisively guilty before the hearing began. Still, his failing to get a "not guilty" verdict can't be attributed to his skills as a lawyer.
    • Played Straighter in the more general scope of Season 1. While he's just doing public defender work, got his degree from online courses, and operates from the back of a nail salon, he's also shown to have the tenacity and work ethic to see his schemes through, both as a lawyer and as "Slippin' Jimmy".
    • He later dresses in flashy white suits akin to Matlock to appeal to elderly clients. It also doesn't take away from how good he is at elder law.
    • It's got a pretty significant twist in Season 2, however: most of his incredibly, Saulishly bunny-ears traits as a lawyer started getting deliberately invoked, if not outright overblown to bouncy-castle levels (that juicer!), to try getting himself fired, as it turns out.
  • Break the Cutie: Jimmy is definitely not an innocent party in his own Trauma Conga Line, but Gennifer Hutchinson summed it up in the “season three in review” podcast where she discussed how with Walter’s storyline he was revealing more of who he really was, while Jimmy gets steadily more destroyed (both in ethics and trauma) until all that remains is the mask of Saul Goodman.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: As Slippin' Jimmy, despite having intelligence and planning skills rivaling those of his brother Chuck's, he engaged in lots of short-term cons, doing just enough work to keep himself in beer and weed money, something he backslides into for a short while at the end of Season 1 and the beginning of Season 2.
    • It's Played With in his identity as Jimmy McGill, Esq. Jimmy will happily put hours of work and extensive planning into doing things his own way, but he still wants his success to come quickly and inevitably stops trying to do things the right way in favor of seeking immediate gratification. More generally, whenever he's presented with a legitimate opportunity, his first impulse is to bend the rules and take shortcuts even though more patient, meticulous work would create fewer complications for himself. Essentially, Jimmy has plenty of short-term work ethic and can even keep a scam going for quite a while if he enjoys it, but he lacks the sort of patience and perseverance needed to build a solid, dependable career. This is shown most clearly during the year after he is suspended by the bar and Kim is injured; Jimmy goes for the quick buck with his phone scam and keeps getting into trouble with criminals and the police, while Kim patiently builds a career that offers her job security and personal fulfillment. As the show goes on, Jimmy's own chronic inability to do things patiently and legitimately starts to undermine him personally and professionally as well.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Jimmy always looked up to Chuck, respecting him for his being the responsible sibling and bailing him out as a lawyer. Working in HHM's mailroom in return, Chuck is one of the biggest reasons for Jimmy choosing to become a lawyer, thinking he'd be proud throughout season 1. The revelation that Chuck was sabotaging Jimmy's career the whole time ripped out most of the respect Jimmy had for the man, eventually losing all of it with the taping of his confession and being told that he never mattered to Chuck when he tried to make amends with the man. As a result, his grief and mourning process after Chuck's death is complicated. Jimmy eventually goes on to ignore Chuck's influence on his career and abandons the McGill name.
    • Wanting to punish herself, Kim breaks the pedestal he has with her on purpose, as when he’s freaking out begging her to not leave, she reveals she knew about Lalo, and she kept it from Jimmy not because she was protecting him, but because she wanted to keep having fun with the scam. It doesn’t really work, the Saul persona is just as much devoted to her as Jimmy was, but it quiets him down and he lets her leave.
  • Broken Tears: He breaks down completely in the season four finale when it hits him that Chuck is dead, and in "Point and Shoot", when he's been forced to look at Howard's corpse (who he and Kim indirectly got killed) for over an hour, he's stopped struggling and is just crying, exhausted and defeated before Mike comes to untie him.
  • Brutal Honesty: When dealing with Nacho. And, later on, with Howard.
  • Cain and Abel: Jimmy and Chuck's relationship and rivalry is an underlying theme for the entire series. It's up to you to figure out which brother is which. It's arguably a Deconstructed Trope given the emphasis on how psychologically damaged this rivalry leaves both McGill brothers, as well as the way both "Cain" and Abel" sink to similar depths over the course of the show.
  • The Cassandra: In regards to the Kettlemans faking their own kidnapping.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Let's get down to brass tacks here."
    • Anytime a place with a sports team is mentioned, he says "Go [Team]", such as for the University of American Samoa and Nebraska.
  • The Charmer: As Jimmy tells the skateboarding twins in "Uno": "When he strolled down the street, all the corner boys would give him the high five. All the finest babes would smile at him and hope that he would smile back. They called him "slippin' Jimmy," and everybody wanted to be his friend." This isn't just an idle boast- we have seen his easy charm in action enough times, and we know he was married twice before winning the heart of Kim Wexler. This crosses over into The Casanova in "Marco", during a sleazy episode in which he convinces a woman he is Kevin Costner in order to sleep with her.
    • He is a charmer toward elderlies, in particular. Sure, it's predominantly to sell his service; but, he is really nice to them and they are clearly glad to see him. That he genuinely cares more than most comes across as loud as his Lovable Rogue-ness does. This gets horrifically deconstructed when he's able to charm the elderlies into turning against Irene so as to pressure her into settling the Sandpiper case early, speeding up Jimmy's payday.
      Jimmy: FYI, old people adore me.
  • Chronic Villainy: An Invoked Trope. Chuck sees Jimmy as an addict who just can't stop conning people or looking for a quick score. He is right for a while, as Jimmy believes he can play loose with the law to get results and doesn't seem to see the problem. But he finally decides to stop running and atone.
  • Character Development: Positively and negatively.
    • For negative: He starts off really wanting to be good, a Nice Guy and At Least I Admit It about his conning past. But after feeling like he was betrayed by Chuck and losing Marco, he starts to get nastier for less reason (except to Kim), quicker to cut corners, and the more trauma that builds up, the more eager he is to run away into another identity, mirroring his brother's Sanity Slippage. He feels like he has to shove down his emotions, only able to admit them when he's trying to manipulate.
    • For positive: In "Saul Gone", inspired by Kim taking responsibility, he admits that no matter how much being treated badly by Chuck, he really could have tried harder in their Cain and Abel relationship and not sabotaged the man's career, but that he'll live with it instead of trying to shove down all that grief. He also admits that despite being kidnapped by Walt, and the flashback showing how similar Walt and Chuck were, there was no excuse to help build that meth empire. And the kicker? He asks to be called James McGill instead of Saul Goodman.
    • His style also changes accordingly across the series. Starting with brown and black conservative suits expected of a lawyer, he dresses in more showy clothing to attract certain clients (and because he likes them). His commercials began with professional quality, but over time grew into the corner-cutting style we're more familiar with.
  • Character Tics: Will often put his hands out and move them up and down when trying to make a point.
  • City Mouse: While Albuquerque is by no means small, it certainly feels that way to this native of America's Second City. Jimmy resents being made to leave Chicago, never quite acclimatizes to New Mexico's blistering sun and develops a particular fear and loathing of the desert.
  • Composite Character: " Prison Jimmy" is a mix of his three main personas, as he makes bread like Gene made cinnabons (and he always liked cooking anyway), everyone calls him Saul, making it a healthier armour than previously, and to himself and Kim, he's Jimmy.
  • Con Men Hate Guns: Gets freaked out by guns, most noticeably in 'Bagman' when he picks up one of the cartel's guns but clearly doesn't know what to do with it and promptly throws it back with a look of horror. It's possibly due to Lalo killing Howard by shooting him and him forcing Kim to attempt to kill Gus with a gun that this continues in Breaking Bad—when Saul Goodman eventually caves in and gets a gun, it is the tiniest one imaginable, and he hides it in a desk drawer rather than keeping it to hand.
  • Consummate Liar: He is a natural at grade-A bullshitting, from short cons on barflies to pulling a ruse on authorities. This has bad effects for him down the line, as the more trauma he tries to bury with Emotion Suppression, the more he can only dredge up how he really feels when he’s trying to distract or manipulate someone.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Of Walter White.
    • Jimmy and Walt have both wasted potential due to silly choices they made in life. A big difference is that while Walt builds his criminal empire through pride and self-delusion that he has it under control, Jimmy builds his career by embracing the truth, and the truth is that no matter how hard he tries to do otherwise, at heart he always will be Slippin' Jimmy.
    • Walt's defining flaw for most of the series is his selfishness, and his inability to look past his own satisfaction in favor of treating others like pawns and foisting blame and responsibility on others. On the other hand, especially early on, Jimmy's problem is that he's too selfless, and he stretches himself to the breaking point for others and does terrible things to save those around him.
    • Walt spent his series building something and desperately holding onto his family and friends. Jimmy can't help but destroy every good thing that everyone wants him to have, including his opportunities, relationships, and career.
    • Walt is surrounded by family and friends who genuinely care for him and are all rooting for him to survive his cancer- hell, even his ex-girlfriend is prepared to see their past as water under the bridge and stump up the cash for his treatment. In return, Walt's Pride leads him to throw their generosity back in their faces. Jimmy on the other hand has lost his parents, his childhood best friend, and his brother, and his pleas for support from his brother were all cruelly denied. His Only Friend in the world is Kim Wexler.
      Jimmy McGill: My brother is sick! And he's alone! I spent years caring for him, and now he hates me! He's the only family I got left, and he hates me! He hates my guts!
      Walter White: (responding to Gretchen's offer to fund his cancer treatment) Fuck you.
    • Walt is cold and emotionless while Jimmy is much more emotional and empathetic. He may not always be the nicest character, but when his actions hurt innocent people, or people he cares about, he actually does feel guilty and will at least try and make things right as shown with the Season 3 finale. He also has something of a Berserk Button for people who hurt or upset Kim.
    • Walt is a Bad Liar who comes out with elaborate and implausible excuses to try and cover up his criminal activity, utterly failing to fool Skyler. Jimmy is a Consummate Liar so skilled at bullshitting that he has managed to build an entire career around it. Notably, Saul is never threatened with arrest and is the only member of Heisenberg's empire to successfully flee Albuquerque before the DEA cotton on to his involvement in Walt's meth operation.
    • Walt and Jimmy both adopt alter-egos for their criminal enterprises, but while Walt chooses "Heisenberg" because he wants everyone to know how intelligent and badass he is and he craves notoriety, Jimmy develops the more clownish "Saul Goodman" persona because he wants people to underestimate him and he wants to keep his criminal activity under wraps.
    • Walt was an okay-ish guy trying to be a bad guy, and succeeds. Jimmy is a former bad guy trying to be a good guy, and fails a lot of the time, but is a lot more Affably Evil compared to Walt's Faux Affably Evil nature towards Skyler. He also takes less pleasure in his revenge towards his opponents, especially Chuck, whilst Walt is more vindictive.
    • Walt's journey had him apply the chemistry skills he used to make major breakthroughs for science towards cooking meth, while Jimmy's story has him take his skills as a conman into a lawyer's world. Both characters adapt their abilities into new professions with impactful results, but Walt goes from a legitimate career into a criminal one while Jimmy wants to transition from criminality into professional work.
    • Walt ended his life alone and hated by his family, only next to the meth lab that was the true love of his life. Jimmy takes his own “Granite State” advice to not leave his wife hanging, and once he hears that she could be in debt by confessing, he uses his Desperately Craves Affection for good, takes all their crimes for himself, and he and Kim end the series uncertain of what the future will be, but ultimately rekindled and still deeply in love.
    • A big problem of Walt’s was that he needed to be "the man", providing for his family and accepting nothing of what he considered hand-outs, and dresses like you'd expect like an average middle aged guy to. Jimmy is the feminine guy in his Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy dynamic with Kim, having no problem with that (nor does he have an issue with being subby to her), and when he eventually earns enough through various means, ditches the ill-fitting brown suits to become The Dandy.
  • Cosmic Plaything: He’s a character in a prequel who is doomed to lose himself (but can come back) to being Saul Goodman, and the writers themselves have discussed how with Walt it was more the tragic discovering that he always had Heisenberg in him, while the tragedy with Jimmy is that he just gets trauma upon trauma piled on him, until final straw is Kim leaving.
    Gould: I think as we went on we just kept piling more things onto this character, more horrible things and after each one we were like not quite enough, and we kept pushing it, and we finally got to the break up scene, it felt like this is the moment.
  • Costume Evolution: Starts with brown suits when he's trying to make it as a legit lawyer (though is interested in an orange shirt when shopping for a decent one), looks like a pride parade when trying to get fired, and eventually just ends up liking the loud colors, as does Kim, who lightly teases him for enjoying a huge closet when they look at a house.
  • Crocodile Tears: Being Prone to Tears means he can use this to great effect. He does so when he is temporarily disbarred and attempts to negotiate a refund from his malpractice insurance provider. As he pours his heart out to the clerk about his recent misfortunes, his genuine tears give way to fake ones after he mentions caring for his sick brother and decides to really run with the mental illness angle. As he leaves the office, his tears give way to a Psychotic Smirk, revealing that it was all an act:HHM use the same insurance provider and by informing them they have been holding back the truth about Chuck's mental health he has just intentionally torpedoed Chuck's career.
  • Crusading Lawyer: After years of being an Amoral Attorney, word of god is that he goes back to genuinely helping the little guy in prison, getting innocent men out early or at least on reduced sentences.
  • Culturally Religious: We see a few signifiers of the McGill family's Catholic background, such as a priest being called to read Chuck and Jimmy's mother the Last Rites. The animated prequel Slippin' Jimmy follows a young Jimmy's adventures in "trying to make it through Catholic school ". As an adult we see that Jimmy is something of a guilty lapsed Catholic:
    • In "Bingo" he begins to cross himself after handing back his bribe from the Kettlemans.
    • In "Black and Blue" we see his religious upbringing still weighs on his mind: "The nuns back in Cicero would send me to Hell for saying it, but thank God [Lalo]'s dead."
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Better Call Saul reveals Jimmy had several opportunities (along with the ability and drive) to be a legitimate lawyer. But his relationship with his brother and his impulsiveness closed this off. He is definitely too set in his ways by the time "Saul Goodman" is a name his clientele know and use.
  • Cynicism Catalyst:
    • Jimmy declares that he will not let "doing the right thing" get in his way again after the death of one of his friends, Marco, which hit him even harder because it came at the heels of his seemingly-trustworthy brother secretly holding him back because he doesn't trust Jimmy to be an honest lawyer.
    • The end of Season 3 offered another turning point to Jimmy's outlook with Chuck's suicide. This eventually leads him to con the bar association (and Kim in the process) into reinstating his law license by invoking the memory of his dead brother, and deciding to no longer practice under his own name immediately afterward.
    • It's implied that Saul's casual Murder Is the Best Solution references come from he and Kim getting Howard killed, and the double trauma of being willing to die to face the music/save Kim, and - after tipping over the chair he was tied to — having to look into Howard's wide-eyed corpse for over an hour.
    • The tipping point comes in "Fun and Games": When Kim leaves him, confessing that she knew Lalo was alive but kept this from him because she was enjoying their scam on Howard too much. In doing so she destroys what little faith he has left in all that is good and pure - and he reacts by throwing himself headlong into the cynical "Saul Goodman" persona.

    D-F 
  • Daddy Issues: In that he not only didn't trust his actual dad to protect him, but surrogate parent Chuck was... Chuck, his second wife slept with the man his mom remarried, he really wants Mike's approval but ends up feeling betrayed (Mike told Kim Lalo was alive and neither of them told him), and he gets attached to Walt because the man reminds him of Chuck. Gould said Jimmy's perfect world would involve Kim and Chuck looking after him and he'd be the happy baby.
  • The Dandy: Turns out the bright suits weren't just for show, Jimmy genuinely likes them. As a struggling lawyer he was usually in ill-fitting brown suits, but the more money he gets (from various means), the brighter and bigger his wardrobe gets. At home, his clothes take up more space than Kim's and he eventually has to move some into his nail salon office to give her enough space. When looking at a house and they find a big closet, Kim gently teases that it's what his dreams are made of.
    DA Ericsen: I don't think Jimmy ever intended to be a cartel lawyer. It's not a... [wryly] suit that fits him.
  • David Versus Goliath: Has a habit of jumping into these situations. Guess which role he usually gets to play.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Like we're even a little surprised...
  • Death Equals Redemption: Attempted in "Point and Shoot" where he knows (they both know) that whoever is going to end up alone with Lalo is going to die, so he tries to save Kim’s life by Take Me Instead, as well as believing it’d be atonement for Howard. If Lalo didn’t believe Jimmy had more info than he actually did, he would have been killed as soon as Kim was out the door.
  • Death Seeker: When he’s in a very low point, and afterwards in his ensuing PTSD. In the former, he puts on a space blanket to call attention to himself, muttering to “come on” to the driver and run him over. Following on, he tells Kim that she was the only reason that he didn’t just lie down to die, and Odenkirk confirmed that a part of him had given up by that stage. In “Point and Shoot” he’s willing to be shot by Lalo if it means that she’s got out of there safe, and in “Fun and Games”, it’s thinking that he’s ruined Kim, and a combination of grief over Chuck, remorse over Howard and terror of Lalo that makes him give a final “fuck this world” to make him Saul. This continues in his other identities, Saul willing to die at the hands of who he thinks is Lalo’s men as long as it’s not in the desert, and Gene/Viktor becoming sloppy on purpose, trying to get caught.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of Saul Goodman being Plucky Comic Relief. Beneath the Mask is a man who started trying to be good, then wasted every chance he had, and has ended up deeply self-loathing and putting on a persona because he feels like his humanity has died, through both self-sabotage and PTSD from a Trauma Conga Line. Kim is everywhere in Saul too note , as is Marco, Chuck and even a little Howard, and the character that provided a lot of the laughs in Breaking Bad starts to seem like a Loss of Identity at the end of the road that Jimmy has slowly been slipping down into.
  • Despair Event Horizon: A few events in the series make deep cracks in him (Chuck admitting that he's been sabotaging him, Chuck's suicide, the desert trips and his all-consuming terror of Lalo) but what turns him into Saul Goodman full-time is Kim leaving, wanting to die more than she loves him, and admitting she lied about Lalo because she was having fun. Jimmy thinks he's ruined her and assumes she liked Saul more so he might get her back, leading to That Man Is Dead.
  • Desperately Craves Affection: If he likes you he'll do anything for you, no matter how immoral his methods might be. He became a lawyer in the first place because Kim did it, and has to be reassured that she’ll still be around if he doesn’t take the Davis and Main job, Saul Goodman is partly there because he thinks she likes him that way and he becomes Saul full-time when she leaves but she’s still everywhere in him, and he really wanted Chuck to be proud of him.
  • Determinator:
    • In "Bingo" Mike and Jimmy conspire to return the Kettlemans' stolen funds to the state. As it all has to be accounted for, Jimmy also has to surrender the Kettlemans' bribe. Jimmy had planned to spend the money on a palatial office space, hoping to establish himself as a more respectable lawyer and impress Kim. Now forced to abandon his ambitious plans, he takes one last look at the office he can no longer afford, throws a brief tantrum and breaks into tears. And then he picks himself up and answers the next client calling.
    • He WILL find proof that Sandpiper is bilking its residents, even if it means dumpster-diving into a pile of soiled adult diapers to get the evidence. Even if all the evidence is actually in the recycling bin right next to it.
    • After escaping the wrath of an Ax-Crazy kingpin he unwittingly crossed, Jimmy goes back to save the two idiots who threw him under the bus earlier — they're his clients, after all.
    • In "Bagman", Jimmy winds up exhausted, sunburned and dehydrated, with nothing to drink except a bottle of his own piss, and seems ready to abandon all hope of escaping the desert alive. He announces "I'm done!" and lies on the ground, seemingly awaiting the sweet release of death. Then after Mike takes out the one surviving attacker Jimmy gets a second wind, takes a big swig from his bottle of piss and picks himself up, now determined to make it home to Kim.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Jimmy is noticeably shocked when Kim suggests framing Howard at the end of Season 5 as the way of getting the money she feels they deserve.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Has this as a key flaw; he often has clever ideas that backfire on him because he forgot to account for one very obvious detail that would've stopped him if he'd thought it over for just a minute.
  • Dirty Coward: Has a moment where he bails out of Davis and Main for fear of losing his bonus as opposed to doing the honorable thing and staying on for the rest of the year. Averted when showing Nerves of Steel up against Tuco.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Okay, so Howard and Chuck take Kim's clients back; the best way to retaliate is to conduct a forgery scheme to throw all of HHM into chaos and humiliate them. His feud with Howard for having the audacity to tend an olive branch at him is rather bad, going as petty as throwing bowling balls at his car.
  • Distressed Dude: Three times, which tie into each other, and has a bad effect on him. "Mijo" introduces him to the cartel, and makes him think he can deal better with "Point And Shoot", but the muscle memory of begging that it was all Nacho who let the compound attack happen before getting gagged makes him go right back to that moment as soon as the hood comes off in "Better Call Saul". And it's both Kim heartbreak and trauma over being kidnapped again, along with greed, that make him want to bury every bad feeling again and seek out Walt, creating his own villain.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Deconstructed, with his "getting back at Chuck" regarding the insurance, as the creators point out. While Chuck has been emotionally abusive, Jimmy is still acting like a petulant child and setting off the Disaster Dominoes that will take Chuck's life. He should have walked away from the bad situation, not try and beat Chuck, and he’ll have to live with that forever.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: His torturing Howard through season four to season six seems to be mostly born out of Howard having the audacity to pity him for not wanting to deal with Chuck's death, as well as thinking Howard received the respect he craved from Chuck.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • He rants about this to Howard when he brings HHM the case of a lifetime and still can't get a job with them. Unfortunately, the roadblock he should be mouthing off at is Chuck...
    • In Season 4, his attempt to get out of his suspension with the Bar Association ends up unsuccessful, as they determined his interview to be insincere for not including a single mention of Chuck. When they meet up after, he rants with Kim about how people like them and Chuck will never forgive him for his checkered past and will always try to keep him down, and it spurns him into accepting the sleazy perception everyone has of him.
      Kim: Jimmy, you are always down.
  • Dying as Yourself: The implication of the ending of Saul Gone. Jimmy rejects the Saul Goodman persona and chooses to face the full consequences of his actions, giving him effectively a life sentence in federal prison instead of the far more lenient original sentence of seven years he had plea bargained himself down and the 30 years he was initially offered. From then on, he insists he be called by his real name, having "killed" Saul. Gould added more hope on, saying that even if (and that "if" is probably a "when") he does get out early, he'll stay Jimmy, Older and Wiser with no more huge identity crises.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: while "happy" might be a bit of a stretch, by the end of the post-Breaking Bad timeline, Jimmy is able to reconcile with Kim, confess to all his wrongdoings while blaming nobody but himself for getting into the mess in the first place, finally acknowledge the trauma he underwent with Chuck and Howard's deaths, and return to living as Jimmy McGill as he's shipped off to a prison where fellow inmates view him as something of a respected celebrity.
  • Emotion Suppression:
    • His favoured coping mechanism. Following Chuck's suicide he assures Kim he is absolutely fine, throws himself into his job search and doesn't appear to react at all until the final episode of season 4, when all the suppressed trauma comes spilling out in a huge fit of ugly crying.
    • His adoption of the "Saul Goodman" persona and filling his days with constant work and noise is also an attempt to avoid confronting past trauma.
    • As Gould mentioned in The Insider Podcast, "Saul Gone" has him try his usual "something bad happens - get mad - shove everything down - self destruct" routine, but eventually breaks the cycle, admitting two traumas (the genuinely terrifying desert trip, how he really did try with Chuck) but also taking responsibility, ruining Chuck's career and being indispensable with Walt.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Worriedly taking his time in a court bathroom practicing his speech to the jury, pacing around anxiously and quietly talking to himself. He then enters the courtroom confidently and does a stellar job at defending his clients. He loses the case anyway, but only because his clients were monumentally, unforgivably stupid.
    • The pilot offers another one later. When Jimmy can't get the Kettlemans as clients because they see him as "the kind of lawyer guilty people hire," and he feels humiliated by Howard not wanting him to use his own name, his first move is to try to force them to retain his services with an elaborate con. It demonstrates both his barely suppressed past identity as Slippin' Jimmy and his need for immediate success and gratification, along with his spiteful tendencies for Misplaced Retribution.
    • Thirdly, his scene with Chuck. Jimmy is shown to be a Motor Mouth, loud, two-faced and a little obnoxious, but he's caring for his brother, Chuck can shut him up with just a raised finger, and when they argue he blames Howard for everything and afterwards, almost meekly apologises for the yelling.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Jimmy feels betrayed by Chuck learning that he’s the one who's been sabotaging him all these years, and if that wasn't enough, is finally told by Kim that she and Mike kept him Locked Out of the Loop regarding Lalo. He closes up on Kim next time they meet, being in full Saul mode, and he and Mike are far colder with each other in Breaking Bad.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: After getting sent to jail for doing a Chicago Sunroof, he used his free call to cry and break down to his mom. Later, he joined Chuck in visiting the hospital when she was drawing her last breath.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • As immoral as he becomes, Jimmy never stops trying to be a good boyfriend and later husband to Kim.
    • Before The Reveal, he always respected his older brother, especially after Chuck miraculously worked his legal expertise to bail him out. The incident inspired him to stave off being "Slippin' Jimmy" in both the mailroom and as a lawyer to make him proud. Even after he finds out, he still loves the guy no matter how much he tries to pretend he doesn't, and when he claims to have Stopped Caring as Saul Goodman, he still lets Chuck control his life, being the exact person Chuck claimed he always was.
    • Despite growing resentful of his father for being a pushover for grifters, Chuck notes that nobody cried at their father's funeral harder than Jimmy. Also, during his arrest for the "Chicago Sunroof", Chuck comments how Jimmy bawled over the phone with their mother, who then called him in.
  • Everyone Has Standards: In general, Jimmy refuses to go after people who don't consent to get involved. For examples:
    • In a lighter example, he knows full well he’s not exactly great on the admitting reality, but gets fed up with Betsy denying money exists, and tells her for his own sanity enough already.
    • Jimmy does not want kids involved in his business. One of his worst moments was when he defecated through a sunroof of a car, not knowing that kids were inside, and is willing to turn his life around to avoid things like that from ever happening again.
    • Smarming business (for things they may not desperately need in the here-now, for all they will get both attention and value with him down the line) out of the elderly is one thing. But Sandpiper's industrial-sized, naked, and outright neglectful scamming of them to the point where they can barely afford anything extra in their lives at all ground his gears when he found out about it. Heck, targeting people who really can't afford the loss bugs the hell out of him in general, but this broke the scale. In fact, this seems to carry into Breaking Bad, since there seem to be a lot of elderly people in his waiting room at different points, suggesting that even after he becomes Saul, he still dabbles in elder law.
    • After deliberately getting fired from a promising legal job in order to keep his bonus, Jimmy feels some regret after it's pointed out that he was given a great opportunity and was hardly mistreated before he started playing fast and loose.
    • It may have been pretty cruel of Jimmy to gaslight Chuck, but even he's genuinely horrified upon seeing Chuck collapse and hit his head on the table.
    • Jimmy absolutely refuses to ever take or give handouts, given how he saw his father get used by grifters.
    • He's angered by the scholarship committe's treatment of Christy Esposito at the end of Season 4.
    • In Season 5, he may have made the professional switch to Saul Goodman and now willingly defends the blatantly guilty with underhanded tactics, but he's still appalled at Lalo's murder of Fred Whalen and vents his frustration over the situation he's gotten into with Mike. It's a far cry from the advice he'll give Walt in the future.
    • While he doesn't mind hurting people financially or mentally, physical violence makes him wince. He's visibly shaken after Tuco cripples 2 men in front of him, and an ambush that almost gets him killed before Mike bloodily dissolves the situation with a sniper leaves him in a state of shock.
    • For all his increasingly mean behaviour towards Howard, he thinks Kim's plan to sabotage his career is a bit much.
    • Whilst Jimmy has no problem roping them into his schemes he is rather hesitant to threaten the Kettlemans and hopes they'll listen to his more generous offer, and he finds Kim's willingness to use the threat of blackmail against them rather off-putting.
    • Although Jimmy doesn't have much remorse over his scheme against Howard, he is shocked and appalled when Lalo shoots him. He also flinches a bit when Howard, in response to Jimmy's claims that he'll land on his feet as always, brings up his deteriorating marriage in response, implying that he wasn't aware of it and regrets pouring salt in the wound just a little.
    • Damningly he doesn't say anything, just dismisses it and tells her the rough part is over, but he's pretty horrified watching Kim gaslight Cheryl Hamlin when she really didn't have to.
    • When breaking off his plea deal and confessing his crimes at his trial, Jimmy includes his last spiteful act aimed at hurting Chuck by getting his malpractice insurance cancelled.
      "That thing with your brother wasn't even a crime."
      "Yeah it was."
  • Evil Redhead: Has ginger hair and grows increasingly amoral over the course of the show.
  • Evil Is Petty:
    • Now broke thanks to his practice being shuttered, and learning that the premiums for his malpractice insurance will go up when his suspension finally ends, Jimmy decides to spread the misery by making sure that the insurance company goes after Chuck when Chuck is already down. It's the first time in the series where we are expected not to side with Jimmy, as it's Jimmy's turn to be the petty one, not Chuck.
    • After Chuck kills himself, Jimmy starts acting like a complete dick to Howard for very little reason. In season 5, Howard at one point sincerely asks if Jimmy would like to be the new McGill in HHM - for this, Jimmy wrecks his car, tries to ruin his reputation by hiring two prostitutes to make a scene during a public meeting, and then gaslights the hell out of him when finally called out on it.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Kim had to explain to him that you don't build fake evidence and even less talk about it. Chuck says that in a twisted way, Jimmy thinks he is doing good, since his con doesn't have an obvious undeserving victim.
  • Evil Virtues: Jimmy's not the most ethical person ever, but damn it if he is not creative, tenacious, determined, resourceful, and stunningly loyal to a load of oddballs. It takes an awful lot of kicking to get him to turn on somebody he cares about, whatever their morality might be.
    Jimmy: This is sounding like a lot of work.
    Chuck: No one ever accused you of being lazy. Every other sin in the book, but not that one.
  • Face–Heel Turn: What will ultimately become of him once he fully embraces his 'Saul Goodman' persona, becoming an Amoral Attorney involved in a crystal meth empire. Subverted in that he had his Saul Goodman persona before moving to New Mexico and was trying to clean up his act after almost being registered as a sex offender. After too many heartbreaks, he goes back to being Saul Goodman, but this time with a law degree.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: In the beginning, absolutely nothing seems to go right for Jimmy. We later find out that Chuck actively stacked the deck against him, so there's a reason beyond Ex-Con Syndrome. Although, that certainly doesn't help.
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job:
    • When Jimmy has been disbarred, Jimmy begins to conduct TV commercials. He is a natural talent at it.
    • Jimmy's job at CC Mobile, a retail job at a location that he describes as "deader than disco".
    • The job at Neff Copiers would also have been beneath him. This is Lampshaded by the boss at his interview.
      Mr. Neff: I see you used to be a lawyer...
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Despite his wit, fast-talking, and outward display of confidence when talking to people, Jimmy is actually quite insecure and his need for validation from other people is arguably his worst defect. Note that almost every single aspect of what “Saul Goodman” is derived from his need to meet his loved ones' expectations or is suggested by someone else. In particular:
      • He becomes a lawyer because he (wrongly) believes that it will make Chuck proud.
      • Even after having discovered how low Chuck’s opinion of him still is despite all his efforts, he keeps practicing law at Kim’s insistence.
      • Kim also suggests that he should adopt a more flamboyant style for his “Saul Goodman” persona.
      • After his final confrontation with Chuck, he slowly embraces exactly what his brother thought that he would become: “Slippin’ Jimmy with a law degree”. I.e. a disreputable lawyer whose clients are mostly low-life small criminals and who is willing to use every trick in the book to keep them out of jail.
      • His desperate need for affection mixed in with his other big flaw of impulsiveness is why he decides to go full-time as Saul Goodman, as he hates his “Jimmy” self for being considered Chuck's loser brother, and also resents the idea of therapy, so this would be the best way to fix himself. To quote Bob on it:
        The creators told me they'd been wandering the streets of Burbank asking the question "what kind of problem does becoming Saul Goodman solve?" An interesting question, whose Jeopardy response might be "what is deep-seated self hatred?" The judges might also accept "what is a feeling of abandonment?"
    • His need for showmanship and Greed for going for the quick score leads to some very Wrong Genre Savvy decisions and ultimately costs him his cushy job at Davis and Main. This also leads to his nasty Batman Gambit with Irene. The showmanship element also leads to a serious row with Kim halfway through Season 5.
    • His impulsiveness, as Jimmy often doesn't quite think through the long-term effects of his short-term gratifying actions. In other words, a good tactician, but a weak strategist. Case in point, in Season 3, despite Kim's advice to stay calm and wait to see what Chuck does with the tape recording of Jimmy's confession, Jimmy rushes over to Chuck's house to destroy the tape. In doing so, Jimmy basically implicates himself in breaking and entering, destruction of private property, and potential assault, all according to how Chuck predicted Jimmy would act.
    • His version of caretaking is enabling and putting either his brother or wife on a pedestal way above him. His and Chuck’s resentful codependence ends up ruining both their lives, and Kim ends up leaving in part so he won’t have to keep absolving her of any wrongdoing, which said break up makes her an Empty Shell and him Saul Goodman finally.
    • The man has never processed a moment of trauma in his life, the episode “Breaking Bad” showing that he just gets worse as a response to it and represses in every identity he’s had, Gould confirming that a lot of mess could have been avoided if he’d just gone to therapy in season four.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: He's the girl in his relationship with Kim, and his making a curry is shot like Walt cooking meth. He also cooks for Chuck when Chuck is in too bad a way to do it himself.
  • Foil:
    • To Walter White; as a protagonist, Jimmy is a man with a good heart buried under crooked schemes, who is forced again and again onto the low ground. Walter White is a man from an average upstanding life with a dark side, who repeatedly refused to take the moral path out of pride.
      • It goes a step further. Both characters are seen to gradually devolve into a criminal version of themselves over the course of each show. Walter makes a clear, defined choice very early on to enter the criminal world and accepts his criminal undertaking right from the beginning. What he doesn't and cannot accept (until the end) is his justification for doing it. He constantly lies to himself and tells himself it's for his family, but in the end, Walter finally admits that ultimately he was doing it for himself and to have some success and power in his lost love of chemistry. Jimmy, on the other hand, doesn't accept his decision to enter into the criminal world and is in constant denial of that fact. Whereas Walter says "Yes, I am a criminal, but I'm doing it for my family", Jimmy is the opposite in saying "No, I'm not a criminal, but maybe I don't do things for the best reasons." Whereas Walter takes power and strength in his illicit activities, for Jimmy it is more like a guilty pleasure. Whereas Walter chooses to call himself Heisenberg right from the beginning when he is essentially still a high school teacher, it takes Jimmy four seasons of illicit activities to admit he prefers working as Saul Goodman.
      • Walter is also more unfettered. Early on in Breaking Bad, he did nothing to save the life of Jesse Pinkman's girlfriend Jane Margolis, who is asphyxiating on her own vomit from a drug overdose in order to keep Jesse under his thumb as a partner in his operation. Jimmy on the other hand almost does the same to a senior who has found out his Saul Goodman identity by keeping away her Life Alert before relenting in a My God, What Have I Done? moment, even at the cost of her alerting the police and Jimmy/Saul getting arrested.
    • And in the end, Walter fully embraces his Heisenberg persona, dying as a largely unrepentant druglord. Jimmy in comparison chooses at the end to reject his Saul Goodman persona, returning to being just Jimmy Mc Gill and turning himself in to save another.
    • To Chuck. Both brothers are skilled as lawyers, but what differs is where their personalities affect them most: Jimmy is a good person at heart when off-duty, but he's an Amoral Attorney. Chuck is a good, honest lawyer on duty, but is a dishonest, judgmental person behind the scenes. Jimmy is Nice to the Waiter and offers Omar a drink as well as money on top (which Omar politely refuses), whilst Chuck straight-up fires Ernesto once he's no longer useful to him.
    • With Kim. Best delved into when they break up, as they both lose themselves completely, but while she takes too much responsibility, destroying her life because she feels like she's too far gone to deserve anything good, he regresses, begging her like a child to tell him what to do so he can fix all this easily, and with the sounds of her unpacking, becomes Saul Goodman for real.
    • To Jesse Pinkman. While the former earned his happy ending by evading the law, leaving his past behind and starting a new life, Jimmy did this by confessing to his misdeeds, taking full responsibility and dropping his previous identities.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The Foolish to Chuck's Responsible. Jimmy is working his tail off to rise above his crooked past, though. And Chuck is secretly undermining Jimmy's struggle, believing him unworthy of practicing law and angered by the shortcuts Jimmy has taken along the way. Ultimately, Chuck destroyed himself with regrets he couldn't face, and Jimmy eventually owned up to them, giving him both peace and Kim coming back to him.
  • Forced to Watch:
    • He tries not to look at the skateboarders getting their legs broken, but Nacho non-verbally tells him to look.
    • Self-inflicted in “Point and Shoot”, as after Howard’s death and Kim has gone to be a distraction for Gus, he’s tied up and gagged by Lalo, and in trying to get free he tips his chair and is forced to look into Howard’s dead eyes. The trauma of that just sends him further into not wanting to be himself anymore but also trying to act like everything is fine.
  • Foreshadowing: In Jimmy's first scene, he delivers a brilliant closing statement, full of honesty, charm, and the signature Slippin' Jimmy razzle-dazzle, all in the service of a good cause. He fails horribly because his clients did something so reprehensible it's impossible to overlook their transgressions. Jimmy's hard work, skills, and good deeds being brought low by other people's pettiness and self-sabotage will be a running theme of his series.
  • Foregone Conclusion: This hardworking and honest attorney will one day become the sleazy and cowardly Saul Goodman.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • When he was little, Jimmy had to help his father at their family business while Chuck was out making something of himself. While he did, he watched his father get repeatedly scammed by drifters due to his good nature.
    • While he was definitely no angel when it came to Chuck, and was a little hell-demon as a child who his parents didn't want to take responsibility for, Chuck did a lot of little cuts on his self esteem for most of his life ("Switch" has Jimmy Freudian Slip that he's tried to please Chuck his whole life, not just post sunroof), and it contributes to him being an Insecure Love Interest to Kim, something she's been aware of since at least season two, and makes her give "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the older man. It's also one of the reasons why he was attracted to Walter White, an older Insufferable Genius who could treat him like an emotional punching bag like he figured he deserved.
  • Freudian Excuse Denial: In "Saul Gone" after being brought into court for aiding Walter's crimes, Jimmy finally decides to stop running, stop shoving everything down, and admits that while he was terrified that night Walt kidnapped him, he still was completely willing in that meth empire, and no matter what Chuck did to him, he still caused his brother’s suicide and he has to live with that.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: In a moment of self awareness during “Inflatable”, he explains to Kim how much he desperately needs affection from someone to the point of changing himself for them (including her), and while he never stops doing that, he at least admits it’s nobody else’s fault and he’s made his own choices.

    G-L 
  • Gaslighting: He was gaslighted by Chuck into thinking it was Howard who didn't want him at HHM and didn't want him to use his own name. He repays the favour after Kim is caught in the crossfire of their mess and gets Mesa Verde back for her, making Chuck think he's gone crazy. Chuck does it again, making Jimmy think he's suicidal because he's losing his mind, only to reveal that he was faking and taping the whole confession. Jimmy wins/loses the battle by playing with Chuck's head in court and making Chuck reveal how much he hates him, destroying his credibility. In season five and six, misplacing all his brother issues onto the guy and wanting money (plus losing it), he and Kim harass Howard and act like he's just crazy when he calls them out.
  • Giftedly Bad: Jimmy can't sing for toffee but will use any excuse to burst into song, from serenading Kim over the phone to negotiating with school staff while trying to film a commercial on school property. When he is admitted to the New Mexico State Bar he even insists on holding a celebration at a karaoke bar.
  • Go-to Alias: Before he adopted it as his professional name, "Saul Goodman" was the name Jimmy would give whenever he didn't want to reveal his identity. It pops up when running a scam on a bar patron in one Cold Open, then reappears when he needs to sell his commercial spots to other people. He uses it again when peddling burner phones on the street.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: It's implied that Jimmy is extremely bitter about the success of all those around him while he himself suffers the indignity of being pretty much paid by the hour. Then came The Reveal about his brother...
  • Guile Hero:
    • Displays Nerves of Steel and great resourcefulness when he manages to talk Tuco into sparing the lives of his two captives.
    • Despite being a down-on-his-luck loser with minimal contacts and resources, he still manages to play cops and criminals of all stripes like two-dollar banjos with nothing but fast thinking and even faster talking when Nacho is arrested.
    • Jimmy brings his legal know-how and confidence tricks to the Sandpiper Crossing case. He manages to excuse rummaging through Sandpiper's garbage for evidence by invoking a reasonable expectation of privacy from a lack of a padlock. In "Amarillo", he bribes a bus carrying plenty of their seniors to suddenly stop at Texas, where he's waiting to board it and convince every single passenger to join the class-action lawsuit. While it's grounds for solicitation and threatens the case, Jimmy improvises a cover for it and tries to justify it with the end result of helping their clients.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: One of Jimmy's tragic flaws. He works hard when he needs to and is very intelligent, but he's always too aware of how much easier it would be to cut a few corners to get where he wants to go. In the legal profession, this can create a lot of opportunities and also a lot of problems.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: Eccentric tastes aside, he spent most of season one in brown boxy suits and shirts that swamped him. Season two he starts wearing fitted suits with brighter colors, and Kim is very appreciative of her boyfriend becoming The Dandy.
  • Henpecked Husband: For his many flaws, Jimmy is happily a wife guy, and is very happy to make Kim breakfast or even help her dress. The early half of season six shows this continued into Breaking Bad, as his office, car, catch phrases, and flamboyant dress sense were all encouraged by Kim.
  • He's Back!: Done in a sad way in the Flash Forward to "Granite State". After telling Kim in the past he can't go back to "being Jimmy McGill", everything's gone now, including "Saul Goodman", and he tells Francesca to "tell them Jimmy sent ya", noticeably back to his softer self.
  • His Own Worst Enemy:
    • Jimmy is a terrible self-saboteur. While he would have everyone believe that he wants to put his criminal past behind him and make an honest living, and would have done so if only outside forces hadn't conspired against him, he is actually given numerous opportunities to reform and still manages to screw them all up. In season 2 he gets the best job he's ever had, with a chance to become a name partner at a big law firm, only to deliberately get himself fired when he objects to (perfectly reasonable) attempts to discipline him. In season 4 he petulantly rejects a job offer and insults the interviewers because they remind him of his father and the numerous marks he has pulled scams on.
    • Jimmy's impulsiveness also gets in the way of his success. There are many occasions where he could have avoided getting into trouble if only he had just taken the time to think things through. Examples include airing the unauthorized Davis & Main commercial instead of waiting a day to run it by Clifford Main, and getting arrested and temporarily disbarred for breaking down Chuck's front door and destroying the tape of his confession, all because he hadn't stopped to realize that Chuck couldn't actually have used it against him.
    • Specifically Jimmy has a bad habit of History Repeats and seeking out the same traumatic situation, whether it’s two marriages to women who cheated on him, thinking Lalo went horrifically so he get it right in Breaking Bad, growing attached to Walter White because he reminds him of Chuck, begging both his brother and Kim to just tell him what to do to make them stay, or carrying on with Howard (when Chuck went so wrong) because he wants Kim to be happy.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Jimmy's career repeatedly gets in the way of his practicing the straight and narrow(ish) way, despite his own baseline instincts. When it's not directly due to fallout caused by his decision to cut corners, it's others slamming him in the face.
    • The Kettlemans insult him and turn him down for rather petty, cosmetic reasons. Howard ostensibly did it when he tried to leave the mailroom, and while it was mostly in a neutral tone, he came off as quite a prick from Jimmy's perspective. But, by far the worst is what Chuck does with the regular doses of slow poison. Is it any surprise that Jimmy gives up on the dream and goes all Dark Side, becoming an Honest Saul?
    • When he goes back to Cicero in "Marco", he spends a whole week swindling people with his titular old friend. Once he passes away by the end of the episode, Jimmy takes his advice to heart: He's Slippin' Jimmy and there's nothing worth doing about it.
    • In "Lantern", he patches things up with everyone, apologizes for scamming the elderly, and seems to be on the road to redemption... and then his brother kills himself.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Jimmy is bad at staying on the right side of the law and personally would rather keep his side hustles but his desire to please Chuck and then Kim makes him try to go legit only to fall back when things get tough or because Jimmy feels it would be better his way. After a lot of Identity Breakdown and very bad choices, he does end up on the good side when he wants to follow in Kim's footsteps and confess everything. Yes he ends up in jail, but there's a very big chance of getting out for good behaviour, and the ending title card shows he got moved to Metropolitan Detention Center anyway.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • He was a real slimeball as Slippin' Jimmy, but agreed to turn his life around if his genius lawyer brother got him out of serving prison time.
    • After six seasons of Jimmy McGill's inevitable transformation into the Amoral Attorney Saul Goodman, Jimmy is moved by Kim's confession and throws away an incredibly generous plea deal that would have seen him serve only seven years, instead choosing to confess to everything. He ends up in jail for probably the rest of his life, but in so doing he symbolically leaves Saul behind forever, becomes Jimmy Mc Gill again, and reconnects with Kim.
  • Heel Realisation: Jimmy has had several of these in his time. And, he's honestly tried to change his ways. But, time and again, he backslides. One time you can see him wince is when he realizes just how badly his wish to score the big one (and stick it to his brother) has impacted Irene and her friends in Sand Piper. He goes out of his way to, if not fix things, then at least give them a face-saving narrative so they can move forward together as friends. While deliberately painting himself as a no-good rogue, Saul Goodman, in the process. Specifically to help them as a group.
  • Heroic BSoD: Spends most of the Season 4 premiere in a depressed funk, barely saying anything, after learning about his indirect role in Chuck's death.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In "Point and Shoot", he refuses to leave Kim alone with Lalo, and plays up the Dirty Coward Saul Goodman persona to try and convince Lalo to hold him hostage instead, willing to die just so she can go free and to also face the music for Howard's death.
  • Heroic Second Wind: In Bagman, Jimmy is ready to lay down and die when a brutal trek in the desert goes From Bad to Worse. Mike lifts him out of his torpor by telling him the reason he does what he does, the reason he has to survive. Jimmy perhaps realizing the same applies to him, gets to his feet and gives a rare but unquestionable display of courage by intentionally getting the attention of the lone gunman so that Mike can shoot him off-guard. And even though the gambit fails (in the sense that, while the gunman was killed, they now can't use his car to leave the desert), he picks himself up and continues the long trek home with no more complaints.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Despite his lovable coward persona, Jimmy can be pretty hardcore when he needs to be.
    • On a lighter note, his work on his pre-Saul Goodman commercials shows that he's surprisingly competent as a director; churning out something of professional quality with only a student film crew and guerilla shooting tactics. He also knows a lot of film jargon, suggesting he's done his research on the medium and isn't just a natural at it.
    • For all the Saul Goodman-esque wheeling-and-dealing and shady lawyering he becomes notorious for, it's made clear throughout the series that Jimmy has a genuine knack and affinity for elder law. Part of the tragedy of the character is that it's made clear that, but for some more encouragement and support and some better decision-making, Jimmy could have ended up with a thriving elder law practice on his hands instead of becoming Albuquerque's most notorious criminal lawyer.
  • High-School Hustler: His Slippin' Jimmy days reach all the way to his youth. Chuck accuses Jimmy of swapping the numbers on Mesa Verde's address in his documents and cites the times when Jimmy would forge fake I Ds for students for underage drinking using the same method.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: During his confession at the end of the series, Saul claims that he was instrumental in Walter White's criminal empire, and that without his assistance Walter would've been dead or in prison within a month. Considering how Mike was able to track Walter down in the span of an hour and other basic criminal activities that Jesse and Walter were oblivious to, like laundering their money, a strong case can certainly be made for it.
  • Hypocrite: He admittedly crosses into this from time to time.
    • He's annoyed that he can't get ahead being a lawyer, and that Howard won't hire him at HMM. Then Howard and Kim help him land a better position than he could have reasonably hoped for. What does he do? Make a huge error in judgment, then decide almost immediately that he doesn't like it there, and act like a complete jackass so he gets fired but gets to keep his signing bonus.
    • He can't stand how spiteful and cruel Chuck is towards him. He thinks Chuck is being immature and feels he's being treated unfairly. After Chuck's suicide, what does he do? Let Howard think he's to blame. And that is not counting the bullying campaign he did to Irene that looks like Alpha Bitch material for high school dramas.
    • His outrage at Sandpiper skimming from the elderly is quite hollow when, needing the case to settle, he decides to have an elderly woman ostracized by her group of friends just so he can get paid quicker. In this case, it demonstrates just how far his morals have dropped since the first season.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: In "Winner", his attempt to sing the titular 'Winner Takes it All' is painful. Given that he was trying to convince Chuck to get up and sing the entire time, it's entirely possible that he was intentionally invoking this so Chuck would sing in his place.]
  • Ignored Epiphany: In "Inflatable", he admits that he'll change, break himself, and remake himself for Kim and Chuck, but it's also not their fault. His sense of self just keeps getting worse, to the point where when Kim leaves, he flattens himself to be Saul Goodman full time.
  • I Have Many Names: As his nature as a conman, Jimmy adopts several aliases when dealing with his marks. One of his most prominent go-to-names happens to be "Saul." Eventually this got used to show that there’s something genuinely wrong with him, as he’s always quick and eager to play someone else.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: He can't seem to get it realize that Kim adores him even when she is angry with him, even when she's leaving him, as all he hears then is that his love isn't enough and he's ruined her, and when he's reminiscing about being "Slippin' Jimmy", his main focus is that everyone liked him. Peter Gould said it was how they contrasted Jimmy with Walter, as Walter's goal was respect and power, while Jimmy wants everyone to love him.
  • Improperly Paranoid: While justified as Lalo badly traumatized him and indirectly led to his One True Love giving up on life, he’s terrified of the Cartel and Salamancas long into Breaking Bad (and his Gene life) when they’re all dead by that point.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: For such a flashy, loud, arrogant guy, Jimmy has shit self esteem, assuming he’s just Chuck’s loser brother, never actually had Kim’s love anyway and will frequently steal lines from other characters like he’s some colourful shadow. It’s hanging scales with him, too much arrogance and showiness replacing humanity and he’s Saul Goodman; take all the confidence away (like after his second desert trip) and he’s (pre-Viktor) Gene.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Has his moments. He can look positively puppyish at times, especially during emotional moments when he is tearing up.
  • Innocently Insensitive:
    • For someone who is so good at reading people, Jimmy is either completely oblivious to how uncomfortable (and upset) telling blood-sucking lawyer jokes to his brother's wife seemed to make Chuck, or he's doing it on purpose.
    • He has no idea that he ended up insulting Kim along with the Bar Association. When she tells him that he made her the sucker again, Jimmy asks what she means by "again."
  • In-Series Nickname: Before Saul Goodman, he was known around his hometown as "Slippin' Jimmy." There's also Howard calling him "Charlie Hustle" thanks to his hard work.
  • Insecure Love Interest: To Kim, in that he often worries that Kim is attracted to him for his bad boy lifestyle and not because she sees him as relationship material to settle down with. This is especially emphasized in "Wiedersehen", and the argument nearly ruins their relationship outright. And no matter that she tells him that she’s bad for him too, nor how many times she’s told him she’s made her own choices, he’s still convinced in “Fun and Games” that it’s all his fault that she’s given up on life and he’s ruined her.
  • It Gets Easier: As Chuck pointed out Jimmy feels bad for hurting others when it's too late and while Jimmy try to salvage the situation or try to do the right thing in the early seasons, being willing to pay hospital bills for the twins or sabotaging his career so Irene gets her friends back, later seasons he simply buries it down and stop trying to make things right.
  • It's All About Me: To a fair extent, yes, but not to his brother's levels at least. As Chuck puts it, he will genuinely feel bad about hurting people for his own gain, but only after the deed is done, and he will redo it again if it is at his advantage.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Jimmy will break laws and disrespect a lot of lawyers' basic ethics, but it's easy to see where he is coming from.
    • His early feud with Howard is childish and his billboard stunt borders illegality, but Howard telling him to not use his last name to avoid confusion with his firm is unfair.
    • Controversially, his Davis and Main commercial is an example, because there is absolutely no chance Davis and Main would have attracted any clients to the Sandpiper case with the boring advert they only have on at 2 am in the morning.
    • Although he committed a felony when doctoring the Mesa Verde addresses, he does have a point that Chuck's hard-on to catch him for petty reasons is unhealthy. Jimmy is a criminal but hardly one worth dying over.
    • He may be an Ungrateful Bastard for all the times Kim has bailed him out of trouble, but Jimmy rightly calls out Kim for exploiting his Slippin' Jimmy side for cheap thrills
    • When he suggests Kim con her client into accepting a deal instead of trying for an unlikely acquittal. While the client has the final say, Jimmy is right that what the client says could ruin his and his pregnant girlfriend's life and would help nobody.
    • Although going behind Kim's back when producing the Mesa Verde commercial was downright naughty, it doesn't change the fact that Kim has Plausible Deniability protection from both Rick and Kevin when the latter is tricked into watching the video.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: If he gets you into trouble, he tries his damnedest to get you out. And, if he cares about you, he'll fight for you. In his own way, and even if you don't agree. But there are limits. He does mean well and is not quite as jerky as he will wind up being as Saul. Yet.
  • Kick the Dog: In order to get fired so he can keep his bonus, he makes Davis & Main's office a living hell, culminating in him playing bagpipe in his office. While funny, this was a complete dick move on a law firm that was more than accommodating toward him. The only silver lining is that it wasn't prolonged compared to Chuck's actions.
    • It's pointed out that Jimmy's forgery of the Mesa Verde documents hurt not only Mesa Verde and its employees by delaying their plans to open a new branch office, but also Howard and HHM as a whole, all in the name of his own conflict with Chuck. After screwing up at Davis & Main (a job that Howard helped him get) and then outright humiliating both him personally and his firm, Howard understandably seems furious and betrayed. However, Howard arguably started it by misleading Chuck that Jimmy and Kim were working together to "steal" Mesa Verde, even though those clients are Kim's by right, as she did do the legwork in bringing them on board whilst working for HHM.
    • He threatens to ruin Bauer's military career if he doesn't let him keep his commercial, blaming him for being fooled by Jimmy the same way the Grifter from his flashback blamed his father's gullibility for his behavior.
    • Further in Season 3, Jimmy starts brusquely dismissing all suggestions to help or pity Chuck and deliberately tries to sabotage his legal career in vengeance. The reason this example qualifies as this trope as well as Kick the Son of a Bitch is that Chuck is already incapacitated after his Anti-Villainous Breakdown in court, so Jimmy relentlessly going after him comes across as overkill, to say the least.
    • You thought that was bad, try manipulating the elderly so that they turn on Irene just so Jimmy can make loads of money and Irene becomes a social pariah through no fault of her own. Not so much Kick the Dog as smashing the Moral Event Horizon! He realizes what he's done and fixes his mistake in the next episode.
    • When Howard indirectly reveals how Jimmy getting HHM in dutch with the insurance company over Chuck's mental problems triggered Chuck's relapse and suicide and blames himself for what happened, Jimmy quickly deflects blame and piles on the guilt onto Howard. Kim is visibly shocked when he does it.
    • He only goes further with his mistreatment of Howard in season 5, not only still blaming him for the spoiler but also going out of his way to make his life miserable and to ruin his reputation.
  • Kick the Morality Pet:
    • Unknowingly does this in the Season 4 finale. He and Kim plan for him to read Chuck's letter to the Bar Association to convince them to reinstate him, and he abandons that plan to improvise and fake mourning for sympathy. She's ready to thank him for being genuine about Chuck, but then he calls everyone who believed the scene he played suckers. He revels in how one particular member was brought to tears, which she also did.
    • In Season 5, he goes behind Kim's back regarding their plans to handle Mesa Verde and continues with the pile-up of potential legal issues to pressure Kevin into giving Mr. Acker his land. He did it so that Kim would be caught off-guard and angered at the meeting, allowing her plausible deniability if Rich Schweikart and anyone else would suspect her of sabotaging the bank. She tells him upfront that she's been made the sucker again.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: When on his good behavior, he tends to target the greedy or the obnoxious in his con games:
    • He scams Ken Wins and would have made an attempt at the Kettlemans had the skateboarders and Tuco not fucked him over.
    • Gaslighting his older brother was quite naughty, but his brother did steer the Mesa Verde clients from Kim in an underhanded way to spite Jimmy.
    • Not a con but he gets in Chuck's face and threatens him for breaching Jimmy's trust.
    • Starts fighting back truly against his brother in Season 3 when his back is against the wall. He gets Mike to bust out a power drill as part of his handyman to do the repair work. Naturally, this results in Chuck running away to the upper floor. You have to also imagine Jimmy told Mike to bring the loudest drill he could possibly find.
    • His Staged Pedestrian Accident against the two obnoxious music store owners wasn't exactly his greatest sin.
    • Neither was threatening to sue the community service supervisor for being a Mean Boss.
    • Even though his insurance scam targeting Chuck was overkill, the latter was still a complete Ungrateful Bastard towards Jimmy uncovering the Sandpiper case and looking after him all those years.
    • Calculatedly intimidating the nasty street youths who mugged him in Season 4
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After ostracising Irene in Season 3 and trying to do the same to Howard in Seasons 5 and 6, Jimmy finds himself an outcast for representing Lalo Salamanca and scamming the court, not even Bill Oakley will speak to him.
  • A Lesson Learned Too Well: Jimmy's attempt and failure to change his ways is beaten into him by those around him in Season 1, setting the tone for how he'll feel and conduct himself throughout the rest of the series.
    • The most prominent thing he believes is that he loves the thrill of conning people and only became a lawyer to appease Chuck and Kim, the people who love him. Both Chuck and Marco tell him that Slippin' Jimmy is all he'll ever be, the former in scorn and the latter with encouragement, and when he thinks that Kim would still be with him if he didn't take the job at Davis & Main, he decides that means it's okay to stop being a lawyer altogether.
    • Jimmy has always been desperate for Chuck or Kim to make it easy and tell him what to do, and Chuck crushes him by telling him he never meant that much to him and that he should just give up feeling remorse. As Saul, he does just that, burying his feelings and trauma and guilt deep down, flippantly shooing Kim out of his office like Chuck did to him.
    • Across Season 4, he refuses to acknowledge how he's feeling after Chuck's death and his brother's lasting effects on him. Kim tells Jimmy that the Bar Association sees a lack of sincerity regarding his brother, so Jimmy formulates a dramatic speech solely to make them reinstate his license, not meaning a single word of what he says about Chuck. He then admits to Kim that she was right; "it was all about Chuck".
    • Kim encouraging Saul Goodman in early season six as both comfort and a turn on makes him dramatically miss the point when she tells him they're poison, only hearing that he's not good enough and the only thing he can do to change her mind is become Saul Goodman full-time.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: With Chuck and Kim (and they need him just as much as he needs them). He and Chuck would have been so much better having gone separate ways, but the resentment as well as codependence ends up ruining them both, and his and Kim’s genuinely loving but destructive obsession with each other winds up a factor in Howard’s death, and both of them having a Loss of Identity bordering on Death Seeker when they break up.
  • Loss of Identity: Multiple people tell him that he should just go to therapy and maybe not go headlong into comfortingly loud blustery "Saul Goodman", a quick fix in the short term, but in the long run... He doesn't have the most stable identity anyway, admitting that despite still being self-obsessed, he'll change himself for anyone that he wants to make happy, most of all Kim. When she leaves, Jimmy dies with her, and he's Saul full time.
  • Lovable Rogue: Very much. Jimmy may have been a crook and conman before trying to clean his act up, but even then, you get the impression that he was always affable with it. And, he tried not to fleece those who, in his mind, couldn't afford it (also a sound business/ beer money move). All in all, at different points of his life, he's shifted the weight between "lovable" and "rogue" without being able to fully drop either. Even when he's tried to go straight. This is actually a huge part of why Chuck so virulently despises him, as he can't stand that people don't like him as much as his much less law-abiding brother.
  • Love Redeems: Jimmy is faced with a choice between spending seven years in a Luxury Prison Suite but losing Kim forever, or spending the rest of his life in the 'Alcatraz of the Rockies' but regaining Kim's love and respect. He chooses the latter, and the series ends with their relationship rekindled and Kim visiting him in prison.

    M-P 
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: His dynamic with Kim, as he's more emotional, cries more, is compared to a prostitute more than once, usually doesn't think rationally, cooks, wants to play nursemaid when her arm is broken, is very vain about his receding hairline and clothes (more than once wanting her approval on what he should wear), has more fanservice scenes than she does, and she takes control in bed, him liking it that way.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Even before becoming a full-fledged Amoral Attorney, he is a stone-cold prodigy at manipulating people. His big hurdle is his air of desperation and a lack of credentials. Hell, he is even trying to get his brother back to form by dropping off case files for "storage", fully knowing he would go through them. This ends up being a problem: his manipulations can get him outright disbarred if they're found out... and, he genuinely doesn't seem to understand that this is an unnegotiable fact.
  • Mirror Character: As Kim's Character Development during the series makes her more and more like Walter White, Jimmy's similarity to Jesse comes to the fore. Both are basically good persons who have taken the wrong road because of their human flaws (laziness and drug addiction for Jesse, the need to cut corners for Jimmy). Both of them desperately longe for the affection and approval of a towering figure they look up to (Walt for Jesse and Chuck for Jimmy). And both fail to reform because nobody is supportive or understanding of their attempts. Saul is arguably what Jesse could have become had he not found a better father figure in Mike. Saul seems to understand this himself in the episode "Breaking Bad", stopping Walt from being a dick with Jesse as it reminds him of his dynamic with Chuck. Only problem? He also wants Walt's degrading version of love, as he was so used to it from his brother that he felt like he needed it again. This leads him to try and throw Jesse under the bus several times.
  • Morality Chain: Subverted regarding Kim, as he's wrong about their dynamic being "I go too far, you pull me back", as even when he goes too far and she wants to kill him she still wants to wife him up (as a legal arrangement, but they're fooling nobody), and more than once he’ll ramble that they should be good but she escalates, him obviously more than happy to follow her lead. She admits she's as bad for him as he's as bad for her in "Fun and Games".
  • Motor Mouth: His tongue is his weapon and he wields it well and has many gears to use.
    Tuco: Wow. You got a mouth on you.
    Jimmy: Thank you?
  • The Movie Buff: He's made a reference to one movie or another at least Once an Episode so far.
  • Mr. Fanservice: According to the commentaries and insider podcasts, the women working on the show really enjoyed it when Bob Odenkirk went naked or shirtless.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • When he realizes his attempts to fix Irene's friendship with the other elderlies due to the mess he created are failing, he ultimately goes through with a Zero-Approval Gambit and comes clean.
    • In "JMM", seeing Fred's (the clerk Lalo killed in season 4) family on the verge of tears in Lalo's court session clearly does something to Jimmy.
    • After hearing from Howard about how his and Kim's plan to ruin him succeeded beyond their expectations, Jimmy looks visibly guilty about agreeing to participate in it.
  • My Greatest Failure: Jimmy has so many failures, but “Saul Gone” implies the biggest one is when Chuck had one moment of reaching out and trying to be better pre-show, and Jimmy rebuffed him because he figured his brother was just going to lecture him again.
    Jimmy: I tried. I could have tried harder. I should have.
  • Nice Guy: Starts out as more kind and caring than as Saul Goodman, desperate to be a good, honest lawyer to make his brother and Kim proud. But it slowly erodes throughout the seasons, until the only person he's capable of being consistently kind to is Kim. When he's throwing away both the Saul Goodman persona and his cushy plea deal, taking the full sentence by admitting what happened with Howard and Chuck, he starts to truly become one again.
  • Nerves of Steel: For a guy as unsure of himself as he is, Jimmy is very composed in the face of grave danger, which has saved his life during several encounters with the Salamanca family.
  • Never My Fault:
    • Jimmy has obsessively vivisected and restructured the Chicago Sunroof incident that he believes destroyed his idyllic existence as conman "Slipping Jimmy", putting all the blame squarely on "Chet" for supposedly tinting the windows of his car too heavily and for leaving his kids in said car unattended. His only iotas of remorse regarding his accidental defecating on two children lie in how he was caught and how the act itself was rather vulgar. He even has the audacity to attribute some poetic irony to what he confessed to being a crime of vengeful, shortsighted impulse.
    Jimmy: The guy wanted some soft serve, I gave him some soft serve.
    • Played with in "Fun and Games", as having to lie tied up next to Howard's corpse just sends him harder into denial (and implied, the casual Murder Is the Best Solution suggestions when he's Saul), but when Kim is broken through her own self-loathing and guilt, he begs her to let him take the blame for their Destructive Romance and he’d do anything if she stays. She still leaves.
  • Non-Action Guy: Though he makes up for it with sheer bravery, such as in the episode where he successfully talked Tuco down from executing two skaters who made him angry. Downplayed in that whilst he sucks in a fight he's physically fit enough to run away from the nasty street youths who mugged him in the episode before, at least enough to lead them into his trap.
  • Nothing Personal: After spending an extended period of time making life at Davis and Main miserable in order to get Cliff Main to fire him when Cliff finally does it, Jimmy tries to say this and that he considers Cliff a good man and boss. By that point, Cliff is far too furious at Jimmy to go for it, and tells Jimmy off:
    Jimmy: For what it's worth, I think you're a good guy.
    Clifford Main: For what it's worth, I think you're an asshole.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: On the wrong end of this trope when Chuck refuses to let him into HHM despite bringing them the case of a lifetime. Bear in mind, it was only after Chuck convinced him that they needed to refer the case to HHM due to further workloads that Jimmy suggested HHM consider hiring him; he didn't want to give their case up to anyone.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing:
    • Despite the friction between them, it's clear that Jimmy puts in a lot of time and effort caring for Chuck. Unfortunately, he spends more time caring for his brother the way Chuck dictates, rather than facing the fact it's not actually helping. Even when outright told that psychiatric evaluation and a therapy plan need to be done, he shies away from committing Chuck to get it because it upsets his brother, and him, to even contemplate it. Something similar contributes to his break-up with Kim, as while he does worry about her Slowly Slipping Into Evil like him, he never really brings it up for more than a second, and just wants her to be happy. She realizes he's always going to put her on a pedestal, and she wants to be punished, so she breaks it.
    • His attempts at doing the right thing usually involve illegal activities and Kim has to tell him to stop telling her about them because she will have to denounce him. For example, instead of coming clean with the Kettlemans' bribe, he does the "right thing" of stealing their money, blackmailing them into taking Kim's deal and handing over his share of the bribe with none the wiser.
    • He goes along with Kim's plan to ruin Howard despite being the Guilt-Ridden Accomplice for once because it makes her happy, he thinks this and encouraging her Saul Goodman kink will make him feel more normal, and he has his own Misplaced Retribution issues. It all blows up in his and Kim's faces.
  • Obviously Not Fine: Jimmy is horribly prone to this:
    • In "Marco" he assures Kim that Chuck's revelation that it was him blocking Jimmy's appointment to HHM hasn't affected him. He then proceeds to have a very public breakdown while hosting a bingo game.
    • In "Switch", he denies any feeling over what happened in Cicero, focusing on how desperate he's been to please Chuck since he moved to Albuquerque.
    • In "Witness" Kim and Jimmy are peeling masking tape off their newly-painted office wall. Kim worries that Jimmy is stressed out about Chuck's plans for his recorded confession. Jimmy tells her "I'm fine"... before she leaves the room and he angrily tears off the remaining tape, damaging the shiny new paint job.
    • In "Breathe" Kim is concerned at Jimmy throwing himself into his job hunt rather than taking some time out of work to grieve for Chuck. He assures her he is ready to resume work and heads out to a job interview, where he ends up self-sabotaging by taking out his frustration on the interviewers.
    • Jimmy's erratic behavior throughout the whole of season 4 is a manifestation of his grief for Chuck as he struggles to suppress and deny it. He manages to hold it in until the season finale when he is angered by the HHM scholarship committee's treatment of Kristy Esposito, and then when his car won't start it finally comes pouring out in a a massive fit of sobbing.
    • Throughout season 5, Jimmy makes it abundantly clear to Howard that he hasn't accepted his apologies or forgiven him, via some very erratic and vengeful behavior. In "JMM" Howard confronts him about the situation, trying to be sympathetic and telling Jimmy "I know you're in pain, Jimmy". Jimmy furiously denies this and lashes out at him with an unhinged rant, which pretty much confirms Howard's suspicion that he hasn't dealt with his pain over Chuck's suicide at all.
    • In early season six, he’s still suffering from PTSD in the desert, and both he and Kim make the mistake that scams and accentuating the Saul Goodman persona will make him feel better. It does in the short term but in the long run…
    • He pretends he’s fine after Howard dies, being ready to die for Kim after being tied up by Lalo, always assuming that Lalo is going to come back, to the point where being such a Never My Fault Stepford Smiler is too much for Kim, but he does admit something real when he tells wanting to climb out of your skin as a response to trauma is “natural”, as well as finally confessing he’d always hated Howard because he thought he had Chuck’s respect when Jimmy didn’t.
  • Older and Wiser: Jimmy is prison finally has a firmer sense of self despite everyone calling him Saul, is enjoying his prison baking job, goes back to actually helping the little (read: innocent) guys in jail with their sentences, understands he has Kim on his side and her love for the rest of his life, isn’t getting into a state about his hair, and is both healing from trauma and is taking responsibility. Word of God is that even if he gets out early, and he probably will, he'll stay like this.
  • Ominous Hair Loss:
    • Jimmy is shown to be losing hair a bit more rapidly in season 4, noting a few strands falling out in "Breathe" and then noticing his fringe getting thinner in "Quite a Ride". This may be a result of stress after Chuck's suicide, and a sign that Jimmy is Obviously Not Fine about it. Happens again after Kim leaves, his hair going from still pretty full to Saul Goodman's famous combover.
    • He has too much on his plate to really notice, but his hair in season two is noticeably thinner than in season one, what with the twofer of Chuck betraying him and Marco dying in his arms, and not wanting to process either trauma.
  • One True Love: Kim. His two other wives get very little development or mention aside from both cheating on him, and one leading to Jimmy being an idiot and shitting through a sunroof as "revenge", and after she leaves, he starts sleeping around as Sex for Solace.
  • Only Sane by Comparison: Jimmy compared to Chuck. His identity and self-esteem issues are well-discussed before the season three finale, but he's not an obsessive shut-in so he can outmanoeuvre his brother when he needs to. After Chuck dies though, everything gets worse in addition to the extreme guilt, self-loathing and denial, and he’s the one who starts having outbursts in courthouses, everyone has to tiptoe around him, and he slips further into Saul Goodman. He does manage to get better though, coming back to himself and admitting what he’s done and how he could have tried harder with his brother, something Chuck could never manage.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: After his near-death experience in the desert, he suffers from PTSD and, for a few episodes, is notably far quieter/meeker than usual; a little like his Gene persona but, in a not so bleak and controlled environment.
  • The Paranoiac: After Lalo tells him he’s going to come back and they can “talk” about what happened in the desert, Jimmy is terrified (writer-confirmed) for the rest of his life, a bit of his brain always tied down and gagged and waiting for Lalo to come kill him, not even believing it in Breaking Bad when he’s told all the Salamancas are dead.
  • Pet the Dog: Enough times to keep him sympathetic.
    • He's very attentive to Chuck's needs for his condition until the two fall out.
    • In Season 1, he tries to get justice for the elderly being scammed, kickstarting the Sandpiper case.
    • In "Inflatable", Jimmy tries to offer Omar a drink before he goes.
    • In "Fifi", a very dark one is screwing over Chuck by doctoring the address numbers so Kim can get her client back after all the hard work she did whilst in the doghouse.
    • "Nailed": Jimmy blows his cover to get Chuck to help after he hit his head during an EMS episode - despite orchestrating the scheme that caused that. This shows he still cares about him.
    • Jimmy tanking his reputation with the elderly by "accidentally" confessing to being a huckster that was using them, just so that Irene's friends would stop hating her. Since pre-Saul era Jimmy's specialty is elder law, this basically destroys his firm and namesake.
    • He rescues Ira in "Something Beautiful" when he could have left him out to dry.
    • He tries (and with Kim's help, succeeds) to keep Huell from serving a painfully lengthy prison sentence after he mistook a cop for an assaulter and beat him.
    • Jimmy seems genuinely concerned by Howard's response to Chuck's suicide when encountering him in a restroom, and attempts to give him the contact information of a therapist Kim suggested to Jimmy.
    • He vouches for Christy Esposito when Howard Hamlin's scholarship committee refuses to even consider her, just over one shoplifting incident.
    • He's utterly elated to get married to Kim Wexler and sticks to his promise of telling her when he has the urge not to tell her something: that he's a "friend of the cartel".
    • He frantically worries about Kim's life after his horrific ordeal in the desert, which gets Mike to reassure Jimmy that Lalo Salamanca is going to die despite that information being class information.
    • Similarly to his admission of guilt to Chuck, Jimmy reassures Howard that he will be fine after the latter tells him about the damage done to his career. Kim seems taken aback by this.
  • Playing the Victim Card: He managed to turn the sunroof incident into everyone being against him and that’s why his life sucks, he turns his legit upset over not being allowed to use his own name into a big billboard scam, Kim occasionally wants to strangle him because all his constant assumptions that she thinks of him as just a fuckbuddy, and he initially wants to use the (very real) kidnapping trauma as a sympathy win in “Saul Gone”, before subverting this trope entirely and admitting while that a lot of bad has happened to him, he’s not actually a victim at all, making his own terrible choices.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: In the “Nacho” prison flashback, every manipulative cliche gets buried when Chuck moves to leave him in jail, and he begs for help, telling his brother he’ll do anything. In “Fun and Games”, with Kim leaving because she just hates herself too much, he repeats the same lines, begging her to tell him what to change.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: With Chuck and Kim in “Nacho” and “Fun and Games”, begging them both to just tell him what to do and he’ll do it. Chuck takes the opportunity to try and keep his brother on a tight leash, while Kim hates herself more than she loves him, and tries to break the pedestal he has her on.
  • Phony Degree: Averted, the University of American Samoa is accredited, Jimmy was taught by correspondence and traded some credits of past courses he took that were unrelated to Law, but the point is the degree is legit if unremarkable and he did pass the Bar exam. This is a point of resentment for Chuck; as a famous lawyer, he finds such a degree preposterous and refuses to see Jimmy as a peer.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Jimmy's path and descent to becoming Saul mirror how Walter White descended to becoming Heisenberg; how a man who's had aspirations to do good becomes rotten in the process, which sets them up for some rather interesting parallels (and contrasts)...
  • Prone to Sunburn: Jokes that the McGills are "whiter than a pack of albino rats" thanks to their Irish heritage and thus aren't well-suited to life under the blistering Albuquerque sun. Jimmy develops some painful-looking sunburn during his little holiday in "Switch" and in "Bagman" his misadventure in the desert leaves him so seriously burned that Kim suggests a trip to the emergency room.
  • Prone to Tears: Jimmy is often seen blinking back tears when arguing with Kim or Chuck. Often he is completely unable to hold back a fit of Inelegant Blubbering.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: On his worst days. As Chuck cruelly pointed out, Jimmy will fuck up and go too far and be confused when it blows up in his face. He's so against dealing with his trauma (and so for getting love and respect, even from criminals) that he'll craft a whole new identity for himself instead of going to a therapist, and when Howard feels pity for him, he resorts to childish stunts (and eventually ruining his career) because he's just that offended.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Will occasionally smirk to himself after a successful scam, particularly if it involves a bit of Briar Patching:
    • "Expenses": After letting slip that Chuck has failed to declare his mental illness to HHM's insurance company, Jimmy pleads with the clerk to ignore what he said. Instead, she makes a note- and as Jimmy leaves the office his Crocodile Tears give way to a smirk of victory, knowing that he has brought about the end of Chuck's career.
    • "Carrot and Stick": After offering to help the Kettlemans sue Howard Hamlin for representing them while impaired by cocaine addiction, he pleads with them not to take the case to another law firm. Naturally, they vow to find another lawyer and Jimmy walks away defeated... then smirks to himself at the knowledge that they will be spreading this vicious and untrue rumor among all of Howard's friends and peers.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Chuck was really cruel with it, but he had a point in that Jimmy will make the sad and helpless with big blue eyes face to get out of trouble, and a habit of using real emotions for dishonest ends until that’s the only way he can admit to real emotions.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: This being a Vince Gilligan show, Jimmy's bad behavior will inevitably leave him worse off than before.
    • Congratulations, Jimmy: you get to keep your bonus after being fired from the best job opportunity a law graduate from the University of American Samoa could hope for because you just couldn't play by the book.
    • His attempt to bring Mesa Verde back to Kim results in a chain of events where he becomes disbarred for a year and loses his client base in the process, also leading to Chick's suicide.
    • Him turning Irene's friends against her to make her settle leads him to engineer a confession to fix it, which leads to Jimmy losing his elderly client base and forcing him to look to the cartel as clients.
    • All he had to do during his suspension was find a small job until he can practice law again. He gets bored and decides to sell burner phones to criminals and need Kim to bail him out. Even with hiding the whole thing from the bar association they still considered not giving him back his license because his attitude showed he didn't learn anything, needing to fake his respect over Chuck to prove he won't break the law again, and burying all the actual grief over him down.
    • His decision to support Kim in publicly humiliating Howard out of spite ends with Howard being murdered by Lalo, Kim leaving Jimmy out of guilt, and Jimmy embracing his identity as Saul Goodman to escape his trauma..

    R-Z 
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: He can clean up his act and be a good lawyer, but he prefers showing off, and deep down, he can never shake off his sleaze and past as a con man. The rejection below by his big brother does not help.
  • Reformed, But Rejected: Jimmy is trying as hard as he can to be a good, honest attorney, but many people (including Chuck) will never see him as anything more than Slippin' Jimmy the con artist no matter how much good he does.
  • Repression Never Ends Well: Discussed by the series finale insider podcast. Jimmy has spent his whole life hiding, creating identities for himself like running a computer program so he never has to deal with anything, acting like he just had one mistake that doomed him, and his wanting a moneyed distraction from being kidnapped again (and being reminded of both Lalo and also Chuck while watching how Walt treats Jesse) causes a lot of misery in Breaking Bad. Jail (though he and Kim both know now he can be consistently good and there's a chance of getting out early) is less the redemption than more admitting who he is, what's happened to him and how he’s made his own bad choices.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Before settling with "Better Call Saul!", Jimmy was always into marketing himself with rhymes. When practicing elder law, his business cards read "Need a Will? Call McGill", later running commercials where people would recognize him as "Gimme Jimmy". When he starts leaning into his "Saul" alias for drop phone sales in Season 4, a business card is shown saying "Need to Call? Buy from Saul!"
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Jimmy loses it when he learns that Chuck secretly taped his confession to doctoring the Mesa Verde files. He breaks down Chuck's door, pries open his desk drawer, threatens to burn his house down, destroys the tape in his face, and seemingly comes within inches of straight-up assaulting his brother. Unfortunately for Jimmy, this plays into Chuck's Batman Gambit.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Jimmy has always been eager to please and so desperate for affection and love, and even when he had it he didn't really trust it. When he's in jail, everyone wants to be his friend (even if they do call him Saul) and he's finally aware that he has Kim’s love for the rest of his life.
  • The Trickster: Slippin' Jimmy is a scam artist turned lawyer. Even in a legit line of work, he keeps a short con mentality, using his great people skills and his capacity to bend the truth for his own benefit.
  • Sanity Has Advantages: He knows Chuck is smarter than him, but if he really wants to Jimmy can just exploit his condition to destroy him. After Chuck dies though, Jimmy's mental state slowly degrades, and he homages Chuck's breakdowns at various points.
  • Sanity Slippage: It becomes very clear that Chuck's final speech to him, suicide, and post-mortem mockery of him have left Jimmy very unhinged despite his outward bluster. This reaches new heights during his ordeal in a desert with cartel goons, where it's clear he may not even really value his own life anymore. Howard and Kim have both suggested that Jimmy seek professional help, but he refuses, claiming he is fine. Word of God is that a part of him will always be trapped in being tied down by Lalo, helplessly waiting for the guy to come and kill him and anyone he's ever cared about.
  • Saved by Canon: Being a major and successful character on Breaking Bad, it's guaranteed that he'll make it out okay here. That doesn't mean he'll have it easy, though.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Odenkirk explained it as Jimmy has high emotional intelligence and can read other people easily, but he can’t apply that to himself, and if the guilt gets too much then usually he’ll try to run and hide, most obviously into a whole other persona.
  • Self-Serving Memory: Jimmy has been dealt a bad hand, and he is very capable of guilt, but he has a big tendency to rewrite events in his head (like the sunroof incident) so it'll be someone else taking most of the blame. He finally gets over this in "Saul Gone", admitting the trauma from being kidnapped a third time doesn't excuse anything he did with Walt, nor does being treated badly by Chuck excuse the insurance act.
  • Serial Spouse: He’s been married three times. His first two wives cheated on him, and Kim left out of responsibility and deep self-loathing, so after that he just gives up and starts sleeping around.
  • Sexier Alter Ego: Shamelessly borrows Kevin Costner's identity in order to get laid.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Sometimes he tries to claw his way out, other times he’ll drive right down that road. He and Kim nudge each other along until there’s fatal consequences, which after that she leaves because she’s become an Empty Shell, and he becomes Saul Goodman full-time. Pulls himself out in “Saul Gone”, admitting what he’s done and that “Saul” was him running away from everything.
  • The Social Darwinist
  • The Social Expert: He's usually pretty quick to say the right thing under pressure. A good example is when he assesses the situation in Tuco's home while Tuco has him at gunpoint, right down to referring to the obvious bloodstain on his rug as "salsa", the same excuse Tuco himself made earlier. Another good example is when he wants to get into elder law, he makes sure to have the Matlock look because he wants to convey the right image. That's probably why he is such a good lawyer despite his lack of funds.
  • Soul-Sucking Retail Job: While disbarred in season 4, Jimmy takes a job selling mobile phones at a branch of CC Mobile. The store has so few customers that he describes the place as "deader than disco". The severe boredom he endures is arguably a catalyst for him developing a sideline of selling burner phones to criminals.
  • Staged Pedestrian Accident: Earned his nickname of "Slippin' Jimmy" for pulling these off most often in his Conman heyday.
  • Start of Darkness: Perhaps the most significant factor spurning Jimmy into becoming such a sleazy lawyer is discovering how Chuck had actually been trying to sabotage his attempts to climb the lawyering world, and their frequent clashes as a result of how much Chuck resents him for entering it. After Chuck tricks him into confessing a crime on tape by playing to his worries, Jimmy drops any standards he had, disowns his brother, and makes his schemes way more severe and costly to the mark. It gets even worse after Chuck tells Jimmy that ruining things is in his nature, that Jimmy should just lean into it, and that Chuck doesn't care about him at all during their last conversation before Chuck's suicide.
  • Stepford Smiler: After Chuck’s death he pretends there’s nothing wrong when everyone near him can tell he’s Obviously Not Fine, refuses therapy, and self-sabotages, leading him further down the road to becoming Saul. It’s one of the reasons why Kim leaves him because she realizes he’s just going to pretend everything is fine and she needs to punish/atone herself.
  • Tempting Fate: In ‘’Better Call Saul S 1 E 7 Bingo’’ he tells the Kettlemans that he has nothing to lose. By season six he has lost his best friend, his brother, his wife, his sanity, hope and identity.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Jimmy is constantly denied advancement and opportunities because people don't trust him despite his hard work, and eventually declares that he won't let doing the right thing stop him again. "The kind of lawyer guilty people hire" indeed...
    • The Season 1 finale deals with the aftermath of Chuck's betrayal. Jimmy talks with Mike about why he hadn't fully reverted to his "Slippin' Jimmy" ways.
      Jimmy: Yeah, well, I know what stopped me. And you know what? It's never stopping me again.
    • Inverted in the season 3 finale. Chuck tells Jimmy that he always ruins things and will never change, so he ought to stop having regrets.
    • After Kim leaves, he becomes Saul Goodman full time, both because it's what he assumed she wanted, and the one person who told him he wasn't worthless is gone.
  • Therapy Is for the Weak: Schnauz implied this was how he and Chuck were bought up, and from season four, it’s a big theme for him:
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: He’s the one who really wants to buy a house with Kim, Gene’s manipulative but not faked breakdown includes the fact he doesn’t have kids, and Kim’s happy with a quick loving wedding while he assumes she wants a fairytale version.
  • Thrill Seeker: Ultimately, Jimmy proves himself to be this. As Slippin' Jimmy, the danger involved in conning people was obviously part of what made being successful at it feel so good. And, as Jimmy McGill, Lawyer... this has not changed one bit. It's just been transmitted into loving doing twisty things with the rules to either help others or to get out of jams. He's always most animated when matching wits with dangerous people in high-stakes situations (even after things go horribly, he still gets back on that horse), and he's just as clearly completely unhappy with dull routine.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Not overtly in personality but he's much shadier in his lawyer tactics in Seasons 2 and 3 compared to 1. He mostly cleaned up his Slippin' Jimmy attitude at the start of the series and only relied on cons because he was desperate. After reuniting with his old friend Marco at the end of Season 1, he starts conning because he likes it. Jimmy becomes noticeably colder and more cynical in Expenses. First in the scene in the bar where Kim becomes unnerved at his proposed con with the rude customer, followed by his dismissal of her concerns about what they did to Chuck. Then, when he meets the insurance agent, he uses Crocodile Tears while letting slip that Chuck was incapacitated so that the agent will jack up Chuck's premiums and maybe have him investigated. He's also more aggressive and opportunistic in his usage of Slippin' Jimmy tactics such as screwing over the obnoxious music store owners, the community service supervisor, and Irene Landry. As his probation and disbarment stretch on, however, he becomes more and more like Saul Goodman, and eventually starts using the name for his street dealings, proudly selling untraceable phones to known drug dealers and unloading his residual guilt about Chuck's death onto Howard, leaving the latter a broken wreck.
    • Taken even further in Season 5. He is invited to lunch by Howard, who in good faith expresses remorse for siding with Chuck all these years, attempts to bury the hatchet with Jimmy, and offers him a job at HHM. Jimmy's response is to take offense at the idea of Howard pitying him and secretly smash up Howard's car with a bowling ball later that same night.
  • Took a Level in Badass: When Jimmy's back is against the wall in Season 3, his Slippin' Jimmy tactical claws come out in full force whether it's against Chuck, the asshole musician clients, or the mean community service supervisor.
  • Toxic Friend Influence:
    • Downplayed Trope. Jimmy gets people to like him, even to become very loyal to him through his natural charm, but between their efforts to help him out of the jams he gets himself into and his attempts to help them through his illicit stunts, he ends up making others complicit in his schemes. This is shown especially effectively in Seasons 2 and 3, when Jimmy's fraud with the Mesa Verde documents, along with Chuck's determination to catch him out, ends up getting Kim and Ernesto involved with the result that Kim is wracked with guilt and Ernesto gets fired. Although in Ernesto's case, technically Jimmy never forced or encouraged him to cover for him or tell him about the tape, those two actions were Ernesto's choices alone.
    • It's further played up in Season 4 when his antics start to directly threaten the substantial, fulfilling career that Kim has built up, even as Jimmy's motivation is to get together enough money for them to become law partners again.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The ring on his little finger and the gold Rolex that he sported in Breaking Bad? Both were from his old friend Marco, who died of a heart attack during their last con job together. The Rolex especially was the last of its kind for their signature con.
  • Tragic Villain: The creators have talked about how, when they were creating the prequel, they agonized over "what makes Saul Goodman want to be Saul Goodman", and the only answer they could come up with was "...because he doesn't want to be Jimmy McGill anymore". And on a meta level, he has to go from main character, to side Plucky Comic Relief in Walter White's story.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • In "Pimento" after The Reveal that Chuck had been sabotaging Jimmy's career from the beginning, he doesn't rant or blow up as usual instead he coldly and calmly informs Chuck of his remaining inventory and makes it clear that they are through.
      Jimmy: I... I got you a 20-pound bag of ice. And some bacon, and some eggs, and a couple of those steaks that you like. Some fuel canisters. It's enough for three or four days. After that, you're on your own. I am done.
    • He is chillingly calm when he lays out Chuck's fate.
      Jimmy: Here’s what’s gonna happen: one day you’re gonna get sick, again. One of your employees is gonna find you curled up under that space blanket and take you to the hospital, hook you up to those machines that beep and whir and hurt. And this time it’ll be too much, and you will... die there. Alone.
  • Trauma Conga Line: While he’s unnecessarily got himself into a lot of trouble, Saul Goodman: hollow stepford Amoral Attorney wouldn’t exist if Jimmy had just got himself some therapy for both the shit that happens to him and his desperate need for approval. Even the Saul mask breaks occasionally in Breaking Bad, such as when Walt complains that he’s lost his family, or Mike threatens to leave him in a hole in the desert.
  • Technician vs. Performer: Jimmy is the performer to Chuck’s technical abilities. Jimmy uses the human aspect of the cases he follows, trying to make his clients look benign, and his wit and innate sense of humour to solicit sympathy from the jury and other lawyers. Chuck puts the facts and the law first showing all his acumen and gravitas; however, since his illness, he doesn't have enough confidence to look as intimidating as he once did. That's why Jimmy comes across as a varnished Ambulance Chaser, while Chuck looks like a solid professional who is, unfortunately, clearly past his prime.
  • Troubled Child: His dad wonders where he got to know words like grafter and Chuck’ maintains that he has basically been a criminal since he was nine, so Jimmy’s issues seem to have started when he was very young. It is implied that his parents’ financial difficulties compelled them to neglect him, counting on his much older brother as a surrogate parent, and that this is the reason why Jimmy started to worship him. It is not a surprise that Jimmy tried to recreate his dynamic with Chuck with probably the worst person he could think of, Walter White.
  • Undying Loyalty: Despite sometimes fucking her over to "protect" her, he'd do anything to keep Kim safe. He actively worries that he's bad for her, and he ends up begging Mike to keep him in the loop because he can't take the thought of anything happening to her. In "Point and Shoot", he's willing to die at the hands of Lalo if it means that she gets a chance to escape, and in "Saul Gone" he throws away a very favourable plea bargain and confesses to take the rep for her.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • Jimmy may have taken the job at Davis & Main just to make Kim happy, but this hardly excuses his unwarranted, reckless behavior at the firm that ends up making Kim and Howard look like fools for recommending him. Cliff even gives him a second chance out of sheer benevolence, when he could have just as easily fired him... only for Jimmy to take advantage and try to get fired without cause this is the only way to keep his signing bonus.
    • Goes further with this trope when you realize that the Mesa Verde scheme affects Howard as much as it affects Chuck. Whilst Jimmy's anger at Chuck may be justified as his brother tried to steal Kim’s bigger client, his blanket-scale reckless revenge towards HHM isn't justified considering Howard had a hand in recommending Jimmy to Davis and Main, a job which Jimmy screwed up.
    • In Season 4, Kim rightfully calls Jimmy out for being ungrateful towards all the times she has bailed him out of trouble.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: By tipping off the insurance company about Chuck's mental illness, Jimmy starts a series of events that snowball and end in his brother's suicide.
  • Villain Cred: At the end of the series, he goes to prison for life but his actions as "Saul Goodman" ensure that he'll be respected by his fellow inmates.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Chuck is sixteen years older than him, was expected to be a surrogate parent, and they're extremely co-dependent with each other. For a long while, Jimmy would do anything to get his respect and approval. Even when he's rebelling and being the worst he can be, as himself and as Saul, Chuck is always on his mind. Eventually, he is able to coming to terms with his guilt, admitting that, while Chuck was deeply flawed and treated him badly, he should have tried harder to understand him and build a healthier relationship with his brother.
  • Wounded Gazelle Warcry: Jimmy pushes his emotions down so much that he can only admit how he’s feeling as part of a ruse to get something.
    • In ‘’[1]’’, he does have a lot of reasons to be upset, but gets into Crocodile Tears territory when he starts going off (“accidentally”) about his brother being mentally ill and screwing up, just wanting to pass along the misery.
    • In [2], he openly admits that his petty rivalry with Howard was Driven by Envy because he seemingly had his brother’s respect and he didn’t, but it is only to stop his wife to make questions about the circumstances of Howard’s death.
    • When he eventually caught, he cynically attempts to use the fact that he was kidnapped and threatened by Walt and acts as a victim in front of Marie Schrader, the widow of Hank, to get a favorable plea bargain. He later admits that he was genuinely terrified, and it did effectively traumatise him, but that's no excuse for his choice to help Walter create his meth empire.
  • What You Are in the Dark:
    • Faces down Tuco Salamanca and persuades him to spare the lives of his two accomplices, convincing him to merely break one of their legs each instead of torturing and killing them. It was his fault that they were there, to begin with, but he had nothing to gain and everything to lose by risking Tuco's wrath for their benefit and did it anyway.
    • Later an even more literal example takes place - Jimmy's offered a bribe to cover for the Kettlemans, it's dark and the words "no one will ever know" are uttered. He accepts, but it takes surprisingly long to convince him.
    • In the Series Finale After being caught, he is able to negotiate a plea bargain that would result in an incredibly generous (by the standard of the crimes he has committed) prison sentence. Even after multiple warnings from the judge, he insists on coming fully clean about everything he did and accepting the full consequences, resulting in an 86-year sentence.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Jimmy hates the desert, since a lot of his more traumatic experiences happened there.
  • Would Harm a Senior: Subverted. He ruins Irene's social life in an attempt to get Sandpiper settled, but when faced with the consequences of his actions, he immediately regrets it and tries to get Irene her friends back.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: Convinces Erin from Davis and Main to help him out himself to the residents of Sandy Piper as the Manipulative Bastard he was to them in a last-ditch effort to reconcile Irene with her friends, after his previous attempts failed. He was fully aware of how much he meant to them, and that he would miss out on a massive paycheck for the settlement of the lawsuit.

"The fact is, Walter White couldn't have done it without me."
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