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Recap / Better Call Saul S 1 E 6 Five O

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Mike goes out west with a bang.

In a flashback, Mike arrives in Albuquerque and waits for his daughter-in-law, Stacey, to pick him up. He ducks into a bathroom and applies a new bandage to his bleeding shoulder wound. Mike promises Stacey that he will stay as long as he can to support her and her daughter, Kaylee. Stacey is disturbed by this news, mentioning a heated phone call between Mike and his deceased son (and Stacey's husband) Matt a few days before his death. Mike tells her not to dwell on it. After consulting a taxi driver, Mike visits Dr. Caldera to have his wounded shoulder treated. Caldera offers to refer Mike for some "work," to which Mike declines.

In 2002, Mike is escorted by Philadelphia PD Detectives Sanders and Abbasi to the police station, and requests Jimmy as counsel. Mike asks him to spill coffee as a diversion so Mike can steal Abbasi's notebook. From it, Mike learns Stacey called the police after she found money Matt hid in a suitcase. After briefly losing his temper at her, he reveals the real story: Matt was a clean cop in a corrupt precinct, Mike included. Matt refused to participate, so Mike called him to admit he was dirty and counseled him to take the money, if only for his family's sake. Sadly, Matt's partner and his mentor, Officer Hoffman and Sergeant Fenske, killed him for fear that he might turn them in.


In another flashback, Mike breaks into a police car outside a bar in Philadelphia, then drinks heavily inside and tells Hoffman and Fenske that he knows what they did. When he leaves, stumbling around, the cops pick him up and take his gun. They ask Mike what he meant earlier, and he replies that he knows they killed Matt. Outside the city, Fenske convinces Hoffman to shoot Mike with his own gun and stage it as a suicide. Mike compliments Fenske on his plan; he was pretending to be drunk, and the gun they took off him is unloaded. He pulls out a second gun he stashed in the police car, killing Hoffman instantly. Fenske draws his pistol and fires back, hitting Mike in the shoulder, but takes a bullet in his neck for his troubles. Mike shoots Fenske in the head and gets away.

Presently, Stacey asks Mike who killed Hoffman and Fenske. "You know what happened," Mike wearily replies. "The question is, can you live with it?"



  • Absentee Actor: Everyone but Jimmy and Mike, especially notable as the only time so far Kim has been absent.
  • All for Nothing: Mike wanted Matt to throw away his principles and take the bribe in order to protect him from the corrupt cops he worked with. In the end, the cops killed Matt anyway.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Mike makes sure Jimmy is specifically his lawyer, knowing he isn't the most moral attorney out there while not being full-blown Amoral. Despite swearing that he'll do his job as needed, Jimmy ultimately agrees to spill the coffee to help Mike out, after being told about Mike's circumstances.
    • Mike's plan to kill the two corrupt cops who murdered his son has a number of these. Step number one is pretending to have Alcohol-Induced Idiocy, blabbing to the murderers he knows of their guilt. He then uses a variation of the Wounded Gazelle Gambit, tricking the cops into thinking he is too drunk to resist, so they pick him up in their car. Next, he allows them to search him and take his gun so they will let their guard down. Since they think he is defenseless, they don't search too carefully, missing the gun Mike had stashed in their squad car earlier. Then, he continues to feign drunkenness, revealing he knows exactly how they staged his son's murder, and vows to prove it. This gets the dirty cops to drive Mike to a secluded spot to put him down. This is precisely what Mike wants, since he now has an out-of-the-way location to murder these two, plus he didn't have to take his own ride, eliminating a key piece of evidence against him. Finally, when they try to use the gun they took from Mike to save themselves, it turns out Mike deliberately left it unloaded so they have no chance of defending themselves.
  • Broken Pedestal: Matt idolized Mike and was devastated when he found out Mike took dirty money as well.
  • Contrived Clumsiness: Mike hires Saul to spill coffee on a detective so Mike can swipe his notes.
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Mike and his family. Jimmy only shows up in one scene.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Mike kills Hoffman with a single shot, while he shoots Fenske several times until he dies.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Mike anticipates the corrupt cops will use his own gun to kill him and stage an Ate His Gun suicide. Since his plan accounts for the cops confiscating his weapon, he disables it so it cannot be used against him when he makes his move.
  • Never Suicide: The corrupt cops plan to make Mike's murder look like a suicide.
  • Ominous Walk: When Mike walks slowly up to the lethally wounded Dirty Cop who tries to crawl away.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Mike is shot in the shoulder during the shootout with the cops that killed his son but suffers no serious effects from it.
  • Plausible Deniability: As part of his plan to ensure he's never caught, Mike tells the bartender that he's heading to Albuquerque the next day to establish that he was already planning on going there.
  • Playing Drunk: Mike pretends to be completely wasted so that the corrupt cops lose their guard around him and don't anticipate that he set them up.
  • Posthumous Character:
    • All we learn of Matt's character is by other characters talking about him after his death.
    • Hoffman and Fenske were killed before the start of the series, though we see what became of them in flashbacks.
  • Present-Day Past: The opening depicts Mike arriving in Albuquerque on a New Mexico Rail Runner train; the series is set in 2002, but the Rail Runner did not begin service until 2006. Furthermore, it is quite odd that Mike would come in from the other side of the country on a local commuter train instead of Amtrak—unless it was an attempt to throw the cops off.
  • The Reveal: The episode explores the incident that led to Mike quitting the Philadelphia police. Namely, his son Matt, who was also an officer, was murdered by his partners because they were afraid he would rat on them for being Dirty Cops who took bribes. Mike murdered them in revenge and quit shortly after.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Fenske reaches his hand out to beg Mike to spare him. Mike responds by finishing him off.
  • Weapon Stomp: A variation; as Fenske reaches for his gun again, Mike walks up and steps on his leg to stop him from going anywhere.
  • What You Are in the Dark:
    • Jimmy tells Mike he is not going to follow through with spilling the coffee on one of the investigators, since he's aiming to stay on the straight and narrow as a lawyer. Mike doesn't buy it, and sure enough, after listening to what happened to Mike and his son, Jimmy follows through with the trick anyway.
    • Mike wants to observe exactly how Hoffman and Fenske would react to the threat of being exposed and turned in. Pretending to be drunk, he plays along with their suspicions and listens in on how they'd want to stage his death. Before killing them, he waits for a few moments to see what they'd do after he's trained his gun on them. Fenske desperately resorting to the empty pistol erases any and all remaining doubt about their true natures as Matty's killers.
  • You Killed My Father: Inverted. Mike kills two cops because they murdered his son.


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