- Jimmy McGill, the lead of Better Call Saul, is just as bad as Walter White from Breaking Bad, despite receiving more slack.
- While Walt becomes less relatable as he transforms into Heisenberg, Jimmy’s intentions are often in the right place, but he still shows his dark side.
- Jimmy betrays his own family, ruins Kim’s life, almost kills an old woman, and scams innocent people, proving that he is just as morally compromised as Walt.
Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad chronicle their main characters’ journeys to becoming high-profile criminals, and Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) often gets more slack than Walter White (Bryan Cranston). This isn’t warranted, as the lead of Breaking Bad’s prequel proves he’s just as bad as Walt on numerous occasions. First appearing in Breaking Bad as Walter and Jesse’s (Aaron Paul) lawyer, Saul builds a reputation for providing comic relief. However, Better Call Saul digs deeper into his backstory, turning him into a more tragic character — and at times, a more despicable one.
Walt elicits less sympathy than Jimmy, as his transformation into Heisenberg makes him less relatable to the average viewer. Jimmy’s intentions are often in the right place, and it takes him much longer to fully transition into the infamous Saul Goodman. Additionally, Jimmy shows guilt for his most heinous actions in Better Call Saul, while Walt doesn’t seem the slightest bit remorseful until the very end of Breaking Bad. Still, the characters are less different than they appear. Jimmy shows he’s as bad as Walt in multiple Better Call Saul scenes, all of which bring out the darker side of the affable lawyer.
6 Jimmy Betrayed His Own Family In Better Call Saul
One of Walt’s most damning Breaking Bad scenes sees him attacking his wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn), leading her and Walt Jr. (RJ Mitte) to cower in fear. This moment drives home how much Walt has hurt his own family, and kidnapping Holly is the icing on the cake. Walt is also inadvertently responsible for Hank’s (Dean Norris) death in Breaking Bad season 5. Still, he does try to prevent his brother-in-law’s murder, and he ensures Skyler can’t be dragged into the charges against him. Walt treats his family abominably in Breaking Bad, but he doesn’t betray them. That’s more than can be said for Jimmy.
Jimmy betrays his own brother during Better Call Saul season 3, and it ultimately leads to Chuck’s (Michael McKean) death. Jimmy gets more slack for this, as he doesn’t purposely kill his brother. Chuck is also an unlikable character who goes out of his way to assure Jimmy’s failure. Still, Jimmy is very clearly in the wrong when he humiliates Chuck and gets him fired. It’s one of his darkest moments, and it paints him as worse than Walt.
5 Jimmy’s Actions Got Howard Hamlin Killed
Walt gets the blame for Hank’s tragic death in Breaking Bad season 5, but Jimmy also gets someone close to him killed during the final season of Better Call Saul. Although Jimmy’s relationship with Howard is far more tumultuous than Walt and Hank’s, Howard tries his best to be cordial to Jimmy. Chuck prevents Harold from ever truly helping his brother, and Jimmy responds with spiteful revenge. He and Kim spend the entire first half of Better Call Saul season 6 plotting against their former boss. When they successfully humiliate him, he pays them a visit. The end result is Harold being murdered by Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton).
It’s clear Jimmy and Kim feel guilt over Howard’s death, but Jimmy moves on much faster than Kim. Jimmy buries his feelings about the event and continues on his path to becoming Saul Goodman. He even works for the cartel again despite knowing what they’re capable of. Needless to say, he doesn’t feel that terrible about his role in Howard’s untimely demise. Even when he finally comes clean, it’s mostly for his and Kim’s sake, not Howard’s.
4 Jimmy Ruined Kim’s Life At The End Of Better Call Saul
One of the worst things Walt does in Breaking Bad is ruin Jesse Pinkman’s life. Not only does he kill Jane Margolis (Krysten Ritter), sending Jesse spiraling, but he forces his former student to stay in the meth game then hands him over to Jack Welker’s (Michael Bowen) gang. Jesse’s held captive and tortured, and it’s mostly because of Walt. While Walt does free him at the end of Breaking Bad, it’s too little too late. Jesse is broken and traumatized by the end of the series, and it’s clear the events of Breaking Bad will leave their mark on him for years to come.
Kim Wexler’s (Rhea Seehorn) arc mirrors Jesse’s, as Jimmy effectively destroys her life by dragging her into his scamming and scheming. Like Jesse, Kim is all too willing to join in. However, while Jimmy becomes a well-known lawyer after what happens to Howard, Kim gives up her entire career and flees. As far as viewers see, she never meets her full potential. Without Jimmy, she might have become the lawyer she always dreamed of. Instead, she gets a bleak ending in Better Call Saul, which concludes with her doing tedious administrative tasks for a sprinkler company rather than pursuing her calling.
3 Jimmy Almost Killed An Old Woman
A big reason Walt is viewed less amicably than Jimmy is because Walt is directly responsible for numerous deaths throughout Breaking Bad, some of which are premeditated. Jimmy tends to veer away from killing, sticking mostly to non-violent crimes. Even the deaths Jimmy is inadvertently responsible for aren’t premeditated. Jimmy doesn’t have much of a body count, while Walter purposefully kills several characters who threaten him and his family.
However, the future timeline of Better Call Saul proves Jimmy isn’t above killing if it benefits him. When he’s recognized as Saul Goodman, he considers murdering Marion (Carol Burnett) to keep her quiet. He never actually goes through with it, which may make him better than Walt. Still, Walt’s body count mostly consists of drug lords and their cronies, all of whom posed a significant threat. Jimmy’s willingness to hurt an old woman who could only call the cops on him seems more devious by comparison.
2 Jimmy Conned A Cancer Patient
While most of Walt’s victims antagonize him in some way, Jimmy scams many innocent people over the course of Better Call Saul. His lowest moment happens while he’s posing as Gene Takovic. He and his cab driver friend, Jeff (Pat Healy), begin conning seemingly innocent businessmen. They drug these marks, then break into their houses and steal their credit card information.
One of Gene’s targets is revealed to be a cancer patient, and he goes through with the robbery anyway. Given that this takes place in the post-Breaking Bad timeline, it’s likely Gene is eager to scam this cancer patient because of his resentment toward Walter. Still, it’s a pretty detestable move, even for him. Walt never preys on innocent people who are down on their luck, something Jimmy makes a habit of.
1 Jimmy Enabled Walt By Agreeing To Work With Him
Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad show how Jimmy becomes wrapped up in Walter White’s meth empire, and it’s a willing partnership on his part. He agrees to work with Walt at the end of Better Call Saul, and it leads to everything that unfolds in Breaking Bad. When it comes down to it, all the pain that Walter causes leads back to Jimmy. Unlike Walt, Jimmy’s responsible for the fallout his own crimes and someone else’s.
That’s the beauty of Better Call Saul, but it’s also a testament to the fact that Jimmy is just as bad as Walt. Jimmy may not sell meth or kill people directly, but he stands by as Walt does it. He also helps Breaking Bad‘s lead get away with it, proving he deserves his fate at the end of Better Call Saul.