Peter Gould, executive producer and one of the co-creators of the award-winning “Better Call Saul,” has been having a lot of sweaty palms and sleepless nights in recent weeks. The anxiety he has been facing is related to the final episode of “Better Call Saul” being broadcast starting at 6 p.m. tonight (Aug. 15) on AMC and AMC+.
The spinoff series has been a ratings and social media success for the cable channel since it launched Feb. 8 2015. The lure was that Bob Odenkirk was reprising his role of criminal lawyer Saul Goodman that originated on “Breaking Bad.” This prequel set in the first half of the 2000s in Albuquerque showed the transformation of Jimmy McGill into Saul Goodman. The final will be the 63rd episodes airing over six seasons.
Gould knows the finale of any TV series can be a major hit or a massive miss. He’s confident fans will be happy with the last days of Saul.
“I think the thing that I’m most proud of is I think the show, it’s true to itself. And we’re playing in the same court that we started with, and I think that’s an accomplishment,” Gould says. “But whether people find it in all their dreams and hopes, all we can do is hope.”
Vince Gilligan, the other executive producer and co-creator, has been surprised at how less anxious he has been for the finale of “Better Call Saul” than he was for the ending of “Breaking Bad.” He’s not certain if it is just a matter of his being older but he finds himself less inclined to stress as much as he did when he was younger.
The person who should be the most stressed with the finale is Odenkirk. Any pressure he was feeling went away once he saw the script for the finale. Odenkirk praises the writers for finding a way to wrap up the series while maintaining the heart of the show.
Odenkirk adds, “I think the other reason I’m not stressed out is over the course of six years, I feel like the audience has been amazing, just amazing. And they are dialed in to what this show is about. ‘Breaking Bad’ is such a huge monster show, and it is a cornerstone of television.
“And so I was always concerned about that show casting the wrong dimension onto our show as we found our feet. But I don’t think it’s happened. I think we’ve been allowed to find our own place to live and our own what matters to this show, the place this show lives in. I think this ending goes right to the heart of where this show found itself.”
“Better Call Saul” launched in the shadow of the critically heralded “Breaking Bad.” It did not take the spinoff series long to prove it was worthy of its own praise as it has already earned 46 Primetime Emmy Awards, 15 Writers Guild of America Awards, a Peabody, 14 Critics’ Choice Television Awards and six Screen Actors Guild Awards.
The show found a massive amount of success despite Odenkirk’s early predictions. He wasn’t worried about comparisons to “Breaking Bad” because he never expected anyone would watch “Better Call Saul.”
“I give all the credit to the audience and to the critics for being sensitive and paying attention, But also, I give credit to Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould who didn’t have ‘Breaking Bad’ run until you were exhausted by it,” Odenkirk says.
The cast of “Better Call Saul” also includes Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian, Michael Mando, Tony Dalton and Giancarlo Esposito.
Don’t waste too much time worrying about what Odenkirk will do now that “Better Call Saul” has ended. AMC has ordered a new series starring Odenkirk for 2023 called “Straight Man.” The series is based on the novel of the same name by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo. Odenkirk will play the unlikely chairman of the English department in a badly underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rust belt who is dealing with a mid-life crisis
Odenkirk says, “I’m looking to do something different. I’ve really, really enjoyed this. This has been crazy. And, to some extent, I don’t think I’ll ever have anything as wide-ranging as this character has been. The dynamics of this character are crazy. I get to do pure comedy, and I get to do pure drama.
“And it’s just nuts that I get to do that in the same show. On the other hand, I think the fun of acting, one of the reasons to go into showbiz – as far as I’m concerned – is to do different things. I don’t understand somebody who wants a job for 30 years that’s the same job. But, you know, God bless them.”