As the phenomenon that is Breaking Bad draws to a close this season, we are heartened by the news that creator Vince Gilligan is contemplating a spin-off featuring sarcastic, snarky, shady lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk). Some of us were Odenkirk fans dating back to his tenures on two of the greatest ever sketch comedy shows, The Ben Stiller Show (1992-93) and Mr. Show with Bob and David (1995-1998), so we already knew he was a gifted actor and a comedic genius. But even for those who weren't familiar with Odenkirk, Saul Goodman quickly became a favorite character on Breaking Bad. I can't be the only one who got a little thrill every time a scene opened with a shot of that storefront with the hideous blow-up doll Statue of Liberty on top.
Here's a look at some favorite moments featuring the crooked lawyer:
Season 2, Episode 8: "Better Call Saul"
It's hard to believe that we went more than a season and a half before Saul Goodman was even introduced. Then Badger (Matt Jones) got busted, by Getz (DJ Qualls), an impossibly young-looking undercover cop. Fishing for new clients, ambulance-chaser Saul arrives and tells Getz to stop questioning his client: "There are laws, detective. Go have your kindergarten teacher read them to you. Go grab a juice box, have a nap. Go on."
Later, when Walt (Bryan Cranston) questions the wisdom of using Saul, Jesse (Aaron Paul) points out, "When the going gets tough, you don't want a criminal lawyer; you want a criminal lawyer." But when Saul refuses an offer of $10,000 to make sure Badger doesn't rat out his supplier, Walt and Jesse decide to kill him. Or at least threaten to kill him. A lot of lawyers might be put off, but Saul goes with the flow, eventually coming up with a plan to have another man take the fall by posing as "Heisenberg" for Hank (Dean Norris) and the DEA. For a sizable fee, of course.
Season 2, Episode 11: "Mandala"
After Combo (Rodney Rush) gets murdered over a turf dispute, Walt and Jesse are even more unhappy with each other than usual. When they start arguing in Saul's office, he tells them, "Guys, guys. Who do I look like, Maury Povich? I'm not your marriage counselor. You're professionals. Act like it." He later gives them some "tough love": "You ready for this? Here it goes: You two suck at peddling meth. Period." And he's absolutely right.
Season 3, Episode 2: "Caballo sin Nombre"
When Jesse asks Saul (for a sizable fee) to buy the house of his estranged parents for a low-ball price, he meets with them and their snooty lawyer and breaks the bad news about his inside information on the property: "I looked over your signed disclosure statements, and I don't see any mention of a meth lab. [shuffles documents] No. No. Oh, you got your termite inspection! That's good. But no meth lab. Now some would call that fraud in service of concealing a felony. I myself am more open-minded. But, it is tricky..." Naturally, Jesse's parents are in no position to argue.
Season 3, Episode 7: "One Minute"
After Hank beats Jesse to a pulp, Saul, a "silver lining" kind of guy, shows up in the hospital room to give Jesse the good news, showing him a photo of his mangled mug: "You see that? That's your 'Get Out of Jail Free' card." Later, when a contrite Walt shows up, Saul tells him, "You're now officially the cute one of the group. Paul, meet Ringo. Ringo, Paul."
Season 3, Episode 11: "Abiquiu"
With Hank's medical bills piling up, Skyler (Anna Gunn) has finally (sort of) accepted Walt's career as a drug manufacturer. But she wants to be sure that the money they give the Schraders is unimpeachably clean, and demands to meet with Saul. Saul responds by complementing Walt's taste: "Clearly his taste in women is the same as his taste in lawyers: Only the very best, with just the right amount of dirty."
Later, trying to sell the couple on using a laser tag venue to launder their drug money, he's told that Walt's owning such a business "doesn't make sense," to which he responds, "It makes more sense than you two being together. I'm still trying to figure out how that happened." When Skyler insists that Walt has no reason to buy a laser tag, Saul explains, "It adds up perfectly. Walt's a scientist. Scientists love lasers. Plus they have bumper boats, so..." When Walt brings Saul to the car wash he plans to buy from Bogdan (Marius Stan), Saul asks him, "Is that you talking or Yoko Ono?" He tries to explain that their front business can be anything: "Let me tell you something, if you're committed enough, you can make any story work. I once convinced a woman that I was Kevin Costner. And it worked, because I believed it. Right? It has nothing to do with the story." Walt and Skyler just don't seem to appreciate the importance of having a "Danny" and end up insisting on the car wash.
Season 3, Episode 13: "Full Measure"
This is the episode where Saul shows his true colors, choosing to remain loyal to Walt and Jesse, and protect them from Mike (Jonathan Banks), even though he's terrified of the man. Saul later takes Walt to Jesse's hideout, the laser tag place. "Ever actually play laser tag?" he asks Walt. "Well, it's good cardio. Plus you get to shoot at kids." He later complains about the dilemma the pair has gotten him in: "My very own PI is threatening to break my legs! That's like Thomas Magnum threatening that little prissy guy with the mustache!"
Season 4, Episode 13: "Face Off"
As Walt's plans to murder Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) are coming to a head, Jesse gets busted again, and Saul shows up to advise him. At this point, Saul is pretty frantic about his own personal safety, and complains to Jesse, "Christ, you two. All I can say is if I ever get anal polyps I'll know what to name them." He expresses resentment about their involving him in their suicidal plot: "You two wanna go stick your w__gs in a hornet's nest, it's a free country. But how come I always gotta get sloppy seconds, huh?" But Jesse gives Saul some critical information about Tio Salamanca (Mark Margolis), which Saul relays to Walt.
Season 5, Episode 1: "Live Free or Die"
After things go wrong with Ted (Christopher Cousins), Saul goes to warn Skyler at the car wash that the police may call. He stresses that it's only a possibility, and advises her, "On the off chance, I want you thinking one thought: Hogan's Heroes. Sergeant Schultz. Remember Sergeant Schultz? 'I know nothing. I see nothing.' Remember how he... I want you like that." He later tries to quit as Walt's lawyer, citing Walt using him to poison little Brock (Ian Posada), but Walt, in full psycho mode, doesn't let him quit.
I know what you're thinking: A whole piece on Saul's best moments, and I didn't even mention Francesca (Tina Parker) or Huell (Lavell Crawford)! What else did I miss? What's your favorite Saul Goodman moment?