Not many thought that a prequel spin-off of Breaking Bad, one of the greatest television dramas of all-time, would be any good. However, Better Call Saul has earned its spot in the TV pantheon over its past five seasons and some believe it’s even better than its predecessors.
One of the best elements of Saul is that it manages to enact fan service through cameos and extended roles from Breaking Bad characters, but it never feels forced. While Saul has seen many Bad characters pop up in limited capacities, the following twenty figures are the ones with the most sizable roles on either series.
Everyone loves Huell! He’s one of the most fun (and most relevant to memes) characters from Breaking Bad and it’s always a treat to see Saul enlist his talents.
An expert pickpocket, Huell played a major role in “Chicanery,” one of Saul‘s seminal installments.
Ed Galbraith is the “no funny business” owner of a vacuum store whose abilities enable criminals to start new lives.
Played by the late Robert Forster, every Ed scene was gripping. He even made an appearance in El Camino as the same character!
What character, outside of Walter White, produced a sensation as iconic as Gale Boetticher singing “Major Tom” by Peter Schilling for karaoke purposes?
Gale also turns up in the fourth season of Saul, ahead of his death, as a consulting chemist on the Superlab’s construction.
“Lydia, oh Lydia, say have you met Lydia?” As one of Breaking Bad‘s final villains, Lydia was subtly terrifying and borderline sociopathic.
She’s maintained a fairly sizable role on Saul as an early collaborator with Gus Fring (more on him later). She’s still in a high-octane business position, but Lydia is clearly crooked already.
Don Eladio Vuente (portrayed by Steven Bauer) has turned up with regular frequency in the Breaking Bad universe. In terms of his Saul role, he’s appeared in the third and fifth arcs.
The Juarez cartel is a major faction in the criminal world of Albuquerque. As the leader, Don Eladio has as much power as he does menace.
Dr. Barry Goodman
Dr. Barry Goodman, as portrayed by JB Blanc, has a minor role on both series, but he’s still currently taking part in Saul as a member of the recurring cast.
Barry is the doctor who associates with Gus Fring. Every position in the world has the potential to go crooked. Likewise, even figures like Gus need medics.
Speaking of associates of Gus Fring, it’s been a treat to see Victor return in a minor capacity to Saul in the past three seasons.
In case Victor doesn’t spring to mind immediately, he’s a physical enforcer on Gus’ team and he’s played by Jeremiah Bitsui. His presence helps the Gus saga feel more rounded out.
Any story about Saul Goodman/Jimmy McGill has to include the innocent-seeming assistants who end up roped into his slippin’ schemes.
Enter Francesca Liddy, a woman who gets in way over her head with the criminal enterprises at stake. She’s ever loyal, though, and hopefully the audience we will see her again in the final season.
The Cousins, also known as Leonel and Marco Salamanca, are terrifying hitmen who work in prominent positions for the cartel.
Whenever they show up, hardcore business is certain to unfold. They’re among the most menacing pairs of any crime series and they managed to be intimidating on both AMC dramas.
One of the best recurring characters on Breaking Bad was Mark Margolis’ Hector Salamanca, the cartel leader who ended up in an explosive wheelchair at a New Mexico nursing home.
Saul‘s prequel status allows fans to see Hector as a man with more dignity and agency than he had on Breaking Bad.
Lawson is a fairly minor character in the grand scheme of the universe, but he’s made memorable by Deadwood‘s Jim Beaver performance behind it.
He’s just a gun dealer in the city, but it was awesome to see him turn up in Saul‘s second season, knowing he’d eventually cross paths with Heisenberg himself.
Another minor character made memorable by the performance is Ken, who is brought to life by perennial TV utility player Kyle Bornheimer.
Ken appears initially in “Cancer Man” from Bad‘s first season as an arrogant wealth machine who gets minor comeuppance from Walt. His cameo in Saul‘s second season was unexpectedly fun.
In the early days of Breaking Bad, Walt and Jesse faced off against minor antagonists who acted as big bosses before allowing them to level up to major criminal overlords.
Krazy-8 was one of these minor villains, who was part drug distributor and part narc. Fans have seen how Krazy-8 occupied this role since the second season of Saul.
Another early villain is Tuco Salamanca, played by Raymond Cruz. As such, Tuco also serves the role of an early antagonist on Better Call Saul.
If there’s ever another Breaking Bad prequel, it will have to include Tuco in the early seasons as an introduction to the drug world. He’s just a perfect liaison.
As season five of Saul moved the story closer to the drug angles of Breaking Bad, it required the return of everyone’s favorite DEA partner, Gomey.
Gomey had an unceremonious end to his character on Bad, so it was almost heartwarming to see him turn up alive and well, even if Saul is set in the past.
And what would Gomey be without Hank Schrader? Walt’s brother-in-law and a major DEA player in the Albuquerque region, Hank’s return in season five was seminal.
His role was way more than just a cameo. Hank’s role was crucial for season five’s drug connectors and there might be even more room for Dean Norris to come back in season six.
Of course, Gus Fring has been a major part of Saul since the third season. The most iconic Breaking Bad antagonist, Gus Fring has been a fan favorite for years.
Giancarlo Espositio remains excellent in the role, even if he mostly focuses on stoicism. It works, though. He just got an Emmy nomination!
Saul‘s initial entry into the world of prestige television was centered around Saul Goodman, of course, but it also featured Mike Ehrmantraut prominently.
It was so amazing to see how Mike and Saul began to know one another and the arc Mike has been on is one of the richest in the entire universe.
Of course, there is also Saul Goodman. Initially introduced as Jimmy McGill, fans see what Saul was like before Saul. They also see a little glimpse of what he’s like after Saul.
It’s a tragic downfall to be sure, but it’s filled with all the nuance and dynamic interplay of the greatest TV anti-heroes ever. No one knows where Saul will go in season six, but wherever it is, it’ll surely be stunning.