Kim Wexler's relationship with Jimmy McGill on Better Call Saul has shown viewers a different side of the man they first met as Saul Goodman. "She enjoys him the way the audience enjoys him," Rhea Seehorn said of Kim. "I mean, she finds him frightening and scary sometimes, but they've seen Breaking Bad. Kim has not seen Breaking Bad, thank god. ... So she's a really good conduit for the audience seeing him in fun but also more complex ways."
As a character who isn't seen in Breaking Bad, Kim's open-ended future has worried fans since the beginning. "What happens to Kim Wexler?" showrunner Peter Gould asked. "Why isn't Kim Wexler on Breaking Bad? Was she at home, waiting for Saul Goodman? Before this season that would have seemed pretty outrageous. Now, I think it's almost an open possibility."
"The goodwill and the focus that Breaking Bad established with its audience, and how you were rewarded for watching it, carried over big time to Better Call Saul, so that we were able to do this slow, idiosyncratic show," Bob Odenkirk said. "The audience was there, going, 'We trust it. We know there's going to be a reward. Everything I'm watching is going to have meaning.'"
"The Jimmy and Kim relationship to me is super rewarding, owed in huge part to the fact that they actually allow us to evolve," Rhea Seehorn said. "Yes, it's fun doing the explosive crazy scenes, and they're great storytelling, but when they let us do the really quiet small stuff, and we have to just listen, and things can change on a dime because of the way somebody said something, that is when I feel the most authentic threads of the relationship."
Showrunner Peter Gould said Bob Odenkirk thrives on playing scenes that put Jimmy through the wringer. "He likes discomfort," Gould said of Odenkirk. "He loves scenes where he's in a dumpster, or he's out in the desert and his clothes are falling apart and his shoes are falling apart. Somehow when he has those moments, you start seeing what the character is made of."
A flashback to Kim Wexler's childhood in Season 5 has Rhea Seehorn wondering if she should take up the cello. When young Kim was shown with the instrument on her back, Seehorn asked writer Tom Schnauz for answers. "They liked specifically that she looks even smaller next to a cello, that it makes her even tinier in the picture," Seehorn said. "So that made sense. I don't know if I'm supposed ever play the cello on the show, because if so, I'm going to take a lot of lessons. I do not play cello."
When Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan first approached Bob Odenkirk about a Saul Goodman spin-off, Odenkirk gave them his trust. "The only thing I had to say about that was that you're going to have to make him likable. They both agreed immediately that the Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad was fun to watch, but not because he was inherently a good, likable person you want to be with," Odenkirk said. "You can watch him like you watch a car wreck. You can't turn away. But you don't really cheer for him. So they had to figure that one out, and they did. They invented who he was when he wasn't Saul Goodman, and that was a likable guy who was trying to figure out his place in the world."
"What we found out was, as the seasons went on, the thing that brought Jimmy and Kim together, that finally got them together as a couple, was scamming together," Peter Gould said. "Kim loves doing that. Why she does, and if there's something more to say about her past, is something that we're still mulling over. But it gives the two of them a spark, and the truth is that that spark leads them down a dark path."
"She really does not seem to care for people that she thinks got handed everything and people that didn't work for what they have, to a degree that is troubling," Rhea Seehorn said of Kim's complicated motives for scamming. "Because what would she do to right those wrongs that she's talking about, and where would it end if you were really to go about trying to wreak vengeance on the world about that? It could be a worthwhile fight, but I don't know if it's a winnable one."
It was a moment viewers had been waiting for — or dreading — when Jimmy finally began practicing law as Saul in Season 5. "Jimmy thinks he's found a way to be more honest about who he is by calling himself Saul Goodman," said Bob Odenkirk. "He's sort of being utterly honest with people by saying, 'I'm a phony presentation. I'm one side of myself to you, to the world.'"
Peter Gould compared Better Call Saul's shifting perspective to the way Breaking Bad's Jesse slowly took over for Walt as the character to root for. "We start off really invested in Jimmy, and rightly so," Gould said. "And as he becomes more Saul-ish, your allegiance subtly moves toward Kim, because she's the one who has the most to lose."
"Kim is a person who sees herself as the captain of her own ship. She sees herself as someone who is independent, who is clear-eyed, who makes choices for reasons that she understands and thinks through," said Peter Gould. "And I don't think anybody's going to corrupt her, but she could corrupt herself."
Peter Gould praised the cast's nuanced performances for helping to sell the show's visual storytelling. "We can ask them to give something in a look that maybe on another show you might have to write a couple pages of dialogue to put across, and it's tremendously liberating," Gould said. "It lets us make the show more visual and interesting and less about explaining what's going on."
"Maybe last season, or maybe even after Chuck dies, I thought ... if they wanted tragic, it's not necessarily the most tragic thing for her to just be picked off," Rhea Seehorn said of Kim's fate. "Her being in jail, her having to run, her altering herself or revealing herself to be so different that she actually could stay and tolerate what [Jimmy] does is equally tragic."
"Underneath all the nasty things he's done — and it makes it sadder to me — there's still Jimmy McGill who we first met, who just wanted his place in the world," said Peter Gould of Jimmy's actions as Saul. "He wants people to like him, and he wants love, and he wants all the things that the rest of us do."
"I think it's so smart and great that they have written, directed, and enabled this character to be someone that you have sided with in a way that you believe that she is on the right side of history," Rhea Seehorn said of Kim, whose increasing comfort with breaking the rules has forced viewers to confront how dangerously seductive it is to take justice into your own hands. "If she's somebody that can make people follow her, that's quite the weapon."
"The audience knocks me out. I mean, that they sit with us and focus and care on the level that they do is astounding," said Bob Odenkirk. "And I'm just in the best possible place you could be. I'm going to try to enjoy it and appreciate it for as long as it lasts, which is one more season."