How the ‘Better Call Saul’ Writers Created the Perfect Con | NYT

How the ‘Better Call Saul’ Writers Created the Perfect Con | NYT



“The big question
of this show is how does a decent guy
become dead inside, at least morally?” “When I started ‘Breaking
Bad,’ I was always worried about giving the characters
a problem that I didn’t see a way out of.” “So what now?” “My philosophy has
changed over the years. And in the writers' room,
if we can’t figure out how this character is going
to deal with this problem, maybe the audience
can’t either. In episode seven, Jimmy’s
sidekick is arrested.” “He’s a cop.” “We’ve written
ourselves into a corner. Then we’re like,
all right, great. Now, we have to
get him out of it. What do we do? What comes next? The cop was assaulted. How do you get away with that
in any way, shape or form?” “You know, we came up with
so many different ideas, but I think the thing
that got me excited was just the idea of
an ocean of letters.” “A ‘Miracle on 34th
Street’ kind of scene.” “Are you prosecuting
Santa Claus?” “Your honor?” “Because it looks like
‘Miracle on 34th Street’ in here.” “We came up with the idea of
this letter writing campaign and the idea of Jimmy
having to travel all the way to Louisiana to get the right
postmark on these letters.” “How does he write
these letters? He’s switching hands,
and switching pencils, and using different
grips, and so forth. Those handwritings are still
going to start to converge. So he needs to get some
people to help him with this.” “Ah, Jeanetta. Very nice. I like the hearts
over the I's. It’s a real nice touch. Would you like to
do some postcards? It’s $0.50 per.” “Yeah.” “Different pens, please.” “O.K.” “He’s a kind man and a
good friend to everyone. Jesus, they do make him
sound like Santa Claus.” “This one has a phone number.” “Let me see this.” “In the best scam,
the mark feels smart. And that was where the whole
idea of doing the telephone gag came in. We want the ADA to be able
to make a call to anybody and find out that
this is true.” [organ music] [ringing] “Hello, there. Free Will Baptist — Pastor Hansford speaking. Who this?” “His lines of what he
would and wouldn’t do, and who’s an appropriate
target and who is not — they’re fading very quickly.” “But here’s a moment
when Jimmy comes alive. And it’s because
he’s risking a lot and he’s getting
to play a role. He’s using this
Louisiana accent.” “I’m going to step
into the vestibule.” “Which, to be honest
with you, is something that I saw him
do on 'Mr. Show.'” “Now, this all reminds
me of a humorous story of the traveling salesman.” “Oh, there we go. Have you set a date
yet for Huell’s trial?” “No, not yet.” “Well, would you
do me a kindness and ring me up when
you do because we got a couple of charter buses. We’re going to bring the
whole congregation up to y’all in Albuquerque.” “As writers, you’re always
fascinated with someone who’s creating their own reality. We’re hoping to have
the audience suspend their disbelief. And the con artist is hoping
to suspend the disbelief of his or her mark.” “We are con artists. We are trying to
con the audience into believing that these
are plausible fictions.” “Bless you and I look
forward to meeting you.”

35 Comments

  • Laura Buska says:

    Marco would be proud.

  • Real Tech says:

    Oh dear, now we've got yup wait till 2020 for season 5. The long wait

  • Eduardo Chernajovsky says:

    Vestibule lol

  • jaime delgado says:

    the wait for this new season to drop is killing me

  • Agustín Baletti says:

    I love how the finale of BCS S5 will be great for sure, and I think it will paralell the epicness of Breaking Bad, but s4 already crafted the best ending for Jimmy just as s4 of BB did for Walter.

    "I won"

    "It's all good man"

    Those lines ARE the scene and ARE the ending circle of those characters. But 5 always goes forward and shows the down hill of what they have got themselves into

  • MELEKH HA OLAM says:

    It was an horrid Louisiana accent, and not only the accent but the omissions of letters, etc.

  • MrSofaKing says:

    I don't know why, but I just love the way Jimmy says "He's a cop." It's so casual. He's basically like "Oh, you knucklehead."

  • mag rlop says:

    i better stop reading the comments bc I just finished watching season 3 on Netflix and now i have to wait till next year for season 4…awww…I don't have the patience to wait for one episode a week on TV. But can't wait, loved BB, love BCS…

  • Estrella Avila says:

    FB: Estrella Avila

  • VITTORIA ALBESIANO says:

    Senator Tankerbell omg 😂
    This con was amazingly cunning, it was so fun to watch

  • SoccerNurds says:

    That con is good on paper but it has so many people involved in it, so many strangers. No real criminal would ever put their trust in so many strangers. The show and the writing are magnificent, but this wasn't one of their best plots tbh, I was thinking they were gonna get caught and that's how Saul loses her, then got disappointed it worked out. Still thinking it could come back and bite them, it only takes a weak link to unravel the case and destroy her life.

  • Bruce lee's grandson says:

    The greatest show In the world alongside breaking bad, the directing, stage sets,everything

  • Gary Gagnon says:

    This season seem to slow for me, but does`nt mean l`ll stop watching, still waiting on the real cold side of jimmy.

  • Joaquín Guzmán Loera says:

    Better call saul❤❤❤

  • ABHISHEK VERMA says:

    BCS is a masterpiece.

  • Ignez Maciel says:

    can't wait for season 5

  • Simson Garcia says:

    This is the best con without a doubt. My favorite episode of the season as well.

  • José Luis says:

    When was that episode of the letter writting? I can't remember it.

  • Putri Sejati says:

    It's all good man!

  • Ryan Parmelee says:

    I'm all caught up with Better Call Saul and I thought it was just "meh". Most of the characters aren't likable including Jimmy and the plot is extremely weak.

  • Craig Jacobs says:

    I love Better Call Saul, but Jimmy is not a "decent guy". There is certainly one aspect of him that is decent but it's often swept aside or overshadowed by his egotism and willingness to be a conman. With each good act that he does, the audience is left anticipating how he will find a way to pervert his good act or what bad thing he is going to do next that nullifies the good he (thought) he did.

  • blimy01 Maynard says:

    "How can a decent guy become dead inside?"

    I hear this all the time about this show "when will Jimmy become Saul"… I would like someone to explain to me how anything "Saul" did on Breaking Bad is morally worst than what "Jimmy" did to Mrs. Landingham on Better Caul Saul.

  • softbatch! says:

    There are still good writers out there!

  • Matthew Gilligan says:

    This episode was gold

  • Ghostly Savage says:

    I love this show so much

  • Nathan J Thomas says:

    usually spinoffs never work out …. but boy better call saul is the best spinoff till date

  • GandalfAndFerg says:

    spoilers much

  • Daan van Meurs says:

    Remember that phonecall with Jimmy as the priest? Jimmy makes up a story about Huell saving all these old folk from a fire. A few episodes later he talks with Wexler about how to get his lawyerlicence back and throws in the idea of saving a judge from a fire. Mmh. Must be something he feels guilty about doesn't it?

  • David LT says:

    I have a commute of 6 hours every Tuesday to university. This show is what kept me alive on this day of the week.

  • Kevin Canavan says:

    Somehow they made it even better than breaking bad.

  • Chuck Hutchins says:

    The Times has a YouTube channel? And it's not Paywalled! Huh.

  • Marco Cattelani says:

    0:43 cazzo ci fa Frank Matano tra gli scrittori di BCS?

  • Geraldine Porres says:

    Decent guy?

  • Pat Lynch says:

    Americans are using the word "amazing" way too much no days. I like this show but I am not amazed by it.

  • Fiama98 says:

    This whole episode was genius. Everyone assumed a protest or some kind, but I didn't see anyone predict a letter writing campaign, complete with phone numbers and web sites and actually traveling to Louisiana. I really want season 5 to get here fast. Part of me wants the show to go on forever while part of me wants to see it end just so I can see what happens.

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