'Better Call Saul': Jonathan Banks joins 'Breaking Bad' spin-off

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Image Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC

One of the big questions surrounding Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul has been: Will any characters from the original show be seen conspiring with shady criminal lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk)? The answer: You can Banks on it.

Jonathan Banks — a.k.a. lethal, world-weary fixer Mike Ehrmantraut on AMC’s acclaimed drug drama — has signed on as a series regular, the network confirmed today. (Deadline first reported the news.) The one-hour prequel, which is being overlorded by BB creator Vince Gilligan and co-executive producer Peter Gould, will focus on Goodman’s legal wheeling and dealings before crossing paths with chemistry teacher-turned-crystal meth king Walter White (Bryan Cranston). The casting of Banks makes sense: In addition to serving as the head of security for drug and chicken lord Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), and later partnering up with Walter and Jesse (Aaron Paul), Mike worked as a PI/cleaner in association with Saul. Banks joined Breaking Bad at the end of season 2 and received an Emmy nomination in season 5 for his role, which ended when [SPOILER ALERT] Mike was murdered by Walt.

Odenkirk and Banks, who is currently playing a criminology professor on Community, are the only announced cast members for Better Call Saul so far, though both Cranston and Paul, among others, have expressed interest in popping up on the show. In a recent interview with EW, Gilligan noted that Mike was the most logical character to wind up on Saul, but indicated that he might not be the only one. “I would say the sky’s the limit, at least theoretically speaking,” he said. “Realistically speaking, we’ve got a whole lot of actors, and the world is now well-aware of their wonderful talents and abilities, and therefore Breaking Bad has probably made it tougher for Peter and I to get some of these folks pinned down for another TV show.” He joked: “Better Call Saul could be The Love Boat of its generation, where instead of Milton Berle showing up in a sailor’s cap, hopefully it could be Aaron Paul, also in a sailor’s cap.”

Better Call Saul will debut on AMC in November.

More to come…

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