Is Saul Goodman a Bad Guy?

Is Saul Goodman a Bad Guy

The worlds of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul have captivated audiences with their intricate storytelling and complex characters, none more intriguing than the enigmatic criminal lawyer, Saul Goodman. Born James Morgan McGill, this shifty attorney has been a subject of much debate and analysis, with fans frequently asking: “Is Saul Goodman a bad guy?”

While this question might seem straightforward, the answer is anything but. In fact, Saul Goodman cannot be easily categorized as a “bad guy” due to the multifaceted nature of his character and his actions, which often straddle the line between morally corrupt and tragically flawed. In this article, we will delve into the character’s evolution, motivations, and moral compass, seeking to understand the intricate layers of Saul Goodman and the factors that have shaped him into the ambiguous figure we know today.

The Evolution of Saul Goodman

Before delving into the character’s morality, it is essential to understand how Saul Goodman came to be. The prequel series, Better Call Saul, offers a detailed look into the origins of James McGill, who eventually assumes the alias of Saul Goodman. As the series progresses, the transformation of the idealistic and ambitious Jimmy McGill into the morally compromised Saul Goodman becomes apparent.

James “Jimmy” McGill begins his journey as a small-time con artist trying to reform his life and become a respected lawyer like his brother, Chuck. Despite his efforts, he struggles to find legitimate success and is often undermined by his brother’s influence and the legal profession’s rigidity.

Frustrated and disillusioned, Jimmy slowly starts to bend the rules and employ his con artist skills to further his legal career. As his moral compass wavers, the character’s transformation into Saul Goodman becomes increasingly evident.

The Question of Morality

Is Saul Goodman a Bad Guy

At its core, the question of whether Saul Goodman is a bad guy revolves around the character’s morality. To understand this aspect, it is crucial to examine the moral and ethical choices he makes in both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

Throughout Better Call Saul, Jimmy McGill faces several moral dilemmas, often choosing to bend or break the rules to achieve his goals. He engages in various unethical acts, such as fabricating evidence, manipulating clients, and exploiting legal loopholes. Additionally, he has no qualms about representing criminals and helping them evade the law.

In Breaking Bad, Saul Goodman’s unethical behavior becomes more apparent as he becomes deeply involved with the series’ protagonists, Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. Goodman facilitates money laundering, suggests murder as a solution to problems, and offers his services to other criminals without hesitation. His moral compass is clearly skewed, and he repeatedly engages in illegal and immoral activities.

Understanding Saul’s Motivations

To determine if Saul Goodman is a bad guy, it is essential to examine his motivations. Are his actions driven by greed, ambition, or a desire to survive in a ruthless world? Examining his motivations offers a more nuanced understanding of the character and may provide insight into the question of whether he is a bad guy or not.

Jimmy McGill’s initial motivation is to escape his past as a con artist and become a successful, respected lawyer like his brother, Chuck. However, as he faces setbacks and struggles to find success in the legal profession, his motivations shift. Jimmy becomes increasingly driven by ambition, resentment, and a desire to prove himself, leading him down a darker path. When he finally assumes the persona of Saul Goodman, his motivations become entangled with greed and a willingness to do whatever it takes to survive and succeed.

Saul Goodman’s actions and morality are also shaped by the external factors he encounters throughout his journey. One of the most significant influences on his transformation into Saul Goodman is his relationship with his older brother, Chuck. Chuck’s condescending attitude towards Jimmy and his constant efforts to undermine him contribute significantly to Jimmy’s disillusionment with the legal profession and his eventual moral decline. This complex sibling relationship plays a pivotal role in pushing Jimmy towards becoming Saul Goodman.

Another critical external factor is the world in which Saul Goodman operates. The criminal underworld depicted in both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul is ruthless, unforgiving, and morally corrupt. As Jimmy McGill delves deeper into this world, he becomes increasingly desensitized to the unethical and illegal activities around him. It is important to consider how the harsh reality of his environment influences and shapes his moral compass and actions.

Moral Ambiguity

Both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul are renowned for their exploration of moral ambiguity, and Saul Goodman’s character is no exception. These shows challenge the conventional notions of good and bad, forcing the audience to question their own moral values and contemplate the complexities of human nature. This theme is particularly evident in Saul Goodman’s character, who oscillates between moments of genuine compassion and ruthless pragmatism.

Saul Goodman is not a one-dimensional character, and his moral ambiguity is what makes him so intriguing to viewers. He can be sympathetic and caring, as seen in his interactions with his elderly clients and his romantic relationship with Kim Wexler. At the same time, he can be manipulative and opportunistic, as demonstrated by his willingness to engage in criminal activities and exploit the legal system.

Is Saul Goodman a Bad Guy?

Is Saul Goodman a Bad Guy

So, is Saul Goodman a bad guy? The answer is not as straightforward as one might expect. While it is undeniable that he engages in immoral and illegal activities, his motivations, the external factors influencing his behavior, and the moral ambiguity of the character all contribute to a more nuanced understanding of Saul Goodman. He is a character driven by ambition, resentment, and a desire to succeed, who becomes entangled in a morally corrupt world that further skews his moral compass.

Ultimately, the question of whether Saul Goodman is a bad guy may be subjective and dependent on the viewer’s perspective. Some may view him as a bad guy due to his actions, while others may see him as a tragic figure who fell victim to his circumstances and ambitions.

Who Is Worse Saul or Walt?

Comparing the morality of Saul Goodman and Walter White is a complex task, as both characters are deeply flawed and engage in numerous unethical and illegal activities throughout Breaking Bad. However, one could argue that Walter White is worse than Saul Goodman when considering the severity of their actions and the consequences they bring about.

Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher turned methamphetamine manufacturer, becomes increasingly ruthless and power-hungry as the series progresses. His transformation from a meek, cancer-stricken family man to the feared drug lord known as Heisenberg is marked by a series of violent and morally reprehensible acts. These include cold-blooded murder, poisoning a child, and manipulating his partner Jesse Pinkman, among many others. Walter White’s actions lead to the destruction of countless lives and ultimately, the unraveling of his own family.

On the other hand, Saul Goodman, though morally compromised, operates primarily as a facilitator and enabler for criminals like Walter White. His actions, while illegal and unethical, are not as directly violent or destructive as those of Walter White. Saul does engage in activities such as money laundering, evidence tampering, and facilitating criminal activities, but he does not commit murder or produce drugs himself. Moreover, Saul occasionally displays a degree of empathy and concern for others, which is increasingly absent in Walter White as the series unfolds.

Who Is the Good Guy in Breaking Bad?

In the morally complex world of Breaking Bad, finding a definitive “good guy” is not a straightforward task. The show thrives on presenting its characters with moral dilemmas and showcasing their descent into darkness. However, if one were to identify a character who leans more towards the “good” side, it would be Hank Schrader, Walter White’s brother-in-law and a dedicated DEA agent.

Hank Schrader, played by Dean Norris, stands out as a beacon of morality and law enforcement amidst the chaos and corruption surrounding the other characters. Throughout the series, Hank remains committed to upholding the law and pursuing dangerous drug lords, including the elusive Heisenberg. Despite facing numerous challenges, such as PTSD from violent encounters and being misled by his own family, Hank’s determination to bring criminals to justice never wavers.

But it’s important to note that even Hank is not a perfect character, and he exhibits flaws such as arrogance and insensitivity. However, his adherence to the law and his tireless pursuit of justice set him apart from other characters in Breaking Bad, making him the closest thing to a “good guy” in the series.