'Better Call Saul' Revealed Mike's 'Breaking Bad' Backstory

This post contains spoilers for the "Better Call Saul" Season 1 episode, "Five-O."

Saul Goodman, née Jimmy McGill, took a backseat on Monday night's "Better Call Saul" so Jonathan Banks' Mike Ehrmantraut could shine.

Mike was first introduced on Vince Gilligan's "Breaking Bad" in Season 2 when he showed up at Jesse Pinkman's apartment to clean up the evidence of Jane's death. Little was revealed about Mike's past on "Breaking Bad," except that he was once a Philadelphia police officer who taught us to never choose half measures.

Episode 5 of "Saul" left off on a cliffhanger with two Philly police officers arriving at Mike's door. In the latest episode, we got a flashback to when Mike first arrived in New Mexico to visit his granddaughter and (nope, not daughter) daughter-in-law Stacey -- a backstory Banks had previously pitched to Gilligan during "Breaking Bad."

Mike revealed that his son, Matt, whom we never meet in the episode, used to work as a cop alongside his dad in Philly, but was killed by two dirty cops. Mike, the kind of guy no one can fool, figured this out quick and shot and killed the two cops in an abandoned part of town. Then Mike ditched Philly and hopped on a train to Albuquerque where Stacey and Kaylee were living (why exactly they chose New Mexico wasn't explained).

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Now in present-day "Saul," the Philly police question Mike about the officers' deaths, clearly believing he killed them. But Mike does what everyone in need of an extra hand would do -- call Saul. Saul/Jimmy shows up to "accidentally" spill coffee all over one officer so Mike can steal his notepad of the crime details (someone on Reddit transcribed it here).

The most touching part of the episode though was the final scene in which Mike tells Stacey the whole truth: Matt was a good cop, but Mike pressured him to take dirty money to protect his family and avoid jail. That's what got Matt killed, and Mike blames himself for it and begins to cry recounting the story -- yes, Mike Ehrmantraut actually cries and it's Banks' best performance yet. Now we can finally see why Mike cared so deeply for Jesse in "Breaking Bad," trying to save him the way he couldn't save his son.

"Better Call Saul" airs on Mondays at 10:00 p.m. ET on AMC.



"Better Call Saul"