When Saul Goodman first appeared in season 2 of Breaking Bad, it was clear from the beginning that Bob Odenkirk's sleazy, fast-talking lawyer was a breakaway character for the show. What wasn't as clear at the time was just how far he would break away, namely into his own spin-off series, Better Call Saul.
Better Call Saul is now in its second season on AMC, where the story of how small-time con man "Slippin' Jimmy" became the Walter White-enabling crooked lawyer of Breaking Bad continues to unfold. The pacing of the show is decidedly slower than its meth-addled predecessor, providing only momentary flashes so far of the man that audiences already know Jimmy McGill will become. Those hoping that Jimmy's metamorphosis would be complete by the end of season 2 should probably stop holding their breaths now, because season 3 is officially on the way.
AMC announced today that the series will be returning for a 10-episode third season, to be helmed by showrunners Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan. Gilligan was the creator and showrunner of Breaking Bad, and Gould worked as a writer, story editor, and producer on the series.
Charlie Collier, president of AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios, offered praise for the creative team in AMC's press release:
"What Vince, Peter, Bob and the entire team have accomplished with 'Better Call Saul' is truly rare and remarkable. They have taken one of the most iconic, immersive and fan-obsessive (in the best possible way) shows in television history and created a prequel that stands on its own. Watching Jimmy McGill's thoughtful, melodic and morally flexible transformation into Saul Goodman is entertaining and delighting millions of fans, whether their starting point was 'Breaking Bad' or not. This series has its own feel, pace and sensibility and we can't wait to see what this incredibly talented group comes up with next in season three."
The renewal does not come as a huge surprise at a time when AMC is struggling to find prestige dramas that resonate as strongly with audiences as Breaking Bad and Mad Men did. The network continues to draw its biggest ratings with The Walking Dead, but Better Call Saul has been a reliable source of viewers for the network as well. According to AMC, "The four episode live+3 ratings averages for season two are 4.4 million viewers per episode, including 2.7 million adults 25-54 and 2.5 million adults 18-49." In addition, the show has been nominated for a number of awards, including Emmy nominations for Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Jonathan Banks, and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drams Series for Bob Odenkirk.
Will audiences have to wait until season 3 to witness Jimmy McGill finally adopting the persona of Saul Goodman? Season 2 has seen him continue his slow and steady decline into the man who ends up in hiding as the manager of a Cinnabon in Omaha, but how long Gilligan and company will continue to tease audiences with mere glimpses of the inevitable is anyone's guess.
Better Call Saul airs Mondays @10pm on AMC