“Better Call Saul” has its work cut out for it when Season 3 premieres on AMC. Aside from the drama between the McGill brothers — Jimmy’s (Bob Odenkirk) forgery paving the way for Chuck’s (Michael McKean) revenge — and Mike’s (Jonathan Banks) pending meet-up with future boss Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), we can’t stop wondering about Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn).
In Season 2, Kim left her litigator position at Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill to open her own law firm — choosing to share rent and expenses with Jimmy. Her personal ties to Jimmy have proven destructive enough, but a professional union like this could end up leading to her own downfall.
We had a chance to speak with Seehorn about Kim’s Season 3 trajectory — sounds like her personal struggles are getting much deeper.
Heading into Season 3, I have to ask: How is Kim doing?
Kim is very challenged right now — inside and out. I think that’s very much what Season 3 is about. There are consequences for everyone, but in all different capacities: Business relationships, brother relationships, friendship relationships, romantic relationships… But also, there are consequences for everyone’s own internal struggles — and that’s very much what Kim’s journey is about this season as well.
How is Jimmy’s influence affecting Kim now that they’re sharing a workspace?
She’s struggling with accepting the bed she’s made, which is not just about protecting Jimmy, but about ill-gotten gains that she’s choosing to keep herself. I think she’s wrestling with the idea of “good and bad” not being the same thing as “legal and illegal.”
The stress of that is weighing on her, as much externally, and having it be about Jimmy, as it is internally about who she is at this moment. How does someone like Kim – that I think would prefer life to be a little more black and white – deal with it when it is alarmingly not so?
We all know Jimmy will eventually become Saul — do you have any theories on where Kim may be in that ‘Breaking Bad’ reality?
It’s bizarre they can make this much suspense in a prequel, where you know many of the endings. I’m fascinated by the genius of our writers in that way. Whether new characters or old characters, you’re somehow still in great suspense! I don’t have an outline, and I don’t know how it’s going to work out. But I love this idea of caring about things we didn’t set out to care about, worrying about things we didn’t set out to worry about — having much more curiosity about things we thought were inevitable, and obvious, as far as the endings of these characters.
Who knew Saul Goodman was a character we needed to know more about?
I’m fascinated by how wonderfully Bob [Odenkirk] has played it. He’s worked with the directors and writers to inform this character in ways that will forever change how I watch Saul. If I were to watch “Breaking Bad” right now, Saul would seem very different to me. I would wonder, How much of it was a mask? How much of it was him? Is there still a conscience there that he just suppresses in moments of high danger?
And those are the questions — when you talk about the series — where I wonder about Kim: She could not be there, but she could also be there. We never saw who he went home to, never saw who his friends were… Whether or not Chuck and Kim are there, I’m forever changed by their experiences through “Better Call Saul” — if again, I were to watch “Breaking Bad” now, I would know this is a man who, at least at one time, cared deeply about a brother, and a woman named Kim.
With three seasons of ‘Better Call Saul’ under your belt, what have you come away with?
I do feel personally affected by two facets of Kim: One is her stillness. And not only her comfort, but her love of being silent — and not filling silences when there’s no need to. That kind of economy of dialog and gesture, I admire it. That’s been fun to play and really fun to think about.
Legally, I continue the thoughts that I started when I read Scott Turow’s 1977 book “One L,” about a Harvard first-year law student. I read it when I first started the show, because I knew we weren’t going to be doing a procedural law show, that’s not what they were writing. They were writing about human beings who practice law, and how it affects them — and that’s very much what Scott Turow’s book is about.
It sounds like you really did your homework.
There’s a lot of information, legalese, and stuff that was helpful! But the majority of the book was about how it can alter someone, to study and commit themselves to practicing law. There are people who quit because of what it does to your sense of morality, and how you have to redefine good and bad.
Being a good person, being a bad person — all those intentions have no place in the courtroom. Some people feel irrevocably changed, they’re not comfortable with it at all, while other people cling to it as it begins to alter the rest of their world. It’s sort of this duality that some people can straddle, and other people have to put aside… [Which] continues to fascinate me about Kim, because that is very much a part of her struggle.
“Better Call Saul” Season 3 premieres Monday, April 10 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.