Inside the Dangerously Appealing 'Breaking Bad'

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Bob Odenkirk:

A lot of people used to get high before watching Mr. Show and now you're on a show where people are constantly getting high.
Bob Odenkirk: Interesting. I'm not a big proponent of drugs despite the fact that they've helped my career. But look, it's like what John Lennon said, "Whatever gets you through the night."

What's your take on your character, Saul Goodman?
Vince told me at the beginning that Saul gets shit done. I don't know if he knows the law as well as he knows how to manipulate the legal profession. I like to think he knows the judges more than he knows the law. But he's on target, he knows what he's doing.

His waiting room is always packed.
It is packed, but it's always packed with real fucking losers. I think Saul sees Walter White as a gold mine, because he's sort of not a loser. He's a white man who's educated and wants to be stable. Even though he has plenty of business, I think Walter White is a big opportunity for him.

Like a lot of the characters on Breaking Bad, Saul isn't a good guy, but people like him anyway.
I don't try to put anything empathetic in him. The way I perceive him, he's a shark. He's trying to move towards the money and will eat through anything that gets in the way. Saul perceives himself as not engaging in anything in illegal. In his own mind, nothing he's doing is against the law. He's very careful not to do anything against the letter of the law. I don't think that makes him likeable, but in his own mind it makes him likable. I don't know why people like people who are doing bad things onscreen. It's certainly easier to like someone who's doing something awful onscreen than it is in the real world. When you meet horrible people, they tend to be people on some level. Saul's never done anything particularly sweet or kind. I think he looks at people that come to him as money in the bank. He's not in trouble, he's not on trial.

As a skilled comedian yourself, what makes him funny?
Oh, I think the Number One reason he's funny is because he's not in danger. His back isn't up against the wall. He's a lighter energy than anyone else that you're seeing. Everyone else on this show has everything on the line, it seems. Saul has nothing on the line. Yet. I say yet. He'll either make millions or not. And I think he's funny because it's always funny to see someone manipulate the truth to get what they want. And that's what he does. He literally will say anything to try and win you over. I think of Rod Blagojevich. Those characters are fun to watch. They're dancing right in front of you.

Is it odd being the one humorous element in a very dark show?
No, it's just a fun character to play. But I'm as serious about playing him as anyone else on the show. He may take a little less energy out of me than how I can imagine Bryan Cranston pours into Walter White. But I take this seriously and try to hold my own with these pros. But even with the heaviest characters, they're still saying funny things with a twist on what's going on.

Who are you rooting for in this series to come out on top?
I'm rooting for Walt but I don't think I'm going to win that bet. But I am rooting for the high school teacher who got cancer who wanted to make some money to save his family. I'm actually rooting for all the characters except maybe Saul. I'd actually like to see Saul die in the most amazing, crazy way, which I haven't thought of yet. Which isn't my choice but I told the guys if you want to kill him, go nuts. Make it flashy and big.

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