Why Mike Ehrmantraut Is the Baddest Motherf***er You'll Ever Meet
When Better Call Saul got the official green light, everyone knew the titular lawyer from Breaking Bad would be on board. But when it came to rounding out the rest of the cast, there was one name at the very top of the list.
“When we started...Vince [Gilligan] and I were kicking around...who from Breaking Bad should be on this show?" Saul co-creator and executive producer Peter Gould recalled on a recent episode of the Better Call Saul Insider Podcast." And we both knew right away it has to be Mike."
While the choice seems like a no-brainer in retrospect, it made us think: What would the worlds of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul be without Mike Ehrmantraut? Without Mike, who would Saul Goodman turn to when he needs to erase a mess that he or his client made? Who would Gus Fring rely on to ensure the stability of his operation? Who would Nacho turn to when he has no one else?
As a Philadelphia cop and father in his former life, Mike has a unique set of life experience that makes him the guy that people want to lean on when things get rough. His formal military training means that he knows how to operate under the radar. He can also aim a gun when his life depends on it. But possibly the most important thing is his will. His love and dedication for his widowed daughter-in-law Stacey and granddaughter Kaylee means that he will do everything in his power to care for them and see that they are provided for.
When you combine heart, experience and skill, and apply that to the dark underworld of the cartel, you’ve got a weapon in human form. You've got Mike Ehrmantraut, the baddest motherf***er you'll ever meet. To prove our point, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite moments from the world-class crank below.
When He Fought Tuco for the Greater Good
Mike has seen enough to know that what you do can come back to bite you, even years later. That’s why when Nacho comes to him out of desperation, asking him to kill Tuco, Mike knows that this will only lead to issues down the road. Sure, Tuco will be dead, but do we really think the Salamanca family won’t come hunting for who did it?
So the question is, how does Mike get Tuco out of the picture without making matters worse for Nacho? The answer: get him locked up. Of course that’s easier said than done. One member of the cartel cannot just waltz into the police station to turn in another member of the cartel without bringing heat down on himself, or making a formal deal which turns him into an informant. All options that lead to a likely death.
Luckily Mike is a lot more creative than that. And he's even willing to take a serious beating for the sake of the job:
When He Beat Out His Competition
Sometimes you have to go the extra mile to get the job you want. When Mike shows up for a security job to protect Pryce, he finds he's one of three guys that have been hired. One of the three isn't impressed by the looks of Mike and suggests to Pryce that he let Mike go and split the pay between the himself and the other guy. The guy continues to build his case, noting that Mike isn't carrying a gun, so he's useless.
Mike suggests he doesn't need one. When the guy continues to mouth off, implying Mike is stupid for even thinking going in without a gun is an option, Mike suggests instead that he'll use one of his guns. The guy pulls out his gun and hands it to Mike, offering to make it easy on him. "You can make it less easy," Mike says, encouraging the a**hole. So the guy does, he turns the gun around and points it at Mike's head. Then the fun begins:
When He Tracked Down His Trackers
Mike is no stranger to keeping an eye on people for his jobs. That’s why it’s no surprise that when someone starts watching Mike, he’s all too aware. When Gus has his men put a tracker on Mike’s car, he gets right to work.
Step 1: Find and remove the tracker from the vehicle so they can no longer track your whereabouts. Mike drops it his on his property, so to Gus and his men, it looks like Mike never leaves. Step 2: Find out who the Hell is tracking you. Mike puts together a tracker of his own and places it back on his car.
At first glance it may not be obvious what he’s doing. But what Mike knows that most people don’t is that the tracker runs on a battery. The guys that placed it there are going to have to come back and replace it with a new one. Then, he waits for it all to fall into place because once it does, he can follow the people who are following him:
When He Hurt Hector With Just a Pair of Sneakers
The tracker those men pick up leads Mike to the middle of the desert where he finds a phone waiting for him. Mike answers it when it rings and hears a strange voice asking him to keep weapons away so that they can have a discussion. Mike agrees to meet the man on the other end. That man is none other than Gus Fring.
Mike learns that Gus does not want Hector killed. For one, he could be suspected. Then there’s the other issue, which is that Gus wants Hector to suffer and for the Salamanca legacy to burn to the ground. So the two agree, Hector will live, but they will continue to disrupt his operation.
“When we were talking about what Mike would do to mess with Hector and his supply line, we knew we didn’t want to do another truck heist because obviously Mike had gotten someone inadvertently killed by doing that. So we wanted to do something that Hector wouldn’t even really know he had been there,” explains executive producer and writer, Gennifer Hutchison, in this behind-the-scenes video:
So, Mike gets to work on a plan that involves a pair of sneakers and a sniper rifle. With a little patience, Mike has one of Hector’s trucks dusted in meth as it makes its way to the border.
When He Made That (Critical) Shot
When Jimmy finds himself with a gun to his head and $7 million in his trunk, he knows better than anyone that he’s probably not making it out alive. But when the first gunshot goes off, Jimmy finds he’s still breathing. That first shot leads to many more as someone, somewhere takes down nearly the entire crew that had Jimmy surrounded .
Unfortunately, one guy gets away and that guy begins a cat-and-mouse game with Jimmy and Mike who are stranded in the brutally hot desert with few resources. After more than 24 hours, Jimmy is done and he steps out into the road in a last ditch effort to draw in the enemy. An exhausted Mike sets up his sniper rifle and takes aim:
Catch more of Mike in the all-new episode of Better Call Saul available now on amc.com and AMC apps for mobile and devices.
Don’t miss the Season 5 finale this Monday 9/8c. To stay up-to-date with all the latest news, sign up for the Better Call Saul Insiders Club.