One Of Breaking Bad’s Best Characters Wasn’t Supposed To Be In The Show

Jonathan Banks's ex-cop Mike wasn't originally in the show; Rita Seehorn revealed his character was created because Bob Odenkirk couldn't film the Season 2 scene disposing of Jane's body.

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

breaking bad cast
Jonathan Banks as Mike in Breaking Bad

The world of Breaking Bad spans two television shows and a movie, each filled with complex characters you should be rooting against. One of the cast, which started in the Bryan Cranston series before being prominently featured in Better Call Saul, is Mike, played by Jonathan Banks. Rhea Seehorn, the Bob Odenkirk-led prequel star, explained on The Rich Eisen show that Mike was only created because Bob wasn’t available to film a pivotal scene in Breaking Bad Season 2.

Jonathan Banks’s performance as the ex-Philadelphia cop up to his eyebrows in corruption but willing to do whatever it takes to give his granddaughter a better life brought Mike to life and made him a fan favorite. Hearing from Seehorn that if not for a scheduling quirk, it would have been Saul Goodman disposing of Jane Margolis (Krysten Ritter), Jessie’s (Aaron Paul) druggie girlfriend, would have dramatically changed the show. Goodman’s sleazy attorney being directly involved in disposing of a body instead of sending his taciturn associate would have added an unwanted sinister edge to the character.

While yes, Saul Goodman was never an actual good guy, having one of his first appearances as Albuquerque’s version of The Wolf from Pulp Fiction, would have undercut his lovable goofball persona. Worse, having no Mike means that some of Better Call Saul‘s best scenes would have never happened since his character was pivotal in the evolution of Slippin’ Jimmy. Never mind denying fans one of Breaking Bad’s most emotional scenes in the last season, the journey of the corrupt cop trying to come to terms with his choices helped elevate the prequel series to the level of one of the best television shows.

Another major change revealed by Rhea Seehorn is Michael McKeen as Jimmy’s brother Chuck, who evolved into one of Better Call Saul’s greatest villains. If not for McKeen’s performance, the role would never have been expanded, resulting in Jimmy becoming Saul Goodman in Season 1, which would have made for a very different and likely worse show. McKeen and Banks received Emmy nominations for their roles, proving that sometimes the best things on television aren’t planned; they happen organically.

jonathan banks
Jonathan Banks as Mike in Better Call Saul

Looking back over 10 years between now and Mike’s first appearance, it’s impossible to envision the series without him. Would Saul have been the one to try to separate Jesse and Walter White from each other with the most unexpected weapons of them all, kindness and respect?

What character would instead have served as a mirror of Walt’s obsession? After all, he embarked on a life of crime to provide for his family, but that just became an excuse; Mike did take care of his family instead of only talking about them to justify immoral actions.

Bryan Cranston and Bob Odenkirk received praise for their starring roles, but the Breaking Bad universe is the rare example of every actor, from top to bottom, bringing their best to the set and producing a work of art. Jonathan Banks Mike was an integral piece of the complete puzzle, and if he was missing as originally planned, the entire structure might have fallen. One twist of fate involving Odenkirk’s scheduling and Better Call Saul may have never happened.