Jonathan Banks Talks ‘Better Call Saul’s Newest Character & Mike’s Security Breach

Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut - Better Call Saul _ Season 4, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures Television
Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

AMC’s hit spinoff series Better Call Saul continues to wow its audience week in and week out with riveting stories and this week’s “Coushatta” is no exception.

From Lalo’s big entrance to Mike’s security breach, there was a lot for viewers to digest. Luckily, TV Insider had the chance to chat with the show’s star and Breaking Bad vet Jonathan Banks about the game-changing episode.

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Below, see what Banks had to say about the biggest moments from “Coushatta,” which star from Breaking Bad he’d like to see Mike run into, and what his character really thinks about Gus (Giancarlo Esposito).

Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo "Gus" Fring, Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut - Better Call Saul _ Season 4, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Banks and Giancarlo Esposito in Better Call Saul.

Gus seems to trust Mike. Does Mike trust him?

Jonathan Banks: No. The short answer is no. Mike is never so blind as not to know that the people he’s dealing with are crooks and murderers, and he would not be wise to depend on them. They’re in business, that’s what they’re doing. Mike recognizes that [Gus]’s a formidable guy, let’s put it that way.

Fans know Mike doesn’t take half measures. Was his warning to Werner (Rainer Brock) a half measure or a full measure?

Absolutely [a half measure]. You’ve got to remember that this is before the “Half Measures” speech [Laughs], so Mike is still probably taking in and having sympathy for people.

We’ve seen some pretty emotional moments from Mike this season such as the support group outburst; would you say he may be softer underneath the hard façade?

There are guys since the dawn of man that have gone off to war and been brutal warriors and come home and have been the most gentle of fathers, neighbors, husbands — it’s not uncommon. And it’s not uncommon to this day, that our men and women go off and fight our wars for us and they come home and they’re gentle people.

Rainer Bock as Werner, Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut - Better Call Saul _ Season 4, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Banks and Rainer Bock in Better Call Saul.

Mike vouched for Werner and his team but is he having regrets?

Well, I think Mike is worried that not only will it come back to bite Werner but come back to bite Mike and the security. This is really not a wise thing. It’s like any secret — every time you turn to a friend and say ‘this is between you and me,’ [Laughs] you’re taking a chance.

We were introduced to Lalo, a character referred to on Breaking Bad. Will that interfere with Mike’s work?

That is a possibility, let’s put it that way. I’ve gotta be careful what I say here.

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Mike declined Jimmy’s (Bob Odenkirk) proposition. Will we see you two back together before the season is through?

Bob and I don’t make many connections. After four seasons, we’ve only had a handful of scenes together and that will continue at least until the end of this season.

Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut, Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill - Better Call Saul _ Season 4, Episode 3 - Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Banks with Odenkirk in Better Call Saul.

You’ve played this character for some time now. Is there anything that surprises you about him still?

I don’t know if it so much surprises me. I like this character more and more and more, and I thought it was the greatest of characters from the very beginning. But there are things sometimes… My knowledge of this character after eight years is different sometimes [than the writers] and I so respect my writers and they take me to wonderful places at the same time. Sometimes I have a different opinion.

Do they ever take your opinion into consideration?

Absolutely, I think I’ve said this before – way back in Breaking Bad when Vince [Gilligan] was directing the show. I said, ‘Whatever’s happened to Mike has to do with his son, and wherever Mike lost his soul, it has to do with his son,’ and Vince said, ‘Well, hmmm.’

And two or three years later when they were gonna do Better Call Saul and when I came aboard, Peter (Gould) said to me, ‘Do you remember when you talked about your son?’ And indeed that’s where the monologue in the first season that I talk about the death of my son [came from].

So yeah, I mentioned something and there it appeared. Now did it take a couple of years? It did, but it’s not uncommon for them either. They will throw out something and all of a sudden it will appear again, and I just love that.

Skyler White (Anna Gunn) and Marie Schrader (Betsy Brandt) - Breaking Bad - Season 3, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC

Anna Gunn and Betsy Brandt in Breaking Bad.

More and more Breaking Bad ghosts have appeared this season. Is there anyone you’re hoping to see return?

You could almost name anybody, quite honestly, because this has just been a wonderful experience. It’s one of those things where it’s a pleasure to go to work. I could go right down to the cab driver that when Mike is shot, and I get in the car and he drops me off at the veterinarian’s. He’s the guy who knew where the veterinarian was to stitch me up — that actor that drove the cab is a good actor [Laughs] and I would love to see him again, and it goes on and on and on and on.

Somebody I would love to hook up with and I would love to do a scene with, is Betsy [Brandt, who played Marie Schrader], if Betsy ever appeared… She’s a close friend and oh my god she just makes me laugh.

Very few shows go on to have successful spinoff series. What makes Better Call Saul different?

The writers and I will tell you that, without Bob Odenkirk delivering the way he did, none of us would be there. Look at what Bobby Odenkirk did, you know, you go back to Breaking Bad and say look at what Bryan [Cranston] did. And were they surrounded with good actors? They were, but it took their performances to get it off the ground. There’s a lot that contributes.

Better CallSaul, Mondays, 9/8c, AMC