Kim Wexler is one of the most important characters in Better Call Saul, but that wasn’t the case until Rhea Seehorn stepped into the role. The Breaking Bad prequel, which ran from 2015 to 2022, featured a number of notable characters from the original series. Mike Ehrmantraut, Gus Fring, the Salamancas, and of course, Saul Goodman, further build on the fictionalized world of Albuquerque crime, along with a number of original characters. Of those original characters, series co-creator Vince Gilligan describes only having a “vague inkling” of what the writers wanted with Kim Wexler.
Kim’s Better Call Saul arc is one of the most fascinating. When first introduced to audiences, Kim is a highly respected lawyer at Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill with a vague familiarity with Jimmy. Throughout the series, Jimmy takes Kim under his wing, introducing her to his cons, which she excels at. Kim even grows to surpass Jimmy as a manipulative liar, and notably uses this ability to work them out of a deadly situation with Lalo Salamanca. Kim becomes a dangerous person, with her actions leading to the death of Howard Hamlin, a far cry from the supposed love interest the showrunners had in mind.
Better Call Saul’s Showrunners Didn’t Have Plans For Kim’s Role: How Rhea Seehorn Changed It
Vince Gilligan originally described Kim as an idea for “perhaps a love interest past tense, or potential love interest future tense,” and that she could “fall out of importance” later on. Then, Rhea Seehorn earned the role and spotted something in a brief pilot scene. After a tense meeting with Howard Hamlin, Jimmy kicks a trashcan repeatedly in frustration, then joins Kim outside for a cigarette, which he removes from her mouth, takes a puff from, then places back in her mouth. He says the words: “Couldn’t you just-?” She interrupts: “You know I can’t.” Kim fixes the trash on her way back inside. Seehorn analyzed this scene and had three main takeaways.
One, Jimmy and Kim had some sort of intimate relationship, be it past or present. Two, Kim has important boundaries about work. Three, Kim has gotten used to cleaning up after Jimmy. She also described that Kim “seems extremely specific about what she says and when she says it and, very often, prefers not speaking,” and that this was “really a position of power.” Seehorn’s performance in the pilot and subsequent episodes was spectacular, revealing Kim to the writers as being a massively important character.
Kim Eventually Became Better Call Saul’s Most Important Character
Despite having no original plan for the character, Better Call Saul essentially becomes the story of Jimmy McGill and Kim Wexler. Jimmy’s final action in Better Call Saul of changing his plea agreement, revolves around wanting to both vindicate and impress Kim, even if it means life in prison rather than the extremely generous seven years he had on the table. The show’s finale is about Jimmy’s hope for redemption, but Kim is at the center of his motivations. Jimmy sees her with a reverence and admiration that compels even the most dishonest con-man to take responsibility for his actions, in hopes of once again being on speaking terms.
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