EXCLUSIVE: Jonathan Banks has joined Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul, AMC/Sony TV’s upcoming prequel to Emmy-winning Breaking Bad that centers on Odenkirk‘s unflappable criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. Banks will be a series regular on the show conceived by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and Breaking Bad writer-producer Peter Gould. The prequel series, slated to debut on AMC in November, will chronicle the evolution of Saul before he ever became Walter White’s lawyer. The deal with Banks means that Saul will have his trusted private investigator/fixer Michael “Mike” Ehrmantraut by his side. Banks was a regular on Breaking Bad and played Ehrmantraut for 2.5 seasons after being introduced in the drama series’ second-season finale. A former Philadelphia police officer, Mike worked as the Head of Corporate Security at Los Pollos Hermano and enforcer in Gustavo Fring’s crystal meth operation. He later became involved with Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse (Aaron Paul), ultimately getting shot and killed by Walt in the Season 5A finale while trying to quit the drug business. Banks’ performance in the 2012 portion of Season 5 earned him an Emmy nomination, one of two for the veteran actor. (The first was for his role on the 1987 drama series Wiseguy).
Odenkirk and Banks are the only actors set for Better Call Saul so far. There has been a lot of speculation about which characters from Breaking Bad would make the transition to the prequel. In an interview, Gilligan had suggested that Mike would be a character he would love to see on the new series. Jesse also has been talked about, with Paul and Cranston both stating publicly they would like to be part of the spinoff. The Better Call Saul gig further expands Banks’ relationship with Sony TV, where he currently recurs on the studio’s NBC comedy Community. He also will be seen in the upcoming Horrible Bosses 2.