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August 20, 2014

Bob Odenkirk Talks About 'Breaking Bad's' Final Episodes

by Piet Levy, posted Jun 5th 2010 3:30PM
Bob OdenkirkIf you've got one of the darkest, most intense shows on television and you need to lighten the mood, you better call Bob Odenkirk.

Odenkirk, a former 'Saturday Night Live' writer, is perhaps best known for writing and starring in HBO's late cult hit sketch comedy series 'Mr. Show With Bob and David' (David being comedian David Cross).

Currently, he plays sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman on 'Breaking Bad,' the bleak, suspenseful AMC drama (Sun., 10PM ET). Goodman is White's (Bryan Cranston) obnoxious fix-it man, with a questionable law degree and even more questionable ethics.

In an interview with TV Squad, Odenkirk didn't offer much in the vein of spoilers. He promised that the last two episodes remaining of the show's third season, ending June 13, will be intense. No surprise there. But he did say that before this season ends, "The water gets hot around Saul ... uncomfortably hot."

"It's really fun that the stakes are going up," Odenkirk said. "The stakes have been pretty low for Saul. He's a consultant and he takes some money off the top and no harm done to him, but maybe he could be in a little bit of a spot, and he doesn't like that. ... I can't really tell you much more. I just think you should enjoy Saul getting played."

So who's going to play him? Is it possible that Goodman's goon Mike (Jonathan Banks), who's secretly working for White's drug king employer Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), double-crosses Goodman on Fring's behalf?

Or, more interestingly, will White's wife Skyler (Anna Gunn), an uptight do-gooder slowly succumbing to the allure of her husband's criminal lifestyle, take some drastic action to get Goodman, a man she doesn't have faith in, out of her husband's affairs?

And how hot of a spot will Goodman get in? Will he go to prison? End up dead? Or maybe he'll worm his way out and seek revenge?

Bob Odenkirk, Breaking BadOdenkirk, of course, wouldn't say. He said he does daydream a bit about Goodman's eventual end during the interview -- perhaps Goodman dies fleeing naked from gunmen in the desert, or maybe he's the one person who gets away with the money. That leads one to believe that Goodman likely isn't going anywhere anytime soon, but with Odenkirk developing a new comedy show for FX, you never know.

Either way, Odenkirk's Goodman, who became a series regular this year after a few guest spots in season two, has made a great show even greater, providing juicy comic relief to contrast the dark places most of the main characters have traveled. That's no easy feat, considering that tragedy on the show runs rampant. Goodman, like many characters on the show, is deeply amoral and corrupt, and so the pitch black comedy the role evokes matches the show's palette.

But he's more than just a clown. Goodman's so unabashedly, unapologetically slimy, and delivered with such assurance by Odenkirk, that the guy, unscrupulous though he may be, is actually pretty likable. It's a role, that while funny, requires more acting chops than the absurd sketch characters Odenkirk's accustomed to delivering, particularly when the man Odenkirk shares most of his scenes with is two-time Emmy winner Cranston.

"A lot of comedy is about total commitment. A lot of comic performance is about committing to a ridiculous scenario or a character and just going," Odenkirk said. "In a lot of ways, that's what drama acting is too. The only difference is in comedy you can get pretty wild with your characterization and you can break rules because it's funny. In drama, you can't get crazy with the character. You have to find out where the character lives, how far they're willing to go.

"It's not like what I've done before," Odenkirk acknowledged. "I work hard on it and I hope I'm making the right moves ... Each time I get the script I break it down and look at it and think about who this guy is and think about what's driving him ... It's a really fun challenge."

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