Saying goodbye to Michael McKean’s Chuck McGill … probably

Better Call Saul’s season three finale concluded with Chuck McGill meeting a fiery fate. We look back at the character Michael McKean brought to life.

Months after Breaking Bad ended, we would come to learn that the show was getting a spin-off. One focused on Walter White’s smooth-talking, sharp-tongued lawyer, Saul Goodman. At the time, I was among the crowd who was skeptical about the show’s potential success. Additionally, I was surprised to learn the show would be an hour-long drama rather than a 30-minute comedy about Saul dealing with wacky clients. Furthermore, I thought the idea of introducing Jimmy’s brother was odd, only because it would humanize a character that I believe only worked as a caricature.

Needless to say, I was wrong on all accounts, but none so much as the latter.

Now, three years later, it looks like we’ll be saying goodbye to Chuck McGill. A character who Michael McKean injected life into and made into one of television’s most intriguing.

Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) and Chuck McGill (Mike McKean) in Episode 4 Photo by Michele K. Short/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

Based on every comment I’ve heard from the cast and crew so far, Chuck McGill did in fact perish at the conclusion of Lantern. If that turns out to be the case, it’s a major blow to the Better Call Saul ensemble. Additionally, I hope that his exit from the show is able to net Michael McKean an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor. His work in the finale alone is deserving in my opinion.

With season three being Chuck McGill’s swan song, he was rightly featured as much as any other character this season, including Jimmy. That being said, there are two Chuck scenes that will stick with me going forward, and I’m sure you can guess them. The first, being Chuck’s meltdown at Jimmy’s bar hearing and the second being his relapse in the season finale. The two scenes serve to illustrate the extremes of Chuck McGill’s personality as well as the extremes of McKean’s acting talents.

Chuck McGill (Michael McKean) and Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) in Episode 10 Photo by Michele K. Short/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

Though he may have been the villain at times, it’s easy to be sympathetic toward Chuck and his battles with ego, insecurity and above all else, mental illness.

Goodbye Chuck McGill, and thank you Michael McKean.