While Better Call Saul has done an incredible job at shading in many of the backstories of minor players from the Breaking Bad universe, it’s also introduced many wonderful new characters. One such character is Rhea Seehorn’s Kim Wexler, a forward-thinking professional that very much embodies many of the finer legal skills that Jimmy is lacking. In spite of their differences in both work ethic and regular ethics, the two seem to understand each other like no one else.
Watching Jimmy’s slow descent has been an immensely appealing aspect of Better Call Saul, but so has been watching the gradual love story between Jimmy and Kim. Season three sees the two of them sharing an office and caught in a particularly volatile situation.
With Kim being a crucial part of the show’s third season, we got the opportunity to check in with her regarding the new positions that Kim and Jimmy find themselves in, the strange trajectory of their love story, and just how far Kim is willing to “break bad” for Jimmy this season.
DEN OF GEEK: What’s been the most exciting thing about playing Kim this season?
RHEA SEEHORN: I think it sort of starts with where we were going with Kim in season two. She sometimes get to be the moral center of the show, as people have pointed out. At the same time, her need and comfort level with understanding that black and white matters—but also good and bad ones—are not the same thing as being legal and illegal. Her moral center truly starts to get tested. Everything from Jimmy pointing out to her that no matter how hard she works there can still be forces at play working against you. There are so many people in this show with alternate agendas.
And then of course there’s all the stuff with the Masa Verde case at the end of season two. So season three is very much about consequences, both with external and internal challenges. I think the characters are being forced to change from forces that are on the outside as well as on the inside. They write the characters so well and then that is married to a fan base that is also so intelligent. It’s great to watch these characters evolve and devolve and figure out their layers, like an onion.
I’m glad you brought up consequences, because at least in these first two episodes there’s a lot about Jimmy’s past actions coming back to bite him in the ass. But I think vulnerability is also another really big thing this season, not only with Kim and Jimmy, but also people like Mike.
Yeah, agreed. I’m very grateful that the Kim character, in spite of not being from the Breaking Bad world is still a new character for people to get involved with. Structurally and dialogue-wise she’s a dream. I’m just so grateful to follow her so closely and that the writers are so aware of who she is and how to depict her struggle because so many of her problems are internal! But you’re right, there’s a vulnerability there that’s always there, but there’s also that question of her listening to her conscience.
She has this ride or die mentality where she might have wanted to give Jimmy up, but she also kept Masa Verde for her own reasons. She can be like, “Well, these are ill-gotten gains, and I’ll never have to explain why, but I’m moving on.” She has her own issues with ambition, not just here, but it’s difficult lesson for her in particular to learn that good and bad isn’t the same as legal and illegal. It’s not a meritocracy. That’s not how life works. Things are almost never black and white.
On the topic of Kim and Jimmy, it looks like there’s a bit of tension between them this year in regards to them being partners and working together. Can you talk a little bit about the weird evolution of their love story?
Well first of all, yes! I don’t care which characters you’re dealing with, if you don’t show that there’s some tension present when two people that are going out begin working together, then you’re crazy. And then you talk about these particular two people, who are also sort of loners—it always kind of cracks me up that these two always find a way to actually inhabit each other’s personal space in odd ways. People have complimented their relationship in the show and said that it seems to be really solid and based on friendship. It’s also not like there’s a ton of sex scenes or that we’re snuggling and kissing all the time.
It’s even fun to play with that tension in the workplace scenes. It’s fun being allowed to be mad at each other—or even for Kim, a specifically female character on television—being allowed to say “Get out of my way! You’re being annoying,” and not have to make that “okay.” There’s something deeply intimate about that kind of relationship. They still know they’ll be seeing each other at breakfast. And all of that is fun to play.
Then off course there’s also the struggle of how they both see law differently. Not just how they see it differently, but also the evolution of how Kim is looking at the law and the evolution of how Jimmy is looking at the law. Because Kim is having her own challenges where she’s like, “Wow, this is not a meritocracy. This is not value-based in terms of legal and illegal…” Tension certainly has no place in the courtroom either, so it’s hard. All of that’s hard for her.
What’s crazy is that you guys add a nice wild card into the mix with Francesca, a paralegal, who also happens to be someone Kim isn’t entirely comfortable hiring. What does this extra person bring to their working relationship? She keeps bringing up Cracker Barrel!
Cracker Barrel was brought up once before when Jimmy is showing Kim a corner office. He says it’s a good in with elderly clients. Apparently there’s a lot of love for Cracker Barrel in that community. It was not surprising to me at all that when it comes to hiring someone in their office, it has very little to do with who it is. I don’t care who it is that comes in there.
Kim just has massive control issues. I think everything that Kim has gone through recently has made her even more jumpy on these things, like what you see in that perfectly shot scene where Kim struggles over whether she should use a semicolon or a comma.
Oh my God! That scene was one of my favorite Kim moments ever. That moment—
RHEA SEEHORN: It’s so her!
Yeah! It speaks so many volumes for her. it says everything.
I love it. Like how perfect is it that Kim working on a case that she now knows is illegally obtained manifests itself in her not crying in a corner but agonizing over punctuation for seven hours. It’s so bizarrely internal and character-specific and I don’t think there’s a person watching who doesn’t understand those days you’re having where you just desperately need to control something because everything else has spun out.
What’s perfect is that Jimmy just goes back to painting. Like he knows Kim is going to be all night with this.
I love those sequences on the show. The very first scene we have together, on Kim’s exit you can see in the background on the left that she picks up the trashcan that he’s kicked in, straightens it out, and goes. That’s not scripted or anything. It’s the same thing as Jimmy going back to painting. It’s this economy of gesture and assuming the intelligence of your audience to be right there with you on their ride. That they not only see it, but they understand the comment on the relationship that it’s providing. It instantly lets you know that Jimmy loves her for who she is, not for who she isn’t. That this has happened more than once. Clearly. And that they both increasingly see each other for where they’re at in the moment.
The animosity between Chuck and Jimmy is crazy this year, with Chuck rallying especially hard against Jimmy. It seems like at this moment he’s never been in greater need for a confidante and ally like Kim. It brings up the question, how far do you think that she’ll bend the rules for Jimmy?
It’s an interesting question. It’s a continuing struggle and challenge. Not just for these characters, but also for the viewers. How comfortable are you watching these people’s actions? How far is too far? With Kim, I don’t think she’s blinded by love. I don’t think she’s foolish. She’s been impulsive, and she’s made decisions that seemed doable at the time but then consequences later came aboard.
That being said, I also have to deal with her internal challenges of what’s altering her line in the sand. Kim from the beginning saw Jimmy in a certain light, but by the time Jimmy becomes Saul, she might look at him in a very different way, and then what does that mean? That’s very interesting to me because these writers have never forced a thought on a character. Everything is so natural. The character has to evolve in order to be able to handle what’s going on with them in the moment.
Better Call Saul’s third season premieres on AMC on April 10th at 10 p.m.