Better Call Saul Season 6: Who Are the Kettlemans?

The second episode of Better Call Saul season 6 features a blast from the past. Here is a reminder of how Saul knows Betsy and Craig Kettleman.

Craig and Betsy Kettleman in Better Call Saul season 1
Photo: AMC

This article contains spoilers for Better Call Saul season 6 episode 2.

The producers of Better Call Saul have already made it clear that the sixth and final season of the Breaking Bad spinoff will feature two of the biggest cameos possible in the form of Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul).

While we don’t know when Walt and Jesse will stop by Saul Goodman’s Albuquerque (or perhaps Gene Takovic’s Omaha), the first two episodes of the season reveal that there’s still room for other non-Walt or Jesse-sized guest appearances. In fact, the second episode of this final season, “Carrot and Stick”, reaches all the way back to Better Call Saul season 1 to reintroduce some (sort of) familiar old faces.

As Saul (Bob Odenkirk) and Kim (Rhea Seehorn) work out the details of their plot to frame Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) for “something unforgivable” they realize they need a very specific kind of patsy. They need someone to put the thought in Clifford Main’s (Ed Begley Jr.) head that Howard abuses cocaine by requesting his legal counsel. Obviously that person can’t be Saul or Kim because Cliff would know they were lying. It also can’t be anyone too trustworthy or else Cliff would be tempted to actually take the case and therefore discover that Howard doesn’t actually snort coke. Thankfully, Saul and Kim know exactly who to turn to: Betsy and Craig Kettleman (Julie Ann Emery and Jeremy Shamos).

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If you don’t quite recall who the Kettlemans are, that’s fairly understandable. The married couple was introduced in Better Call Saul’s series premiere “Uno” and were last seen in season 1’s episode “Bingo”. They are the first clients that Better Call Saul viewers ever get to see Jimmy McGill represent…sort of. The very transparently guilty Kettlemans don’t want an inexperienced, slimy lawyer like Jimmy representing them, but Jimmy has a hard time taking no for an answer. Here is the full story of Jimmy and the Kettlemans first go-around in season 1.

Craig Kettleman, who serves as the Bernalillo County treasurer, is accused of embezzling $1.6 million of public money. To fight the case, the meek Craig and his very domineering wife Betsy look for a lawyer. They come close to signing with Jimmy McGill before Betsy vetoes the relationship, noting that Jimmy is “the type of lawyer guilty people hire.” Still, despite that decision the Kettlemans aren’t really able to keep Jimmy or the rest of the Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill law firm out of their lives.

Jimmy goes through several outrageous schemes to get the Kettlemans to hire him. The first involves paying some skaters to get hit by Betsy’s car but they instead get struck by a car containing Tuco Salamanca’s abuelita. Later, Jimmy calls in an anonymous tip to the Kettlemans to convince them to go into hiding. He then tracks them down to a campsite in their backyard. After failing to convince them to hire him again, Jimmy and Betsy wrestle over a duffel bag which tears open to reveal a stack of cash that looks suspiciously like $1.6 million. Betsy offers Jimmy a cash bribe, which he tries to refuse but ultimately gets stuck with.

Through all of this, the Kettlemans…or more accurately Betsy Kettleman is adamant that Craig is innocent and he doesn’t deserve to do any jail time. They end up at HHM where Kim puts in an incredible effort to get Craig’s jail time reduced from decades to 16 months but Betsy rejects even that. 

The whole Kettleman saga of delusion doesn’t end until Jimmy finally comes up with one of his more brilliant schemes. He hires Mike Ehrmantraut to break into the Kettlemans home and steal the stolen money. Once Jimmy gains possession of the money, he sends it off to the district attorney’s office, then calls the Kettlemans and lets them know where the money is going and that now would be a good time to take Kim’s deal. Betsy balks but Craig finally grows a pair and takes it.

Clearly the Kettlemans, Betsy in particular, have not forgotten their history with the lawyer formerly known as Jimmy McGill. Saul is able to use that to his advantage, however, pushing the Kettlemans right into the path of Cliff Main and having them think it’s their idea. Ultimately, the Kettlemans work out Saul’s ruse but that’s where having a bulldog like Kim comes in handy.

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With Kim’s hard-handed intimidation tactics employed, this is likely the last we’ve seen of Betsy and Craig Kettleman. Kudos to them for making it out relatively unscathed.

Better Call Saul season 6 premieres new episodes Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.