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Every Better Call Saul Lawyer Ranked By Intelligence Level

"Better Call Saul" came to a conclusion in 2022, ending almost 15 years of storytelling that began with AMC's "Breaking Bad." The prequel series, co-created by "Breaking Bad" showrunner Vince Gilligan and fellow writer Peter Gould, centers on Bob Odenkirk's slimy criminal lawyer, focusing on the events that led him to become one of Walter White's most valuable allies. The show mainly follows Odenkirk's Jimmy McGill as he navigates the Albuquerque legal world while not playing by the rules. 

Throughout the series' 63 episodes spanning six seasons, many of Jimmy's fellow lawyers share the screen. While some are diligent adherents of the written law who oppose the unconventional tactics of the man who becomes Saul Goodman, others sink to match his depths, often with tragic results. Amongst the series' recurring cast, there have been plenty of lawyers who Jimmy McGill has crossed paths with over the course of the show, with varying degrees of intelligence that keep their relationship with Jimmy fragile. 

Some of these characters only appeared once or twice throughout "Better Call Saul," while others are featured heavily throughout the majority of the show's episodes. In the cinematic universe Vince Gilligan crafted over two shows and a Netflix movie, very few characters are wholly good or wholly bad, but their decisions are always a result of their own intelligence and common sense. Here is every lawyer we met in "Better Call Saul," ranked by their intelligence and legal acumen.

Robert Alley

Quinn VanAntwerp's "Better Call Saul" character, Robert Alley, briefly appears in Season 3 of the AMC series as a prosecutor who represents the New Mexico State Bar during their trial against Jimmy McGill. Though it's a minor role, Alley plays a memorable part in the scope of "Better Call Saul," as the episode "Chicanery" is one of the show's biggest turning points. As the trial goes on, Alley mounts a pretty inarguable defense against Jimmy's break-in at Chuck's house, despite Jimmy and Kim's rebuttal that his evidence lacks context. 

However, Robert Alley makes a pretty dumb mistake towards the end of the trial after Jimmy reveals he hired Huell Babineaux to plant a battery on Chuck to prove that his electromagnetic hypersensitivity is psychosis. In an effort to defend his client, Alley tries to insist that "Mr. McGill's mental illness is a non-issue," alluding to Jimmy's guilt being the same if Chuck supposedly had schizophrenia. Having taken one too many slights, Chuck lashes out in front of the court, exposing a lifelong hatred of Jimmy that results in one of Michael McKean's greatest performances.

Unfortunately, being the catalyst for this outburst makes Robert Alley one of the least intelligent attorneys to appear on "Better Call Saul." His opportunity to defend his client against Jimmy's tricks came at the cost of Chuck's entire reputation, ultimately resulting in the lawyer's death at the end of Season 3. 

Erin Brill

Erin Brill makes a significant appearance in Season 2 of "Better Call Saul," after Jimmy is employed by Davis & Main to assist in the Sandpiper class action lawsuit. Unlike the fast-and-loose Jimmy, Erin is a stickler for detail and a devout rule-follower. Being this kind of a type-A personality leads her to weaponize her intelligence against Jimmy on numerous occasions throughout Season 2 as Jimmy continues to bend the rules.

However, Jimmy also recognizes that Erin's attitude can help him make up for some of his most nefarious schemes. In Season 3, Jimmy has Erin chew him out in front of several senior citizens, accusing him of lying to them to get the Sandpiper case settled faster. Though it was all a ruse to do right by his clients, Erin re-affirms to Jimmy that she meant every word of what she said and has gained no respect for him since their days as co-workers at Davis & Main. 

Erin's final appearance in "Better Call Saul" is during the Season 6 episode "Plan and Execution" while managing the phone for remote callers in the Sandpiper settlement mediation. Though she's oblivious to Jimmy and Kim's influence on the events, her diligence and professionalism show that she's continued to be a valuable member of Davis & Main. Unlike Jimmy or Kim, Erin isn't prone to destroying everything she worked for. 

George Castellano

If any character in "Better Call Saul" embodies the word "sucker," it's Assistant U.S. Attorney George Castellano, who plays a major role in the series finale, "Saul Gone." After Saul Goodman is arrested in Omaha, Nebraska, Castellano leads the U.S. government's legal team to prosecute Saul for his crimes and connections to Walter White. With Hank Schrader's wife Marie in tow to chew him out, Castellano is confident he can lock Saul away for a life sentence plus 190 years. 

However, despite being in handcuffs, Saul Goodman is not one to give up. Saul's recounting of meeting Walter White paints himself a victim of the meth kingpin, as Saul slyly forces the U.S. government to realize that he can easily persuade a jury into believing him. Desperate for a plea deal, Castellano and the U.S. government negotiate Saul's life sentence down to 7 and a half years of imprisonment. 

After all that, Saul still finds a way to get the upper hand by confessing completely to his crimes during his plea hearing, contradicting his agreement with the government and Castellano, and reclaiming his identity as Jimmy McGill. In one fell swoop, Jimmy proves that he's smart enough to get the government to agree to a ludicrous sentence and still do the right thing anyway. George Castellano may ultimately be happy with Jimmy McGill getting 86 years in federal prison in the end, but he looked like quite the fool trying to get there. 

Paige Novick

Paige Novick, played by Cara Pifko, plays a supporting role in "Better Call Saul" starting in Season 2. She works as the senior legal counsel for Mesa Verde Bank and Trust, helmed by the stubborn and arrogant Kevin Wachtell. The company is recruited by Kim Wexler for HHM, though thanks to sabotage by Jimmy, they end up abandoning the law firm to hire Kim as a solo practitioner. While Kim often stresses herself over Kevin's demands, Paige is a friend and ally in her corner.

Nevertheless, Paige stands behind Kevin on some pretty not-so-smart ideas. Mesa Verde's planned expansion throughout New Mexico clearly worries Kim, though Paige remains oblivious to her lawyer's reservations against working for a bank conglomerate. Paige also completely supports Kevin's attempted eviction of Everett Acker, an elderly man whose home sits where Mesa Verde's new location in Tucumcari is supposed to be. 

In one of the biggest "gotcha" moments against Mesa Verde, Jimmy films several commercials libeling Mesa Verde as an attempt to get them to back off of Everett Acker. Though Kim was in on it, the rest of the Mesa Verde squad is completely sidelined by Jimmy's ruse as they all argue how obviously illegal it would be for him to air them. So while Paige is a loyal and competent employee of Mesa Verde, she clearly doesn't have the legal panache that either Jimmy or Kim possesses. 

Richard Schweikart

Richard Schweikart first appears in Season 1 of "Better Call Saul" as a legal representative of Sandpiper Crossing threatened with a class action lawsuit by Jimmy and his brother Chuck. Although Rich is as smooth and slimy as a lawyer can get, he rarely ever dupes someone like Jimmy McGill, although he gets pretty far while trying to play things by the book. 

What makes Rich a truly smart character is that he recognizes potential in Kim Wexler being wasted at HHM and offers her a job in Season 2, which Kim takes in Season 4 when she entrusts Mesa Verde to his firm, Schweikart & Cokely, and becomes the head of their banking division. Still, Rich is a tough nut to crack for Jimmy and Kim, as the lawyer suspects foul play when Jimmy, Kim's boyfriend, is hired by Everett Acker in Season 5 and confronts Kim about playing both sides. 

In an ironic twist of fate, Rich wins out in the end after Jimmy and Kim's scam to force the Sandpiper settlement humiliates Howard and forces HHM to abide by Schweikart's proposed payout. However, the true reveal of how intelligent Schweikart is comes in a 10-minute "American Greed" special for CNBC that aired as a promotion for the show's final season, where Rich gives testimony that Jimmy and Kim are "two smart cookies." Perhaps the lawyer knew who he was dealing with all along. 

Clifford Main

Comedy legend Ed Begley Jr. joined "Better Call Saul" in Season 2 as Clifford Main, founder of the Albuquerque law firm Davis & Main. On the recommendation of Howard Hamlin, Clifford hires Jimmy McGill to join their firm as an associate to assist with client outreach on the growing Sandpiper Crossing case. However, Clifford and Jimmy quickly clash when Jimmy airs a TV commercial that goes against the company's image. 

Eventually, Clifford snuffs out Jimmy's attempts to get fired, correctly deducing that Jimmy knows he can't quit Davis & Main and keep his end-of-year bonus. Though it makes him look like quite the sucker, Clifford fires Jimmy anyway to get him out of his hair. Though Clifford may think his association with Jimmy McGill ends here, he unknowingly becomes part of Kim and Jimmy's scheme to humiliate Howard. Clifford witnesses several planned instances where it appears Howard is associating with prostitutes and doing cocaine, creating his own suspicions against his friend and peer.

By the time Howard humiliates himself at the Sandpiper settlement hearing, Clifford has fallen hook, line, and sinker for Jimmy and Kim's ruse, even if in his heart of hearts he knows that Howard could be right. By the time Howard ends up dead, Clifford can't even tell Howard's widow that he never saw signs of Howard abusing drugs, proving that as much as he was a decent man, Clifford was perhaps Jimmy and Kim's biggest sucker.

Bill Oakley

Throughout the early seasons of "Better Call Saul," young upstart Jimmy McGill often butts heads with Bill Oakley, the deputy district attorney in Albuquerque. The character, played by Peter Diseth, first appears in Episode 2 of "Better Call Saul" during a montage of Jimmy McGill at the Albuquerque courthouse losing case after case after case. Oakley's ease in besting Jimmy in front of a jury is obvious, as he casually remarks, "Petty with a prior" to every one of Jimmy's pleas to lighten the load against his clients. 

Even well into Season 5, Bill Oakley is still in top form, gloating to Jimmy (now practicing under the name Saul Goodman) after a pro bono case in "Bad Choice Road," the penultimate episode of the season. Bill is even smart enough to ignore Saul after word gets around that he represented a cartel boss in Season 6. However, it would've served Oakley better to ignore Saul when the fugitive calls him from an Omaha prison in the series finale seeking a defense attorney — a case that even Odenkirk called an "impossible task" on Twitter

Though Oakley was constantly crushing Jimmy, and even Saul Goodman, in the court of law, his decision to represent Saul Goodman in front of the U.S. government is an obviously misguided choice given what he was accused of. Even his appeal to the judge to withdraw from the case is denied, meaning that Oakley's poor decision has likely cost him his reputation for the rest of his career. 

Suzanne Ericsen

Both Jimmy McGill and Saul Goodman have an easy job manipulating others, especially members of the jury. However, one person that neither Jimmy nor Saul can seem to dupe is Suzanne Ericsen, a deputy district attorney in Bernalillo County played by Julie Pearl. With every new scheme of Jimmy's that finds itself on her lap, she seems to sniff out something fishy going on. 

Perhaps the best example of this comes in Season 4 of "Better Call Saul." After Huell Babineaux is arrested for assaulting a police officer while protecting Jimmy, Jimmy enlists Kim's help to get Suzanne to reduce Huell's sentence. Their con, as the show's writers explained to The New York Times, drew inspiration from "Miracle on 34th Street," and sees Jimmy taking a bus to Huell's hometown of Coushatta, Louisiana, to mail hundreds of letters from locals who want Huell — a supposed hometown hero — to be acquitted. Despite her correct suspicions, Suzanne falls for it hook, line, and sinker. 

Suzanne re-appears in Season 6 determined to expose Jimmy's scams. In "Rock and Hard Place," Suzanne questions Kim on Jimmy's association with the Mexican cartel, having guessed that his client Jorge de Guzman is actually Lalo Salamanca, and asks her to convince Jimmy to confess. Although Jimmy does no such thing, it goes to show that despite falling for Jimmy's schemes on multiple occasions, Suzanne had the foresight to try to prevent Saul Goodman from breaking bad. 

Howard Hamlin

Poor, poor Howard. The CEO of Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill played by Patrick Fabian is Jimmy's main adversary in Season 1 of "Better Call Saul" until it's revealed that it was Chuck who was behind Howard's refusal to hire Jimmy all along. Howard tries his best to regain Jimmy's confidence and trust throughout the series, particularly after he blames himself for Chuck's suicide and subsequently seeks therapy while he attempts to help HHM recover from a financial crisis. 

However, some of Howard's slights against Jimmy can't be outdone, especially when Chuck's little brother slowly morphs into the criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. By the end of Season 5, both Jimmy and Kim have it out for Howard, deciding to pull their greatest con to simultaneously destroy his reputation and force a settlement for the Sandpiper class action suit, netting them a million-dollar profit. Despite the lengths they go to, Howard's not easily scammed and smells Jimmy's ruse from a mile away, leading him to hire a private investigator. 

Unfortunately, as much as Howard tries to prevent catastrophe, Jimmy and Kim are simply three steps ahead of him, and Howard blindly falls into their trap, making himself publicly look like a cocaine addict. His last action of showing up to their apartment to chew them out is, however, his most foolish moment yet. As Fabian told Vanity Fair, his character is "literally at the wrong place at the wrong time" when Lalo Salamanca arrives to talk to his lawyers and ends up shooting Howard.

Chuck McGill

Michael McKean's role in "Better Call Saul" is quite a far cry from playing the dim-witted lead singer of Spinal Tap. McKean debuts in the series' first episode as Charles McGill, Jimmy's older brother, an esteemed Albuquerque lawyer. Unfortunately, at the time of the show's start, Chuck is suffering from hypersensitivity to electricity, impeding his legal capabilities as Jimmy takes care of him. However, it becomes clear to Jimmy that Chuck's illness is psychosomatic rather than an actual physical allergy.

Chuck nevertheless remains determined to persuade Jimmy away from a life in law. One of his more brilliant moments comes at the end of Season 2 when he exaggerates his symptoms enough to coax Jimmy into confessing having sabotaged the Mesa Verde case. As Jimmy leaves, Chuck uncovers a tape recorder and stops it, having proof that Jimmy scammed him to help Kim, which he uses as bait for Jimmy to break into Chuck's house and corner him in front of several witnesses.

Despite Chuck's obvious brilliance, his aversion to accepting Jimmy is ultimately what kills him. After a humiliation in front of the State Bar in "Chicanery," Chuck completely cuts Jimmy off in what McKean told Entertainment Weekly reflects "some kind of duplicitous pride that comes into play." Tragically, getting Jimmy out of his life doesn't cure Chuck's mental illness, but tearing apart his house and burning it down with himself inside surely does the job. 

Jimmy McGill

Few characters in either "Better Call Saul" or "Breaking Bad" are able to best Bob Odenkirk's Saul Goodman in intelligence. Jimmy's upbringing in Chicago was an early sign of the schemer he'd become, pulling off bar tricks until he decides to take the straight and narrow, moving to Albuquerque and taking a job in the mailroom of Chuck's company, HHM. There, he meets Kim Wexler and passes the bar exam after taking online courses.

Things seem promising for a bright Jimmy McGill, though his discovery of Chuck's refusal to hire him sends him on a dark path. Using the same intelligence that helped him pass the bar, Jimmy becomes a force for evil, pulling elaborate cons and hoaxes to get what he wants. At the same time, his relationship with Kim acts as a conscience for Jimmy. However, unlike Kim, Jimmy doesn't have the perspective to jump from the ship as it's sinking. 

This lack of self-awareness results not only in Kim leaving him but also in Saul's opportunistic and doomed choice to pursue working with Walter White, which creates more devastation than Saul could possibly imagine. At the very end, Jimmy makes the morally right choice to confess, but not before showing off his intelligence by negotiating a ludicrous plea deal that would've lowered his sentence from life in prison to seven years. As Bob Odenkirk told Empire following the finale, he's glad that "the writers granted these characters the self-knowledge that I felt they always had."

Kim Wexler

Out of all the tragedies across "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul," few are as hard to come to terms with as the fate of Kim Wexler, played brilliantly for six seasons by Rhea Seehorn. After her numerous, unforgivable actions, she leaves Albuquerque, finding herself years later in Florida working a mundane job for a sprinkler company. All the intelligence, poise, and fortitude we had come to love Kim Wexler for is being wasted, but perhaps this makes Kim the most emotionally intelligent character in Vince Gilligan's cinematic universe.

When audiences first meet Kim, she's a bright lawyer working for HHM, carefully trying to steer Jimmy towards a life of doing good. However, just as Jimmy is entranced by a life of crime, so is she, and over the course of five seasons she slowly abandons the moral high ground for the thrill of the con. Though Kim proves to be the brains in some of Jimmy's most elaborate schemes, she quickly recognizes when they've gone too far after Howard is murdered in front of them by Lalo Salamanca. 

For Jimmy, owning up to his mistakes is a hard-won moment, but for Kim, it's all she can do. Whereas Jimmy needs a government prosecutor to corner him enough to admit his wrongdoings, Kim imprisons herself all on her own. Nevertheless, as Rhea Seehorn explained to Entertainment Weekly after the finale aired, she hopes that things become "a little bit brighter after this day" for Kim.