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The Real Reason Saul Has Bad Knees On Better Call Saul

One of the first details of Saul Goodman's character fans learn about in "Breaking Bad" is that the criminal lawyer claims he has bad knees. When Walter White and Jesse Pinkman kidnap Saul in the "Breaking Bad" Season 2 episode "Better Call Saul" and threaten his life, Saul quickly realizes he's dealing with relative amateurs and regains control of the situation before taking on the meth-dealing pair as his clients (via the Breaking Bad Wiki). As Saul understands the situation better, he stands up, telling Walt and Jesse about his bad knees.

Saul's bad knees claim pops up again in Season 1 of "Better Call Saul," when he is mistakenly arrested by police investigating Nacho Varga's involvement with the Kettleman family. Audiences can hear Saul aka Jimmy McGill exclaim, "I have bad knees!" as police officers force him to the ground.

In "Breaking Bad," Saul's bad knees line comes across as something of a throwaway joke from a newly-introduced, smooth-talking comic relief character. When the series' writers brought the detail back in "Better Call Saul," the character still has bad knees some six years before "Breaking Bad," according to Den of Geek. At that point, Saul's knees take on new life as a full-fledged character detail. So how exactly did Saul wind up with bad knees, and why is this detail noted more than once?

Better Call Saul's writers figured Saul has taken one too many bad falls

In "Better Call Saul," fans catch more of Jimmy McGill's backstory as a young man in Cicero, Illinois via flashback scenes that explain how he wound up in Albuquerque in the first place. In Illinois, Jimmy runs scams to make quick cash and earns the nickname "Slippin' Jimmy" for his efforts in the art of falling accidentally-on-purpose (via the Breaking Bad Wiki).

"We thought he must have taken a lot of bad hits on the ice of Chicago and he probably messed up his knees falling down all the time," writer Thomas Schnauz told The Hollywood Reporter. "When we did it in Breaking Bad we didn't have a reason that he had bad knees, but it's nice when we can tie those threads together."

The character's background as "Slippin' Jimmy” proves to be an early iteration of the Saul Goodman moniker — the persona Jimmy McGill adopts when he's involved in criminal activity. Throughout the series, Jimmy's desire to shine as a legitimate, above-the-board lawyer is thwarted by characters like his brother Chuck, who never believes Jimmy has fully grown beyond his scamming days. Jimmy's — and Saul's — bad knees being a result of one too many scams pulled may serve as small but clear evidence of that dilemma.