Better Call Saul features an excellent cast, with Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut, Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, and Michael McKean as Chuck McGill. However, one actor has stood out among the rest for his chilling performance—Patrick Fabian as Howard Hamlin, the managing partner at Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill. We’ve seen glimpses of his morally ambiguous character before, but Better Call Saul season 4 has really let us into Howard’s mind and shown us how he operates behind closed doors. Is Patrick Fabian the Real Villain of Better Call Saul?
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How Howard Hamlin became an Emmy nominee
In one of its final episodes, Bingo, Howard Hamlin–the managing partner at Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill and Jimmy McGill’s longtime nemesis—explains why he secretly aided Chuck McGill. The younger brother is (was?) a manipulative control freak who would do anything to avoid living with his own mistakes; Howard was willing to assist in any way necessary because it’s what needed to be done for his law firm. In other words: Chuck made Howard help him pull off a stunt that accomplished nothing except sending Jimmy spiraling further into depression. That’s not very heroic! But it doesn’t make Howard a bad guy either.
What We Know About Season 4
We know that Howard Hamlin won’t be a significant presence in season 4—he’s been made managing partner at Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill and we’ll be seeing much less of him. And that might not be a bad thing. The question is: Can Jimmy get out from under Chuck’s thumb (and whatever role Howard played)? The answer is sure to lie somewhere in there…but it may also reveal that Howard isn’t quite as villainous as he appears to be. After all, he was acting on Chuck’s orders—orders he didn’t understand.
Patrick Fabian has played a villain before
Howard Hamlin in Breaking Bad. But when he came to Better Call Saul, it looked like we were getting a new antagonist for Jimmy. Turns out he’s been using Jimmy (and Chuck) all along! As we learn more about Howard and what has been going on with him since we last saw him in Breaking Bad, some people are starting to think Howard is one of Mike’s victims—especially after Hero revealed that he’d been working behind Chuck’s back for years. I’ve collected my thoughts and figured out who really is pulling all these strings in our first edition of Better Know a Victim!
He attended high school with Bob Odenkirk
If you’re a fan of Jimmy McGill, then you know that he and his brother Chuck used to work together. Before Jimmy became Slippin’ Jimmy, he was a small-time lawyer at Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill (HHM). The premiere episode even showed an old high school photo of Chuck and Howard. In that photo is one Patrick Fabian. He is technically not as important as Hamlin or Hamlin (Chuck’s parents), but there are several subtle hints in each episode that point to him being just as villainous as his boss, if not more so. It could simply be because he seems like a good guy, but I doubt it! Watch for yourself and see what you think!
He’s also worked with Vince Gilligan
While he’s not quite as evil as Hamlin, Fabian has some villain cred to his name. Before being cast on AMC’s Breaking Bad prequel, Fabian worked with Vince Gilligan on two seasons of The X-Files and often refers to him as Vince Gilligan, Jr. He clearly shares at least one aspect in common with Howard: they both had experience working with Vince before getting roles on his shows! Perhaps their fictional rivalry is just an extension of their real-life competition for Gilligan’s approval.
His character might not be what you think he is
It’s a common trope in television to paint your main character as a good guy who isn’t afraid to do what it takes to get ahead, even if it means steamrolling over his friends and associates. In some cases, however, we see our hero’s antagonist as being a bit more complex. What if he is actually just protecting someone he cares about from hurtful and potentially harmful influence? That is what we seem to have with Howard Hamlin on AMC’s Breaking Bad spinoff series Better Call Saul. Not convinced yet? Well, consider these points before making up your mind for sure…
Who was Patrick Fabian on friends?
Patrick Fabian began his acting career as a member of Chicago’s Organic Theater Company. He also taught theater to teens in inner-city schools and co-founded The Greenhouse Project, an educational program using theater and mentoring to help at-risk youth stay out of gangs. When he landed his first acting job, it was on an episode of Cheers during its final season (1990–91). His first major television role came when he played Alec Baldwin’s oldest son on Knots Landing from 1991–92.
Who played Howard Hamlin?
There are two sides to every coin. The best example is, when you look at any game or sports, you can see players as either winners or losers, when in reality they’re both. This concept plays a huge role in BBSA and HHM. While Chuck is clearly seen as an antagonist, it appears that Howard Hamlin is being shown off as his opposite, only he’s not! There’s no doubt that he plays a major role on BBSA and could possibly be one of its biggest villains with Chuck being brought up last season after his tragic passing.
Why did Hamlin not hire Jimmy?
Jimmy McGill has big dreams and one legal achievement under his belt; but he’s not, by any stretch, a star lawyer. Still, Howard (and Chuck) could’ve made room for Jimmy in Hamlin Hamlin & McGill by promoting him to an associate position. But they didn’t–at least not right away. Is it because HHM is too busy for new hires? If so, what about Kim? Or does Howard just see Jimmy as a fraud–just like his brother Chuck does. Even if that’s true, there’s no reason to think Howard would let anyone besides Chuck deliver that message.
Who is the other Hamlin?
It’s hard to pick a favorite character on Better Call Saul, because each week, show creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould create new complicated and compelling personalities. There are two characters who are especially difficult to choose between: Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) and Chuck McGill (Michael McKean). While Chuck is kind-hearted but also proud and vain, Howard Hamlin is just plain evil. Yet as much as he seems like he’s out to ruin Jimmy McGill’s life (which we still don’t know why), it almost feels like there may be some other reason for his seemingly nefarious actions. Is Howard Hamlin actually Chuck’s alter ego or are they somehow one in the same?
What is Patrick Fabian?
Patrick Fabian, who is a genius. The actor portraying Howard Hamlin in Better Call Saul portrays FBI Director Bob Anderson in Seasons 2 and 3 of Breaking Bad; William Barret Travis in The Alamo; Samuel Sullivan on Heroes, as well as Michael Dalton, who was also a managing partner at Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill. He’s done TV shows like Crossing Jordan and movies like Erin Brockovich. But even though he has played some pretty memorable roles already, there’s one character that might top them all: Chuck McGill.
How tall is Patrick Fabian?
Patrick Fabian is an American actor best known for his role as Howard Hamlin on AMC’s Better Call Saul. Although he’s appeared in a number of TV shows and movies over the years, he’s much more than just a character actor. In fact, his height has helped him land some big roles—as evidenced by his turns as Pete on Desperate Housewives, Perry Baxter on Young Sheldon, and Howard Hamlin on Breaking Bad. Not only does he stand at an intimidating 6’4, but he’s also in shape with a rock-solid physique that belies his 58 years. If you look closely at him without shoes, you’ll see that he’s even taller than what most people think.