The character of Mike Ehrmantraut, played by actor Jonathan Banks on Breaking Bad and now on its spinoff, Better Call Saul, is one of the most compelling characters in television history, and his backstory might be even more fascinating than what we see on the screen. He’s been a cop, he’s been a security guard, he’s been a hitman, and now he’s working as an investigator, protecting the lawyers of unscrupulous drug lord Gus Fring. But how did he get there? That’s what this article explores. What Better Call Saul Can Teach Us About Jonathan Banks
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Why watch TV?
Television is undeniably popular. According to Nielsen, people in the U.S. watched an average of 2 hours and 55 minutes of TV a day in 2014. That’s a lot of time spent in front of a screen for entertainment–but it’s important to remember that TV is also educational, especially when you’re watching shows like Better Call Saul. Not only does AMC’s original drama follow up on Breaking Bad–it also takes viewers inside criminal defense attorney James McGill’s (Bob Odenkirk) life before he adopted his sleazy alter ego, Mike Ehrmantraut, while he still worked as a Philadelphia police officer.
So what can we learn from Better Call Saul?
For one, it gives us a new perspective on Jonathan Banks. It lets us see his character, Mike Ehrmantraut, at his most vulnerable as a Philadelphia police officer working as a parking lot attendant at the Albuquerque courthouse. We might also learn that television writing can be subtle. Take for example in an episode of Breaking Bad titled 4 Days Out, Hank Schrader tracks Walt’s car to the Tohajiilee reservation, where he stops by Marie’s mobile home to ask her where she thinks Walt might have gone and find out more about him. In Better Call Saul Marie returns to her apartment in New Mexico and opens up her mail.
How one actor made me fall in love with television again
By playing Mike Ehrmantraut, a Philadelphia police officer who joined a private investigation firm after being forced into early retirement. He was always an upstanding member of society in his previous job, but he’s become gradually more morally ambiguous since hanging up his badge. In season two, he turns a teenage drug dealer over to local law enforcement—but not before he beats him bloody with a telescopic baton.
The character has changed because of his experiences
As Mike Ehrmantraut on Better Call Saul, Jonathan Banks is once again playing a police officer who has made mistakes in his life. He doesn’t know how to be anything else, so he carries on as he knows how—by working alone, doing things for himself and operating off his own moral code. That’s not to say that Mike is an amoral person; quite to the contrary, many of his actions throughout Better Call Saul demonstrate that he has a set of principles. His morals come into play when they’re challenged—and they are often challenged by other characters in small ways (i.e., Walter White). Mike is loyal and steadfast when it comes to family, friends and some business associates.
He shows us the value of learning from mistakes
While Mike worked his way up through law enforcement, he lived a double life as a criminal. After being caught in an undercover sting, he was sentenced to five years in prison for his crimes. He was released after three and a half years, shortly before Jimmy McGill turned his life around. In one of Better Call Saul’s early episodes, we saw Mike almost stumble into another scam by taking Jimmy on as a client and violating his own code: Don’t get involved with family. It was an attempt to help out someone whose brother used to be an assistant district attorney like him.
His ethics are tested constantly. Here’s how he does it.
Mike’s unwavering ethical code makes him a rarity in Breaking Bad ‘s bleak, morally black-and-white world. While his position as a former cop and DEA agent gives him a certain level of credibility, it’s clear from day one that he doesn’t want anything to do with Walter White or his meth business—despite needing Walter for access to Gus Fring. He never completely turns his back on them, though; instead he acts as their reluctant accomplice and guardian angel, helping them when they get into trouble (while also making sure not to cross any legal lines himself). Though Breaking Bad is filled with memorable characters (including Mike), none of them test their morals like Mike does.
We can always find new ways to push boundaries
It’s common for actors to be typecast, but most performers manage to overcome those obstacles and make a name for themselves regardless. No actor knows that better than Jonathan Banks, who plays hard-nosed fixer Mike Ehrmantraut on Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul. The soft-spoken actor has appeared in countless films and TV shows since breaking into Hollywood in 1986 (and even played Gordon Gekko’s henchman in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street), but Mike is his first truly defining role; one that he helped make famous thanks to his seamless portrayal of one of TV’s most memorable characters. After working for over three decades in a notoriously fickle industry, it seems unlikely that Banks will ever be typecast again.
We may not be lawyers or criminals, but we’re all part of something bigger than ourselves…
Many of us will never be lawyers or criminals, but we’re all part of something bigger than ourselves. It’s easy to forget that sometimes, but characters like Mike on Better Call Saul can remind us. It doesn’t matter if you’re a student or an employee; you should still be working toward a better future for yourself and those around you—no one else will do it for you. Don’t make excuses because the game is rigged. You decide if you succeed or fail, so act accordingly. Sure, your upbringing and race might put barriers in front of you, but they’ll never stop you from achieving your goals if you don’t let them stand in your way.
A final lesson from Mike Ehrmantraut
During his two seasons on Breaking Bad, Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) was that guy we loved to hate—but who is now one of our favorite TV characters ever. Let’s face it: He was a stone-cold badass and had amazing catchphrases (I’m ready!). But Mike has more to teach us than just how to be a tough guy. If you take away anything from his time on Breaking Bad, it’s that knowing when to let go is important in life. No matter what circumstances you’re in or what part of your life you’re talking about, deciding when enough is enough can mean everything in your journey towards success or happiness.
Who does Jonathan Banks play Breaking Bad?
Mike Ehrmantraut. When he appeared in Breaking Bad, audiences loved him so much that he became a central figure to fans. But what makes Mike Ehrmantraut special and one of our favorite characters on Breaking Bad? Let’s take a closer look and see if we can learn a thing or two about himself as an actor and person from his role in Breaking Bad.
Why did Jonathan Banks Leave community?
We all know that actor, Jonathan Banks, is currently appearing in a hit show called Better Call Saul. He plays Mike Ehrmantraut and is wonderful on every episode. He recently left Community a very popular sitcom by NBC due to them not being able to give him a raise. This was after two amazing seasons on Community where he made his mark as Detective Jim Picnic and had many award nominations for it as well. So why would he leave such an established, popular show that has made his career when they can’t even keep him around? What Better Call Saul Can Teach Us About Jonathan Banks
Who played Mike Ehrmantraut?
I’ve been obsessed with Breaking Bad and I’ve recently been getting into Better Call Saul. Mike Ehrmantraut was played by a great actor named Jonathan Banks. Here’s a brief bio of him: In addition to his recurring role as Mike on Breaking Bad, Jonathan Banks has also starred in such shows as Dexter, Modern Family, Californication, and Army Wives. He’s got an amazing career behind him and he’s not slowing down anytime soon. What can we learn from his success? Let’s find out!
Is Better Call Saul before Breaking Bad?
The Breaking Bad show creator, Vince Gilligan, has not confirmed when exactly Better Call Saul takes place. However, if it takes place after Breaking Bad (and between season 1 and 2 of that show), then Mike is already a criminal in his pre-Ehrmantraut days, which could be why he’s willing to work with drug dealers. If it happens before Walt and Jesse’s story, then we may never get to see Mike turn into an Ehrmantraut. Regardless of where it falls chronologically in relation to Breaking Bad and how much (or little) they reveal about his backstory over time, there are a few things we already know about Mike from watching both shows.
How rich is Bryan Cranston?
Actor Bryan Cranston has had an award-winning career in TV and film. His work on Malcolm in the Middle, Breaking Bad, and other projects have earned him millions of dollars over his career. However, with a net worth of $45 million, Cranston is not as rich as you might think. In fact, he actually earned less than costar Aaron Paul on Breaking Bad. That said, Cranston’s annual salary was over $1 million per year during much of his time on Breaking Bad–$225k per episode for Season 5 (the first half), then $350k per episode for Season 6 (the second half). When you factor in how many episodes each season had and that each additional episode brought him more money, that adds up to some serious cash!
Is Mike in Breaking Bad?
In Breaking Bad, Mike was a foil to Walter White. He personified all that Walt lacked: calmness, discipline, restraint. It’s impossible to watch Breaking Bad without picking up on how stoic Mike is in comparison to White. Which is why his appearances on Better Call Saul have been so intriguing. If you hadn’t watched Breaking Bad before watching Better Call Saul, you might assume that Mike was a new character and not an established one—such is his difference from his previous incarnation (not to mention how long ago Breaking Bad was filmed). This distinction speaks to how good Jonathan Banks has been playing him, and it also makes us question if Breaking Bad fans are seeing or remembering things correctly. What do we think we know about Mike?