The final season of the Breaking Bad prequel series, Better Call Saul, is in full swing and the best power plays of the main characters are beginning to enter their final stages.
In the AMC drama series, ambition is a common trait, with almost every character keen on getting to the top. A couple of fan-favorite characters and villains have already proven themselves to be way more powerful than the rest. These characters have either financial, political, or criminal power and some have an amalgamation of all three.
Updated on July 12th, 2022 by Mark Birrell: With the final season of Better Call Saul starting to draw to a close, and the war between Gus Fring and Lalo Salamanca wrapping up, many of the show’s main characters are dropping like flies. While fans are losing favorite characters left, right, and center, the final part of the sixth season is painting a clear picture of who the most powerful Better Call Saul characters truly are.
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Kevin Wachtell is the CEO of Mesa Verde Bank and Trust, having inherited the business from his father. He’s one of the wealthiest characters in Better Call Saul and, coupled with his large and imposing stature, this gives him a lot of weight to throw around in the high society of Albuquerque.
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While rich and powerful, Kevin is, however, shown to be always one step behind both Jimmy and Kim, who successfully fool him over the Tucumcari housing incident that prevented the construction of one of his new call centers.
Juan Bolsa is shown to effectively be the second in command of the cartel operations seen throughout both Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad, being outranked by only Don Eladio. This doesn’t necessarily guarantee any kind of respect for Juan Bolsa, however, who often seems to be suffering from the fallout from the actions of both Gus Fring and the Salamancas during their rivalry.
Nevertheless, Bolsa is a shrewd tactician and the position of power that he has carved out for himself in the cartel appears to be the most stable; up until his death, that is.
Tuco Salamanca is the least intelligent of the Salamancas seen in Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad, but he’s also possibly the most feared. Other members of the cartel, including Don Eladio, recognize how shockingly violent and unpredictable Tuco can be.
Tuco’s lack of control, coupled with his lack of intelligence, results in him getting sent to prison in the second season of Better Call Saul. He’s set up by Mike but, once inside, he stabs someone and extends his incarceration further, showing that he’s often a threat to even his own interests.
Mike may never really be a boss of any kind in either Better Call Saul or Breaking Bad, but he is very high up in the operations of both Gus Fring and Walter White. Mike has the respect of anyone who works hands-on in the underworld of New Mexico and beyond.
Mike’s incredibly capable, he can fight hand to hand, shoot, and strategize as well as the best of the cartel’s soldiers, if not better. He’s known to have a long history as a police officer before becoming a professional criminal, and his experiences imply a tough combat experience in the military. Though he almost never flaunts his wealth in any way, his time working for Gustavo Fring accrues him a lot of money before it’s eventually confiscated by the police in Breaking Bad.
Kim Wexler is one of the most intelligent characters in Better Call Saul and a talented lawyer. She’s successful and self-made when playing inside the rules, and outside the rules, she often comes up with schemes that are better than even Jimmy’s.
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She’s a highly sought-after attorney who strikes out on her own, taking on a staggeringly huge workload, and successfully arguing back against powers as big as the district attorney’s office and personalities as huge as Charles McGill and Lalo Salamanca.
The restaurateur is not only the owner of Los Pollos Hermanos but also the biggest drug lord in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Using his legitimate business as a cover helps him to stay off the DEA’s radar.
As a successful drug lord and fried chicken purveyor, Gus has different types of professionals under his payroll, from doctors to chefs to architects to assassins; all of these people help him run his operations. Thanks to his charitable contributions, Gus is considered a valued member of his local community. He is well connected too, with Madrigal Electromotive funding his meth operation.
The senior partner at Albuquerque-based law firm Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill is no saint, but he always tries to be respectable. He values his firm very much and works hard to save it after Chuck’s death.
The time when he helped Jimmy to secure a role at Davis & Main, as well as the time when he paid Chuck McGill’s severance money out of his own pocket, is further evidence of the extent of Howard’s social and financial influence.
Peter Schuler is the head of Madrigal Electromotive’s fast-food division and also an accomplice of Gus Fring. The corporate head pretends to fund Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant but in reality, he has invested in Fring’s drug operation.
His first scene in Better Call Saul sees him chairing a meeting full of CEOs of successful restaurant chains. Even more impressive is that Gus Fring reports to him.
Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman
The ambitious Jimmy McGill flies up the ladder, from a Cicero scam artist to a mailroom clerk at Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill to one of the best lawyers in the city.
Jimmy’s social influence beats that of any other character on the show. He has extensive connections in Albuquerque, knowing just about everyone that can get things done quickly and illegally. After meeting and earning the trust of Lalo, Jimmy’s reach increases even more.
Hector Salamanca is a man of considerable authority within the cartel but he steadily has his power stripped away from him by both Nacho and Gus Fring throughout Better Call Saul.
Having served as one of Don Eladio’s most feared men for decades, Hector has been as close to the top as it gets. In the Albuquerque neighborhood where he lives, he is feared by the community and he uses this to his advantage by grabbing whichever business he likes to use as a cover. He is shown to be in charge of distribution networks across the state, but he’s no match for Gus and his plans against him.
When Hector’s health makes him unable to conduct business, his nephew Lalo takes over his concerns in Albuquerque. He also takes over as manager of the El Michoacáno restaurant, where the cartel’s low-level dealers submit their daily earnings.
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Lalo doesn’t really worry about money though. When he is arrested and charged with murder, Lalo impressively manages to come up with $7 million for bail. He also gifts his boss, Don Eladio, a new car filled with cash and clearly has a report with him that virtually no one else in the cartel has. Through either fear or charm, Lalo commands a lot of respect.
Jimmy’s older brother, Chuck, is the co-founder of Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill and is highly regarded throughout the legal community in the southwest.
Chuck’s achievements and position in his firm make him an equal to Howard. Even when he is on extended medical leave, he is still able to pull strings. During Chuck’s time in the series, his power is mostly demonstrated through his relationship with Jimmy. In what’s one of the worst betrayals in Better Call Saul, Chuck flaunts his might by stopping his associates from hiring his brother and then even goes so far as to get Jimmy arrested.
Ed “The Disappearer” Galbraith
On the surface, Ed runs a vacuum repair shop but he has a secret career making people disappear for a fee. Anyone who wishes to vanish into thin air can go to him and he’ll set them up with a new life.
Ed’s skills make him very valuable to Albuquerque’s criminals. Since he holds people’s fates in his hands, even tough gangsters like Heisenberg don’t intimidate him and have to do everything that he says.
Don Eladio Vuente
Don Eladio’s bizarre sense of humor always makes his subordinates uncomfortable, but they still have to nod or laugh at everything he says. This is because he is the head of the cartel operations that viewers see across all of Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad.
Gus Fring, Juan Bolsa, and the Salamancas all pay homage to him, even though none of them appear to really like him. Although Gus does eventually take him down in Breaking Bad, it’s no mean feat.
Lydia is the Head of Logistics at Madrigal Electromotive and is also in charge of the company’s Houston office. Like her boss, Peter Schuler, Lydia is also working with Gus Fring.
Thanks to Lydia’s high position in the company, she is able to hire Mike and give him the fake “logistic consultant” job title. She has her boss’ ear too. One of the things fans forget about the Superlab in Better Call Saul is that it’s Lydia, not Fring, who recommends the Lavandería Brillante industrial laundry complex as the perfect site for construction. Later, in Breaking Bad, she takes over the remnants of Fring’s meth operation almost entirely through Todd before being killed by Walt.
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About The Author
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Philip Etemesi is an author, journalist, screenwriter, and film critic based in Nairobi. Kenya. As a child, he preferred watching movies like Goodfellas instead of Home Alone. His girlfriend constantly has to pull him from the front of the TV but he just keeps returning. Stubborn dude! An animal lover, Philip also has a pet giraffe called Refu.
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