Yes, Jimmy McGill Dies In Prison After Better Call Saul (& That’s Fine)

Summary

  • Jimmy McGill’s fate of dying in prison is highly likely after the events of Better Call Saul.
  • There is a slim possibility that Jimmy could get released, but it is unlikely given his circumstances and sentence.
  • Jimmy’s lack of allies and the deaths of key characters make it even more unlikely for him to escape prison.


While the Better Call Saul series finale leaves Jimmy McGill’s fate somewhat open-ended, it is more than likely that he eventually dies in prison. Set after the events of Breaking Bad, the final episode of Better Call Saul sees Jimmy McGill leave his Saul Goodman persona behind, owning up to his actions and receiving a long prison sentence as a result. Jimmy’s incarceration is seemingly the end of his life as a free man, but his original ending in Breaking Bad ended up being changed in Better Call Saul. This raises whether Jimmy’s ultimate fate after Better Call Saul is truly set in stone.

Some viewers have speculated whether Jimmy gets out one day when he’s an old man, maybe even reuniting with Kim Wexler. However, this is a very slim possibility, given Jimmy’s circumstances and the nature of his sentence. Better Call Saul‘s perfect series finale does hint that his release is technically possible, but the reality is that after his courtroom testimony, Jimmy McGill will almost certainly meet his end in prison. This may be a bittersweet ending for the character, so while Saul Goodman doesn’t die in the show itself, the story of Better Call Saul actually benefits from Jimmy spending the rest of his life behind bars.

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Jimmy WILL Die In Prison After Better Call Saul

Saul Goodman Dies Behind Bars

Jimmy McGill dying in prison is the most likely outcome after Better Call Saul‘s final episode. Even though Jimmy tries to be optimistic in his talk with Kim, the reality is that he received an 86-year sentence for his crimes in Breaking Bad. This was designed to give Jimmy no way out since he fully confessed to everything in Better Call Saul‘s finale, which means any future deals are off the table. Even with good behavior, it’s highly unlikely that Jimmy would be granted any release early enough to get him out of prison before he dies.

There are only a few circumstances that could possibly get Jimmy released, but they’re all slim chances at best. Jesse Pinkman could be arrested, which would mean Jimmy doesn’t need to be the sole scapegoat, but Jesse is long gone after the events of El Camino. Jimmy could also try to appeal his case, claiming to have given full cooperation throughout a near-life sentence. Of course, he also made clear in court what he’s capable of as both Jimmy McGill and Saul Goodman, so combined with his criminal record, it’s safe to say that he isn’t getting out of prison before he dies.

Everyone Who Could Help Jimmy Is Dead

Saul Goodman Has No Allies Left

Howard and Lalo's Grave - Better Call Saul

Another reason Jimmy won’t get out of prison is that he’s short on allies who could help him. He may have mended his relationship with Kim somewhat, but she inspired Jimmy to tell the truth in the first place, so he won’t find help there. Even if she did agree to help him, she’s not a lawyer anymore, and her reputation will certainly take a hit after revealing what she and Jimmy did to Howard before his death. Jimmy could always seek out another lawyer, but it’s doubtful that any attorney would want to represent him after he embarrassed Bill Oakley in court by throwing away their case.

Everyone else who may be able to help Jimmy is dead after Breaking Bad‘s ending. Mike, Chuck, Howard, Lalo, Walt, and Gus would all have potential reasons to get Jimmy out of prison, either in court or by breaking him out. Unfortunately, all of them have been killed by this point, leaving no one who is willing or able to help Jimmy with his current situation. Anyone else who is still alive after Better Call Saul is either gone or wouldn’t be willing to put themselves at risk just to get Jimmy McGill out of prison before he dies.

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Better Call Saul’s Ending Is Worse If Jimmy Gets Out

Saul Goodman Dying In Prison Is A Fitting End

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill giving his final testimony in a sharp suit in Better Call Saul

Even if Jimmy could get out of prison before he dies, it would only ruin a perfect Better Call Saul ending. The whole point of Jimmy going to prison was to show that he finally owned up to all his past mistakes, leaving Saul Goodman behind forever. He may have been a free man before getting caught, but he was also living in a prison of his own making. By confessing to his crimes, he ended up going to prison for life, but he was finally free from the fear and guilt that he’d lived with for so long. Spending his life behind bars also makes the ending bittersweet and gives greater emotional weight to his final scene with Kim.

All of these great elements would be undermined if Jimmy eventually gets out. He would have at least a little time to reunite with Kim and make a new life for himself before he dies, which isn’t as great a consequence of his actions. Jimmy could also be tempted to become Saul Goodman again after getting out of prison, which would go against his redemption arc established by the final episode. Just like with Breaking Bad‘s finale, the happiest outcome for Jimmy McGill isn’t necessarily the most fitting one for Better Call Saul‘s story.

Better Call Saul’s Ending Was Darker Than You Thought

An End Where Saul Goodman Dies Would Have Been Easier For Jimmy

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill and Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler's final smoking scene in prison in Better Call Saul's last episode

Jimmy’s prison sentence also makes Better Call Saul‘s ending darker than it first appeared. Because Jimmy doesn’t die onscreen, his true fate goes unspoken in the actual show. It only becomes apparent later that he’s going to die behind bars, which adds extra weight to a story already rife with tragedy. What’s worse is that Jimmy will be largely alone, unable to reunite with Kim or anyone else he once had a meaningful connection with. Despite leaving his Saul Goodman persona behind, this is how most of the prisoners recognize him, meaning he will at least have to maintain the appearance in order to survive his time in prison.

Despite how dark Better Call Saul‘s ending is upon reflection, it’s still the most fitting end for Jimmy McGill. The story of the Breaking Bad franchise is ultimately one of tragedy, so it makes sense for Better Call Saul‘s ending to reflect that. It also makes Jimmy’s redemption more powerful, that he was willing to face the music despite knowing what his eventual fate would be. Jimmy McGill dying in prison is a bittersweet end for Better Call Saul, but one that is in line with what came before, so it’s still a satisfying conclusion to the story of Saul Goodman.

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Co-Creator Peter Gould Doesn’t Know If Jimmy Ever Gets Out Of Prison

While It Looks Like Saul Goodman Dies In Pirson, It’s Not Set In Stone

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill relaxing in prison in Better Call Saul's finale

Though the Better Call Saul ending ties up the story in a satisfying way that makes sense for the show, it is open-ended enough that fans can still have fun speculating about Jimmy’s ultimate fate. As it turns out, the show’s co-creator isn’t even completely convinced about how Jimmy’s story ends following that finale in which Kim leaves him behind in prison. The interpretations are up to the individual viewer, but Peter Gould hinted (via AMC.com) that he has a somewhat optimistic take on what will become of Jimmy, saying “I feel like this guy is so clever, I kind of wonder how long he’s really going to be in prison.”

Even if the ending suggests that Jimmy will stay in prison for the rest of his life, Gould does not share the outlook that some fans have that it is a sad conclusion. Instead, he sees it as quite hopeful. As Saul Goodman, he found a way to escape the harsh prison sentence that was coming for him. In the end, however, he chooses to be Jimmy once again even if it means prison. As Gould puts it, he decides to “become maybe the person he never quite had the nerve to be until now.” In that way, the ending of Better Call Saul is actually a victory.

Better Call Saul Poster

Better Call Saul

Set in times before, during, and after Breaking Bad, the AMC crime drama spinoff follows the trials and tribulations of criminal lawyer Saul Goodman (Odenkirk) as he looks to make a name for himself at his firm located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The show digs deeper into the events that crafted Saul and the repercussions of his actions.

Release Date
February 8, 2015

Cast
Bob Odenkirk , Rhea Seehorn , Jonathan Banks , Patrick Fabian , Michael Mando , Giancarlo Esposito

Seasons
6

Season List
Better Call Saul – Season 1 , Better Call Saul – Season 2 , Better Call Saul – Season 3 , Better Call Saul – Season 4 , Better Call Saul – Season 5 , Better Call Saul – Season 6

Story By
Peter Gould

Writers
Peter Gould , Vince Gilligan

Franchise(s)
Breaking Bad

Directors
Vince Gilligan , John Shiban , Keith Gordon

Showrunner
Peter Gould