The co-creator of Better Call Saul has revealed why he returned DEA agent Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) to the Breaking Bad spinoff prequel show.
Peter Gould said that “it seemed obvious” that bent attorney Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) would come to work with DEA agents at some point in season 5.
“And as soon as you say the letters D-E-A in our world, that means Hank Schrader,” Gould told Entertainment Weekly.
He explained that the latest episode of the new series cried out for younger Hank’s return – even if he and co-creator Vince Gilligan didn’t initially think so. “When we were talking about this season, we didn’t say, ‘Oh, let’s bring this character and that character back.’
“But once we started thinking about episode 3, it seemed obvious that Jimmy would be facing off against two DEA agents.
“So we got very excited and we started talking about the scene, and of course [Better Call Saul writer-producer] Ann Cherkis just wrote a tour de force, that very long scene in that interrogation room. It’s fantastic.”
In the episode in question, DEA agents Hank Schradar and Steve Gomez (Steven Quezada) are enlisted to question Krazy-8 (Max Arciniega) in prison. Saul managed to secure a deal that his client will become an informant if released.
Gould added that it was “not a foregone conclusion” that Norris would agree to return. “I was a little bit nervous about it, because we really liked what we talked about and I was very excited to get him back.
“Frankly, Dean could have easily said, ‘You know, guys, I’ve got lots of other things going on. I think we did that character and I don’t want to open that up again.’ But he didn’t. He pretty much interrupted us as we were pitching and said, ‘Guys, I love it!’
“It was wonderful to have him back, and he and Steve Quezada both really just brought it.”
Better Call Saul is broadcast on AMC in the US. It airs a day later on Netflix in the UK.