Philly backstory of ‘Breaking Bad’s’ Mike Ehrmantraut revealed on ‘Better Call Saul’
In season two of Breaking Bad, we met a misanthropic-yet-lovable killer by way of Philly named Mike Ehrmantraut, security coordinator to Gus Fring’s chicken-and-meth empire. Unfortunately, though, creator Vince Gilligan only gave us a small taste of his Philly background — a mistake that was corrected with Monday night’s episode of Better Call Saul.
In season two of Breaking Bad, we met a misanthropic-yet-lovable killer by way of Philly named Mike Ehrmantraut, security coordinator to Gus Fring's chicken-and-meth empire. Unfortunately, though, creator Vince Gilligan only gave us a small taste of his Philly background — a mistake that was corrected with Monday night's episode of Better Call Saul.
Dubbed "Five-O," the episode details Mike's Philly-centric background, most of which revolves around the 30 years he spent with the Philadelphia Police Department and what exactly caused him to flee for Albuquerque all those years ago. And with Mike being Mike, it is not pretty.
*Full spoilers below. Do not read if you have not seen episode six, "Five-O," of Better Call Saul.*
Mike's only son, Matt, a rookie Philly cop like his dad once was, was killed some nine months before the start of Better Call Saul's timeframe — an event that goes back directly to Mike's insistence that his son accept kickbacks so that he can "go along to get along." Matt's partner Hoffman, along with a Sgt. Fenske, ended up killing him over his initial hesitation to join their scheme. As Matt's father, Mike naturally has his revenge by murdering the killers, which prompts the move to Albuquerque.
The latter half of the episode traffics mostly in a flashback to the Philly bar, McClour's, where Mike confronted his sons murderers. And, to the show's credit, they have most everyone slugging bottled Yeungling. Or, well, at least Matt's killers:
Saul, known at the time as Jimmy McGill, eventually comes to serve as Mike's lawyer when Philly detectives pay him a visit in Albuquerque to inquire about the murders of Hoffman and Fenske. Which, of course, provides for the best, subtle Philly moment of the episode — from Saul, of all people.
"As you've probably gathered, we, Detective Sanders and I, work for the Philadelphia Police Department," one Detective Abbasi tells Saul. "As did Mr. Ehrmantraut for nearly 30 years."
"Philadelphia?" Saul replies. "Go, Eagles."