‘Better Call Saul’: A ‘Crazy Coincidence’ Helped Save Bob Odenkirk’s Life

By now, most Better Call Saul fans know the story of how Bob Odenkirk collapsed on set while filming season 6. The actor suffered a heart attack that left him without a pulse for several minutes before he was revived and taken to the hospital. Thankfully, Odenkirk made a full recovery, even returning to complete the final episodes of Better Call Saul. Here’s how a crazy coincidence contributed to saving Odenkirk’s life on the day of his heart attack.

Better Call Saul star Bob Odenkirk wearing a dark blue jacket at Dolby Theatre.
Bob Odenkirk | Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

Patrick Fabian and Rhea Seehorn saw Bob Odenkirk collapse on the set of ‘Better Call Saul’

Bob Odenkirk’s heart attack occurred during filming for Better Call Saul Season 6 Episode 8. Fortunately, Odenkirk was not alone when he collapsed. According to Variety, the actor was taking a break in a small plexiglass cubicle in an empty studio. Co-stars Rhea Seehorn and Patrick Fabian chatted nearby.

“There’s so many things that day, and I know Bob feels the same way, that are just like gifts from the universe,” Seehorn told Variety. “I don’t know how else to put it because he didn’t go to his trailer. If he had, he would be dead or significantly brain damaged.”

Rosa Estrada had an AED in her car thanks to a ‘crazy coincidence’

Fabian and Seehorn ran to catch Bob Odenkirk when he collapsed on the set of Better Call Saul, and the crew sprang into action. “Rosa Estrada — we were very lucky that this woman was nearby because she knew how to do CPR properly, and she had the AED [defibrillator] in her car, and she only had it in her car because she was returning it to somebody who she borrowed [it from],” Odenkirk told NPR.

“It was a total crazy coincidence that she had put it in her car, and I guess she’d had tried to return it, but the friend wasn’t home. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have had it either. And so it’s only because of that circumstance that it was in the trunk of her car. And I’m sure that helped me immensely. I mean, the CPR is number one, but the fact is, I didn’t get a heart rate for 18 minutes after this started, and that’s a long time.”

Vince Gilligan and Bob Odenkirk encourage everyone to take CPR classes

During an episode of the Better Call Saul Insider podcast, series co-creator Vince Gilligan sang the praises of AED devices, which helped to save Odenkirk’s life. “Everyone should know where their nearest one is. I bought like five of them,” Gilligan stated. “This thing is a magic device, and it brought our friend back to life right in front of us.”

“A lot of us on this podcast since then have taken this wonderful CPR/AED first aid course, and I would recommend [it to] anyone listening to this thing,” Gilligan continued.

Odenkirk echoed this sentiment in his interview with NPR. “Please take a CPR class because the fact that it was done almost immediately — within a minute and minute and a half — and it was done so well, it was done properly — that’s what really saved me.”

Watch the final episodes of Better Call Saul airing on AMC Mondays at 9 p.m. ET.

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