‘Better Call Saul’: Mark Margolis Knows How Hector Salamanca Got Into Drugs in the ’60s

Better Call Saul showed Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis) before Breaking Bad. Hector was already unable to talk and sitting in a wheelchair on Breaking Bad. Better Call Saul showed how he had the stroke. Margolis went back even further to talk about Hector’s history as a drug dealer. 

'Better Call Saul': Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis) listens to a phone long after his '60s heyday
Mark Margolis | Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Margolis was a guest on the Better Call Saul Insider podcast on June 7 to talk about his work in both series. Margolis shared his insight into who Hector was decades before Better Call Saul takes place. Better Call Saul Season 6 returns July 11 on AMC. 

Hector Salamanca got into drugs long before ‘Better Call Saul’

Margolis knows Hector’s backstory. He shared how Hector began dealing, long before crystal meth was even a product. 

RELATED: 1 ‘Better Call Saul/Breaking Bad’ Cast Member Was in a Porno Film for $500

“So Hector, when he was very young in the ‘60s, came up to New York to go to Columbia University for a while and got into the hip radical sh**,” Margolis said on Better Call Saul Insider. “And then as the ‘60s moved on into ‘64, ‘65, he got into these doctors that used to give out speed. They’re called Dr. Feelgoods. There were three of them and he was very involved in that. So Hector is just trying to replace those speed doctors who were closed down and give the world an opportunity to have more energy and more of a positive outlook.”

Another ‘Better Call Saul’ co-star inspired Mark Margolis

Margolis credited his Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul co-star, Giancarlo Esposito, for inspiring Hector Salamanca’s backstory. Esposito came up with his own backstory for Gus Fring, too. 

RELATED: ‘Better Call Saul’: Giancarlo Esposito Shares Gus Fring’s Obsession With His Tie

“I didn’t draw too much from my own life because I never was [a drug dealer],” Margolis said. “I sold a couple nickel bags 40 years ago, I wasn’t a big time dealer. No, I don’t connect it that much with my own life other than to go off on a Giancarlo Esposito kind of a bend and show you that Hector is just trying to put positive things out into the world, as Giancarlo says. He was always saying that about Gus. I know Giancarlo since he was about 20 years old. We were in a play together directed by John Malkovich.”

One co-star wouldn’t abide by these backstories 

Not everyone on Better Call Saul invents lavish backstories for their characters. Margolis said Jonathan Banks, who reprised his Breaking Bad role on Better Call Saul, doesn’t humor him or Esposito.

“I said I’m following in the footsteps of Giancarlo,” Margolis said. “As an actor you can’t play a bad guy even if you’re playing a monster. You have to be on his side. If Jonathan Banks was here who I love, and he heard me say that, you would hear a voice in the back going, ‘You’re full of sh*t’ because I think he did that on Giancarlo once when Giancarlo was talking about how he was putting good vibes out into the world.”

RELATED: ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 6 Took 3 Months Longer to Write, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould Say