‘Better Call Saul’: Nacho Varga Was ‘Breaking Good,’ Michael Mando Says

Better Call Saul Season 6 is the final season of the show. It promises to connect the prequel to its predecessor, Breaking Bad. Better Call Saul fans got some definitive answers to the fate of Nacho Varga (Michael Mando) in the third episode of the season. Mando himself put his character in the context of “breaking good.”

[Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Better Call Saul Season 6 episode “Rock and Hard Place.”]

'Better Call Saul': Nacho Varga (Michael Mando) sits on his knees with duct tape over his mouth
Michael Mando | Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Mando spoke with TV Insider in an article published April 25, the night his last Better Call Saul Season 6 episode aired. He explains why Nacho was “breaking good” in the prequel to Breaking Bad.

Michael Mando says Nacho Varga represents ‘breaking good’ on ‘Better Call Saul’

Better Call Saul introduced Nacho as a thug for Tuco Salamanca (Raymond Cruz). Despite his various criminal associations with the Salamancas, Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) and Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), Nacho proved to be a noble character. 

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“To play a character who’s breaking good has turned into the dream role of my life so far,” Mando told TV Insider. “Those characters are iconographic. And the icon of Nacho is that of true love, sacrifice, and bravery. So, to me, he transcends the cartel at that moment and becomes what he was always meant to be. So even though it’s tragic, I think it’s also heroic and perfect in many ways, to have that character in that universe represent something with nobility and integrity.”

Nacho Varga broke good with Mike Ehrmantraut up to his end on ‘Better Call Saul’

After the failed assassination attempt on Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton), Nacho went on the run. In “Rock and a Hard Place,” Nacho turned himself in to Mike and Gus (Giancarlo Esposito). Mando said Nacho went out doing the right thing. 

“The closest and last moment that Mike and Nacho are on the same page is during that last meal when they share a drink,” Mando said. “And at that moment, Nacho continues to break good and tragically Mike starts breaking bad. That’s the last time that these two are really on the same page. There’s always going to be love and respect among those two characters, but Nacho has truly sworn his allegiance to the good side. And I think he leaves everybody behind at that point.”

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Nacho resolves himself to die as long as his father is safe. Mike gives him that assurance. 

“There’s definitely a relationship of love and respect between Nacho and Mike,” Mando said. “But in that final moment, Nacho transcends that relationship and takes matters into his own hands. It’s in that final speech, that he assures us he’s done the job and secured his father’s safety. So he’s the one at that moment that makes sure that’s done.”

‘Better Call Saul’ fans embraced ‘breaking good’ too

Mando said the creators of Better Call Saul notified him Nacho’s death was coming in between seasons 5 and 6. He was at peace with it because he saw the character’s impact.

“I’ve had a tremendous amount of outpouring of love over social media and on the streets here in LA,” Mando said. “And I just feel so grateful to play a character that means so much and represents something so positive to so many people. That wasn’t the initial idea of the character back in season 1. The character really started breaking good until he finalizes and secures his integrity in that final scene. And it’s just been a dream role for me really.”

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