‘Better Call Saul’ Season 5: Jonathan Banks Disagrees with What Mike Does in the Season Premiere

Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) is a guy you don’t want to disagree with on Better Call Saul. He was already imposing on Breaking Bad, and the prequel shows just what happened to anyone who got in his way before. Still, Banks doesn’t always agree with the direction creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould take Mike. 

Jonathan Banks in Better Call Saul
Jonathan Banks | Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Banks spoke with reporters in a roundtable interview on Jan. 16. Find out what scene in the Season 5 premiere made Banks question Mike. Better Call Saul premieres Feb. 23 at 9 p.m. on AMC.

Jonathan Banks says Mike hasn’t changed from ‘Breaking Bad’ to ‘Better Call Saul’

Better Call Saul shows how Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) became Saul Goodman. It even shows how Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) became a powerful cartel leader. Banks says Mike has been pretty consistent across both series. It’s just the criminals he interacts with who change.

“For me, I am the same guy,” Banks said. “That same guy is younger and whoever stimulus you’re given you react to that stimulus. You learn from that stimulus. You see that person every time, if we all met every day, I would see you in a different light than I had the day before. I would learn, so he learns. Mike’s been hard a long time.”

Jonathan Banks is still waiting for ‘Better Call Saul’ to reveal this

One mystery about Mike has carried over from Breaking Bad to Better Call Saul. Mike is involved with his daughter-in-law and granddaughter, but his late son remains a mystery.

“Back on Breaking Bad, I let my granddaughter out of the car with a bunch of balloons,” Banks said. “I send her up and I say, ‘Go on, your mother’s waiting.’ There was a background artist up there that was playing the mother. I walked over to Vince who was directing that episode on a cold day and I said, ‘That’s my granddaughter. That is not my daughter. Whatever has happened to Mike, it has something to do with his son.’”

Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut
Jonathan Banks | Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

That was Banks’ idea, but he still hopes Better Call Saul reveals Mike Jr. and more.

“I want to know who my son’s mother was,” Banks said. “She’s never been mentioned. Mike’s past is so vague. You know he didn’t grow up with much. You know that he was in Vietnam. Who was the mother to that child that he feels responsible for the death for? Who was she? And is she still alive? Is there a reason he was a single father?”

Jonathan Banks disagrees with Mike lashing out in the  season premiere

The Season 5 premiere of Better Call Saul features another scene between Mike and his granddaughter. However, Mike gets frustrated and yells at her like she’s one of his goons. Banks disagreed with that moment.

L-R: Jeremiah Bitsui and Jonathan Banks | Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

“I’ll be honest with you,” Banks said. “It’s one of those scenes where Peter and I disagree a little bit but there’s a lot of things I do that maybe I wouldn’t have done, that wouldn’t have been my choice as an actor. Or if I were directing it it wouldn’t have been my choice. That is not to say that I don’t completely trust my writers. I do what they ask.”

Unlike Mike, he does what he’s told

Nobody tells Mike what to do on Better Call Saul, but Banks is a consummate professional. Even if he questions the scene, he trusts his creators.

“When I blow the guy’s brains out at the end of Season 4, I say I wouldn’t do that. I’m not going to do that. But when you look at it, then it plays beautifully. In my experience over the years, there are actors to their detriment that will immediately, instead of memorizing the lines, instead of trying to make something work, they’re immediately going, ‘Oh no, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t.’ You’re going, ‘Dude, you’re not the writer. Your job is to memorize the lines and try to make it work.’ I’m not saying that happens all the time but it happens too often.”

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul roundtable interview, 1/16/2020