‘Better Call Saul’ Star Jonathan Banks On The 2019 Emmys: ‘Hell, It’s A Good Meal’

One of the most popular characters in Breaking Bad and it’s prequel Better Call Saul is “fixer” Mike Ehrmantraut, who is played brilliantly by Jonathan Banks. Not only is the character loved by audiences, but he is also a big hit with the Television Academy. This year, Banks snagged his fourth nomination for the role, but even if he doesn’t win, there are other things to look forward to on Emmy night.

Better Call Saul Emmy
‘Better Call Saul’ star Jonathan Banks | Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage

Jonathan Banks is part of an elite group

There are very few television actors who have received Emmy nominations for the same role in two different series, and Jonathan Banks is on that shortlist. Banks got his first nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category back in 2013 when he played Mike on Breaking Bad.

“I really like Mike,” Banks said. “He’s terribly flawed. He may seem like a hard-a**, but his weakness is his compassion for other human beings. I think people can really relate to him.”

Banks has also received four straight nominations for the role on Better Call Saul, but he has yet to win the trophy. This year, there is another actor joining Banks in the elite group of actors who scored nominations for the same role in two series – his co-star Giancarlo Esposito, who plays Gus Fring.

The other three actors in the club are Ed Asner, who received nominations for the role of Lou Grant on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Lou Grant, William Shatner, for the role of Denny Crane in The Practice and Boston Legal, and Kelsey Grammer, for the role of Frasier Crane on Cheers and Frasier.

Enjoying the moment

Receiving five Emmy nominations for the same role is an honor itself, but a win would be nice, too. Banks says he is going to be nervous when it’s time for his category, but no matter if he wins or loses he will enjoy the moment.

“I have no idea what will happen, and my anticipation is tempered somewhat but what has happened before, but I feel good,” Banks told The Los Angeles Times. “All of this is a reminder of how lucky I am.”

The 72-year-old actor is up against some serious competition in the category, and he could also be a victim of vote-splitting since Esposito is also nominated. But there could be some even more serious vote-splitting between the three Game of Thrones actors in the category – Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy), and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister). Rounding out the category is Michael Kelly from House of Cards and Chris Sullivan from This Is Us.

Both Banks and Esposito are seriously overdue for a win. But, if neither come out on top this time around, they will have another chance to score a victory next year, as Better Call Saul will be back soon for season 5.

Jonathan Banks’ Emmy submission

Even though the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category is loaded with talent, Banks just might be the one to beat. Not only is he due for a win, but his performance in “Winner,” the season 4 finale of Better Call Saul, was second to none.

The episode was Banks’ Emmy submission this year, and it showcased the conflicting elements of Mike’s personality as he tracked down Werner Ziegler (Rainer Bock), the foreman of a huge meth lab who has snuck out of the job to enjoy some time with his wife who is flying in from Germany. Gus ends up ordering Werner’s execution, which Mike has to carry out.

Banks says that Mike is a lost soul, but he still has a code. Werner had become Mike’s friend, and it was difficult for Mike because he knew he wouldn’t see Werner anymore.

“But, you must never forget, Mike is a killer,” says Banks.

The actor says that the role of Mike Ehrmantraut has been one of the most rewarding experiences of his career, and his time on both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul has been wonderful. And, even if he doesn’t win the Emmy this year, Banks looks on the bright side.

“Hell, it’s a great meal,” he said. “And everyone treats you very nicely.”

Better Call Saul will return for season 5 in 2020.

The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards air Sunday, September 22, on FOX.