The Howard Hamlin scam begins in Better Call Saul season 6, and one trait makes Kim a better criminal than Jimmy – her sense of justice.
Kim proves she’s an even better criminal than Jimmy McGill in Better Call Saul Season 6’s opening episodes, but not for the reason you might think. Better Call Saul Tell the tale of a legitimate lawyer who descends into a life of criminality… and her name is Kim Wexler. Over the course of 5 seasons, Better Call Saul has shown Bob Odenkirk’s Jimmy McGill transform from a small-time con artist into a fully-fledged criminal but, more subtly, the Breaking Bad spinoff also charts Kim’s journey from a talented, respected lawyer who occasionally aids Jimmy’s scams into the main driving force encouraging him to commit ambitious, ethically-dubious crimes. Better Call Saul makes little attempt to hide how Kim is by far the better crook. Back in season 5, she talked down a gun-toting Lalo Salamanca as if he were a rambunctious child throwing a tantrum, while Jimmy lingered in the background watching on.
In Better Call Saul Season 6’s opening two episodes, the Kettlemans are conned into unwittingly taking part in Jimmy and Kim’s character assassination of Howard Hamlin. Everything proceeds as planned, and the final step is simply silencing the Kettlemans. Jimmy intends to pay them off (the carrot), but Kim isn’t so sure, and insists on accompanying her husband for the meeting. Betsy Kettleman starts talking tough, so Kim intervenes and takes a tougher approach back (the stick) by threatening to have their tax business investigation for fraud. Needless to say, this proves far more effective than Jimmy’s method.
On the surface, Kim looks like the more professional criminal here, and while that may be true, the reason she’s a better crook than Jimmy McGill isn’t because she’s ruthless like Gus Fring or Lalo Salamanca – it’s a justice thing. By the time Better Call Saul Season 6 begins, Jimmy is painfully aware that his days of stealing watches and scamming insurance companies are over. He has been dragged into the criminal underworld of New Mexico, and just like an Ikea store, getting out is considerably harder than getting in. Although Jimmy accepts his current standing on the moral scale, he generally keeps collateral damage to a minimum – giving the Kettlemans money rather than threatening them, for instance. Kim lacks the same ethics, boundaries not because she’s a bad person, but because she sees herself as Albuquerque’s chief purveyor of legal justice. Batman with a suitcase and business cards.
Since Kim began herself more deeply in Jimmy’s less-than-legal activities, she has taken more pro bono legal cases for the poor and homeless – unfortunate souls who can’t afford proper legal representation. Subconsciously, Kim is using these acts of legal kindness to offset the darker stunts she’s pulling alongside Jimmy. Moreover, Kim has an uncanny knack for morally justifying her immoral actions. When first suggesting she and Jimmy defame Howard Hamlin, Kim argued it was a right thing to do because the Sandpiper case victims would get their money sooner. And after holding a metaphorical gun to the Kettlemans’ heads, Kim orders them to pay back all the clients they stiffed out of cash, justifying her hard-line approach. Every time Kim does something shady, she finds an ethical get-out clause that allows her to sleep soundly – because how can dishing out justice be wrong?
This key difference between Jimmy and Kim is continued by Better Call Saul season 6’s trailer, where Saul references wickedness, and Kim asks, “You think we’re wicked?” as if the thought never crossed her mind. Kim Wexler’s ability to compartmentalize her conscience and view herself as a lawyer vigilante mentally permits her to go much further than Jimmy’s willing to – and that makes her the more dangerous (and undeniably) better) criminal.
More: Better Call Saul Easter Egg Hints At Jimmy & Kim’s Unhappy Ending
Better Call Saul season 6 continues Mondays on AMC.
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