5 things about 'Better Call Saul': Michael Mando teases dark second season

TORONTO -- Small-time huckster Jimmy McGill of "Better Call Saul" has a long way to go before becoming sleazebag Saul Goodman of "Breaking Bad," and Michael Mando, for one, is relishing the character's gradual, inevitable slide.

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"Better Call Saul"'s resident Canuck co-star says fans can look forward to higher stakes and a darker turn for several characters returning in the second season, starting Monday.

That includes his calculating thug character, Nacho, who will get more screen time and reveal some insight into what drives his violent impulses, says the Montreal-bred actor.

"The stakes are high. It's a situation of life and death," Mando says of Nacho during a recent stop in Toronto.

The first season ended with Bob Odenkirk's Jimmy turning down a lucrative job offer with a prestigious law firm, vowing instead to live life on his terms.

Mando says that leads to some surprising detours for Jimmy as well as the myriad side players in his life, with Nacho taking extraordinary risks to achieve his deeply personal goals.

Careful to keep spoilers to a minimum, Mando sat down with The Canadian Press to offer a few tidbits about what's in store for AMC's "Better Call Saul":

1. Jimmy and Kim grow closer.

The will-they-won't-they dance between Jimmy and his straitlaced object of affection, Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), progresses significantly in the next batch of episodes, Mando suggests.

"Jimmy and Kim's relationship is at the centre point of season 2. I can tell you that their professional and personal life is going to be explored deeply, professionally. And we're going to see how their relationship is going to affect their destiny.

"And probably involve the people around them in a very big way."

2. Former cop-turned-muscle-for-hire Mike Ehrmantraut dives deeper into the criminal underworld.

"Mike (Jonathan Banks) is going to find the pressure of sustaining for his granddaughter and daughter-in-law increase. And that's going to push him into this dark criminal world. I can tell you that there'll be unusual alliances for Mike," says Mando.

Could that involve Nacho?

"You will see Nacho and Mike, their storyline gets very interesting," Mando allows.

"There's a lot of similarities between Nacho and Mike. They're both very calculating. They're both dangerous and practical. But there's also two gigantic differences. They have completely different backgrounds. Mike is a cop and Nacho is a thug, a criminal. And there's a huge generation gap. And to see the dynamics of those two characters was really fun to play."

3. There will be "a lot more Nacho."

"We're going to get a sense of his ambition. We're going to get a sense of his moral code. We're going to get a sense of his determination and the adversity that he has to face. And a sense of his psychology," says Mando.

"Unlike Tuco. Tuco was very volatile. Nacho is very calculating and he's looking for sustainability and security. And big profit. And it's very interesting to be a criminal and have that corporate mentality."

4. Bad blood remains between brothers Jimmy and Chuck.

Michael McKean's duplicitous Chuck, whose formidable success as a hotshot lawyer cast a daunting shadow over the fumbling Jimmy, comes into play too.

Their prickly relationship is complicated, to say the least, after Chuck stabbed his brother in the back by preventing him from joining his firm.

"Chuck and Jimmy left off season 1 being on very bad terms and that relationship is going to get sour, even more," says Mando.

"And that the psychology of the history of these two opposing forces is going to be explained and revealed."

5. "Breaking Bad" fans, keep your eyes peeled for surprises.

"It is a prequel, so that means that anybody who's alive in 'Breaking Bad' is alive and can come to 'Better Call Saul,"' Mando teases.

"Our wonderful writers don't just write people in for a gimmick. It's all part of the story. I can tell you that I am extremely excited about certain Easter eggs."

And the show's nimble ability to hop back and forth to different timelines continues, he adds.

"We can go after 'Breaking Bad,' we can go during 'Breaking Bad,' we can go before 'Better Call Saul.' Everything's game."


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