Why Do People Hate Saúl?

Saúl Goodman, the criminal lawyer played by Bob Odenkirk in Breaking Bad and its spinoff Better Call Saul, is one of the most polarizing characters in television history. While some viewers find him hilariously entertaining, others absolutely loathe him. This article will explore the reasons behind the intense “Saúl hatred” some fans exhibit.

The Moral Ambiguity of Saúl Goodman

One of the primary drivers of anti-Saúl sentiment is his flagrant disregard for ethics and the law. As a “criminal” lawyer, he actively enables and aids Walt and Jesse’s deadly meth empire. Some of his most controversial actions include:

  • Helping them launder money through the nail salon
  • Arranging meetings with distributors and cleaning crews
  • Destroying evidence and misleading investigators

To many viewers, these behaviors make Saúl complicit in the show’s violent acts and criminal underworld – unforgivable ethical breaches.

Quotes Highlighting His Shady Moral Compass

“I caught my second ex-wife screwing my stepdad…OK? It’s a cruel world, we stack the petri-dish the way we can.”

  • Saúl to Walt

“This … this is the moral question at the heart of what you do. Anymore?”

  • Saúl mocking Walt’s ethical crisis

His flippant remarks showcasing his failure to take responsibility gnaw at viewers with high ethical standards.

The Rationale Behind His Gray Morality

However, Saúl’s actions can arguably be viewed through a more nuanced lens. In the dangerous world he operates in, his methods – while unethical by law – are necessary for self-preservation.

As Bob Odenkirk summarized:

“He has a freak morality baked in which involves putting himself first while doing the least destructive choice. If he turns people in, they go away for life, maybe. So he tries to bend the rules respectfully, carefully.”

Saúl is simply trying to stay afloat and alive in his seedy world, not be a righteous hero or villain. This moral grayness is compelling to many viewers.

Saúl’s Sleazy Personality Traits

Another factor driving “Saúl Hate” is his extremely sleazy personality and behavior, especially towards women and in professional settings. Let’s examine some key unpalatable traits:

Sexist and Misogynistic Tendencies

Saúl frequently objectifies women and makes crass, misogynistic remarks like:

“Calm down, bi***. I’m just doing the predicative narrative here.”

He routinely hires strip-club workers for eye candy and has tacky tastes like his obnoxious garish Cadillac exterior and gaudily decorated office full of tasteless items.

Many viewers loathe how emblematic he is of male chauvinism and the stereotype of sleazy lawyers chasing skirts. His sexism feels all too real and uncomfortable to digest.

| Sexist Saúl Moments | Why It’s Problematic |
| Ogles and makes crude remarks about strip club workers | Objectifies and demeans women |
| Crude sexual innuendos like “Lady rainmakers with a for justice” | Reduces women to sexual objects instead of professionals |
| Negatively stereotyping powerful female lawyers like Heingartner or Kim | Misogynistic double standards |

Unprofessional and Untrustworthy Conduct

Beyond his sexism, Saúl frequently acts unprofessionally and unethically in his legal practice in ways that damage the profession’s reputation:

  • Taking on extremely shady, criminal clients
  • Destroying evidence and obstructing justice
  • Aggressively ambulance chasing to drum up business
  • Tacky TV ads making lawyers look greedy and uncouth
  • Crass behavior like feet on desk, garish suits, etc.

To viewers who respect the legal field, Saúl’s antics make him the embodiment of the worst stereotypes about greedy, sleazy “amoral” lawyers. His actions seem to spit in the face of justice and ethics.

The Showrunners’ Intentional Writing Choices

Of course, the writers of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul are intimately aware of Saúl’s more loathsome qualities. According to showrunner Peter Gould:

“We definitely knew from the outset that Saúl was an edgy character who would turn some people off. But we tried to give him enough charisma and humor to win people over in spite of his baser instincts.”

Indeed, it seems the writers purposefully wrote Saúl to be a divisive, morally compromised personality. His ethical elasticity and sleaziness make him realistically human and complex instead of a one-dimensional hero or villain caricature.

This nuanced writing invites the strong love/hate reactions Saúl engenders. He’s the kind of fascinating but flawed character that drives great drama and discussion.


At the end of the day, whether one loves or hates Saúl Goodman speaks volumes. To those prioritizing traditional ethics and professional ideals above all else, he is the ultimate representation of Hollywood glorifying toxic sexism, greed, and undermining justice.

However, to fans able to embrace moral grayness, Saúl is a complex, charismatic antihero. His flaws, while grating, make him compellingly human. His razor-sharp wit and knowing he’d vigorously defend you in a pinch breed affection.

Like Walter White, Saúl forces us to grapple with situational morality. Do we judge him by society’s ethical standards, or apply a different code to the criminal underworld he occupies? The intense divide over Saúl’s likability ultimately reflects deeper personal attitudes.

It is this layered, thought-provoking characterization that cements Saúl’s iconic status. Loved or reviled, sparking impassioned debate is Saúl’s enduring legacy and a testament to the writers’ vision. Hate him or not, Saúl Goodman has indisputably left an indelible imprint on pop culture.

FAQs About Why People Hate Saúl

Isn’t Saúl just doing his job defending his clients as a lawyer?

While he is technically fulfilling his duty to represent his clients vigorously, Saúl crosses far too many ethical and legal lines to claim he’s being a good lawyer. Destroying evidence, money laundering, and enabling violent crime go way beyond “doing his job.”

Why do fans give Walt a pass but excoriate Saúl?

It’s a good point – Walt’s actions as Heisenberg are far more evil and destructive than Saúl’s. But Walt is the tragic antihero protagonist we’re made to empathize with. Saúl is a supporting player meant to be more overtly dislikable.

Don’t Saúl’s funny lines and charisma make up for his bad behavior?

For some fans, sure – his humor and sleazy charm let them overlook his flaws. But for others, no amount of quippy one-liners can redeem such fundamental ethical lapses and ugliness.

How much of the Saúl hate is just ingrained sexism from fans?

It’s a fair critique – much of the “Saúl hatred” does seem rooted in his sleaziness towards women and perpetuating sexist stereotypes. Some fans may have an unconscious double standard rejecting such traits more harshly from a male character.

Isn’t love-to-hate-him better than being completely irrelevant?

The showrunners would likely agree – creating a divisive character people feel strongly about (positive or negative) is preferable to forgettable blandness. The fact Saúl inspires such passion and debate is a mark of great writing.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *