“The problem is, Kim’s ideals aren’t off,” she said. “But the way she’s going about them is.”
Across five and a half seasons, Kim’s long slide toward perdition has become arguably the narrative keystone of the series. It wasn’t always that way. When it began, “Saul,” a prequel to “Breaking Bad,” seemed primarily focused on the transformation of the slippery but fundamentally decent Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) into Albuquerque’s sleaziest lawyer, Saul Goodman. Kim’s ultimate role was uncertain then, even to the writers.
“We had no idea, when we started, how important her character was going to be,” said Peter Gould, the showrunner and a co-creator. “If you watch the pilot of the show, she has probably three lines of dialogue.”
It soon became clear, however, that Seehorn’s character, who began (outwardly) as a straight arrow with a promising legal career, would be integral to Jimmy’s metamorphosis. Like Jimmy, Kim was breaking bad. Unlike Jimmy, though, Kim never appears in “Breaking Bad,” which has led many fans to assume the worst. The stakes have always been potentially higher for her than for the guy with his name in the title.
That seems like a lot to carry, given that “Saul” is one of the most critically acclaimed series on television. But if it is, Seehorn, 50, who has been acting on screens and on stages since the ’90s, handles it gracefully. Unlike the tight-lipped, inscrutable Kim, Seehorn isn’t afraid to be vulnerable, either professionally or, as it turns out, in conversation. She has no problem, for example, talking at length about a rash. She is funny, and has a blinding, unguarded smile that made me wonder if I had ever actually seen Kim Wexler’s teeth (all those tooth-brushing scenes notwithstanding).