Bob Odenkirk is tired. It's not yet 9am and he's already given two interviews. He stifles a yawn and politely turns down a coffee.

"They're getting me . . . stuff," he says referring to the Lightbox entourage who will spend two days shuffling him around Auckland's media outlets. They've just nipped to the cafe across the road to pick him up some breakfast.

"Lots of various stuff... They're getting me speed!"

He laughs at the thought of it and launches straight into a recommendation.


"I was listening to Steve Jones' biography, ya know from the Sex Pistols. He's great fun to listen to reading it in his thick accent. You should get it. He did tons of speed. That was his drug of choice. He said it's why he got good at the guitar because you get this incredible focus when you're on speed."

That's the positive side of drugs that the anti-drug people just ignore, I say. Odenkirk may be tired but he doesn't miss a beat.

"They don't like talking about it," he jokes. "They avoid it."

Odenkirk is in New Zealand to hype the third season of Better Call Saul, the Breaking Bad spin-off series, which starts next Tuesday on streaming service Lightbox.

The illegal drug trade plays a large part in the life of his BCS character, the slippery lawyer Saul Goodman. Although, after two seasons Saul is yet to make an appearance. At the end of season two Odenkirk was still portraying the small time hustler turned small time lawyer Jimmy McGill. But, he says, that's all about to change.

"We're getting closer to the time period of Breaking Bad. What you'll see is Jimmy McGill is going to become Saul Goodman in season three. Not exactly in the way you met him in Breaking Bad but in a very internal way he's going to become the character of Saul Goodman."

Bod Odenkirk, stars as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman in Better Call Saul
Bod Odenkirk, stars as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman in Better Call Saul

The series has been a slow burn, intense and deliberate. Not for much longer.

"They've set up the dominoes and when they start to fall later in the third season they're going to go fast then even faster," Odenkirk smiles. "It's going to get literally chaotic at a certain point but right now it's the methodical setting up."


An important domino gets placed early on with the appearance of a core BB character.

"Gus Fring who runs Los Pollos Hermanos comes into the show and we get to see him build his drug empire and what that entails. Which is of course violence and danger for everyone involved."

"We'll see a lot more of Mike," he continues. "I love when you get Jimmy McGill and Mike in the same room together. Especially if it's a tiny room. Like a parking ticket booth. It's so great."

The chemistry between the quick-talking Odenkirk and the stony faced Jonathan Banks who plays Mike is one of the great delights of the series.

"It's interesting because the character of Mike was only invented because I couldn't do four episodes. This is for season two of Breaking Bad," Odenkirk says revealing some trivia this BB fan didn't know.

"They wanted me for four but I was already scheduled for How I Met Your Mother which I had an on-and-off little part. So I could only do three of the four episodes. But they had this information they needed to get across, an expositional type thing. So they invented the character of Mike for that episode."

Talk about a stroke of fortuitous luck. Despite being polar opposites both characters instantly became fan favourites.

Jonathan Banks stars as Mike Ehrmantraut and Bob Odenkirk stars as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman in Better Call Saul
Jonathan Banks stars as Mike Ehrmantraut and Bob Odenkirk stars as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman in Better Call Saul

"I was just watching Breaking Bad, my wife is watching it for the third time all the way through, and I forgot how bleak the world is. I'm watching a few minutes of it and thinking every single person in this show is gonna die, be killed or lose everything.

"So here's Saul who has nothing at stake. At least until the very end. Until the last season Saul is just trying to make money and it's a big laugh to him. He doesn't care if Walter White gets killed. I think people liked the character because there was a lightness to him comparatively to everyone else. That made him fun to watch. It was a nice break."

Odenkirk's played Jimmy/Saul since 2009 so he feels he has a pretty good handle on the character. There is, however, a third persona in the mix. Very occasionally BCS fast-forwards into the monochrome future to reveal Goodman's post-BB life as the mall donut shop worker Gene.

"I'm gonna have to discover Gene. I don't really know him yet. I hope I get the chance," Odenkirk says.

"They are talking about taking the character into that world and discovering who he is. I would love it if they discover that third iteration of the character, Gene, and let him put his life back together. Once Walter White is dead I think he could come out of hiding."

He thinks for a moment and says, "He's got the worst job in the world. He's drinking. He can't talk about who he is, he can't tell anyone who he is, he can't use any of his skills."

It's like he stuck in purgatory, I say.

"Yeah, but spend enough time in purgatory and you get to go to heaven right?"