The curious case of Detective Abbasi’s missing notebook comes to a conclusion within the first few minutes of “Bingo,” the latest episode of Better Call Saul. Jimmy McGill hands the thing to the Philly cop, saying he found it in the parking lot, but everyone at home and everyone in the room knows better. Furious Abbasi swears he’ll bring the full weight of the law on Mike Ehrmantraut’s head, now that all of their secrets, or at least their suspicions, are out in the open. But Abassi’s partner, and Mike’s former colleague, Detective Sanders, comes forward with a softer approach.
“There’s a lot of people we both know who think Fenske got what was coming. Hoffman, too,” he says, revealing to both Mike and us that he doesn’t really care if Ehrmantraut pulled the trigger on the corrupt cops who murdered one of their own. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few more earlier retirements. It might be a good thing.”
In other words, where Abbasi has a hard-on for justice against Mike, it sure sounds like Sanders believes justice has already been served. For now, if it’s not quite “case closed,” it’s “case paused.” Mike walks away from the situation and thanks Jimmy for his help, even if Jimmy isn’t quite convinced that the ordeal is behind them.
“You’re safe, counselor,” the sleepy-eyed Mike says. “I no longer require your services. I appreciate your help. Go home, go to bed, and send me a bill.”
Moving on, then. Not like Jimmy doesn’t have other things to worry about — like his new office, for instance. He has a massive space in mind, thanks to the money he’s bringing in from his booming career in elder law. Jimmy even has a corner office in mind for Kim Wexler, the Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill attorney and, it seems, the object of Jimmy’s affections. But Kim isn’t ready to take that plunge. She has two years until she makes partner at HHM, and besides, she owes them for putting her through law school. For now, Kim joining Jimmy’s new practice is nothing more than a dream — but as Jimmy always says, “Dream big.”
Speaking of dreaming big, it’s the apparent mantra of Craig and Betsy Kettleman, the delusional owners of a stolen $1.6 million they insist they do not have. Kim has done her best to get them out of their legal jam, but her best amounts to reducing Craig’s 30-year prison sentence to a 16-month stint, under the condition that they return every last cent of the $1.6 million. If this were a game of Deal or No Deal, Betsy would be slamming the case down and throwing it right at the proverbial Howie Mandell’s head, as she and Craig announce their decision to fire HHM and seek new representation.
Any guesses on who that new representation might be? The funny thing is, Jimmy doesn’t even want to get involved with these people anymore. Elder law is where it’s at. The Kettlemans are too much trouble. When they approach him asking for help, he tries to persuade them back to Kim, because there’s no way in hell he can secure them a better deal than what HHM is offering. But the Kettlemans insist: No jail time. Besides, they have leverage over Jimmy; if they take the deal, then every single cent of the $1.6 million will need to be accounted for, and about $30,000 of that stash is currently operating as the bedrock of Jimmy’s operation.
Without much choice, Jimmy takes the Kettlemans on, at the expense of Kim taking a big professional hit at HHM; her two-year plan to become partner now looks like a ten-year plan at best. What’s worse, Jimmy knows he can’t help these people. They’re beyond salvation. There are no laws he can bend, no rules he can break, to secure a better deal for the Kettlemans — so he decides to bend the Kettlemans instead, or else let them break at their own expense.
And so Jimmy finally sends Mike Ehrmantraut his bill, tasking the ex-cop with staking out the Kettleman house and finding out where they’ve stashed their stolen millions. Surprising exactly no one, except for those who did not watch Breaking Bad, Mike manages to fulfill his task with ease, bringing the cash to Jimmy’s office within a matter of hours. With that, Jimmy and Mike decide their debts to each other are paid. Until next time, then.
The next day, Jimmy comes to the Kettlemans and drops the bombshell that their secret stash of cash is gone, en route to the D.A.’s office. Their only recourse is to rehire Kim Wexler and take the deal, sentencing Craig to a brief stay in jail instead of the decades he deserves. Still, Betsy won’t have it. She warns Jimmy that they’ll just go ahead and squeal about the $30,000 bribe Jimmy accepted.
“You could absolutely do that, and I’d be in a mess of trouble — a real pickle,” he acknowledges. “But so would you, Mrs. Kettleman. Right now, only Mr. Kettleman is on the hook. But the bribe — we’re back to calling it a bribe? — that implicates you as well.”
Even as he’s insisted to Chuck that Slippin’ Jimmy is behind him, Jimmy is certainly slipping his way through this situation, bending things in such a way that the Kettlemans have no choice but to return to Kim. He walks them right up to the HHM doorstep and hands them over to Kim, saving everyone’s asses in the process.
But what about Jimmy’s ass? Well, by episode’s end, he’s sitting on it, crying and crumpled in the corner of the corner office he wanted to give to Kim. With the Kettleman cash gone, with Kim’s job at HHM secure, so many of Jimmy’s dreams are over — or at least on pause. But the tears stain his cheeks for only so long. No more than thirty seconds into his private moment of mourning, Jimmy’s phone rings. He stares at it for a moment, as if he’s not going to answer. But business rests for no one.
“Law offices of James M. McGill, how may I direct your call?” he answers, in his best Mrs. Doubtfire voice. Back to work, in other words. There are more mysteries to solve.
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