Mike Ehrmantraut Was a 'Breaking Bad' Fan Favorite — What Happened to His Character?

Spoilers ahead for a show that originally aired in 2012, won a ton of awards, and inspired a spinoff series and movie.

Brandon Charles - Author

Feb. 29 2024, Published 2:58 p.m. ET

Jonathan Banks Mike Ehrmantraut Better Call Saul
Source: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut on 'Better Call Saul'

Just because something was released after the initial thing doesn’t mean it’s the future. In other words, television shows do not have to be presented in sequential order.

Breaking Bad, the groundbreaking AMC show by Vince Gilligan, originally aired from Jan. 20, 2008, to Sep. 29, 2013. Better Call Saul, the other groundbreaking AMC show by Vince Gilligan originally aired from Feb. 8, 2015, to Aug. 15, 2022. Making things a bit more complicated, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, was released Oct. 11, 2019.

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Mike Ehrmantraut, played by Jonathan Banks, was on both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. Mike was a former Philadelphia cop who became a fixer for a drug kingpin in New Mexico. The third lead on both shows, he’s an integral character on each series, yet Mike dies in Breaking Bad.

Jonathan Banks Mike Ehrmantraut Better Call Saul 2022
Source: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut on 'Better Call Saul'

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How did Mike die in 'Breaking Bad'?

Mike was killed by Walter White in the Aug. 26, 2012 Breaking Bad episode “Say My Name.” Walter shoots him at point blank range for not giving up the names of the others on Gus Fring's payroll. Water immediately regrets his decision. Mike's last line is, "Shut the f--k up and let me die in peace."

The critically acclaimed hour of TV was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. But why is Mike in Better Call Saul is he’s dead before the end of Breaking Bad?

How is Mike alive in 'Better Call Saul' if he's killed in the first show?

It’s simple: Better Call Saul is a prequel. Though released in the mid 2010s through the early 2020s, the show is set in the mid 2000s. Breaking Bad was set in the present; Better Call Saul was set in the recent past.

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Mike’s also in 'El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,' the movie set after 'Breaking Bad.'

Making things a bit more confusing, Mike also appears in the 2019 Netflix film El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. The sequel and epilogue of Breaking Bad, the film got the whole gang back together: Aaron Paul, Bryan Cranston, Jesse Plemons, Krysten Ritter, Charles Baker, Matt Jones, Robert Forster, and Jonathan Banks.

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Once again, just because something was released after someone is dead in one show doesn’t mean timelines can’t be played with. Mike and Jesse have a conversation in a flashback, before the film is set, which makes El Camino the most up-to-date, in terms of timeline, piece of content in the Breaking Bad universe. According to a 2022 interview with Deadline, Vince Gilligan claims that the Breaking Bad universe is officially done with the ending of Better Call Saul. He also said, "never say never."

Source: YouTube
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Who is Jonathan Banks?

The actor who played Mike Ehrmantraut, Jonathan Banks, is a well-regarded character actor who was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his work on Wiseguy in 1989, more than two decades before winning an Emmy for Breaking Bad.

If you think you’ve seen or heard Jonathan in one of your favorite films or TV shows from the '80s, '90s, '00, '10s or '20s, you’re probably right. He’d had over 100 roles in his 40-plus year career. From big name motion pictures like Airplane!, 48 Hrs., and Beverly Hills Cop to beloved TV shows like Community, Dexter, and ER, he’s had consistent work on programs and in films for adults.

Parents and kids may also recognize Jonathan’s voice from Incredibles 2, Robot Chicken, Skylanders Academy, A Tale Dark & Grimm and Tangled: The Series.

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