Warning: Spoiler Alert!
In my previous posts, I discussed the ethical issues in Episodes 1 through 6 of Better Call Saul. For this discussion, familiarity with the plot of Episode 7 is assumed, but here is the official recap just in case. You can read all my posts about the ethics of Saul Goodman here.
Saul’s Explanation to the Philly Detectives:
It’s late at night and Saul and Mike are back at the police station, returning Detective Abassi’s notebook. As they wait for the detectives, Saul tells Mike to “let me do the talking.” When confronted by the furious Abassi, Saul explains that he was on his way to the police station to clear up this little misunderstanding about the notebook, when - coincidentally - he looked down and saw the notebook on the ground where Abassi must have dropped it. To his credit, Mike keeps his mouth shut as Saul weaves this tale that not even a doting mother would believe. Given that Mike’s fingerprints must be all over the pages of the notebook, I can’t imagine how Saul thinks he can get away with this lie.
If you’ve been following this blog, you can probably recite the rule violation without my help. Rule 8.4(c) prohibits a lawyer from engaging in “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.” So, no … as an officer of the court, Saul is not supposed to lie to police officers - or anyone else for that matter.
Knowing that Mike is a murder suspect, Saul is reluctant to leave him alone with Sanders - the older police detective - but Mike insists. Again, Saul is trying to be a diligent lawyer, but in Mike’s view, Saul has served his purpose and can leave. Sanders hints to Mike that the Philly police will drop the investigation if Mike’s daughter-in-law backs up his story. The conversation suggests that the corrupt old guard still holds enough power in Philly to bury the investigation, even with young Turks like Abassi being brought in to clean up the department.
When Saul intercepts Mike in the parking lot, Mike tells him “it’s in someone else’s hands now” (presumably meaning his daughter-in-law). Saul’s response is, for me, the funniest line in the episode: “Please don’t say Hamlin, Hamlin and McGill.” The idea of losing another client to HH&M (even a terrible client like Mike) is more that Saul can bear, and Odenkirk delivers the line with perfection.
Leaving the Client Files With Chuck:
A few days later, Saul arrives at Chuck’s house with a stack of boxes containing client files, pleading a lack of storage space. Chuck is not happy with the arrangement, but as soon as Saul leaves, he can’t resist the temptation to dig through the files. Maybe both of the McGill brothers have a little bit of larceny in them.
Although there has been some debate among commentators as to whether Saul purposefully left the files with Chuck, hoping he would start working on them, I don’t think there’s much ambiguity. I’ve said before that I think Saul is a pretty competent lawyer. Yet, he conspicuously misstates the form number for the “personal property” schedules as “413″ instead of “513,″ prompting Chuck to correct him. This leaves Chuck in doubt as to whether Saul is properly handling the estate matters. Then, as Saul leaves the house, he peeks in the window to confirm that Chuck is, in fact, looking through the boxes. It seems pretty clear to me that this was part of Saul’s plan.
Of course, both Saul and Chuck are violating Rule 1.6, which requires an attorney to preserve his clients’ confidential information. Chuck may be a great lawyer - and Saul’s brother - but they are not law partners. As I noted in my discussion of Kim and Saul’s conversation in Episode 5, you can’t just share client information with another lawyer (even one you trust implicitly), unless an exception to the confidentiality rule applies.
Saul Calls Bingo:
Saul is back at the nursing home calling out Bingo for the elderly residents. In an over-the-shoulder shot, we see that one of the residents is filing out a bingo card which seems remarkably familiar.