A rare burst of ethical behavior stings attorney Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) financially and professionally on “Bingo,” Episode 107 of AMC’s “Better Call Saul.”
Jimmy’s income is up sharply since switching from criminal defense to elder law. He attracts a steady stream of clients by advertising on Bingo cards and giving away tacky prizes such as an “adorable notebook” decorated with cats.
Now Jimmy plans to lease an office suite with a stunning view of Albuquerque’s skyline. He reserves the corner office for his close friend Kimberly Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), hoping to lure her away from the rival firm of Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill.
“Thank you, really,” Kim says in politely refusing Jimmy’s offer. “But you know I got a lot invested at HHM,” she adds, and should make partner in two years.
Kim’s career nosedives, however, when she’s fired by a high-profile client -- disgraced County Treasurer Craig Kettleman (Jeremy Shamos) -- at the insistence of his loony wife Betsy (Julie Ann Emery).
Kim arranged a plea deal for Craig so he doesn’t have to spend 30 years in prison for embezzling $1.6 million. If the explosive case goes to trial, Kim warns, “your children will grow up seeing their dad through bars on visiting day.”
But Betsy adamantly opposes the deal because it requires her husband to admit guilt, spend 16 months in jail and return every cent of the stolen money.
That’s why Betsy approaches Jimmy for legal representation, figuring he’ll bamboozle a jury into believing Craig is innocent. Jimmy has to cooperate, apparently, because he accepted a hefty retainer/bribe for not alerting authorities about a bag of pilfered cash the Kettlemans keep hidden.
“We’re in this together, Mr. McGill, come what may,” Betsy emphasizes.
To help Kim reboot her career, Jimmy decides to coax the Kettlemans back to HHM. But this requires some shady moves by Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), who owes Jimmy a favor for fending off two Philadelphia detectives investigating a double homicide.
Mike takes a stack of cash from Jimmy and sprays it with a substance that glows when illuminated with ultraviolet light. Then he puts the money on the Kettleman’s patio so it appears like their young kids had played with the bills.
When Betsy stashes the marked money with the rest of the loot, she leaves a trail leading to a secret compartment under a bathroom sink. Now all Mike has to do is break in, shine a UV light and follow Betsy’s tracks to the dough.
“What are you doing?” Mike asks incredulously when he hears Jimmy is about to send the enormous pile of cash to the district attorney.
“The right thing,” Jimmy replies haltingly as he rises above his shyster tendencies.
When the Kettlemans realize they’ve been robbed, Betsy furiously denounces Jimmy as a thief and threatens to call the police.
“Criminals have no recourse,” Jimmy calmly responds. “And you two, you’re criminals -- big time!” Go back to Kim and apologize, Jimmy urges, and “take that deal.”
Betsy defiantly vows to fight on by hiring yet another lawyer. But Craig persuades her to back down, fearing his wife will also go to jail.
“We have to do this for the kids,” Craig says as Betsy sobs uncontrollably. “They can’t lose us both!”
When he’s alone in his future office, pondering his altruistic actions, Jimmy suddenly kicks the door in a rage. He just gave away $1.6 million. And since Kim regained the trust of her boss Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian), she won’t team with Jimmy and expand his law practice.
Jimmy acted honorably for once and paid a steep price. Lesson learned.