Historically, women on television have been portrayed in wife and mother roles, making them a foil to their husbands, but never the main focal point of the show. These characters stay on the sidelines, without being given truly original storylines where they are allowed to drive their own narratives. During the first season of Better Call Saul, Kim Wexler is a supporting character, without any storylines that aren’t linked to Jimmy McGill. Jimmy often treats Kim as a damsel in distress. He thinks it’s his job to save her, and usually from the chaos that he’s created. In this thesis paper, I explore how the male-dominated world of the Breaking Bad universe is transformed into a female-led narrative through Kim Wexler in Better Call Saul. In reviewing the show, gender studies, and the role of women on television, I argue that the Kim character must overcome gender constraints from contemporary capitalism, big law, marriage and family, the law itself, and ultimately her own partner to become the protagonist of the show. As she challenges each of these things, Kim ultimately gains control of the show’s narrative and Jimmy’s fate. As viewers speculate what the final season of Better Call Saul has in store for Kim, it’s clear that whatever happens to Jimmy is because of Kim. She is what has motivated most of Jimmy’s schemes, and her presence, or lack of presence, will decide what motivates Jimmy to fully commit to his Saul Goodman persona in Breaking Bad, connecting his agency to Kim’s choices, not the other way around.
Date of Degree
Master of Arts (MA)
Program of Study
Arts and Humanities
Kocer, S. (2022). “I Save Me”: Gender, agency, and power in Better Call Saul [Master’s thesis, Minnesota State University, Mankato]. Cornerstone: A Collection of Scholarly and Creative Works for Minnesota State University, Mankato. https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/etds/1205/
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