Parents' Guide to

Better Call Saul

By Kari Croop, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Breaking Bad spin-off is a darkly comic tale of ambition.

TV AMC Drama 2015
Better Call Saul Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 20 parent reviews

age 13+

Excellent spin-off has violence, sexual dialogue, language and some drug content

Better Call Saul a spin-off to the series Breaking Bad, following “criminal” lawyer Jimmy McGill or Saul Goodman through all of his scams and lawyering experiences while also touching on the greatest Breaking Bad characters along the way. Throughout, expect instances of violence (although much milder than Breaking Bad) language, sexual dialogue and lots of gross out humor. I will be writing this review as I watch the show. [SEASON 1, EP 1] VIOLENCE: MILD A video of teenagers in a morgue is shown as one of them cuts off the head of a corpse, this isn’t shown and only thrusting movements are shown from above. After, he lifts up the head and shows it to the camera before one of them suggests he stuck his penis down the heads throat (see SEXUAL CONTENT) this scene is meant to be darkly comedic. LANGUAGE: MILD One incomplete use of “f*ck” and use of “sh*t” and milder profanities. SEXUAL CONTENT: MODERATE A group of teenagers are shown on trial for having sex with a severed head. A video of the teenagers cutting off the head is shown before one of them suggests that one of them should stick his “wang” down the throat hole. He agrees but says “only if you will” before we hear audio of the kids yelling “oh yeah!” and the scene quickly cuts after this. This is very graphic in nature, however none of the sexual act is shown despite a few seconds of it being heard in a non-graphic manner. We also hear frequent dialogue pertaining to this sexual act, such as “they had sex with a severed head?” and other questions relating to why the lawyer would defend someone who did such an action. Some other sexual references, however most of them are references relating to necrophilia. DRUG CONTENT: MILD Some light drug references, very little of them are noticeable at all, the strongest being “I’m number one on your speed dial right next to your weed dealer” which is one of the most memorable lines in the series. 13+ for brief disturbing sexual material and references including a disturbing image [SEASON 1, EP 2] VIOLENCE: MODERATE Suddenly, two men are smashed in the face with a walker and fall to the ground before they are both bashed in the face again on the floor. They are later shown tied up and bound on the floor with bloody injuries on their faces. A man nearly has his finger sliced off with a pruning shear, however he is let go (a little bit of blood is shown). A man stomps on and breaks the legs of two men. They are both held down before we see the man stomping on the legs, however we do not see the direct impact or the legs, but we instead hear loud bone cracking and the screams of both men as the man torturing them shows his frenzied reactions to hurting them. Later, we see both men getting rushed to the hospital in wheelchairs. We see one mans leg which is twisted backwards. LANGUAGE: MILD Use of “sh*t”, “b*tch”, “biznatch” (slang for “b*tch”) and milder profanity such as “damn”, “hell” and “ass”. SEXUAL CONTENT: MILD Some sexual references. DRUG CONTENT: MILD It is implied that a man is a drug dealer, there is a brief scene at a bar with drinking, a man is shown drunk. 13+ for violent images [SEASON 1, EP 3] VIOLENCE: NONE A man is tackled and arrested, the episode touches on the kidnapping of a family but it humorously turns out that kidnapping isn’t the case. LANGUAGE: MILD 1-2 uses of “sh*t”, a use of “puss out”, some mild language. SEXUAL CONTENT: NONE A few mild references may be heard. 12+ for mild language [SEASON 1, EP 4 ] VIOLENCE: NONE A man hangs off a billboard but is “saved”, no violence. LANGUAGE: MILD One use of “f*ck” towards the beginning and 2+ uses of the middle finger along with mild language. DRUG CONTENT: MILD A man is shown smoking from a bong, which is the first instance of onscreen drug use in the show. 12+ for some language and brief drug use [SEASON 1, EP 5] VIOLENCE: MILD A man with a physiological (at the time believed physical) illness is raided and arrested by police mostly offscreen and placed in a hospital, and due to the fact that he is surrounded by technology (which he is allergic to) he is suffering and in pain, especially since we hear that he was tasked by police. LANGUAGE: MILD Some use of “sh*t” and milder language. SEXUAL CONTENT: MILD Rather crude suggestive dialogue and jokes in one scene. We see a talking toilet to help kids potty train, and when something falls into the toilet a microphone makes “positive” comments towards the kid on it, however these come across as very sexual and suggestive. Some of the things said are, “gosh your big, your so big”, “fill me up, chandler, put it in me!”, “give it to me, I want it all”. The toilet is then called a sex toilet and is mocked later on when some of the things are repeated. The scene is funny but very suggestive and crude. 12+ for some crude sex-related dialogue [SEASON 1, EP 6] VIOLENCE: MODERATE A man is shown with a bullet hole in his shoulder, he removes the patch and cleans it with a maxi pad. There is a rather violent shootout where a man is shot roughly twice in the chest, he falls down and the man next to him is shot in the head, no blood on these shots are shown but what appears to be a bullet hole can be glimpsed in the man’s head for a split second. Afterwards, the man on the floor shoots the other man in the shoulder but he is quickly shot in the neck. He is shown with his hand on his neck and blood running down his arm while he crawls leaving a trail of blood behind him. His shoe is stepped on, he begs for mercy but is shot in the head, but the shot is half offscreen. The shootout is pretty violent for the early seasons of the show. LANGUAGE: MILD Some (possible) uses of “sh*t” DRUG CONTENT: MILD A man is shown very drunk and stumbling around, but it is revealed this is likely acting on his part. 13+ for some violence [SEASON 1, EP 7] LANGUAGE: MILD Some uses of “sh*t” and other milder language. 12+ for mild language [SEASON 1, EP 8] LANGUAGE: MILD Uses of “sh*t” and milder language including possible uses of “b*tch”. SEXUAL CONTENT: MILD A man says “blow my magic flute” to another man. 12+ for a suggestive reference [SEASON 1, EP 8] VIOLENCE: MILD A man has a gun pointed at his head, but he quickly disarms the man and pistol whips him in the throat. The man is shown on the ground struggling to breath. The scene is pretty lighthearted. LANGUAGE: MODERATE 1 use of “pigf*cker” along with uses of “sh*t”, “b*tch”, “a**hole” and other language. DRUG CONTENT: MILD A man deals pills. The whole process is shown in full. 13+ for brief strong language and drug content [SEASON 1, EP 10] VIOLENCE: NONE A man has a heart attack and dies. Not violent or heavy, but pretty emotional. LANGUAGE: MODERATE 1 use of “pigf*cker” along with uses of “sh*t” and “b*tch”. SEXUAL CONTENT: MILD We see two women dressed in their bras and underwear wake up (presumably after a night of sex) getting ready to leave the apartment with two men inside saying that both of them told the girls that they where someone that they weren’t to trick them. OTHER: This episode has sequences of criminal/fraudulent activity that appears easy to try on your own. 13+ for some drug content and brief strong language OVERALL SEASON RATING: Rated R/13+ for some crude sexual humor and references, language and for some drug content and violence [SEASON 2, EP 1] LANGUAGE: MILD Uses of “sh*t” and other milder language. Nothing unusual for the show. SEXUAL CONTENT: MILD A woman is shown in a bikini rubbing a much older man’s back. A man makes (tame) sexual remarks at a bar. DRUG CONTENT: MILD Tame dealing of pills. 12+ for some language [SEASON 2, EP 2] LANGUAGE: MILD Some use of “sh*t”, mild language. Another episode with mild language. SEXUAL CONTENT: MILD One scene contains crude sexual references. The scene depicts a questioning where a lawyer explains that a man made questionable videos for another man’s sexual enjoyment, and in return he would receive payment. One of the cops asks if it was porn, the lawyer replies by saying it was more of a fetish kind of thing depicting a man sitting in a pie with a costume while shaking his butt in the pie. The videos are described as being able to turn the man on. DRUG CONTENT: MILD The episodes overarching plot is of a man being robbed of his pills he used to deal illegally. 12+ for a scene of sex-related humor [SEASON 2, EP 3] LANGUAGE: MILD Some possible language (eg. shit and ass) 11+ for some mild language [SEASON 2, EP 4] VIOLENCE: MILD This episode contains a substantial amount of violent content compared to previous episodes while still being light. A man recalls a story in which a man got his head shot off with a double-barrel shotgun. He then lifts his shirt and reveals that a piece of the man’s skull is still trapped in his skin as he was sitting behind him. A man is threatened with a gun and punched roughly 8 times in the face, blood spews and splashes out of his mouth on one of the hits. The beating is pretty violent, and later we see him with his eye swollen shut and his face bruised and cut. LANGUAGE: MODERATE 2 uses of “f*ck” (“what the f*ck”, “pigf*cker”), and uses of “a**hole”, “sh*t”, “christ” and “b*tch” along with milder words like “a**”, “h*ll” and “d*mn”. This episode likely uses the strongest language used in one episode from the first two seasons of the show. SEXUAL CONTENT: MILD Some mild sexual references such as a man saying “shove your arm up his a**”. DRUG CONTENT: MODERATE References to crystal meth and “crank”, a man is shown snorting coke and then acting violently afterwards, the latter part of the episode focuses on a drug deal. 13+ for strong language and for some violence and drug use [SEASON 2, EP 5] LANGUAGE: MILD Some use of “godd*mn” and “sh*t” 12+ for mild language [SEASON 2, EP 6] VIOLENCE: MILD A rather suspenseful scene depicts a man violently pistol whipping two armed home invaders in the head. The first man is whipped on the back of the head and collapses, the second is bashed on he head twice. Afterwards the mens faces are shown gashed and bloodied and blood is shown all over the bottom of the gun and running down into the sink when the attacker washes his hands. The cartel threatens a man and his young granddaughter in multiple ways. Quite suspenseful and unexpected. LANGUAGE: MILD “sh*t” and other language regularly used can be heard. 12+ for brief violence and menace [SEASON 2, EP 9] VIOLENCE: MILD A man drives over road spikes and exits his car with a gun, however a masked man appears before him and puts his gun to the side of his head. After he is shown with his mouth and eyes duct taped and tied up on the side of the road while he is robbed. Later, we hear that to cover up the scene an innocent pedestrian was “shot in the face”. A man passes out and smashes his head off the side of a counter. The hit is pretty startling and the nature of scene is quite distressing. LANGUAGE: MILD Use of “sh*t” and “holy sh*t” along with milder language. 12+ for some violent images [SEASON 2, EP 10] VIOLENCE: MODERATE This episode is much more intense than the previous episodes of this season, or even the show entirely, however not fully because of the violence. A woman dies peacefully in the hospital, presumably from old age. After hitting his head, a man is admitted to a hospital (blood is shown all over his head) as he screams in pain and terror for the doctors not to give him an EKG or a CAT scan because of his condition relating to electricity. He cries and screams that they are killing him and to stop but they refuse and continue to hook him up to electronics as he struggles and hits his head off the back of the table he is laid on. A man is shown tied up, with his mouth taped and blood running down the tape as he squirms and screams in the trunk of a car. A man is shown having extreme seizure-like flashes as he is put into a machine for a scan. He is later shown in a panic induced shock in bed, motionless with his eyes open. We see from the perspective of a sniper a grave being dug and a man getting thrown out of a door, screaming in terror and begging for his life before he is stood up and shot in the head at point blank range. No blood is shown, but this is pretty graphic. LANGUAGE: MODERATE 2 uses of “f*ck” (both used as “ratf*cked”), several uses of “sh*t” including “bullsh*t”, uses of “a**”, “d*mn” and “h*ll” along with other milder language. Stronger language than most episodes in the season except for “Gloves Off”. 13+ for disturbing content including violence, and for strong language OVERALL SEASON RATING: R/13+ for language, and for some drug content and violence

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
4 people found this helpful.
age 15+

Pure Excellence

From the cheap ads to the obscure morality of his choices, Better Call Saul is an excellent show with themes of what makes a person 'bad'. This series is about Saul Goodman when he was not the wisecracking lawyer who assisted Walter White in many of his schemes, but when he was Jimmy McGill, struggling lawyer who is constantly getting loser cases. However, his conman background and his ample amount of ambition causes him to become involved with drugdealers and hitmen. However, considering this show is about moral ambiguity, there is naturally going to be violence and substances. Although much of the time characters are engaged in (masterful) dialogue, when the show gets violent, the violence can sometimes get quite graphic. An example is when a man's leg gets chopped off with an axe. Sex is infrequently referenced and implied, the worst case probably being in the first episode, when three boys are implied to have intercourse with a dead body. Meth and drugs are referenced (considering the show that Better Call Saul is based on is all about cooking meth) a lot, as a fairly large part of Season 4 is spent on making a meth superlab. Overall, this show delivers perfectly crafted tension that was trademark of Breaking Bad along with a unique theme including symbols, parallels, and motifs.

This title has:

Educational value
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
3 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (20 ):
Kids say (52 ):

When word got out that there might be a Breaking Bad spin-off centering on shifty but likable lawyer Saul Goodman, fans of the critically acclaimed AMC series were practically giddy -- maybe because it allowed a story they loved to live on, even though Walter White was dead. But could show creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould really spin Saul's story into gold, and was Odenkirk up for the challenge of a dramatic series that put him in the spotlight?

The answer, it seems, is yes. Although it isn't likely to attract many new converts to the franchise at first (thanks to seriously subdued action and some unclear plot points), Better Call Saul retains the bleak yet darkly hilarious vibe of its predecessor. And just as Breaking Bad did when Walter and Jesse started cooking together, Saul eventually shifts into high gear and delivers real promise as an addictive drama that's full of surprises and, more importantly, thoughtful storytelling.

TV Details

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