SPOILER ALERT: Storyline and character spoilers ahead for the “Klick” episode of Better Call Saul.
We liked her a lot in Season 1, but Rhea Seehorn’s Kim Wexler, Jimmy McGill’s friend, fellow attorney, and now girlfriend (though, don’t ask her to say that word), emerged as one of the best female characters in primetime in Better Call Saul’s second season. Yahoo TV talked to the Whitney and Franklin & Bash alum about Kim’s enduring loyalty to her man (despite how his “colorful” antics keep threatening her hard-won career), what Kim and Jimmy’s brother, Chuck, really think of each other, and all about Kim’s signature ponytail and DIY suits. And she also tells us which co-star she’d like to get into an on-screen staring contest with.
Congratulations on this breakout season for Kim. As many fans have shared with you on Twitter, she is one of the best female characters on TV.
Oh, that’s so nice. That’s just a really lovely [bit of] feedback. And I’m sure there are other roles out there like that. I know there are. I watch other tremendous work on television. But it’s lovely that people find her truly accessible and authentic and interesting.
Related: ‘Better Call Saul’ Finale Review
Where do you think Kim is at the end of the season? After everything that’s happened in the last two episodes, and she’s kind of unofficially signed off on what Jimmy did with the Mesa Verde files… How do you think she’s feeling about her relationship with Jimmy right now?
You know, I left it, as an actor performing it, very similar to where you’re left as a viewer, and you kind of have to blissfully work that way with our scripts, because you don’t know what’s around the corner. I have no idea what episode 1 of Season 3 is. I feel like she definitely has had the ground shaken beneath her, and has to reassess. It’s been going on for two seasons: Finding out that Chuck is actually duplicitous in some way and possibly manipulative, although she’s really not sure how; Howard has his own agenda and ego to serve, which she can’t always figure out. Additionally, Kim’s way of operating is if you just keep your head down and work hard enough you’ll be fine, [and that] has been shaken. It’s all kind of been crumbling, and so I think she’s kind of trying to reassess where her north is. We see in the finale that she does show up to support Jimmy in spite of everything you just saw. There’s no way she’s not going to not be with him at the hospital. I love that you see them at work together and you see her support him at the hospital, and so there is definitely still a relationship there.
[And] she’s not an angel herself. She’s protecting her own ambition. She doesn’t want to lose Mesa Verde, because she believes that she deserves it. She really does. It is a hard pill to swallow to say, “Okay, I’m not going to let go of this, either.” I’m not reporting Jimmy, but there’s a lot bigger, there’s a lot more stuff going on than just that. Then you see her go about working on the Mesa Verde case, and still participating in the relationship with Jimmy, which I think is equal. They are authentically negotiating the business of being together.
In the premiere Kim participated in the “Ken the douchebag” scam, and she admits she likes doing those things with Jimmy. So do you think it would have been inconsistent, or hypocritical if she did break up with Jimmy because of his “colorful” way of operating?
She’s aware of who he is, and you’re right, they have both said to each other in different fashions, you have to be yourself. And Kim can take care of herself. I would agree with you, I wasn’t like, “Well, that’s just ridiculous that she would stay,” not at all. I don’t think that weakens her, because her eyes are wide open, and she chooses to make her own decisions about being with him. I think she does take into account that his intentions are always in the right place. It is a large blow, because she kept trying to keep that line in the sand that had to do with the ethics of her own career; and she’s been making an attempt to move the line in the sand. I don’t know where she’s going.
The Kim and Jimmy relationship was such a great surprise at the beginning of Season 2, and, his career adventures aside, has gone well. But they both seem to veer away from labelling it. Kim won’t even say the word “dating” in the scene where Jimmy asks her to be his law partner and she says, “We’re already d…” Why do you think she won’t say it? She doesn’t seem like someone who has a fear of commitment, but maybe a fear of labeling something?
Interesting. I never thought about that. I think when I was performing it and working on it I almost thought of it as the opposite. It’s almost like it’s this given foundation, that it doesn’t need to be defined. There is one thing for sure that I [know] about Jimmy, and that he is absolutely loyal. It has nothing to do with what other relationships he’s had, because we all know that he’s had a lot of fun, but that was not when they were together. I think she trusts him, which seems weird. She trusts what they have. There are some things that are very anti-stereotypical about her, especially as a female character, and that’s another one of them. She does not seem to be busying herself with worrying about labeling it or demanding things in the relationship. I like that about her.
You also had a lot of scenes, some really big scenes, with Chuck this season. What do you think is his opinion, his feelings, about Kim? He seems to have a respect for her, professionally, that he doesn’t indicate he has for a lot of others.
You know I do think that. You’d have to ask Michael [McKean] how he plays Chuck, but I always got the sense that Chuck and Howard Hamlin have respect for Kim, and I don’t think that it was purely a manipulative game that they plucked her out of the mailroom group and put her through law school and give her a lot of chances with cases. I think that’s why it was that much more painful for Kim to at least even ponder the idea that they would take things away from her because of some game or their egos. I think she thinks she got there on a meritocracy, and it’s important for her to believe that. If others can’t rally behind that belief, then she’s going to move on and believe it by herself. And I do think that Chuck has respect for her. I don’t think he can help himself.
That’s what I felt of Kim in the scene where, after she’s been knocked down again by Howard and is not allowed to keep the Mesa Verde case she worked so hard for, she sees Chuck in the morning. And he asks her to get him coffee. It was just this script that has that beautiful little moment of… Kim just stares at him, like she can’t believe that he’s going to degrade her even further. I do think he respects Kim, but he cannot help himself when Jimmy’s involved. This is just my perspective. I have no idea what Michael believes about that, but Kim’s listening to that and there are a million things going on, because they write so beautifully on the show, there’s a million layers to every scene, and that one is one of the ones where I wondered what Chuck thinks of Kim. And whatever it is, in that moment, in her mind, has been eroded, or at least is always going to be second to another agenda. And therefore she can’t work there.
Kim is often stressed out about her job, but she always looks very well put together, even during those long days when she’s banished to the doc review room, when you know she’s getting very little sleep. A big part of that, to me, is the ponytail. How much does that, and Kim’s wardrobe, the suits, help you get into Kim mode?
It’s part of it. They are amazing in all of the artistic ventures on this project. Everything is meticulously crafted, and yeah, that is part of it. Jennifer Bryan is amazing, an amazing costume designer on the show, and she said to me in one of my first meetings with her when I was trying to figure out what I think Kim is, she goes, “I have this weird feeling that Kim can’t quite afford the suits that everyone, all the other fancy suits that they’re wearing at HHM, and that she’s trying to fit in,” and I said, “I have that feeling, too.” I don’t even know why. It’s not on paper. It’s just some weird gut feeling. And we got all excited, and she said, “Okay, no one at home will ever know by looking at the screen, but all of your suits, whether they’re navy blue or black, will always be mismatched. They’re off-black and black, or two different blues, because Kim’s still buying separates at like Nordstrom Rack, because she can’t afford the whole suit, so she’s trying to create them.” Then it was the same thing with hair and makeup. There were very specific conversations, like where I said I think this is a woman who doesn’t change her jewelry very often, because it’s not important. She has to get to work, that’s what’s important. She wants to look professional, and it needs to look like she does her own hair and makeup and that she does it pretty well, but it’s not perfect. It doesn’t look like a Hollywood team did her hair and makeup. Then somehow it just evolved into this one thing that’s always fit perfectly, and that was the ponytail.
I think you and Jonathan Banks should be shoo-ins for Emmy nominations this year, and wish list for Season 3: a scene between Kim and Mike.
Oh, my God. How much fun would that be? Jonathan and I have become good friends. He’ll lie and say that we’re not, but tell him he’s full of sh*t. [laughs] We hang out. I go to set when I’m not in stuff, so I am there when he’s shooting, and we have become very close. He and I would love to do a scene together, although there’s a part of me that wonders what it would be like — would it just be like a weird staring contest? Because they’re both very kind of silent, staring people. It could be the longest silent scene ever.