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Chuck McGill portrait
"Chuck is a name partner at one of Albuquerque's most prestigious law firms. A brilliant man of high ideals, Chuck believes that doing the right thing is the true and proper route to success. Unfortunately, an unusual illness makes it difficult for him to live a normal life."
―Information about Chuck[src]

Chuck McGill was a brilliant man of high ideals; he believed that doing the right thing is the true and proper route to success. Chuck was a highly intelligent and dedicated lawyer who viewed the law as being sacred and was very determined in helping his clients in any way possible. He was well respected by his colleagues at HHM and also other prestigious law firms.

Relationship with Jimmy[]

"My brother is not a bad person. He has a good heart. It's just... He can't help himself. And everyone's left picking up the pieces."
―Chuck to Kim Wexler about Jimmy.[src]
Chuck and Jimmy

Chuck with his younger brother, Jimmy. The relationship between the two brothers was one of the primary catalysts for Jimmy's transformation into his criminal ego, Saul Goodman.

In contrast to his younger brother Jimmy, however, Chuck appears to be a less likable individual and is not as humorous as Jimmy, tending to be uptight and serious. Despite this, Chuck appears to view himself as being superior to his brother and that he does not deserve to be a lawyer due to the simple steps he took to become one and his past delinquent behavior. Although Chuck does care for his brother somewhat, it is very apparent that he loathes him for many reasons. He views him as being nothing more than a conman who has not changed at all since his "Slippin Jimmy" days and that the way he obtained a law degree was a joke. He also resents how Jimmy is able to win people over so easily, such as his ex-wife and even their own parents. It is hinted that Chuck is jealous of Jimmy to a degree which may be another contributing factor to why he always tries to cut him down in order to prevent him from surpassing himself at feats that he worked hard at to accomplish. Chuck firmly establishes the reasons for why he hates his brother in the episode "Chicanery" and later claims to Jimmy that he never mattered to him at all. ("Lantern") Even though Jimmy himself took care of Chuck for almost a year and a half while suffering from his condition, Chuck has not changed his opinions on him at all and went to extreme lengths to prevent him from working at his law firm, even after Jimmy found and built a strong legal case against Sandpiper Crossing. This incident also shows that Chuck would rather sacrifice a potential multi-million dollar case for HHM than to have Jimmy work at his law firm. Chuck also does not appear to care much for the well-being of others who are affected by his attempts to cut Jimmy down, noticeably Kim. Chuck firmly believes that he is protecting people from getting hurt by sabotaging Jimmy's attempts to be a successful lawyer as he claims people will get hurt if the power of law is abused.

Better-call-saul-episode-305-chuck-mckean-3-936

Chuck at Jimmy's bar hearing.

Chuck is also shown to be rather cold toward his younger brother on many occasions such as lying to him about their mother not speaking any last words before her death (she called for Jimmy) and brutally telling him of how he is not a real lawyer and that "Slippin Jimmy" with a law degree is nothing short of dangerous. Chuck is also shown to be a hypocrite to a degree as seen when he snaps at Jimmy for stabbing him in the back, all the while completely ignoring that he has stabbed Jimmy in the back and betrayed him numerous times.

After Chuck correctly deduces that Jimmy sabotaged his Mesa Verde files in order for the case to be returned to Kim, and was completely humiliated as a result, he embarks on a warpath against him to bring him down once and for all. Chuck has been shown to possess a rather ruthless side to a degree as he cunningly gets Jimmy to confess to the deed in private while pretending to feel remorse for his "mistake" and overcoming his electricity condition to record it on tape, showing that Chuck will go to extreme lengths to succeed at his goal. ("Pimento")

When he feels that he has been crossed, Chuck becomes vindictive towards that person above all else. This is seen with both his actions towards Jimmy and Howard Hamlin following Howard suggesting that he retire. When following his personal vendettas, Chuck is seen to be willing to do anything to win, even if it means destroying the law firm he helped build when his actions caused Howard to lose faith in him. Even Howard, who had supported Chuck against Jimmy, noted that Chuck went too far with his vendettas and caused serious collateral damage to everything around him in the process. Chuck has also shown a willingness to use and even sacrifice his own employees in pursuit of his vendettas, notably manipulating Ernesto into revealing the existence of his tape recording of Jimmy's confession to Jimmy as part of his scheme, and later firing him for unknown reasons, being completely remorseless about his actions showing that he also possess a hypocrite and machiavellian side of himself.

Chuck is also very stubborn and self-righteous, refusing to accept that his actions has caused damage to those around him and often shields himself saying that he does it due to being an "executor of justice". He is a prideful individual and can get greatly offended when his capacity as a lawyer is put in doubt, such as when the insurance company suggested that another senior partner should supervise him daily at work, something that he did not tolerate and even threatened the members of that company.

Despite these traits, Chuck can show compassion especially with people who've had to pay the consequences of his brother's act. When Kim is placed in document review as punishment for being aware of Jimmy's unauthorized TV commercial for the Sandpiper's case and not telling to Howard, Chuck shows up at HHM, tells her that he will talk to Howard to reconsider his decision to have her transferred to document review and even congratulates her for getting Mesa Verde bank as a client, feeling proud of her work. Chuck also goes as far as telling to Kim about their father and how the actions of Jimmy inevitably led to their father's death to make her understand why something like that happened to her despite being innocent of Jimmy's acts.

Jimmy later publicly expresses remorse over his role in Chuck's suicide and not being there for his brother as he should've been even though, as Bill Oakley points out, what he did to Chuck wasn't illegal.

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity[]

"It's not a situation, it's a condition. Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity. For reasons unknown, my nervous system has become sensitized to certain frequencies of electromagnetic radiation."
―Chuck explaining his condition[src]
Space Blanket

Chuck wearing his space blanket at Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill.

It's highly indicated that Chuck's electromagnetic hypersensitivity is, in fact, a mental illness, not an actual allergy despite Chuck's beliefs. In one case, Dr. Cruz activated Chuck's hospital bed without his knowledge and he was unaffected, using it as proof to Jimmy that Chuck is in fact mentally ill rather than physically. ("Alpine Shepherd Boy") On another occasion, Huell Babineaux planted a fully-charged cell phone battery in Chuck's pectoral pocket, essentially putting it right up against Chuck's skin. Chuck remained completely unaffected and despite his claims that he could sense when an electronic object was close to him due to its effect on him, did not sense the battery. Chuck was completely unaware and unaffected for an hour and forty-three minutes, right until Jimmy revealed the battery's presence to him, further pointing to Chuck being mentally ill rather than physically sick. During the time this happens, Jimmy suggests that Chuck developed his condition in response to his divorce from his wife. ("Chicanery") Chuck later states that this incident caused him to reevaluate his condition and realize that perhaps everyone is right and was left to wonder if he was wrong about the condition, what else he was wrong about. ("Slip")

Chuck promo

Chuck wearing his space blanket at his electricity-free home.

Following his courtroom breakdown, Chuck reevaluated his life and finally sought help for his EHS delusion. He expressed hope of returning to a normal life and was eager to move forward. He also appeared to regret some of his choices. After finally seeking help, Chuck was able to do grocery shopping for himself with some help, turn his power back on and even cook for himself over a regular stove for the first time in years. While still haunted by his EHS, Chuck had developed coping mechanisms with the help of Dr. Cruz that appeared to involve him naming what he could see and focusing on that. However, Chuck's behavior did not change in any other way following this and he retained the vindictive parts of his personality, as seen with his interactions with Howard following the meeting with the malpractice insurance company.

Suicide, letter, and impact[]

Chuck's death

Chuck moments before his suicide, getting the lantern to fall to the ground, setting fire to himself and his house.

At the end of his life, Chuck suffered a major relapse of his EHS following his being forced from HHM and his vindictive last conversation with his brother. In this state, Chuck was compelled to destroy his own house in search of a single source of electricity still running and ultimately the power meter. This relapse appeared to be worse than Chuck's original onset of the delusion as he never went to such an extreme except when he wrapped his house in Mylar which was part of his plot to trick Jimmy. This major relapse, coupled with losing everything important in his life ultimately drove Chuck to commit suicide.

Better-call-Saul-Jimmy-Kim-Chuck-Letter

Jimmy reading Chuck's letter. ("Something Beautiful")

In Chuck's letter to Jimmy, he revealed that, despite often not seeing eye to eye with his brother, Chuck was proud he and Jimmy shared the name McGill, said that he admired Jimmy's energy and resilience, and respected what Jimmy made of himself in the mailroom of HHM. Below is Chuck's letter in full:

Dear Jimmy,

I have left many things unsaid in our relationship through the years. Rather than allow these unspoken thoughts to die with me, I’ve chosen to record them here for you. I hope you will take my words in the spirit in which they are intended.

I remember quite clearly the day you came home from the hospital. You can’t imagine the joy on mom’s face. I can honestly say I never saw her happier than she was on that day. You brought a shine to our life that nothing else ever did and I’m glad of that.

We have not always seen eye to eye. I expect that will continue to be so in the future, however, nothing will ever change the fact that we are brothers - flesh and blood. And though we are very different people, I want you to know how much I respect what you have made of yourself in these last few years. You have taken the opportunity I gave you in the mailroom and you have run with it, becoming a valued member of the HHM family. For all the problems in your past, I’m proud we share the name McGill. I sincerely admire your energy and resilience. I used to worry about you finding a place in the world, but I’m not worried about that anymore. I’m certain now that no matter what the future may bring, you’ll land on your feet and I hope when you read this, you remember me not only as your brother, but as a person you knew was always in your corner.

Chuck


In 2010, after being caught by the authorities and facing an impending jail sentence, Jimmy finally took accountability for the role he played in Chuck's suicide, deeply regretting his role in it and saying it was a crime. He also started going by the name Jimmy McGill again, abandoning his Saul and Gene aliases completely. ("Saul Gone")

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