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Justice? (...) What you talk about... is not justice. What you talk of is... revenge. It never ends... my boy is gone. Ustedes y su Cartel, y su "justicia". Todos son iguales. (You gangsters and your "justice." You're all the same.)
― Manuel Varga to Mike Ehrmantraut.[src]

Manuel Varga is the father of Nacho Varga and the manager of A-Z Fine Upholstery.

Nacho has gone to great lengths to prevent Manuel from learning about his role in the Salamancas drug trade, but as Gus starts to undermine the routes the Salamancas use to smuggle drugs into the U.S., Hector Salamanca considers Manuel's shop as a front. Nacho is forced to reveal his role in the Salamanca organization to Manuel so Manuel will not put himself at risk by rejecting Hector's offer out of hand. When Nacho is shot as part of Gus's plan to undermine the Salamancas, a reluctant Manuel allows Nacho to recuperate at his house. When Gus forces Nacho to work as his mole, Nacho hides cash and fake Canadian ID cards for himself and his father so they can flee Albuquerque if necessary.

When Lalo Salamanca arrives to take over the Salamanca operation, Gus threatens Manuel's life to coerce Nacho into providing inside information. Nacho attempts to protect him by having an associate offer to buy Manuel's shop for more than it is worth so Manuel can retire and move from Albuquerque. Manuel guesses that Nacho is behind the offer and confronts him, saying that if Nacho's drug dealing has made him fearful, he should flee or turn himself into authorities, but that Manuel will not sell and will not leave.

After Gus's attempt to kill Lalo he deflects blame by implicating Nacho, and the cartel places a bounty on him. Nacho realizes telling the Salamancas and cartel leaders that Gus had no role in the attack on Lalo is the only way to protect Manuel, but will also result in his own death. He places a farewell call to Manuel, then surrenders to Gus in exchange for Mike's guarantee of Manuel's safety.

Mike later informs Manuel of Nacho's death and promises revenge on the Salamancas. Manuel dismisses Mike's promise as a never-ending cycle of bloodshed and tells him he is no different from the criminals with whom he associates.

History[]

Better Call Saul[]

Season 2[]

Mike tracks Nacho down to Manuel's upholstery store. Mike is greeted by Manuel and poses as a customer wishing to reupholster his car in order to get Nacho’s attention. ("Cobbler")

Season 3[]

Nacho goes to his father's home and admits that he is still working for the Salamanca family; he warns his father of Hector's intention to transform his store into a front for the cartel's activities and begs him not to do anything "stupid". Manuel refuses and orders Nacho out of his house. ("Fall")

Nacho gives Hector a tour of Manuel's upholstery store and explains how it will be used for Salamanca's drug business. Hector approaches Manuel and offers him several hundred dollars, but Manuel tells him to get out of the shop. Nacho reasons his father, but Hector announces that he doesn't trust Manuel, which is similar to a death sentence. ("Lantern")

Season 4[]

One day when Manuel opens his shop, he finds Nacho inside waiting for him. Nacho tells him that Hector’s harassment is over but he gives him a cold shoulder. He removes Hector’s drug money from a box and Nacho takes it and turns to leave, but his father asks him when he’d be able to get his life out of crime and Nacho answers that he’s working on it. ("Breathe")

Soon after, following the destruction of the Espinosa Gang, Manuel returns home to find the back door open and his son Nacho on the couch bandaged and bloody. As he’s about to call for an ambulance, Nacho begs him not to because it won’t be safe and then asks if he can stay at the house and rest a while. ("Talk")

Season 5[]

Unaware of his son's dealings with Gustavo Fring, Manuel and his friends are approached by Victor at a restaurant one night. After a seemingly friendly (but inaudible) conversation, Victor leaves. Nacho is forced to watch them by Gus who threatens to hurt Manuel if Nacho doesn't gain his boss's trust. ("50% Off")

Manuel pays Nacho a surprise visit while he’s hanging out with two girlfriends. Nacho invites his father inside for coffee. Manuel tells his son that he refused an offer to buy his shop. He suspects that Nacho is behind the offer. He forcefully tells Nacho he won’t leave town as he wants to do, and the only way for him to confront troubles is to turn himself in. ("The Guy For This")

Season 6[]

After running away from the Cousins, Nacho makes a phone call to his father. He greets Manuel saying that he just wants to hear his voice. Not knowing Nacho's situation, Manuel tells him to go to the police. Nacho responds affirmatively. The conversation ends with them saying goodbye to each other. ("Rock and Hard Place")

As Manuel works in his upholstery shop, he receives a phone call from Mike Ehrmantraut who asks to talk to Manuel face to face about his son. Outside, Manuel recognizes Mike and asks about Nacho. Mike reveals to Manuel that Nacho won't be found, promising that it was over fast with no pain. Mike confirms that he was there and explains that Nacho had made some mistakes and fell in with bad people, but Nacho was never really like them as he had a good heart. Mike promises Manuel that he won't have to worry about the Salamancas anymore as their day is coming and there will be justice. Manuel is upset by the news of his son's death and tells Mike that what Mike is talking about is not justice but revenge which never ends and doesn't matter as his son is gone. Manuel angrily states in Spanish "you gangsters and your "justice." You're all the same," before walking back inside. ("Fun and Games")

Personality[]

Manuel Varga is described by his son as a "simple man", completely dedicated to his upholstery shop. He's shown several times throughout Better Call Saul that he's very humble and noble. Manuel disapproves Nacho's life as a criminal working for the Salamancas, even if this makes him win more money than he does working at his shop, demonstrated when he initially rejected Hector's money and politely asked him to leave his store, but in the end was convinced by Nacho to accept that money because it would bring help to their relatives, although reluctantly did it.

His relationship with his son is complex, due to Nacho's life working in the drug business. However, he deeply loves and cares for him, proved when after seeing Nacho badly wounded he attempted to call for an ambulance. He's seen very happy and proud when Nacho works with him, and he expected his son to take his store and be in charge of his business once he retires.

Manuel also seems to be smart, realizing it was his son who made the offer to buy the upholstery store with a great amount of money, though it angered him off and eventually confronted Nacho about this and asked him to turn himself over to the police and confess his crimes.

Quotes[]

Manuel: "A-to-Z Fine Upholstery. Hello?"
Nacho: "Dad. It's me."
Manuel: "Nacho?"
Nacho: "Si, Papa. Hola."
Manuel: "Hola, hijo. How are you?"
Nacho: "Good, good. Um... just wanted to hear your voice."
Manuel: "Nacho, where are you? You sound strange."
Nacho: "It's not important.... I was just checking in, that's all."
Manuel: "Okay. Hijo, I have lots of work to do. We've been through this, so many times. You know what you have to do... go to the police."
Nacho: "Yes, Papa. I understand... I hear you."
Manuel: "What else is there to say? Hmm? Goodbye, hijo."
Nacho: "Goodbye, Papa."
―Nacho calling his father for the last time, while on the run[src]

"Justice? What you talk about... is not justice. What you talk of is... revenge. It never ends... my boy is gone. You gangsters and your "justice." You're all the same."
―Manuel Varga to Mike Ehrmantraut[src]


Appearances[]

Better Call Saul[]

Episodes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5
Season 6

Trivia[]

  • Manuel drives a 1971 Chevrolet K-Series.
  • In "Lantern", Nacho mentions that his wife's family resides in Galeana, although the state isn't mentioned.
  • Due to being Nacho's father and his name was never said by the characters, many fans have affectionately called him "Papa Varga".
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