Editor Kelley Dixon on Cutting AMC’s ‘Better Call Saul’

Even before the fifth season of “Breaking Bad” ended, the editorial team knew the show’s weasely lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) would return in AMC’s prequel spinoff “Better Call Saul.”

But when he did, he surprised even them by his transformation. Now called Jimmy McGill, he’s “nowhere near” Saul Goodman, says editor Kelley Dixon. “We know what he becomes, we just don’t know how he gets there.”

Created by “Breaking Bad” mastermind Vince Gilligan and writer Peter Gould, “Better Call Saul” presented Dixon with a chance to reunite with earlier collaborators.

She also enjoys the material, especially Gilligan’s use of deliberate pacing, shots that highlight solo characters, and wide shots that focus on beautiful vistas.

Each script provides many details to inform the editors, and Dixon and fellow “Breaking Bad” editor Skip Macdonald offer creative suggestions to serve up the writer’s vision. For example, in episode two, after witnessing a brutal scene, a distraught McGill visits a bar and flirts with a woman. Dixon removed their dialogue and redirected the focus to the sound of snapping breadsticks, stressing McGill’s anxiety.

“It was Vince’s idea,” Dixon said. “We made the changes, and it worked.”

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