In a new interview with The New York Times, Bob Odenkirk spoke in detail for the first time about the heart attack he suffered on the set of “Better Call Saul” last summer in Albuquerque, N.M. The Emmy nominee collapsed on set July 27, 2021 shortly after filming and was rushed to the hospital. Odenkirk took to social media on Aug. 7 to confirm he had “a small heart attack” and to assure fans he was feeling better.
“I’d known since 2018 that I had this plaque buildup in my heart,” Odenkirk told the Times about his medical emergency. “I went to two heart doctors at Cedars-Sinai, and I had dye and an M.R.I. and all that stuff, and the doctors disagreed.”
One doctor told Odenkirk he should start medication and the other doctor said he could wait. Odenkirk chose to listen to the latter. All was fine with Odenkirk’s heart until “one of those pieces of plaque broke up” while on the set of “Better Call Saul.”
“We were shooting a scene, we’d been shooting all day, and luckily I didn’t go back to my trailer,” Odenkirk said. “I went to play the Cubs game and ride my workout bike [at a space where he and his co-stars regularly spent downtime], and I just went down. Rhea [Seehorn] said I started turning bluish-gray right away.”
Odenkirk’s co-stars Seehorn and Patrick Fabian were with him when he collapsed, and their screams are what alerted medics to the scene. As reported by The New York Times: “After a few agonizingly long minutes, the show’s health safety supervisor, Rosa Estrada, and an assistant director, Angie Meyer, arrived, administering CPR and hooking him up to an automated defibrillator. It zapped him once, then once more, producing an irregular pulse that quickly disappeared. ‘The third time,’ Odenkirk said, ‘it got me that rhythm back.'”
Odenkirk added that he was transported to Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, where at “around 5 a.m. the next morning they went through right [at my wrist area] and blew up the little balloons and knocked out that plaque and left stents in two places.”
Once Odenkirk recovered, it was back to the set to continue filming the final season of “Better Call Saul.” The acclaimed “Breaking Bad” prequel series is signing off after six seasons. Odenkirk could not reveal anything about the final season’s plot, but he did describe the series finale as “a challenging way to go, to finish the series.”
“It’s not flashy. It’s substantial, and on some level it’s things I hoped for, for years, in this character’s brain,” Odenkirk said of the final episode. “On the other hand, yeah, I have to read it again. But what I like about it is, it’s not cheap. It’s not easy. It doesn’t feel cartoonish. It’s pretty great, I think. It’s pretty great. I would wanna end with this kind of character-development focus. That’s what it’s about, instead of something that just has guns in it. I guess there’s a few guns, but they’re not like in other episodes.”
The sixth and final season of “Better Call Saul” will air this year on AMC.