Better Call Saul has always felt like an open world where even the most obviously insignificant characters can enter and subtly alter the show’s complicated narrative.
For example, a cab driver named Jeff who appears in the Season 4 premiere episode “Smoke” as a quiet creep who spooks Gene Takovic (Bob Odenkirk) disappears from the screen and our minds for the remainder season.
In the Season 5 premiere, “Magic Man,” he emerges as a scheming con artist seeking to blackmail Gene by threatening to reveal his true identity as Saul Goodman.
Now, the character initially portrayed by We Own The City’s Don Harvey before being replaced in Season 6 by Station 19’s Pat Healy has had a greater impact on recent episodes “Nitty” and “Breaking Bad” than central characters such as Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), and Gus Fring (Aaron Paul) (Giancarlo Esposito).
It appears that the series will conclude with the introduction of a new figure with Walter White-like traits.
The third-to-last episode of the Better Call Saul series, appropriately named “Breaking Bad,” features the eagerly anticipated reunion of Bryan Cranston’s Walter White and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul).
In the final 20 minutes of the episode, however, we meet one of Gene’s identity theft victims who seems poised to have a greater impact on the conclusion of Better Call Saul than the drug-selling duo that introduced us to Saul in the first place.
Kevin Sussman portrays an unnamed, poor businessman whom Gene and Jeff drug with alcohol and barbiturates as part of a series of cons designed to render their victims unconscious so that Buddy, one of Gene’s shady associates, can sneak into their homes and steal their credit cards and personal identification to sell to a third party.
Sussman’s unidentified persona is an unremarkable plot device that helps Gene delve deeper into his previous criminal tendencies in order to recoup the riches he discovers the federal government confiscated in their criminal case against White.
Then, he consumes a variety of medicines before revealing to Gene, posing as Victor, that he has cancer.
This revelation reignites the smoldering fires of the sympathetic Jimmy McGill still within Gene as he doubts whether Sussman’s character should consume more booze. This is despite the fact that this consumption is crucial to Gene’s heist strategy.
But, as is typical of Better Call Saul’s subversive narrative, this revelation prompts Gene to recall how much of a jerk a cancer-ridden Walter White was, an experience he exploits to encourage Buddy to rob the man, despite Buddy’s reluctance to steal from a man with illness.
Gene chooses towards the conclusion of the episode to attempt the robbery himself, blinded by his desire to regain his former wealth.
The preview for the penultimate episode appears to show police approaching the residence of Sussman’s character, implying that the unnamed cancer patient will either directly or indirectly bring Gene into close contact with law enforcement, bringing him one step closer to the prison sentence he has evaded for the entirety of Better Call Saul’s run.
Where Did I Meet Kevin Sussman?
If Sussman’s description of the nameless cancer patient as a glum everyman seems familiar, it’s because you’ve certainly laughed at his loneliness.
The 51-year-old actor is most known for his role as The Big Bang Theory’s failing comic book artist and depressingly single dunce Stuart Bloom, who once verbally vomited a confession about his clinical depression while attempting to seduce a woman.
Sussman appears in 84 of the show’s 279 episodes, including the series finale, “Stockholm Syndrome,” in which Halley, Howard (Simon Helberg), and Bernadette’s (Melissa Rauch) daughter, lose a tooth after falling (more like laughingly rolling down) the stairs while under his supervision.
Sussman most recently starred in Hulu’s Emmy-nominated true story drama The Dropout as Theranos’ neurotic lab director Mark Roessler, who assisted the investigation into the company before (stupidly) deleting incriminating emails between him and Theranos’ management.
Mark was replaced as lab director by a dermatologist, and there was no indication as to whether or not he was still alive.
Sussman made his mark on the big screen as the eccentric fan Lenny in Almost Famous, the wisecracking divorce papers delivery man in Burn After Reading, and Mac Bailey, one half of the assassin duo in the 2010 film Killers, before he appeared on television.
Outside of The Big Bang Theory, Sussman has predominantly portrayed supporting characters with scene-stealing moments. Sussman will, nevertheless, be on your mind as the critically acclaimed series nears its conclusion due to his nameless position in Better Call Saul.