Saturday, August 10, 2013

Breaking Bad's Saul Goodman Presents: "The Defense Never Rests - The Case for Walter White"

Ladies and gentlemen, after this I will be returning to my practice in (Saul rubs the back of his hand against his mouth, affectively rendering his voice unintelligible for a few seconds.)...but before I can do that, I will present my final case to you.

Today, I'm not here to pressure or persuade. I'm not here to cajole or convince. I'm simply here to talk. Talk about a man named Walt. A man that could be your father, your teacher, your husband, your brother-in-law...heck, he could even be you. So remember, when you're standing in judgment of this're also judging yourselves.

Now let's imagine you're him. Over a year ago, you're basically beige. You're little more than background noise that no one really notices. You're lint, you're schmutz, you're nothing. Your mornings are filled by teaching spoiled brats who don't want to learn, and then your afternoons and evenings are spent washing their cars as the little creeps snicker and stare. Maybe you had a chance for something bigger and better, but you let it slip away. Bloop. 

You come home to a wife who's got a bun in the oven, which is already a miracle since you can find more excitement and passion in a sack of flour than in your marriage. Your proudest accomplishment over the past twenty years has always been your son, but you can't help but cringe at the thought that maybe if your wife had smoked one less cigarette, then maybe he wouldn't have been born with cerebral palsy. Maybe you should have spoken up, but like so many other things, you let it go. Poof.

Your life isn't circling the drain just yet, but you're the brown-green mold clinging to the edge. You're that clump of hair that's always caught in that trap. Then the final bomb drops: you've got lung cancer. Poor schmuck, you never even smoked a day in your life. Pretty soon those hair clumps in the drain are gonna be yours, as you watch your own life slowly drip away. This time you had no choice in the matter, but it DIDN'T matter. No maybe about it, you're gonna die. Boom.

So what would you do? Wouldn't you do anything you could to insure the financial security of your loved ones?  Because that's what this man did.

If you had the brains and the ability to accomplish something no one else could, wouldn't you do it? Because that's what this man has done. 

And if you could reach that goal -- achieve those ends by using this expertise honed by years of training and study, you'd put that talent to use, wouldn't you? Wouldn't you rather solve your own problems, instead of hoping and waiting for someone else to bail you out? Because that's all this man ever wanted to do.

My client was confronted with his own mortality. How many here can say that? I'm lucky if I'm confronted with a meaningful bowel movement on a semi-daily basis. And mortality transforms morality - that's what that extra "T" is for. This nerd sitting before you turns out to be an old school geek as well. Like all those science-y types, he remembered his Star Trek. The needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many. 

So sure, the alleged manufacture and distribution of crystal meth may be harmful to hundreds or even thousands of people.  When I was younger, I always said "Say no to drugs, say yes to hugs", but most young people nowadays will drop to their knees faster than opening up their arms.

But doesn't everyone here, young and old alike, subscribe to the motto "family comes first"? Because that's what Walt did, and that's what he has always done: he puts his family first. The needs of those few...outweighed the rest of Albuquerque.

Did he lie? Of course he did. But those lies kept his family safe, and wasn't that the whole point? Besides, what was it that doctor on the TV used to say, you know, the guy who always lost the Emmy to that psycho drug dealer? "Everybody lies."  Heck, I've already probably lied a dozen times today, and I'm in a profession that's all about being honest. But if everybody lies, then to lie is to be human. You wouldn't want my client to lose his humanity, would you? Because what would be next? Murdering children?

(There's a KNOCKING SOUND, and Saul spins around to see Walt tapping on the table. He's glaring at Saul from over a pair of black shades and under the brim of his black porkpie hat. 

Saul quickly flips open the file and soon mumbles "Oh, fuck me."  He looks back at Walt, motioning with his finger towards his head. Sighing, Walt slowly removes the hat and sunglasses.)

Where was I? Right, exonerating my client. Flush the drug charges and forget the lies. Which leaves us with...yeah, is there anything else before we get to this? (He closes his eyes and ticks off fingers while mumbling "Meth, lies, manipulation, which is really just lying...yeah, only the big one left.")

Well, there's an elephant that's taken a king-sized dump in every corner of this room, so there's no sense in ignoring that stink any more. It says here my client is a murderer. In fact, the term is mass murderer. So never mind being a teacher, a father, a cancer survivor; now he's a serial killer. Really? I mean look at the guy...

(Saul turns to Walt, who once again is wearing the hat. Saul's eyes flash WIDE for a second, and Walt takes off the hat once more, resting it on the table.)

...not exactly Charles Manson here. He's more Al Bundy than Ted Bundy. But let's take a look at these so-called murders...

"Wayfarer Flight 515"...excuse me? Are we trying to pin the tragedy of 167 dead airline passengers on my client, when we know this was due to a grief stricken traffic controller?  And by the way, if you have suffered any physical, mental or emotional pain due to even the thought of that horrible day, then you Better Call Saul, because I will turn your sadness into sacks of cash!
"The traffic controller's grief was due to the loss of his daughter, one Jane Margolis." 

Oh I see what this is about. Excuse me, but my client is a teacher. He may even be a scientist. But he's not a doctor. Who can say with certainty that he could've saved this Jane person's life? Addicts die that way all the time. She was an artist, right? So were John Bonham and Jimi Hendrix, and they Upchucked & Choked too. Unless my client is responsible for every rock star death as well.

"Conspiracy to commit murder..." 

See all this? (He grabs a fistful of papers.) These are documents alleging my client ordered several hits on all of these men: this one alleges he collaborated on a bomb with one of the actual victims, and this one says he ordered his friend and partner to kill an innocent man.

To all this, I say bullshit. (Saul tosses them all into the air.) What, I can't say that here? My apologies to the court. It's poppycock. What, I can't say that either? Mother Fu...dger. Ahem. To that I say, poppy ca-ca. Show me a list of witnesses who can corroborate these stories?

Where are these supposed Neo-Nazis? Other than one security video of my client visiting Hector Salamanca, there's no evidence that ties my client to that bombing. And I don't believe Mister Pinkman has EVER been connected to the death of this chemist, much less has he ever stated he was so ordered by his former teacher Mister White.

As far as I can see, the only murders directly tied to my client -- are the deaths of drug dealers, thugs and REAL killers. Would you haul Dirty Harry into court for such a thing? No. Hell, you'd let Dexter Morgan off the hook too. Doesn't my client deserve the same level of fictional consideration? You're goddamned right he does.

Finally...we have the boy. A boy who's still alive. In fact, he's sitting outside with his mom right now. Great little guy. Now, there are some who have accused my client of attempted murder. That he poisoned this child in order to trick someone in assisting him in a conspiracy I've already proven to be more methane than meth.

But the boy didn't die. In fact, once the doctors were put on the trail of looking for any poison, they found the cause lickety-split, and the tyke was as right as rain on an April afternoon. Now, it seems to me that since my client was the first one to mention the possibility of poisoning, he's responsible for saving that boy's life, not trying to end it. Hardly the deeds of a stone cold murderer. Sounds more like the actions of a caring person, a father and a friend to me.

And at the end of the day, isn't that all Walter White has ever been and has ever wanted to be?

The defense rests.



  1. You are a talented and gifted writer. I look forward to reading more of your very fine work.