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'Breaking Bad' prequel 'Better Call Saul' picked up for second season by AMC

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On June 19 Deadline reported that the upcoming prequel series "Better Call Saul" has been renewed for a second season, almost a year before the first season is expected to debut. The series is a spinoff of the popular AMC drama "Breaking Bad," which ended its run last year, and focuses on the seedy lawyer Saul Goodman played by Bob Odenkirk. The series will consist of thirteen episodes and explore how Goodman can to be the useful lawyer for criminals in the Albuquerque area.

When the series was first announced it was given a full series order of ten episodes, and it seems the second season will be longer with thirteen episodes. In development for several years, the series was originally planned to debut on AMC in late 2014, but the network revealed today that the show won't air until early 2015. The second season will follow in early 2016, although no official release date has been set.

"Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan is directing the pilot episode, and Bob Odenkirk will be returning to reprise the role of Saul Goodman. Jonathan Banks, who played fixer Mike Ehrmantraut on the original series, will also be returning as a series regular. Actor Michael McKean is the first newcomer to the series and he will play the role of Dr. Thurber.

On June 19 TVLine posted the first official photo from the series, which features Odenkirk, Gilligan and co-creator Peter Gould. The trio are standing outside in Albuquerque and there is a black car and a brown van in the background. Production should be well under way on the first season, which will film through the summer.

The pickup is not a surprise for the network, which has struggled to repeat the viewership success of the original series. The return of key characters from that series is likely to bring in a large amount of viewers for the new series. Saul Goodman was the slick lawyer for Walter White, who kept him out of the way of the law and advised him on business moves. The character became popular with fans and even had a catchphrase.

The series will follow Saul Goodman when he is just starting out as a lawyer, learning from his mentor, years before ever meeting Walter White. The new show will explore how he became the criminal lawyer on the original series and what events led to him being the guy with the lame infomercials in Albuquerque. Actors Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston have both hinted that they might appear on the new series in some capacity.

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