The Best (Worst) TV Lawyer: Barry Zuckerkorn Vs. Saul Goodman

barry v saul
Credit: Fox/AMC

Breaking Bad” and “Arrested Development” are two of the most critically acclaimed series of the last 10 years, and they have something else in common: On each show, the main characters employ an absolutely ridiculous, woefully shady lawyer. “Breaking Bad” has Bob Odenkirk‘s Saul Goodman (who’s rumored to be getting his own spinoff), and “Arrested Development” has Henry Winkler‘s scene-stealing Barry Zuckerkorn. So, as the “Breaking Bad” final season draws near, we ask: Who’s the better attorney-at-law?

The Catchphrase

Saul and Barry both have memorable slogans for their practices. Saul’s, of course, is “Better Call Saul.” Barry Zuckerkorn’s is, well, “He’s Very Good.” While they’re both simple and effective, Barry’s isn’t really a slogan at all. It’s more like a wildly inaccurate self-affirmation. It’s the “my mom thinks I’m handsome” of legal slogans. Plus, Saul’s rhymes, and as far as memorization goes, a rhyming pattern is a good mnemonic device.

Winner: Saul Goodman

The Ethics

Barry Zuckerkorn is far from being anything even close to a competent lawyer. Over the course of four seasons, Barry lost a will, ran someone over with a car, got arrested for soliciting prostitution and even contemplated becoming a prostitute himself.

However, early on in his partnership with Walter White, Saul Goodman explained, “You don’t want a criminal lawyer — you want a criminal lawyer.” That about says it all.

Winner: Barry Zuckerkorn

The Experience

Saul Goodman may be protecting and aiding two New Mexico meth dealers, but aside from Jesse and Walter, he’s had a longstanding practice in the area. This isn’t Saul’s first unethical rodeo. He’s been a professional scumbag for years.

As far as Barry goes, there’s no actual evidence that he’s ever represented anyone besides the Bluth family. In fact, he even admitted to paying a lookalike named Stuart to take the California Bar Examination for him. He went to law school in the Virgin Islands! When you break it down, he may not even technically be a lawyer.

Winner: Saul Goodman

The Fees

Saul may be better at laundering drug money than anyone else in the history of television. And someone who’s great at laundering money is also great at making it. If you want to employ his services, you’ll pay a hefty percentage. When people come to Saul, he realizes that they’re between a rock and a very hard, very litigious place.

On the other side of the spectrum, Barry Zuckerkorn once asked Michael Bluth how much he could get for “just making out” with people, speculating that he could earn as much as $50 a pop. He gambles. He likes hookers. For all intents and purposes, if you really needed him, you could probably get Barry on retainer for very, very cheap.

Winner: Barry Zuckerkorn

There you have it. A tie. Both Saul Goodman and Barry Zuckerkorn are equally awful. Luckily for us, with Saul getting his own series, and with “Arrested Development” possibly returning for another season, we’ll have plenty more opportunities to learn what not to look for in a defense attorney.

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Peter Hoare (@PeterHoare) is a screenwriter and dashingly handsome humorist.