Why is Tuco Salamanca not in Better Call Saul? | TV Revisited

Better Call Saul, the critically acclaimed spin-off prequel to Breaking Bad, has been a treasure trove for fans seeking to delve deeper into the origins and complexities of its beloved characters. However, one notable absence from the show has been the notorious drug lord Tuco Salamanca, a character that played a pivotal role in the Breaking Bad universe.Tuco Salamanca is not featured in Better Call Saul due to the show's chronological limitations. Better Call Saul serves as a prequel to Breaking Bad, exploring the early life of Jimmy McGill before he becomes Saul Goodman. As a result, the show's timeline is set several years before the events of Breaking Bad, during which Tuco's character met his demise in the original series.This article explores the reasons behind Tuco's absence from Better Call Saul and sheds light on the creative decisions that shaped the show's narrative.

Chronological Limitations

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One of the primary reasons Tuco Salamanca is not featured in Better Call Saul lies in the show's chronological timeline. Better Call Saul is set several years before the events of Breaking Bad, focusing on the transformation of Jimmy McGill into the morally compromised lawyer Saul Goodman. Tuco's character, portrayed brilliantly by Raymond Cruz, was a key antagonist in Breaking Bad and met his demise during the show's second season. Therefore, including Tuco in Better Call Saul would have posed a challenge, as his character would not fit into the timeline of the prequel.

Focused Character Arcs

Better Call Saul's creators, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, have been meticulous in crafting character-driven narratives that explore the evolution of Jimmy McGill, Mike Ehrmantraut, and other familiar faces from Breaking Bad. While Tuco Salamanca was undoubtedly a memorable and terrifying presence in the original series, his inclusion in Better Call Saul would have required a compelling reason that served the overarching plot of the prequel without undermining the primary character arcs.

Expanding the Universe

Although Tuco Salamanca doesn't appear in Better Call Saul, the show has introduced several other familiar characters from Breaking Bad, allowing fans to see different facets of their personalities and motivations. Hector Salamanca, Tuco's uncle and a significant character in Breaking Bad, plays a significant role in Better Call Saul, further enriching the interconnected narrative between the two series.

Avoiding Over-Reliance on Nostalgia

Better Call Saul strives to stand on its own as a unique and compelling show, separate from its predecessor, Breaking Bad. While incorporating recognizable characters can be a nostalgic nod for fans, an over-reliance on such characters could detract from the fresh storytelling the creators are aiming to achieve. By focusing on new characters and their arcs, Better Call Saul has successfully managed to captivate its audience and carve its path in the Breaking Bad universe.

Tuco's Legacy

Tuco Salamanca's character in Breaking Bad left an indelible mark on the series, and his violent and unpredictable nature contributed to some of the show's most memorable moments. By not including Tuco in Better Call Saul, the creators have allowed his legacy to remain intact, preserving the impact of his character as originally portrayed.


While fans may have missed seeing Tuco Salamanca in Better Call Saul, the decision to keep him out of the prequel was a carefully considered one. The show's creators have been committed to crafting an immersive and authentic narrative that respects the timelines, character arcs, and creative direction set forth in Breaking Bad. By focusing on new characters and their journeys, Better Call Saul has managed to become a standout show in its own right, further enriching the beloved Breaking Bad universe.

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