‘Better Call Saul’s Original Jeff the Cab Driver Speaks Out About Show Recasting His Role

by Craig Garrett
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It’s rare for a role to be recast in Better Call Saul, but a character that plays a major part in the final season had to be replaced. Jeff the cab driver is one of the few characters in Breaking Bad’s franchise to be recast, giving it a source of debate for diehard fans. It’s a real sore spot for viewers since Jeff ends up being so important in the last episodes of the entire season. It was jarring for fans when character actor Pat Healy replaced Don Harvey in season six. After all, Harvey made several appearances as Jeff in seasons four and five.

Following the debut of Jeff’s episodes on AMC, one of the most common gripes among Better Call Saul fans was that the casting switch was a major letdown. This isn’t meant to be a criticism of Healy or his acting abilities so much as an obvious incongruity in a franchise that, on the whole, pays meticulous attention to minute details. Healy doesn’t resemble Harvey much physically, and it’s accurate to state that both actors took various approaches to how they played Jeff. Don Harvey is square-jawed and imposing, giving the character an undercurrent of danger. Meanwhile, Pat Healy is diminutive and soft-spoken, making Jeff seem much more like a pushover. Some fans claimed they didn’t realize it was the same character until later.

Pat Healy wins over Better Call Saul fans

However, Pat Healy does seem to have won over Better Call Saul fans. His approach to the character makes more sense. It’s much easier to accept a grown man being domineered by his 90-year-old mother with Healy in the role. Healy even won over the original Jeff, Don Harvey. The actor took to his official Twitter to praise Healy in the role he originated.

“Thanks for all the comments on my Jeff in BCS-4&5. Disappointed I couldn’t return for season 6 due to scheduling conflicts. The bright spot is the wonderfully talented Pat Healy put his own stamp on the role. Great job Pat,” Don Harvey wrote.

Unfortunately, Don Harvey wasn’t able to reprise the Better Call Saul part due to scheduling conflicts. The veteran actor was filming his current series, We Own This City, and couldn’t make it back to play Jeff. Harvey has had a lot of high-profile tv appearances recently. He has had parts on Yellowstone, Blue Bloods and Hulu’s Pam & Tommy. Fans were definitely disappointed that such a solid actor didn’t finally get to flex in the character this season.

However, co-creator Peter Gould feels they made the most out of a bad situation. He elaborated on the casting change recently on the Better Call Saul Insider Podcast. “We were very sad,” Gould said. “We did not know what to do. Then our brilliant casting folks said, ‘Why don’t we take a look at the original auditions for this role?’ And there was Pat. It would have been a different string of episodes with Don. I think Pat is fantastic. I love what Pat does with this role.”

Outsider.com