From the very first episode (fittingly titled “Uno”), “Better Call Saul” shares a lot of DNA with “Breaking Bad.” Alongside Saul — who, at this point, is practicing under his real name, Jimmy McGill — viewers get to see former Gus Fring henchman Mike Ehrmantraut working as a parking lot attendant. However, the series makes a big reference to its predecessor in the episode’s last moments, when Jimmy finds himself at gunpoint by the notorious meth kingpin Tuco Salamanca.
Years before Tuco’s work with Walt and Jesse, as well as his death at the hands of Hank Schrader, Tuco crosses paths with Jimmy after a scam against a prospective client goes wrong. Jimmy ends up in the desert with the two skateboarding twins he conspired with and almost gets killed by Tuco before being saved by the reasoning of Tuco’s right-hand man, Nacho. After Jimmy is freed, he negotiates with Tuco to get the twins’ sentence reduced from death to a single broken leg each.
While it’s fan service-y to introduce a high-stakes “Breaking Bad” character this early, Tuco ends up being important for “Better Call Saul” by introducing the audience to Nacho Varga, who becomes a significant player in the cartel storyline (via The Hollywood Reporter). Tuco even makes another appearance in Season 2, when Mike tricks Tuco into assaulting him in front of the police. This results in Tuco going to prison, where he’d remain until shortly before the events of “Breaking Bad”‘s first season.