From Friends, Grey’s Anatomy, & Scandal, to Playing Howard Hamlin on Vince Gilligan’s Better Call Saul, Patrick Fabian Hoped to Book Role on Walking Dead and Be Eaten By Zombie

Written by: Loren Kling – April 22nd, 2020 11:44am pst


Patrick Fabian works a lot. In television alone he’s appeared in over 100 shows including:

Friends, Will & Grace, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Castle, The Mentalist, Will & Grace, Veronica Mars, and as ‘Professor Lasky’ on Saved By The Bell:The College Years. He’s even been in all three “CSI” series.

So when Better Call Saul creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould were looking for a man to play “Howard Hamlin,” a ‘Kennedy-esque type golden child lawyer,’ Patrick went into the audition room… hoping to woo the casting directors who just so happen to also be casting one of the most popular show on television, The Walking Dead.

Patrick recalls in a 2018 interview, “And so I was thinking, ‘This is great, because maybe I’ll get a two episode arc on the The Walking Dead and a zombie will eat me.’”

Instead, his audition as Howard Hamlin, the sharply dressed, Jag-driving, and Namaste license plateinspired partner of “Hamlin, Hamlin, and McGill,” impressed Better Call Saul co-creator, Vince Gilligan.

“When I went in,” Patrick recalls about the audition, “What I did was what they were looking for and they hired me. For all the times I went into the room thinking I was the answer to the producer’s question, and I was not, this time I was.

Patrick Fabian joined the hosts of the Better Call Saul after show to discuss season 5 and how he approached the role.

“The audition sides for Howard were only three pages long. There was no script attached so it was pretty much in its own, in its own world.”

Further inspiration came from his father’s cadence. “I decided to go ahead and just sort of take on my dad’s cadence. My father’s a real straight-laced guy. My father’s an honest guy. My father is somebody who would not be on the wrong side of the law at all and so I just thought, ‘Well, what if my dad actually, like, had a ton of money? How would he behave? He would behave like he, like he didn’t have a ton of money but he would still want to show it’ and so that’s what I always thought from the very beginning.”

Patrick also drew inspiration from Howard’s handmade suits.

“Jennifer Bryan is the costume designer,” Patrick shares, “And when I would pour myself into them it was like putting on a uniform. And so any scene that I would go into I always felt like I was suited up for battle.” He adds, “When I walked into the scene I always had sort of the inner monologue of, ‘My suit costs more than you make in a year.’”

Perhaps it’s that thinking that’s led some Better Call Saul fans to look at the character of Howard Hamlin as an uncaring… dick. But, as one AfterBuzz TV Better Call Saul After Show fan suggests, it’s actually Jimmy that’s the dick and Howard is the one that’s been consistent and nice. We’re just so involved with Jimmy’s story that we think that Howard is trying to ruin Jimmy’s life.

Patrick seems to agree with that.

When Howard confronts Kim (played by Rhea Seehorn) in the season 5 finale to tell her that Jimmy went after his car with multiple bowling balls, Patrick says that Howard told her because, “He loves Kim and he wants Kim to do well. He was bummed out that she left Hamlin, Hamlin and McGill so when he hears that she gave up Schweikart and Cokely he knows – just because he’s been around the block – he knows the deal. He knows that that is a bad life decision.” Patrick adds, “That’s a very paternalistic thing to come to. It’s a bad life decision. And he knows where the root of it comes from. He knows immediately. And so that’s why he’s going to go out on a limb.”

Okay, so Howard loves Kim. But does he actually care about Jimmy?

“Absolutely,” Patrick replies. “He’s been a fan of Jimmy from the beginning. He nicknamed him ‘Charlie Hustle.’” But Patrick adds that if Howard crossed Chuck, he’d leave and HHM would collapse. “So all those early seasons are being driven by self-doubt and lack of confidence and he finds himself shilling for Chuck which he feels terrible about.”

What does Patrick think about Jimmy and Kim’s plan to exact revenge on Howard?

“Well, you know you’d rather be talked about than not talked about at all,” he jokes. “The scripts are so fun to read.” But, “to see the table set with, you know, sort of them sharpening their knives for Howard that leaves me with a little dread but also with a real sense of excitement of like, you know, what fun is in store for us next season.”

Speaking of next season, we wondered if Patrick had any insight on when the show might return for its sixth – and final – season.

“Well, I’m not talking out of school that the writers room has been convened and, like all other writers in the industry, as far as I know they’re still working,” he says. “The news keeps shifting so quickly it’s hard to really say.”

“We all will get back to work at some point, in some fashion, and season six will be done. It’s not like all of a sudden they’re gonna pull the plug and not do it and so that makes me excited knowing that there’s, there’s this to look forward to when we do get back to work.”

– – – – –

In addition to appearing on stage including a national tour of John Guare’s “Six Degrees of Separation,” Patrick recently starred in the 2018 film, Driver X, which tells the story of a middle-aged stay-at-home dad who starts driving for an Uber-like company to help supplement his working wife’s income.

You can watch the AfterBuzz TV interview with Patrick Fabian plus a recap of the season 5 episode 10 finale of Better Call Saul right here

If you love Patrick Fabian, Better Call Saul, and The AfterBuzzTv Better Call Saul Aftershow, share this article with a friend.  Tune in daily to AfterbuzzTV for articles, aftershows, and all the latest news on the world of entertainment.

The aftershow was hosted by Ryan Nilsen, Sean McHugh, Loren Kling, and Gabrielle Castinia with special guest, Patrick Fabian! You can follow him on IG at @mrpatrickfabian and on Twitter at @patrickfabian (Twitter)

About The Author:

Loren Kling produces and hosts interviews and in-depth conversations with interesting people from inside and outside the entertainment business. He co-hosts multiple shows for Maria Menounos’ digital network AfterBuzz TV and developed the podcasts 5 Things That Changed Your Life and Benztown Voiceover Stories. Loren is proud to own too many cat-themed t-shirts.

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