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You get me out of here.. today.. or you're a dead man.
~ Nacho Varga threatening Jimmy.

Ignacio Varga, better known as Nacho, is a major charcter in Better Call Saul. He is a calculating, intelligent career criminal. He is the right hand man to Tuco Salamanca, heir to the crime family of the same name.

While not yet a kingpin himself, Nacho is bright and has the ear of his terrifying boss. Nacho hires Jimmy McGill as his lawyer after being introduced to him by Tuco at the start of Season 1. He secretly begins working with Mike Ehrmantraut at the end of season 1. He admires Mike's calm and calculated way of business, compared to Tuco's impulsive and insane way of working.

He is portrayed by Michael Mando

History

Background Information

Nacho is a calculating, intelligent career criminal. He is the right hand man to Tuco Salamanca, heir to the crime family of the same name. While not yet a kingpin himself, Nacho is bright and has the ear of his terrifying boss. Nacho hires Jimmy as his lawyer after being introduced to him by Tuco at the start of Season 1. He secretly begins working with Mike Ehrmantraut at the end of season 1. He admires Mike's calm and calculated way of working, compared to Tuco's impulsive and insane way of working. Nacho.

History

Season 1

When Tuco captures Jimmy and the twins Cal and Lars, he asks Nacho, Gonzo and No-Doze to take them into the desert, where they try to find out who they are. Despite Tuco not trusting Jimmy to be a lawyer, Nacho believes him and convinces Tuco to let him go unharmed, saying that the death of a lawyer does not benefit them.

Sometime after the desert confrontation, Nacho meets with Jimmy in his small office, offering a part of the profits for cooperation to find the millions of dollars stolen by Betsy and Craig Kettleman. Despite Jimmy declining, asserting himself as a lawyer, not a criminal, Nacho gives him his phone number.

Now aware of Nacho's plans, Jimmy tries to make an anonymous call to warn the Kettlemans that they are in danger. Concerned, the Kettlemans look outside their house and sees Nacho's parked van. The next day, the Kettlemans are nowhere to be found while their house is left ransacked. Nacho is arrested after being denounced by a neighbor who saw his van parked outside the Kettleman's house. The police search his van, finding blood on the floor (belonging to Lars and Cal).

The police finds Jimmy, who had been trying to communicate with Nacho, and escorts him to the station, where he discusses the case with Nacho. Nacho maintains his innocence, admitting that he had performed surveillance on the Kettleman home, but did not kidnap them. Nacho warns Jimmy that if he does not get the charges dropped against him the police might uncover his connections to Tuco's criminal organization, which would result in Jimmy's death. Terrified, Jimmy goes to try to fix the issue.

After Jimmy found the Kettlemans, Nacho is released from police custody, who then discreetly accuses Jimmy of warning the Kettlemans before they went into hiding and that Jimmy will face "consequences". Jimmy rebuts by implying that he warned the family for the children's sake, and that any trouble Nacho got into he brought upon himself.

Nacho buys pills from Pryce, with Mike Ehrmantraut serving as his bodyguard during the drug deal. When Pryce counts Nacho's money, he points out that he is short $20 from the price of the pills. Mike demands the agreed amount or the deal is off. Reluctant at first, Nacho coldly forks over the rest of the money and leaves with the pills. 

Season 2

Nacho meets with Pryce to buy more pills from him, but this time, Mike is not present as Pryce's bodyguard, due to the both of them parting ways. While Pryce counts up Nacho's money, Nacho admires his new bright yellow Hummer H2 with red flames and uses Mike's absence to his advantage and steals Pryce's personal information from his auto registration, learning that Pryce's real name is Daniel Warmolt. When Daniel's house is later broken into, his baseball card collection and drug money are stolen by Nacho.

Upon learning of Daniel's stolen property and that he is questioned by the police, Mike confronts Nacho at his workplace: an upholstery shop run by Nacho's father, where he pretends to be interested in reupholstering his car in order to get Nacho’s attention. When they’re alone, Mike informs him that he knows Nacho was behind the break-in at Daniel's house. Nacho shrugs it off, but Mike has an ace up his sleeve: he threatens to reveal Nacho’s dealings with Daniel to Tuco. At their regular drug deal spot, Nacho gives Mike $10,000 and returns Daniel his baseball cards, but ends up taking his Hummer to his chop shop to be disassembled. He then declares that his business with Daniel is finished. 

When Mike requests more work from his crooked veterinarian, Caldera, he is given a job by a man who requested for Mike specifically. This is revealed to be Nacho, who meets with Mike at a desolate meeting spot and says, "There's a guy. And I need him to go away."

Mike and Nacho meet across the street from a restaurant where Tuco and Nacho regularly collect the money owed from dealers. Nacho reveals a scar on his left shoulder and tells a story of when Tuco and him had a job together. Tuco shot one of their suppliers, who Nacho was behind, lodging a piece of his skull into Nacho's shoulder. If Tuco were to find out that Nacho was working independently, he may have the same fate.

When Nacho meets Mike the next day, Mike says he won't kill Tuco but instead they should land him in prison. Cut to the restaurant, Tuco and Nacho count money given to them by the dealer they're meeting with. After the dealer leaves, Mike, from across the street, calls the police, alerting them of a fight in the restaurant. From inside, Tuco and Nacho see Mike bump into Tuco's car, and Tuco angrily confronts him. As Mike and Tuco's fight escalates, a police siren is heard, prompting Nacho to take the money they collected and leave in his van. Nacho later meets a beaten and bruised Mike and gives him the money he earned. He then asks Mike why he went through so much for less money just to avoid killing Tuco, but receives no answer as Mike drives away, leaving him alone.

Mike arrives at a closed diner where Hector Salamanca, the Cousins, Arturo, and Nacho are at. Nacho pats down Mike before letting him in, sitting behind Mike as he talks with Hector about a deal to get Tuco less jail time. Nacho then shows up at Mike's house later that night to deliver the money decided upon on the deal. Mike splits the pay with Nacho to make up for their failure on the job to take out Tuco.

Nacho calls Mike to a meeting, confronting him about an attack on a driver, Ximenez Lecerda, for the cartel with a quarter million stolen, that he figured had to have been done by Mike. Nacho is in charge of seeing what Ximenez knows, and Nacho is worried that if he knows anything about Mike, it'll be bad for not just Mike, but Nacho himself as well. He eventually realized that Mike was trying to draw police attention to Hector's operation, after Mike asks why it wasn't in the paper, and Nacho takes extreme offense to it. Nacho reveals that Hector killed a passing civilian that drove by the scene and freed the driver. He then leaves an unsettled Mike alone, and drives off. 

Nacho and Arturo drive the van to a desolate location, with Ximenez in the back. Unknown to them, Mike is following closely behind. Nacho is later seen at the same desolate locations, following closely to Hector, as Arturo and the Cousins gets ready to execute Ximenez. Nacho blocks the line of sight of Mike, who is waiting far away with a sniper rifle. 

Season 3

The following day, Hector flanked by Nacho and Arturo walks into Gus' restaurant and behaves menacingly towards the customers and staff, helping himself to some soda and lighting a cigar.

At El Michoacáno, Nacho is collecting drug money as Hectorreads a newspaper nearby. Krazy-8 arrives to deliver his returns, but Nacho finds that he has come up short. He initially allows Krazy-8 to leave, but at Hector's prodding, drags Krazy-8 to the back of the restaurant and beats him. That night, while working at his father's upholstery shop, Nacho feels pangs of guilt and injures himself at a sewing machine.

At the Los Pollos Hermanos chicken farm, a truck arrives to drop off restaurant supplies, after which Victor and Tyrus retrieve several pouches of drugs from a false bottom in the trailer. Nacho and Arturo are there to collect some of the pouches, but Nacho moves to collect six instead of five, causing Victor to pull a gun on him. When Nacho explains that Hector is expecting for him to collect six, Tyrus calls Gus by cell phone, who gives his approval.

Meanwhile, Daniel Wormald arrives home to find Nacho sitting in his living room. Nacho asks Daniel to get empty capsules for the specific kind of pills Hector needs for his heart problems, offering $20,000. Daniel reluctantly agrees, saying he can order samples with an R&D request.

At their meeting, Nacho is surprised to find Mike accompanying Daniel. Mike insists on knowing Nacho's plan before giving him the pills, asking how Nacho intends to switch Hector's pills without leaving evidence. Nacho explains that Hector wants to use his father's business to front drugs, which can put his father in danger. After examining Nacho's gas cap, Mike tells him that other people are watching Hector and to make sure he switches the pills back if he goes through with his plan. Mike agrees to Nacho and Daniel's exchange once Nacho shows him the money and gives him "one more thing," which Mike pulls out a pad and pen in anticipation of.

That night, Nacho goes into his father's upholstery shop and crushes ibuprofin tablets into a fine powder, which he carefully plants in the empty capsules that Daniel supplied him. He then practices slipping the pills into Hector's coat pocket. By the time morning comes, Nacho seems to have it down perfectly. When his father shows up, Nacho claims he came to work early to check on invoices.

That night, Nacho climbs onto the roof of the restaurant where Hector does his transactions, and breaks the air cooling unit; the restaurant is hot and sweaty the next day. As Nacho counts Krazy-8's money, he sees Hector take off his coat. Nacho pretends to scrutinize one of the dollar bills in Krazy-8's stack, claiming that it looks "funny" (ie; it looks like it might be marked). Hector asks him to come over so he can scrutinize it. While Hector looks at the bill, Nacho reaches into Hector's coat pocket and removes his pill bottle, which he "accidentally" proceeds to drop. In gathering up the money, Nacho then returns to his seat and grabs the bottle of doctored pills from the satchel containing Hector's rolled-up money bands. He keeps the bottle on his lap while counting the next dealer's money, and is unusually short with him. Once this dealer is gone, Nacho does the switch, switching Hector's real pills for the doctored ones, and then tosses the bottle back into Hector's coat pocket without Hector noticing.

Hector and Gus meet at a remote location, flanked by their respective henchmen. Over a speaker phone, Hector communicates with Juan Bolsa, who tells him that Don Eladio is satisfied with the new "consolidated transportation method" of shipping drugs over the border, and wants the practice to continue using Gus's distribution network exclusively. Hector's heart problems act up, leading him to open the vial containing Nacho's spiked pills. However, the pills have no apparent effect, and Hector curses Eladio, Bolsa, and Gus before leaving.

Nacho, seeing that the pills have failed to kill Hector, goes to his father Manuel's house and comes clean to him. He admits that he fell in "again" with Hector, who will soon be coming to take control of Manuel's upholstery shop. Nacho pleads with his father to do what Hector wants and not do anything "stupid," meaning approaching the police. Manuel refuses and tells Nacho to get out of the house, which he obliges.

Hector, with Nacho and Arturo in tow, arrives at Manuel's upholstery shop. Nacho gives Hector a tour of the property and explains how it will be used for Hector's drug business. Hector approaches Manuel and offers him several hundred dollars, but Manuel tells him to get out of the shop. Nacho tells his father to think about their loved ones, persuading him to take the money. Outside, Nacho tries to tell Hector that his father will eventually come around, but Hector replies that he doesn't trust him.

Nacho sits in his van outside the upholstery shop, with a gun on the passenger seat. When Hector pulls up in his car, Nacho takes the gun and attempts an ambush. However, Arturo and Carlos unexpectedly arrive and prevent Nacho from proceeding. The four watch as Gus and Juan Bolsa arrive to confront them. Bolsa reiterates Don Eladio's position that Gus will take over drug distribution for the Cartel. Hector becomes increasingly enraged, and opens the vial with Nacho's spiked pills. This time, the pills work and Hector almost dies from a heart attack. Gus urges Bolsa to leave the scene as he performs CPR on Hector, saving his life. After Hector is loaded into an ambulance, Gus suspiciously eyes Nacho.

Trivia

  • There might be a reference to this character in Saul's initial appearance on Breaking Bad. When Saul is held at gunpoint by Walt and Jesse, Saul (mistakenly thinking that people sent by a person named Lalo are holding him at gunpoint) says "it wasn't me, it was Ignacio."
    • Since the name Nacho is short for Ignacio, it might be possible Saul talks about the same person. Peter Gould has hinted this is the same person. 
  • Nacho never meets Kim Wexler, Howard Hamlin and Chuck McGill.
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