7 Focus Points on the ‘Justified’ Season 5 Finale

Season 5 of Justified is over, but there’s plenty to talk about last night’s season finale, “Retribution”. Here are seven Focus Points on the finale and their effect on the series final season next year.

raylan and kendal

1. Raylan and Kendal have a chat
With one of the themes of the season being separation (Kendal from Wendy, Raylan from Art, Ava from Boyd, and even Raylan from Winona and daughter) there’s a nice reinforcement of Raylan trying to reach out to troubled kids who come from rough upbringings. Loretta McCready actually bet on his heroic nature. Raylan tried to prevent Kendal from entrusting his future with Daryl with his radio winnings, but as Raylan knows, you can’t escape who you’re born with. Raylan knew how to break the kid down and get him to say what he needed to confirm that he didn’t do it–even if he didn’t give up Daryl. The solution still required Wendy’s help in the end, but there’s something about Raylan’s stories, even ones about Arlo that seduce you. Or maybe it’s just the way he says, “cocoa.” Kendal, as misguided as he was, tried to act tough but was no match when Raylan walked through the door. He may be an absent father, but his efforts with Kendal and Loretta show that he could be a good dad yet. It was a really strong scene (without guns involved) shared between Tim Olyphant and Jacob Lofland, who from his introduction felt genuine every time he was on camera.

EDITOR’S PICK: Read Our Exclusive Interview with GRAHAM YOST, Justified’s Showrunner

2. Good help is hard to find
Apart from Colt, Jimmy (Jesse Luken) was one of Boyd’s henchmen that didn’t try to go behind his back. He was loyal to a fault and may have complained at times but he had good reason because Boyd gave him some shit work. One couldn’t help but feel bad for Jimmy, considering he tried to save Boyd, even at the end. But three-against-one is bad odds, even for a tough guy like Raylan. Still, that was some serious pain on Walton Goggins’ face, and must have felt like another stab in the heart for Boyd. Johnny betrayed him, and Boyd took care of it. Jimmy did everything he could to help and his fate was out of his control. Consider all the people who have died –especially in Season 1– trusting Boyd or fighting for his causes. It may explain why he appears so defeated entering Wynn Duffy’s deluxe Winnebago. We’ll miss you, Jimmy.

EDITOR’S PICK: Read Our Exclusive Interview with NICK SEARCY, Justified’s Art Mullen

3. Raylan lets Wendy finish off Daryl
I can’t say that this was a surprise, but it was so satisfying watching Wendy blast off her brother’s nut sack and throat, leaving Daryl to die. Villains have a way of bleeding out on the floor in Justified. Remember Robert Quarles? Since this was a story about family –an ongoing theme of the series– Raylan left it for the family to do the work for him. Daryl certainly gave Wendy enough ammunition to do it, whether it’s for trying to put Art’s shooting on Kendal or beating her to a pulp. I find the more interesting facets of this family bond could be traced back to their history not shown. How bad of a mother was Wendy for Daryl to step in? How many times did Daryl beat his sister up? Was there ever a relationship between Wendy and Daryl?

I know, I know, that steps into cliché redneck material there, but the way they played it on camera, there appeared to be some deeper feelings of love and hate. Perhaps that’s why she pointed the gun where she did. Daryl “loved” Kendal (If hanging him up to attempted murder could be called love) like his own son, definitely more than his supposed biological dad. Viewers stepped into this family tree with the roots already dug in, so this confrontation could simply be resolving a long and tired sibling rivalry, anger about the past, or just Wendy coming to grips with the terrible person she is–we’ll never know; Raylan did nothing to stop it, and advised Wendy to stop from putting another bullet in Daryl before a self-defense case could be thrown out. So he didn’t get his hands dirty, and Wendy and Kendal try to repair their mother-son relationship. Alica Witt put on a great show this season and was the most pleasant surprise of Season 5.

wendy and darryl

4. The Drug Cartel vs. Boyd, Tim, & Rachel
The finale’s biggest action standoff was also one of the fastest. No long talk up or soliloquies. This was Tim and Rachel holding ground and taking out the cartel. It does say a lot about Boyd, using Tim and Rachel (and Raylan) to save his hide once again, and leading them into an ambush. He’s smart and resourceful but he only looks out for himself. I was pleased to see both Tim and Rachel used increasingly the last three episodes; hopefully this is a preview of things to come in Season 6. Will there be any revenge by Mr. Yeun and the cartel? Anything is possible, but as long as Boyd and Wynn leave the heroin trade, then they probably don’t have to look over their shoulders. And since the marshals got involved,  this appears to be the end of the cartel thread, especially with the new arrangement between our remaining criminals…

EDITOR’S PICK: Read Our Exclusive Interview with JERE BURNS, Justified’s Wynn Duffy

5. Boyd and Wynn are back in business with… Katharine Hale
After taking care of the cartel, Boyd squared up his debt with Wynn, but Justified’s new power couple made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, leaving us with that cheshire grin of approval we’ve come to love. What was interesting about this conversation was that it was Katharine Hale doing most of the talking; she’s the one who made the offer to Boyd to get back in the business of robbing banks and she led us to believe that she was the reason her husband’s criminal operation ran smoothly. ADA David Vasquez’s history with Katharine and his nervous body language also builds her reputation as a person of interest. As for Boyd, he needs new soldiers. He’s had more buffoons like Dewey than loyal help like Jimmy or Colt, but I doubt Katharine puts up with that kind of ineptitude in Season 6? If she’s smart, Katharine will play to Boyd’s strengths and get him to blow shit up.

ava and boyd s5

6. Ava’s uneasy alliance with Raylan and lack of relationship with Boyd
The finale ended with this awesome scene on the bridge and we now know that Ava’s release hinges on her cooperation to help bring in Boyd. But I don’t think the writers would make it that easy. We have to believe that the hard time in prison affected Ava, or at least influenced her to some degree. I see Limehouse coming into the fold in the final season and be there for Ava in some way because he’d be someone who isn’t looking to use her.

Will she get involved with Boyd’s bank heists? Will she break into her own crime on the side, while helping Raylan? Will there be a permanent divide between Boyd and Ava or will there be an attempt to salvage that, knowing Raylan’s plans for Boyd? Or will she try to win him back, only to save herself and stab Boyd in the back in the end, or perhaps stab Raylan? Ava is the pivotal character. There was also no love lost between Raylan and Ava, and maybe this squashes all of those shippers’ hopes looking for these two to rekindle the Season 1 chemistry. Either way, we’re extremely happy to see Ava get out of prison and back in the fold playing off of the main cast like a glove fitting a hand. Joelle Carter resumed her on-screen chemistry with Goggins and Olyphant, as seen in the last two scenes, thus solidifying the main crime story for next season.

 EDITOR’S PICK: Read Our Exclusive Season 5 Interview with Joelle Carter, Justified’s Ava Crowder

7. We have our end in sight
Raylan has his way out of Harlan and Kentucky for good. With Art submitting his transfer back to Florida, that gives a storybook ending to this six-year crime story with Raylan rocking his daughter to sleep. He just has to finish one last job and that’s to put Boyd Crowder behind bars. But this is Justified we’re talking about here, so just getting Boyd in jail doesn’t seem right. The grave is probably more like it. Could this really be the ending or a set up for tragedy?

Showrunner Graham Yost told us that the writers’ room has an ending in mind, and what they’d like to see, but they’re not sure who’s going to die and how they’ll get there. Everyone is fair game, and that includes Raylan. Let’s not assume the “good guy” wins; Raylan has had questionable judgment along the way and the ending of Season 5 could be foreboding. Remember, we are sure to hear “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” in some way (we’ve heard three renditions already) but will it refer to Ava, Boyd, or Raylan? Maybe two of them, or all three? Of the three, Raylan is the only one trying to leave Harlan. The answer to that question is probably best answered with another question that’s guided the entire series: What would Elmore Leonard do?

Exclusive ‘Justified’ Interview: On a Wynn Fall with Jere Burns

jere burns

Prominent 1950’s politician, Adlai E Stevenson was quoted as saying, “You can tell the size of a man by the size of the thing that makes him mad.” Justified‘s mobile drug kingpin, Wynn Duffy must be living large because through all of Boyd Crowder’s (Walton Goggins) misfires and failings, he rarely raises one of his expressive eyebrows. When Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) is playing Harlan Roulette with him, well, that’s reason to get plenty mad. But most of the time he sits parked in his mobile home, somewhere in Kentucky, scheming with his lone bodyguard Mike (Jonathan Kowalsky) on watch while he’s inside, drinking tea or watching a women’s tennis match.

He’s carried out the dirty work of the Dixie Mafia and served as Robert Quarles’ yes man; now he has stuck by Boyd, through thick and thin – all for a piece of the action in Kentucky.  One-by-one, all of the dominoes are falling down beside him whether it was Detroit mob boss Theo Tonin, or lowlife thugs like Picker. Call it, his windfall, an unexpected turn of good fortune. As the fifth season comes to a close and we wonder how its finale will impact the sixth and final season, Wynn Duffy is sitting pretty for a change and we talked to the man himself, Jere Burns.

Talk about this fifth season and the expanded role of Wynn Duffy, who has become the resident “cockroach” on the show, surviving each season by the skin of his teeth. I mean that in the best way possible. [Laughs]

Jere Burns: Well, thank you for that. You may or may not know, I was originally hired to play Duffy for two episodes in Season 1. At the end of the second, I was supposed to die, but when I got to work that day, there was change in direction indicated that I was to be shot and wounded. In the second season, there was another instance where Duffy was to die, and I think it was Tim (Olyphant) who changed it. It was at the end of great scene that we had. If I remembered correctly, Tim objected to that ending, so that got changed.

However, this season is more than about surviving. It’s about stepping to the front of the stage and making a name for Wynn Duffy.

JB: I’ve never quite been the alpha dog, they always kill the alpha guy. I’ve always assumed the role of the beta guy. I always asked to do more but the writers kept saying that if they did, that I’d end up dead. It’s going to be six years when it’s all done and I don’t know who they’ll have left, but I feel very grateful. It’s really a fun show to do. I got to become a season regular and that was fun. It’s just been a great experience.

Being elevated to a series regular, how have you been involved in shaping the character this season?

JB: Justified has always been really collaborative. If you have something to add, and it’s good, everyone’s always open to it. It makes for a long day, but usually it ends being good. It says something about everyones’ egos over there that everyone can collaborate to the extent that they can, including Tim. Well especially Tim, who will often change things and it will have nothing to do with him, it’s all about making the scene better. The same goes for Walton. It’s always about making it better.

Do you have an example of how you got to help shape a scene to improve upon what was in the original script?

JB: This season, there was a scene that we shot in episode 511 (the hotel room conversations), “The Toll” that involved Mary Steenburgen, John Kapelos, and Walton Goggins, which was a lengthy and very intense scene, and at one point in rehearsal I said, “You know what? I have no idea why I’m doing this scene. Someone please help me here; I don’t know why I’m here.” Jon Avnet, who is amazing and is such a great director to work with said, “You know what? You’re right. I have no idea why you’re in this scene either and I have a sense that this scene is supposed to be about you.” So we stopped shooting. The crew took a break and we went into a room with the four actors in the scene, Jon, and Ben Cavell, the writer of that particular episode and one of our esteemed executive producers and we wrote the scene together. I think it wound up being an amazing scene.

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How rare is that experience for you given your extensive experience in TV and film?

JB: Very. Very rare.

Do you feel spoiled to be on that set as you prepare for also what comes after?

JB: No. Not really. I’ve been on other shows where it’s a very different process and it’s great in other ways, you know what I mean? When you get there, this is what we’re shooting and in the confines of what you find on the page, you figure it out. That’s what you do. That applies to Bates Motel and Breaking Bad; what was on the page is usually what we shot and that’s also great. The process is not better or worse, just different. As for what will happen after, even though I’ve been here for six years, I’ve had time to do a lot of stuff during the year in addition to Justified. They’ve always been good about allowing you to do other things outside of the six months that we shoot each year. I was able to do a pilot for a comedy called Tribeca with Rashida Jones and Steve Carell who co-wrote and directed. So we’re always branching out.

When you were in Max Headroom as Breughel, did you ever think that you’d play so many bad guys in your career?

JB: I was so young and inexperienced back then I didn’t know what to think. I wasn’t thinking straight, it was all a blur back then. The fact is for 15 years, the vast majority of the time before I did comedies like Dear John or Bob, a Bob Newhart show or Good Morning, Miami. I was doing half-hour comedies as either a dad or a goofball, or whatever. So there were 15 years of comedy. Six years ago when I started doing these cable shows, it was a big, big departure from what I’ve been doing for hire. That’s what’s so fun about being an actor. I can go to New York go on Broadway and sign and dance, I can come back here and be a kingpin in the Dixie Mafia, or go do a western. It’s a dream come true.

Well you resonate so well as a bad guy in recent years, and especially as Anson Fullerton on Burn Notice, who I think was Michael’s biggest adversary in that series, is there something that you love about playing bad guy?

JB: Aww, thank you. The fun thing about playing a bad guy is that you get to act out a lot of things you can’t do in real life and you get to say a lot of things that you can’t really say in life, so it’s such an escape. Then there’s the challenge of finding a way, to make this guy who’s doing these things somehow relatable and likable. I think people love Duffy and Duffy is a self-serving, stone-cold killer! People love Wynn Duffy, right?

I believe so, and let’s go back to the point where people really started to love Duffy. In Season 3, he was Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough) right hand man. In a subtle way, Wynn becomes an increasingly important character because he becomes the eyes of the audience, and shows us these different sides of Quarles, but even to a larger degree, you are the visitor to Harlan county and this crime world. Was that the design of Wynn’s character, or was this an opportunity that came out of wanting to do something cool with him?

JB: I don’t know, I didn’t really know what I was showing up for that year. I knew that I was going to be in a lot of episodes, but I didn’t know about Quarles, or that I was going to be his partner. I didn’t know Quarles was going to this bad guy role, that I was just going to be the league choir in the background. It sort of felt like I wasn’t doing anything except following him around and rolling my eyes whenever he came up with a psychotically bizarre notion. Cut to a month after we shut down production and I get a call that I got nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award. I was thinking, “For what? All I did was react to a guy with a big blonde baby head,” [Laughs] but I’ll take it. To your point though, I think people appreciate having that guy live as their eyes, reacting to how they’re reacting to what’s going on screen, I guess.

wynn and katharine

Not having seen a physical script of the episode 308, “Watching the Detectives” where you overhear Quarles torturing a man, I think there are people still haunted by what really happened behind that door, and Wynn needing to repaint the room.

JB: [Laughs] There’s sometimes so much stuff that goes on set, but suffice it to say… [clears throat] there was probably a lot of body fluids all over the wall of various type, be it blood, semen, brain matter, Quarles was just that twisted.

It goes down as one of the most memorable sequences in the series.

JB: There’s that and what followed it was that great scene where Wynn and Raylan go face-to-face and I have that line, “Marshal, are you accusing me of being a fake blonde? Because if you need me to prove it to you, I may be inclined to break you over that step ladder, ride you down like a teaser pony, and paint this room a whole different color.” I remember saying to Graham Yost or one of the other writers, “What’s a teaser pony?” Do you know what that is?

No. I don’t, actually.

JB: Neither had I. A teaser pony is a little Shetland pony they put in there to get the stallion all worked up. Then they put the mare in. The stud goes to town with the mare and gets it done. The Shetland takes all the brutal foreplay from the stallion and then they just put the mare in to consummate the act, so she doesn’t get damaged.

So it’s a horse version of a “fluffer”.

JB: Exactly.

Let me wrap this up with this. With all the hard luck he gets, why do you think Wynn stays in Kentucky?

Hmm. That’s a good question. Well, he has orders from Detroit and the powers that be… and it’s where the show takes place. [Laughs] But I do have to figure it out for myself, you’re right. Well, initially it’s for the oxy, then it’s for heroin. I think you’re going to find out at the end of this season, he asks Katharine Hale to say, Am I doing the right thing, here? What is your opinion and what else could we do? She has sort of a mentor relationship. She was married to Wynn’s former mentor and she becomes his sort of friend/mentor/crush. So for Wynn, he stays for the oxy and heroin, then in the finale, you’ll find out why Katharine’s going to be hanging out until next season.

Watch the Justified Season 5 finale of tonight’s at 10/9c on FX.

‘Justified’ Exclusive: Showrunner Graham Yost on wrapping this season, the series & ‘The Americans’

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The explosives have begun to go off in the “Year of the Crowes” FX’s Justified with just two episodes left. Art Mullen’s (Nick Searcy) been shot and his deputies need to step up while he lies on a hospital bed in critical condition. Raylan Given’s (Timothy Olyphant) struggle with the Crowe family reached the point of no return, as has the partnership between Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) and Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns). Oh and Ava (Joelle Carter) has just asserted herself as an alpha in the prison system and builds her own criminal rep. Five years in, Justified continues to help lead the pack of superb television and as always there are plenty of cogs in motion, and we’ve got Executive Producer/Showrunner Graham Yost on board to talk about this current and next year’s final season, how their writer’s room is unique, and finding time to help produce FX’s other hit winter drama, The Americans.

Buzzfocus: What’s your impression of how Season 5 has gone, what worked and what didn’t work?

Graham Yost: I really don’t read the reviews or the comments but a lot of the writers do. So I hear secondhand that the audience is done with any stand alone episodes so that’s something that will help guide us into next year. I understand that. The reality is that we’ve got the audience we’re going to get. It went up a little this year and got our highest ratings, but pretty much we’ve got who we’ve got. There are people who obviously like the show or they wouldn’t be coming back and so they’re invested in the big story and that’s going to guide us moving into next year. Overall I think the response has been pretty strong.

EDITOR’S PICK: Read our Exclusive Interview with Justified’s Art Mullen, NICK SEARCY 

Then from a writer’s room perspective?

GY: The casting of Michael Rappaport (Darryl), Alicia Witt (Wendy), Jacob Lofland (Kendal) and A.J. Buckley (Danny) as our Crowes have really worked out. One of the joys working in television is writing characters and then casting and then seeing what they do with it, then watching it and saying, ‘Ooh yeah, let’s see more of THAT!’ or ‘Let’s give that guy as much as we can.’ A.J. playing Danny really popped for us this year as did Michael and Alicia from the jump. Jacob too. So that’s something that became really fun and we wanted to keep going in that direction. A couple of episodes in we realized that our plan was going to work because these people are great.

It’s been out there now that Boyd, Wynn and others have survived their early deaths, and the direction of the show can change mid-shoot. So I wanted to know what that does in the writing process, how does it shake up the overall plan of the season? How deep do you go before you realize that you’ve got to change it up?

GY: In terms of Boyd that goes back to the very genesis of the show, when he was supposed to die in the pilot and that gave us the series with the relationship between Raylan and Boyd, everybody knows that. We also had to make a decision early on with Ava and would she be coming back. We said, yes, we loved Joelle, and what she did with the character and she became a big part of the series. A lot of the choices we’ll make between the seasons, for example, you could’ve said that Wynn Duffy died at the end of the “Hatless” episode in Season 1, but we just loved what Jere was doing–so much that well, no one pronounced him dead. So let’s keep him alive.

We’ve made decisions like that on characters as we go. Listen, Johnny Crowder was supposed to die at the end of the first season; he got shot in the stomach and that’s not supposed to be survivable. Again, unless you see someone performing the last rites or a flatline on the monitor, they’re not dead… unless they blow up. [Laughs] But we just loved what David Meunier was doing and the character was fun to write for so that became a big part of the series as well.

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Each episode has so many moving parts and the culture of the Justified set is very collaborative open to input from the cast and the writers on hand during shooting. Could you explain how you’re able to manage the scope of each season? It seems like there would be a lot of re-writes along the way as these big decisions are made.

GY: Oh there’s a lot of re-writes! Some episodes will go triple-white or triple-blue, which is where we’ll go through all of the (12) shooting script colors a third time, for sure at least twice. Most of those are minor changes based on production. A lot of it is the input of the actors. Then we’ll have a little talk. Me, and writers Fred Golan, Dave Andron or whoever the writer of the episode is who’s been working with the actors. If it’s scene work, then we say fine, just inform us to what is adjusting or changing. If it’s structural, then we might all get together and discuss it. There’s been those Sunday afternoon conference calls to talk about something Tim (Olyphant) wants, or something Walton (Goggins) wants, or whatever. Can we make that work? Sometimes what happens and this is sort of my managerial mistake is I just lose sight of when they know where the story is going, how far in advance we have plotted out for them and where this particular episode is leading us.

So they might bump on something in an episode and I’ll get together with them and tell them, this is where we’re going and this is where we need to get to. Nine times out of 10, they’ll say okay, great I understand and roll on. Occasionally there are times when they don’t get that and maybe we all gather in the room and say, ‘course adjustment’. Last year we had a situation where we had a plan for the middle of the season and Tim wasn’t interested in it and rightfully so. We wound up finding a different place to go for the middle episode. This year everyone knew we had a tough juggling act this season because we had three stories running, Raylan’s, Boyd’s and Ava’s. So keeping them all moving forward was a challenge. It was difficult production-wise, script length, cost–a lot of things. As you’ll find at the end of this season, it really points the direction of where we’re going next year and you can see where things are coalescing.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Read our Exclusive Interview with JOELLE CARTER about her prison blues

On that point, talk about the decision to break Ava out into her own from being a supporting character to having her own journey apart from the rest of the cast and emerging as one of THE main characters alongside Raylan and Boyd.

GY: Originally, when we were breaking Season 5, we started to have serious discussions about Season 6 as well and where we wanted the series to end up. We still don’t know–absolutely–how the series is going end up but we know the direction we’re headed in. Once we had an idea about that, then that gave us certain goals about Season 5. Without tipping anything off, there came to us a desire and feeling for the whole series to come full circle and the idea of headed back to where we began, which is the relationship between Raylan and Boyd and Ava. Those would be the central three characters of the crime story. Also we were thinking about the relationships between Raylan and Art, Raylan and his fellow deputies Rachel and Tim, and how all of that would come into play, plus Wynn Duffy. Once we got a notion of where we could go next year, that helped guide us this year. Part of it was that we knew that Ava was going to jail. What could we do with that? What could her experience be over the course of the year? That would then set us up for where we wanted to go next year.

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It’s so creative what you guys have done so far and how each episode takes a life of its own. If you lay out all of the episodes, you’ve even structured the flow of the seasons differently, placing the climax at different points of the season, as well as moving the emotional peak. Looking back, was that something that was by design?

GY: I think that was always in the plan, just in the nature of the show. A lot of that goes back to our father, our mentor, our guiding star in all of this, which is Elmore Leonard. One of the great thing about his writing was that it was endlessly surprising. Now, the reality is if you read 20 of his books, you can see certain patterns emerge, and ultimately it’s not as surprising, you know? Something is going to happen and that in of itself can be a trap. But when we’re dealing with television, our feeling was that we could make it to the end of six seasons without repeating ourselves too much.

We have repeated ourselves, but usually with a spin on it, but that was always our fear. We just never wanted to be treading water, or going over old territory, which is why you’ll see starting with Season 4, Raylan and Boyd don’t cross paths that much. We’d done so many Raylan and Boyd scenes, how could we do it differently this time? So that was a big choice. That hamstrings us to a degree, because we know the audience wants those scenes but they don’t want to be bored by them. That’s been a difficult path to chart.

So many great characters have emerged from the background, like Dewey (Damon Herriman) this year, Ellen May (Abby Miller) and Shelby (Jim Beaver) last year. It’s no secret that two characters fans want to see more of is Rachel (Erica Tazel) and Tim (Jacob Pitts). Will we get to see the spotlight put on either of them by season 6?

GY: Yes. Season 5 was a slim year for them. You will see in the last run of episodes 11, 12, and 13 them being a bigger part of the story. At the end of the season there’s something pointing forward especially with Rachel, but Tim will come along as well.

justified rachel s5

So I’d like you to speak with you about these suspenseful standoffs where sometimes people get shot, sometimes not. Can you talk about creating these moments? 

GY: Part of that was in the original plan of the series that was the marching orders of FX Network president John Landgraf in the first season where he said he’d like there to be a showdown in every episode. That can take different forms, and it doesn’t have to be in the fourth act. We talked in Season 2 at the end of I think the fifth episode, where Raylan is talking to Loretta (Kaitlyn Dever) and there’s a showdown in that. He’s offering help and she’s pushing back. Will she take the cell phone that he’s giving her and that’s the showdown. Will he accomplish what he wants? He does.

Then we get the diner sequence this season in episode 505: Shot to Hell, which was so intense.

GY: The one between Art, Wynn Duffy, Picker (John Kapelos), and the hit man from Detroit Elias Marcos (Alan Tudyk) and the worst bodyguard in the world, Mike (Jonathan Kowalsky). [Chuckles] That became the center point of the episode in many ways. Boyd had his shenanigans going on in the episode as well with Paxton, Mooney and raising the dead. When Chris Provenzano turned in that scene, that’s it, minor tweak here and there but that is a great scene. Those are fun to write, and when we get a great director, in that case it was Adam Arkin, and those great actors, it’s really a fun five-six minutes of television.

I think these are some of Justified’s best moments, but you’ve also managed to keep them fresh, how so?

GY: Another thing that goes back to Elmore and this is one of Tim’s formulations and he says in a lot of Elmore’s writing someone is either going to get fucked or someone’s going to get fucked. Sometimes there will be a sexual tension, and is the hero going to bed down with a woman he just met? The other version, is someone going to die in this scene? And you just don’t know. These people are able to do anything at any time.

So for us that means we have to have new characters coming to the show so the audience doesn’t know who’s going to live and who’s going to die. If you keep doing Raylan Boyd, Raylan and Ava, Boyd and Ava… you know there’s not going to die [pauses] at least through season five, although we’ve had some dramatic exits in Season 5. The difference becomes in Season 6, to a degree, everything is up for grabs and we’ll see how that plays out. We do want that sense in Season 6 that, ‘Oh dear God, anyone can die at any moment’. Probably not Raylan, but it’s always a danger. By the way, Raylan might and we haven’t figured that out yet.

That’s nuts, because when I spoke to both Joelle about Ava and Nick about Art respectively, for this season I expressed my fear for their characters as the way the season has been dovetailing. There are rumors that a dramatic death will close out the season, but honestly, that could happen at any point, given how we discussed the way you’ve changed the formula each year. So the show has created this dangerous climate.

GY: Mm-hmm. Yeah and we like to use that with the actors. If Nick (Searcy) is giving me any grief, I’ll tell him, ‘Buddy, this is a cop show, anyone can die at any time.’ Then Nick punches me in the face, then we go on our merry way. [Laughs] No. That it can go sideways at any point is part of the Elmore effect.

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What time do you get to work on The Americans?

GY: Unfortunately, we have the same schedule so it can get a little crazy at times, especially in January and February when both shows are headed towards the conclusion of their seasons and the schedules get tighter. I’m a producer on The Americans so I’m not a writer. That’s all Joe Wesiberg and Joel Fields, Josh Brand, and Stu Zicherman and their great team. Especially in the first season Joe and Joel would call if they had questions about the network or about production or whatever and I would give my experience if not my advice. But they’ve got a lot more experience now so those calls have become fewer. Now it’s basically hearing the pitches along with Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey from Dreamworks, give whatever comments we have and watch the cuts and they’re free to take them or not. That’s the life of a non-writing producers.

As a collective you all deserve kudos on that show, especially for being one of the only folks in Hollywood to find a way to make the Russians the good guys.

GY: Yeah, someone said that you’re rooting for them to lose but you’re rooting for the marriage and the family to survive. I think that was one of John Landgraf’s original formulations for the show. Joe really took that to heart. So he’s created this great marriage-and-family drama as well as a great spy show. They’re the bad the guys and yet they don’t see themselves that way, at least not yet.

Even though it’s a period show, do you keep an eye as to what’s going on currently in Russia and Ukraine, not to bleed into the show, but perhaps you are monitoring the developments?

GY: Well, you’d have to ask Joe and Joel about that? I know it is a period show and there are echoes that come up in the present, but they don’t like to hit those over the head. One truth about Russia I remember years ago writing about the KGB back before I was really writing scripts, was that it’s a country with an incredibly powerful secret police since the time of Peter the Great, whether it’s the NVKD, the KGB, or I forget what they call it now but it’s always been that way at least for 500 years. So there’s a degree to which whether it’s Communists, or Klepto-Capitalists, or whatever, there’s a certain character of how things worked there for quite a long time that holds true to today, considering (Vladimir) Putin was a KGB Officer – things haven’t changed.

The women characters on the shows on Justified and The Americans are written so well, and you have some great women working on each staff, Ingrid Escajeda, Jennifer Kennedy (and Wendy Calhoun in the past) on Justified. Can you talk about how much they put into those characters?

GY: I think it’d be kind of I don’t know if the correct term would be sexist, like if we had a scene with Ava, maybe we should have Ingrid or Jennifer take a look at it. But both Ingrid and Jennifer are good writers and can write stuff that’s hard boiled as well. We have a lot of male writers (Benjamin Cavell, Taylor Elmore, Dave Andron to name a few) can write great stuff for Winona, Ava, Katharine Hale, so we all write everything.

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Tell me about Mary Steenburgen’s character Katherine Hale and how such a sweet woman found a way into Wynn Duffy’s heart.

GY: [Laughs] You’ve found out a little information in these last two episodes. She’s not in episode 12, but she has a significant scene towards the end of episode 13 and that’s all I’ll say. You’ll find out more and more about what her position was in her late husband’s criminal enterprise. That also points towards the last season. As I said earlier in planning Season 5 we were thinking about Season 6, so we’re thinking in the sense it’s all one big story. Season 5 is the Year of the Crowes and in 6, we’d sort of bring it all down. We needed to have something big and criminal going on and Katharine Hale will have a big part of that.

Mary’s scenes are so rich and she’s always excellent in whatever she does whether it’s Wilfred or Last Vegas. She knows how to draw you into her lacework, so I can see what Wynn finds in her. 

GY: Mary wasn’t that familiar with the show or with Elmore, but her husband Ted (Danson) is a big fan of Elmore. That helped us get her and her son is a fan of the series so she got talked into it. I think she enjoys playing the part of someone who on the surface is a sweet, southern belle, but is ultimately quite lethal.

Now looking back is it strange that Arlo may have had an anchoring effect on Raylan? It seems like having that soul-sucking force in his life kept him somewhat on the straight and narrow. Now he seems a little rudderless, staying away from Winona and the baby, and fighting with Art. 

GY: That’s the story of the season and that’s one of the big stories for the rest of the series–the fallout with Art–there’s a future episode where he talks about him being the one guy he cares about. Well, he cares about Winona and the baby too, but there’s a lot of meaning in what he says. That relationship couldn’t have fractured as much if Arlo was still around in a way. I don’t know if we’d have room in the story. But with Arlo gone, there is sort of a vacuum and now he’s fighting Art.

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Before we wrap, is there a chance that Limehouse makes an appearance this season or next?

GY: As we saw with his conversation with Dewey and Raylan, I always said I couldn’t imagine the series ending without seeing Dickie Bennett again. I couldn’t imagine this series ending without seeing Limehouse.

Are we ever going to see Boyd have something go right for him?

GY: [Laughs] This season? Listen, I think Boyd’s story is always about things going right and then there are ramifications for those things going right and now there’s a new set of problems. I think the same holds true with Ava. The only character who has a more of an unblemished win is Raylan but even his story–the end of last season he conspired to murder the guy who tried to kill his family. That’s some success but there’s a lot of fallout from that. That’s always part of the fun of the story for us is that nnnnothing ever works out perfectly for any of these people. There’s always a cost.

There are two episodes left in the current season of Justified, tune in Tuesday nights at 10pm on FX.

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Exclusive ‘Justified’ Interview with Nick Searcy: Mullen Over Art

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If you’ve been watching the fifth season of Justified then you know one of the subplots is observing the relationship between Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and his work-dad and boss, Deputy Art Mullen (Nick Searcy) disintegrate after Raylan confesses his role in the murder of one of Theo Tonin’s henchman. Art’s response to Raylan’s disclosure was connecting a right hook to his marshal’s face. Since then, things have been icy and Raylan has gone as far to request a transfer out of Kentucky. It may not be as fun as hunting Drew Thompson, but Art has had a volatile season so far including being a part of one of the most intense scenes in the show’s run. We caught up with actor and “Acting School Teacher” Nick Searcy to talk about the latest season of Justified.

Art appears to be the only US Marshal showing some ambition in terms or doing his job right and he’s nearly at retirement. Why is that?

Well I am not so sure it’s Art’s ambition that drives him to do what he does, or to conduct his business the way he does as much as it is his sense of right and wrong. I think with Art, he was a lot like Raylan when he was a younger marshal, and he was reckless like Raylan was, which is part of the reason of why he identifies with him, and understands him so well. But as he’s gotten older, Art’s realized that taking those short cuts ultimately lead to disaster. I think that’s why it seems like he’s more of the grown-up in the room. His experience has taught him that even when it seems like the shortcut to getting the bad guy is the right thing to do, the consequences of that action are beyond what you can actually exceed.

I’ve watched your Acting School web videos–

NS: [Laughs] Well good, you’re a better man for it.

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I feel like it. Now in the final episode of Season 1, you lay into the Justified writers’ room. Do you think that any of this season’s story is the result of that beatdown?

NS: Well, they haven’t made me run, so I think I’ve cured them of that. [Laughs] You know that was so much fun to shoot and the writers and Graham (Yost) were great in participating in that with me. After five years on the show, especially with these writers, we’ve all become closer friends than what would happen on some other shows. It’s because the writers are always with us. They’re always on set with us just in case there’s things that bother us, or things that we want to change, or ideas that we have. Everybody’s there so we can talk about it, that way the decision can be made without anyone getting mad because they weren’t involved.

Is that a vastly different process than anything you’ve done before in television?

NS: Well it’s certainly different than most things that I’ve done. It depends on the format, if you’re doing a half-hour sitcom there are 20 writers around every minute [Laughs].  Usually, if you’re doing a single-camera drama like Justified, usually the writer isn’t there, that’s been my experience in the past. That may be changing, but this is the first show I’ve been on where that’s been a mainstay.

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What I like finding out is how much development in crafting a scene in Justified is done organically, that the script is a launching point and then becomes a collaborative effort by all of the parties involved to find the best way to do that scene. It’s very innovative.

NS: Yeah, I think so. It’s really important that they’ve involved the actors in the process, because I think it helps things. Even if you ultimately end up not changing the script as written, but you talk about it and the act of letting the actor be heard about what he has to do, makes everything better. I think it speaks to a deeper understanding of the material, the scene and ultimately, it makes the show better.

Is there any interest to jump behind the camera and directing an episode of Justified?

NS: Well… [sighs] I’m just so in demand in front of the camera, that it’s just so hard to imagine being behind it. [Laughs] You know, I directed an independent film in the 90s called Paradise Falls and we won six film festivals and never sold it, it took a year of my life and I kept remembering while I was doing it, ‘I really liked that job where I would sit and wait in that little trailer and waited to say my five or six lines and griped about what was on the craft service tables. I want THAT job back.’ [Laughs] An actor was all I ever wanted to be in life, and while I enjoyed directing, as long as I can keep acting that’s what I would prefer. If someone knocked on my door and asked me if I wanted to direct an episode of Justified, I’d probably say yes. But I have other things that I’m pursuing. I have my acting school to worry about. [Laughs]

EDITOR’S NOTE: Joelle Carter talks about Season 5 of JUSTIFIED

Why do you think Justified remains a TV secret that you do have to remind people that it’s on. 

NS: I think in some ways Justified is a fairly sophisticated show. It’s a blend of humor and drama that you don’t get very often. It’s a very exciting sort of action show but it’s also really funny. I don’t mean silly funny; I mean it’s deeply humorous. It’s too complicated for some people. I’m not sure exactly why; I’m just thankful that enough of an audience has found it that FX is very pleased with it and keeps it going. In the TV business it’s a pass/fail business and we’re passing – that’s all I know.

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How has the set changed since Elmore Leonard’s passing? Can you feel or sense a difference?

NS: I don’t think the change is tangible. There was a sense when Elmore was alive and writing, our writers were always able to pull storylines and situations from Elmore’s writing and just literally put them in the show. There’s a sense that we’re all on our own now. We’re taking the idea of this world that Elmore created and we have to run with it now. There’s still a great deal of responsibility and reverence and certainly every effort is made to honor his work and to keep it in the spirit he wrote in. I think for the most part we’re successful but it is more difficult now.

You were in one of the most memorable scenes in the old man foot chase with Scott Wilson (Walking Dead) playing Frank Reasoner (Walking Dead) in episode 206: Blaze of Glory, the greatest foot chase in television history. Where does that rank among your memories of the show?

NS: Well, it’s definitely up there. Working with Scott is great, he’s a great actor. Another one of my fondest memories is working with director Jon Avnet, who directed Fried Green Tomatoes, which was basically my big break. He gave me a part when I was still living in North Carolina, which was definitely meant for a Hollywood star, and that kind of put me on the map. I always ask Jon if they refer to him as the man who discovered Nick Searcy. [Laughs] Getting to work with Jon on that episode was terrific because when that script came out I called Jon and I said, ‘Look, can we elongate that chase as much as possible, because this could be really hilarious. Let’s make a big thing out of this.’ Jon replied, ‘Yeah, that’s a great idea.’ I think Jon’s original cut of that scene was even longer than what’s in the episode [Laughs] he loved it so much. It’s just a great idea. There’s something noble, sad, and funny. It’s just a rich, rich moment. Those kind of scenes don’t come around everyday. Along with the diner scene in this season and the episode 302: Cut Ties where I beat up a guy to get him to tell me where the guy who killed the marshal was.

Art Mullen has become one of the most beloved characters, why do you think that is?

NS: Well I think with a character like Raylan, who has such a checkered family history, it’s natural to gravitate towards Art as the only sane father figure he’s ever had. I think that’s why people love Art. It’s not only because of Art’s sense of humor, because Art’s very funny. It’s also because Art is such a decent person at the bottom of it and I think that’s what people respond to. Underneath all of the gruffness and the sarcasm and the jokes, there’s a real decent man with his heart in the right place who Raylan needs desperately.

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What’s your favorite storyline that Art isn’t involved in this season?

NS: Hmm. [Laughs] I can’t think of one. No. I love the Dewey Crowe story. I’ve loved Dewey from the beginning and I think he’s a great character and is played beautifully by Damon Herriman. I just love every minute he’s on the screen. When I get the scripts, I only read my parts so I don’t know what’s going to happen to him, so I’m kind of fascinated by it.

There are these intense standoffs in the show and you had this great one this season in episode 505: Shot All to Hell with Jere Burns (Wynn Duffy), John Kapelos (Picker), Jonathan Kowalsky (Mike) and Alan Tudyk (Elias Marcos), can you talk about how that scene came together?

NS: Well that scene was written by Chris Provenzana and a scene with that many variables and that many characters has to be tightly scripted and it was. There was a lot of leeway in certain scenes of the show, especially where it’s Raylan and Art and we can play with it to add humor. But that diner scene has to be tightly choreographed because of all of the elements in it. So that was just a really well-written scene, executed perfectly… by myself. [Laughs]

How long does it take to shoot that scene?

NS: That whole sequence from me waiting in the car through the diner scene took a day. In television, especially in a scene like that, you’re going to have multiple cameras wiring that day and we’re going to shoot three cameras in four different directions and be done with it.

Compare that to the shoot out sequence later in that same episode where Art and Raylan are seemingly outgunned by Marcos. 

NS: That again has a lot of elements and moving parts and firearms so you have to take the extra time for safety measures. That takes some time, and in fact, took a whole day to shoot too and it probably lasted about a minute and a half on the screen. You’ve got multiple cameras again because you don’t want to do the firearms stuff too many times.

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I can only speak for myself, although I do believe there is trepidation from the fans that Art’s been speaking about retirement an awful lot, perhaps so much that he is in danger. Can you assuage any fears viewers may have for Art?

NS: Well… [Laughs] that’s an impossible question for me to answer because to answer it at all, would be giving it away.

Well, I’m praying for your character

NS: They’ve written me a lot of great stuff this season like they always do and we’re having a great time with it, and just so you know, and so everybody else knows, they cannot do Justified without Art Mullen; it’s not possible. Just bear that in mind no matter what happens. [Laughs] I tell the writers that every single day.

See if Art makes it out of Justified Season 5… alive Tuesday nights at 10pm on FX.

Exclusive ‘Justified’ Season 5 Interview: Joelle Carter Is The New Black

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In tonight’s episode of Justified, Joelle Carter’s character, Ava Crowder gets stripped away from the rest of the production and begins a journey that is outside the reaches and protection of her love interest, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). Ava is going to a state federal prison putting her in greater danger and without any allies. We spoke with Joelle about Season 5, prison blues, and what’s next.

This season has been slow for you thus far as the writers have been leaving us bread crumbs about Ava. Now the heat’s been turned up, could you talk about that slow burn and patiently waiting for your time, especially after being a regular the last three seasons.

JC: Don’t get me started. [Laughs] You’d think I’d learned by now that they have this recipe where all of the stories begin and they don’t give you a whole lot of Ava, and I was nervous after episode three. I was like, ‘What the heck’s going on, you guys?’ before Danny (Strong) shivs himself. It does pick up now and I kind of go into my own world and storyline and this is where you get to follow some good stuff for Ava, or bad stuff, however you want to put it. In some ways I was in my own prison. I don’t get to shoot with the other cast members. I’m on a completely different location, and I get to do a lot of thinking on my own, which I’m sure is exactly what is going on with Ava in prison. A lot of reminiscing of the past years and she’s trying to figure out who she is in there now.

What a brave way to go with Ava because she’s disconnected from the cast and Boyd. She really has no choice but to be her own person and we can’t assume Boyd reaches into the state penitentiary. Could you share any explorations you’ve had about that expansive growth and potentially emerging from one of the supporting characters on Justified to one of the main characters alongside Raylan and Boyd.

JC: I believe we’re all shaped by our environment and circumstances; fortunately or unfortunately they’re putting Ava where she is reacting to everything that’s happening to her. I like that she has to assimilate in this new arena she’s entering and start taking control of what little she can and rebuilding herself. There’s things that happen that solidify her decision to really re-invent herself. As I go through it I think, ‘oh my god, this is how criminals are made.’ People have different views of society but you’re put in these prisons where you have no power, you have to live by completely different rules. It’s all about survival. Boyd’s whole push this season is to get Ava out but we are so disconnected that in some way you can watch his character and think, ‘who is he doing this for?’ He gets so involved in the mission and she gets so wrapped up in survival. Separating them shows they’re becoming insular and really thinking about themselves. You’re thinking, ‘how are they going to get back together?’ and ‘can they get back together?’

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A lot of viewers worried for Ava in Season 2 and 3 when we felt that Boyd was influencing her and exposing her to this criminal world and putting her in harm’s way. Now that he can’t protect her, Ava’s more likely to become darker or evil because of what she’ll need to do to survive. Should she come out, Ava could be more likely to find a criminal angle on her own with a new circle of people to help.

JC: Exactly, I couldn’t have said it better. [laughs] I think about prisons (deeply now). They just can’t seem to afford these activities like arts and crafts that could potentially develop skills that would nurture your mind and soul. People don’t think it’s important, but you’re putting these people with these problems in small, confined areas. I feel like these can’t be institutions just for punishment. The inmates can’t develop themselves into a new self. So that when they do come out, they’re becoming worse off than before they went in.

Women in prison seemed to be its own sub-genre and at some point became exploitative and parodied territory in fiction, but how does Justified avoid that.

JC: We spent the whole last season getting Ava into jail, then during the hiatus Orange is the New Black came onto the scene [laughs] and the writers were like, ‘Oh, man!’ But they stiffened up and wrote a Harlan county experience for everyone. I don’t know if people will label it as typical women in prison storylines, but you have the source of what jail is to work with and they do a great job. They created more of these wonderful and rich Elmore Leonard-molded characters that have all the flavors, strengths and can find the underlying humor in situations–even in prison. So they stay true to that! There’s lots of violence!

We’ve seen glimpses of the jail system through Arlo’s experience, or Raylan transferring inmates from one facility to another, but through Ava, we’re going to get the full experience, right?

JC: I think so, I mean, if they keep it in. [Laughs] You’ll get a full experience of someone who honestly believes she doesn’t belong there. Up to this point her murders have been self-defense justified. In a way, if it was Boyd in there or one of these other characters who chosen this life it would be different. I think Ava chose love and found herself in this world of crime even though she finds her own way (in it).

You and Walton have developed such chemistry over the years, and to not have him in what will be Ava’s biggest moment, did that enhance this feeling of being on an island? Did you have to develop a new rhythm in this role?

JC: Oh yeah, it’s a completely different rhythm, and it was like being denied that really spicy flavor and underlying humor she has because of the circumstances that they put her in. It will be nice to get back to that in a darker way, if she makes it out. We would meet for our scenes, Walton and I and say to each other, “I miss you!” I’m really confident when we do scenes together because I know he’ll provide me with so much as an actor. We’ve built this relationship–via the characters–that it’s scary or you’re not sure what these people who are cast are going to give you. So you get spoiled in that way. We just continue to have the best casting and I was so fortunate especially in the prison to act with a lot of wonderful women, so that’s coming up!

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As the debate of any good ongoing crime drama is who the villain is going to be and which one is on top. This season we get back to the one villain who I feel, still remains the best antagonist on this show, Boyd Crowder. The story is re-focusing Justified back onto Boyd (and his troubles), and how he keeps all the plates spinning.

JC: It took one relationship in his life that he found trust and love in to take him back to his old nature in a way. Just like Raylan, I think the writers’ main focus is to present a goal to these two characters and what can they throw in their ways before getting to the finish line. Raylan just wants to be a Marshal, do his job and be left alone but him keeping information takes him to a darker side. So he doesn’t really get to do his job, he does it in the way he feels is right, even though I don’t think everyone sees his form of justice the same way. Something is driving Boyd but it’s the bridges he’s burned has come around to cause him so many obstacles. He just wants to open a door but he can’t because someone’s nailed it shut.

Walton has this very pivotal scene in “Good Intentions” with Karolina Wydra, who plays Mara, where he takes off his shirt and she scans his tattoos in the same place where Ava and Boyd first talked about their scars and how they are the same. 

JC: I have to say… he’s going to pay for that in the future. She better not find out about that. It’s sad. [Laughs] It was poetic. It’s weird that life can be a mirror sometimes. I didn’t know if they were going to make them a couple (again because I was so isolated from the rest of production) or not so I’m glad Boyd stayed true to Ava.

There was genuine doubt there as a viewer and I wondered if you got territorial.

JC: Of course! I had a scene with him after seeing it and said to Walton, “I saw you on the TV naked with another woman whom you just showed your tattoos!” [Laughs]

And you got these awful scenes with Danny. 

JC: [Pouting] I know. [Laughs] Where’s my bar scene? When I read that, I wasn’t sure how they were going to get me to prison, I knew something was going to happen. I just thought, wow, that is so Elmore Leonard-ish. It’s such a violation of choice. In Ava’s storyline this year, she doesn’t get to make so many choices herself of how things are going to go down. All of this stuff constantly keeps happening to her. It will be nice when she’ll find some way to stand up in her environment. I love what’s happening to Walton’s character, he going back to that dark villain that we love. We love to watch him be bad.

Go to Page 2 of our Exclusive with Joelle Carter

‘Justified’ 5.3 Review: All Roads Lead to Boyd Crowder

Justified Season 5 Episode 3: Good Intentions

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Having too much information makes it easy to think you have an episode figured out, and that’s exactly what the writers wanted you to believe in “Good Intentions.” So when the US Marshals arrested Charles Monore’s (Xander Berkeley) for racketeering with the Tonins in last week’s episode, “The Kids Aren’t All Right,” Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) wasted no time using all of his possessions including his car and house like Spanish Fly to woo Allison (Amy Smart). We learned that Raylan’s new squeeze likes to smoke weed and planted crystal meth on her ex-husband, who came after her to get revenge. But guess who Raylan decided to side with? Even Rachel (Erica Tazel) thought this was another case of a Bonnie and Clyde act working Raylan and exploiting his weakness to score and protect a woman. Could anyone blame her?

For every good thing Raylan accomplishes he neglects something else, like the rules and procedures on the job. Rachel may not have a large role, but whenever the writers decide to pair them up like chaperone and pestilent child, she helps remind us how much of an arrogant and irresponsible Marshal he can be and plenty of his troubles are self-inflicted–and yet despite his flaws, we forgive him, just like his enablers.

We love seeing Raylan misbehave. But coming out of this episode, Raylan seems to be more of a background character in this season to the other lead, Boyd (Walton Goggins), who has his hand in every cookie jar, trying to keep his crime ring running on vapors, getting his fiancée out of jail, and keeping his scent away from the authorities. All of the major roads in Season 5 lead to Boyd and that would be the best thing for the series to build towards after being pushed to the back of the line by the Bennett clan, Robert Quarles and the Drew Thompson.

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Most assuredly a source of pressure is Ava (Joelle Carter) who is incarcerated for moving the Delroy’s corpse and while she’s seeking for a sign of love and compassion from Boyd to keep her going, his lack of concern for her while in the midst  of identifying Candy’s (Cathy Baron) real name might have dealt some reality to Ava. Some things can’t be fixed or forged. She might have to survive on her own behind bars and right now and nothing could be further on Boyd’s mind at this moment than those dreams of living in suburbia. But, is his mind on another woman?

This was a clever and pivotal scene for Boyd, revealing his bare chest and back for Mara (Karolina Wydra) to look him over and see what she needs to do fake his death and properly doctor a corpse so that her husband thinks Boyd is dead. There’s a moment there where one could believe he’d betray Ava, poetically in the same important spot where he and Ava touched each other’s gunshot wounds.

That was the beginning of their romance and the first declaration of honesty and emotion. He undeniably flirted with Mara, and some may believe he was left with a lasting impression, and it would be a shock to see one of TV’s best romance be sullen with the temptation of a black widow. Justified shippers had to have been squirming with Mara’s every touch while the vocal stylings of Cowboy Junkies’ siren, Margo Timmins framed the hot scene. Boyd’s love for Ava is one of his most endearing and defendable qualities.

However, Mara has exemplified more wickedness in three episodes than Ava could have ever cooked up. She’s working all of the angles, as if she were reading a book written by Boyd. He has to be wise to that, right?

Boyd: Pussy is a powerful thang.

Indeed. As we teased last week, Candy is Teri, the lovely whore who bore her way into Johnny Crowder’s (David Meunier) heart, and as if Boyd didn’t have enough to worry about, nothing consumes the attention like family spurned. We know Johnny wants to kill Boyd, he’s tried to work with Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) to make that happen, he’s professed his love for Ava, and he tried to use Limehouse against them. If there is an eventual showdown between the two lead characters, Raylan is going to have to wait in line behind Johnny, the Crowes, and maybe even Duffy if Boyd keeps screwing up.

This partnership between Boyd and Duffy only works if money is being made, but it seems like Boyd can’t catch a break and he has extended his payout to Mara and now Mooney to do dirty work for him under loose promises of large sums of cash, while Duffy has just one reliable employee, Mike (Jonathan Kowalsky). Cyrus leaked the Canadian dope shipment to Candy, Messer skimming was discovered by the Crowes, and the only guy who could legally get Ava out of jail Boyd nearly beat to death. How much incompetence will Duffy take before Boyd is in danger? What loose thread does Boyd take care of first?

Meanwhile, Darryl Crowe (Michael Rapaport) continues to come off as a lightweight stock villain, but that might have to do with being a Crowe, being from the South, or maybe Rapaport’s wavering accent. That’s how Justified seduces viewers into relaxing. Remember Mike O’Malley’s Nicky Augustine or Mykelti Williamson’s Limehouse? It’s still too early to tell what these Crowes are up to and what kind of threat they’ll post to Raylan or any other character. Those familiar with the series should be reminded that Justified is a slow burn, but ultimately, they’re more flies in Boyd’s ointment. At some point we’ll see Boyd boil over, but will it happen before Duffy becomes more the alpha as the season progresses?

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Other Justifications

• We’ve always seen Dewey (Damon Herriman) as the flea-bitten lowlife with a low IQ, and despite whatever criminal activities he’s up to the audience has always felt sorry for him. Whether it’s Raylan deputizing him, making him believe he has four kidneys, or trying to buy a ski-mask in the middle of summer, if you can’t find just a little bit of your heart to root for him, then you’re missing out on a lot of joy in the series. Even when he was rewarded with all of that money due to Raylan’s actions, you had to be happy for him.

But those days appear to be numbered. Now he is getting Boyd telling him to stand up to his bushwhacking bully cousins (admirable), who in turn tell him to confront Boyd about skimming off the top of his profits (not so admirable). Right on schedule, Messer was revealed to be untrustworthy, and now we’ll see if Dewey is willing to get his hands dirty. Will he cease being as lovable–you know, as much as a white supremacist bearing Hitler-loving tattoos can be? Will he undergo a large transformation this season?

• The patsy lawyer hired by Boyd to go through the motions by being present for every meeting Boyd has with Ava is one of the funniest running gags. That he’s listening to opera in the headphones is even funnier. Maybe he need some Beats.

• Raylan roughed up Allison’s ex with a baseball bat, which is another scene where we get to see him swing the pine, or in this case, aluminum. As we’ve seen in the past, there have been plenty of baseball references (one of Elmore Leonard’s favorite pasttimes), including Raylan being a famed Harlan High School baseball star.

• I can honestly say that Wynn Duffy’s hired muscle, Mike had to have been the easiest recurring role on Justified. Often times he’s silent, standing by Duffy’s side, only to be asked to step out of the trailer bus. Sure enough, I had to swallow my words as he fired a fatal bullet to Monroe who was looking to confront Duffy. And just like that, he’ll probably be put away behind bars, leaving Duffy to find a new bodyguard.

Duffy: Mike’s a stone-cold killer.

Other Justifiable lines: 

Duffy: Is that a BB gun?
Jimmy: He had it with him.
Duffy: The more you pump, the harder it shoots?
Cyrus: Haven’t you ever seen an air gun?
Duffy: [Shoots at Cyrus’ face]
Cyrus: Ow! Jesus, man! You almost took out my eye!
Duffy: Yeah, I know I missed. [Shoots at Cyrus’ neck]

Dewey to Boyd: There’s a restaurant in Corbin with full licenses listed for half of what I paid for Audry’s. I could see if this peeling curb might hold the price down…

Duffy to Raylan: You want to protect me from a situation you created?

‘Justified’ Episode 5.2 Review: Chipping away at Raylan’s World

Justified Season 5 Episode 2: The Kids Aren’t All Right

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Every new season of Justified is like getting a block of sandstone you chip away at, knowing you’ll unearth a treasure, a precious fossil or gem perhaps. But it requires patience to get that treasure out and hours of work. The season premieres are usually front-loaded with information; they are usually followed by some stand alone episodes containing more of that stone being chipped away – a little here, and a little there. Episode 502 continues that annual trend as our attention is diverted slightly from what transpired in “A Murder of Crowes” to follow up on one of our favorite recurring characters: Loretta McCready (played by Kaitlyn Dever, who never fails to impress).

You might remember her as the young girl Mags Bennett took in during season two, after her sons killed Loretta’s father. We also got to see her in season three living with a foster home in Lexington. We always knew that she’d never fly straight, but to get involved with Memphis Rodney “Hot Rod” Dunham (Mickey Jones) and trying to scam him of his money is like Icarus flying too close to the sun. ‘Goddammit, Loretta,’ indeed!

This girl is on a one-way path to a correctional facility, but what I like most about Raylan’s evolving relationship with her is that he recognizes her for who she is, and what she’ll eventually become. She has a way of manipulating just about anyone and eventually got Raylan to do what she needed him to do, but he got smart to her bullshit soon enough and calls her out for her lies. You almost want to believe that he’ll take her in and be her legal guardian, but she is obviously a lot of work, and right now, Raylan isn’t even bothering with his own infant daughter. Still, Loretta is one of the more interesting side characters on the show in the way she speaks and how she handles herself in the face of some of the most frightful people on the show. Of course, when you have deputy Raylan Givens in your back pocket, you can act tough. Hot Rod is no slouch, but Raylan diffused that situation using his classic method of snake charming his prey before snatching victory away with a threat.

Raylan: …I’ll kill four of you before you even clear your weapons, and I’ll take my chances with the other two, and you see this star? That’s going to make it legal. Now, do we have an understanding here?

The woman who drew Raylan’s attention the most though was Loretta’s social worker Allison (Amy Smart), who fast-talked her way into Raylan’s mind.

Raylan: Do you have a card or something?
Allison: A card? I thought finding people is what Marshals do.

Be careful, Raylan. Women are your weakness and… ah who are we kidding? Raylan knows what his problem is and he’s never going to change. Lindsey didn’t have to work hard to break Raylan down before scamming him last season. Hopefully he stays ahead of Allison though before he’s done in again, thinking with his… well, gun first.

Framing the main story were subplots that continue to feed into what will be the larger story. The biggest one I want to focus on first is Boyd Crowder’s (Walton Goggins) miscreants that feed off of him. Getting his latest dope shipment has proved to be more difficult than he cares to admit to his frantic fiancée, Ava (Joelle Carter) who remains incarcerated, and I must say lovely, even in prison blues. We already saw in the season premiere how Boyd had to travel to Detroit, and ultimately deal with Canadians to pay for one final shipment of dope and that prized parcel was intercepted by someone, most likely whoever Candy (Pop Rocks blow jobs, get it?) the hooker works for, thanks to that lunkhead Cyrus'(Bill Tangradi) tip. Actually we all know who Candy works for because we’ve seen her before under a different name and if you recognized her, then you can see where this might be leading to.

Boyd has been blindsided a few times this season already. Could he be off his game? Does he need Ava at his side? To be honest, it’s been a rough dating back to the second half of last season, and he could be caught off guard again because he can’t be bothered by anything else. He’s trying to assess the damage that was done in trying to beat the life out of Lee Paxton (Sam Anderson), who survived his pummeling, but barely and Paxton’s wife, Mara (Karolina Wydra) is trying to work Boyd for 300 large, to stay silent as a witness. All of this gets even more complex as we are left with Paxton waking up in his hospital bed. Gotta give it to the old man, he is a fighter and is one of the few people who can save Ava. Should Boyd find out, Mara’s days could be numbered.

Then again, she’s feeling the heat of playing Mooney (William Gregory Lee) like a fool, which is one subplot that could be too much. There are a lot of shady characters in the cast, but there are few that I could care less about than Mooney. Sure he is there to pressure Mara into action, but this show is about Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder, not Mara Paxton and in two episodes, we’re seeing her just as much as our leading men. There are some criminals who slip through the cracks like Lindsey or Charlie Weaver. So we’ll see how good of a crook Mara is; she hopes to make it back to Europe, alive. If not, hopefully her eventual demise and the Mooney thread better develop into something good.

Finally, there is the Crowe family which is slowly migrating north to Harlan. Surely acting on Jean Baptise’s (Edi Gathegi) tip about Dewey’s (Damon Herriman) legal windfall, Daryl (Michael Rapaport) looks to move in on his cousin’s *cough cough* empire. Right now it’s a little hard to see Rapaport’s character being more than a scummy redneck. Along with Dilly (now deceased) and Danny (AJ Buckley), it feels like a Bob Newhart joke is in there somewhere (remember Larry, Darryl and Darryl?). That is sure to change in due time, though for now, there’s a lot to live up to with the Bennett Clan, Drew Thompson, Robert Quarles or Arlo as far as Raylan’s adversaries go. The family doesn’t stop at Daryl though and I’m hoping we haven’t seen the last of Wendy (Alicia Witt), Danny and the rest of the clan.

Like Darryl or not, the Crowes will be a big part of the season. The TV spot released before the season, where Raylan dodges a flock of black crows coming at him tells us so. Dewey can’t run a business, much less a whore house that feeds into Boyd’s bottom line. That means Darryl is chasing up the Dewey tree and will eventually cross paths with Boyd and/or Raylan again, but this time it will be in Harlan, not Miami. Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) will explain the difference in venue.

And this might just be me reading too much into everything but the extra attention on Wade Messer (James Le Gros) in the first two episodes has me thinking he’s a bigger player. As the conduit between Dewey and Boyd, his conversation with money collector Carl (Justin Welborn) is suspicious. Messer is always looking out for numero uno and will be present for most things dealing with the Crowe subplot.

All of these threads are sure to get their day on the stage, and this episode kept the momentum going from the premiere and was a good precursor before everything falls in place. Until then, we’ll keep chipping away.

Other Justifications: 

• Art (Nick Searcy) is starting to look into the murder of Sammy Tonin and seeing if there was a connection to Nicky Augustine’s runway execution in last season’s finale. It’s poetic that Boyd make an analogy to supplying drugs to cell phones. Too bad the service didn’t drop out while Raylan was talking to Sammy.

• A sly little appearance by Xander Berkeley (24, Being Human, Nikita) as a henchman helping out the Dixie Mafia. I don’t know about some of you out there, but I was hoping Rachel (Erica Tazel) was going to get a chance to smoke this guy before the end of the episode. It appears his car and his home will be used by Raylan though until Art reprimands him.

8 Focus Points on the ‘Justified’ Season 5 Premiere

Justified is back for its fifth season and there’s one question on our mind. What’s the end game?

We’ve seen Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) bend just about every law imaginable to get the job done – even if it meant turning a blind eye to an execution. He’s attacked suspects, killed outside the law and generally doesn’t even flash a badge. Even though this US Marshall may not believe in Miranda Rights, you have to respect him. Raylan has shown off some of the best gunslinging since Jack Bauer on 24. He protects those close to him and only murders people who “arguably” deserved the death penalty anyway.

But now that we’re in Justified Season 5, you have to wonder, where do we go from here? There are no real “big bad” guys on Justified like FX’s other drama, Sons of Anarchy. This series just has regular people, who tend to commit regular crimes of drugs, sex, murder and passion. Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) and Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) have always been the grounding forces of evil on the series, but these villains don’t cry out series finale obstacles… yet. Perhaps, Boyd’s relationship with Ava (Joelle Carter) may lead him towards returning to the path of good. Who knows? Needless to say, this season will start to shape the future of Justified and let us know just where Raylan is going as his story heads towards inevitable closure in Justified Season 7 or 8.

Here are 8 focus points on the Season 5 premiere to get the debate started:

– The Justified premiere starts off with several legal situations. Remember the four-kidney joke? That’s going to come back to haunt Raylan.

- Ava is still locked up for switching out Delroy’s body. Boyd will discuss what he’s willing to do to get Ava out of jail.

– We’ve dealt with criminals from Miami and Detroit before. However, in this season, we’ll be spending more time outside of the confines of Kentucky. Also, Canada becomes a new point of interest in the Oxy trade. Other ethnicities come up in Raylan’s crosshairs from Cuba and Haiti.

– Wynn and Boyd seem to be developing more of a partnership.

– We’re going to meet Dewey’s (Damon Herriman) extended family – the Florida Crowes, led by Darryl Crowe Jr. (Michael Rapaport) They’ve also got a “lawyer” of sorts in the family.

– Speaking of Dewey, expect a fun little Dewey scene in the premiere.

– What happened to Winona and the baby? The baby’s been born giving us a sense of how much time has passed since the Season 4 finale.

– FYI: Boyd doesn’t like the phrase “white trash” when used in a certain way. Sometimes it makes him angry. And, trust me, you won’t like Boyd when he’s angry.

Photo Gallery: Justified Stars Descend on NYC for FX Upfront Bowling Party

This week in New York, the stars of FX’s Justified got together in NYC for the network’s Upfront party. In attendance were stars Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins, Joelle Carter, Nick Searcy, Jacob Pitts and Graham Yost.

Justified in Round 2 of Spring Madness TV Tourney

Check out the pictures below. Click thumbnails to enlarge and browse gallery.

‘Justified’ Gets Fifth Season Order; More ‘Sunny,’ ‘The League’ & ‘Legit’ Too

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FX’s Upfronts are being headlined with a new spinoff network and new series launches, but they also announced a fifth season pickup for its winter flagship show, Justified, which is going to close its fourth season Tuesday, April 2 at 10 PM ET/PT.

EDITOR’S PICK: Justified Season 4 is one of the best yet

This current season of Justified has been marked with a cold case that heats up Harlan County that has all of the parties, whether it’s Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and the U.S. Marshals, the Dixie Mafia, or the series’ version of Bonnie & Clyde, Ava (Joelle Carter) and Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). Each side has their own reason for wanting to capture Drew Thompson and eventually becomes a matter of survival for several players. John Landgraf, President and General Manager, FX Networks said that Season 4 is on pace to be the most-watched season of the series yet. Season 5 will begin production in the fall and air on FX in January 2014.

EDITOR’S PICK: EXCLUSIVE Justified Interview with Joelle Carter

That means that at the very least, Raylan Givens is going to survive the season finale. Let’s all hope that Winona and bun in the oven make it out alive too.

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Also receiving new seasons are the comedies headed over to the just-announced FXX Network. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League will lead the charge at the new comedy-centric FXX Network and will each get two new seasons. Both series rank #2 in their time slots in the fall for basic cable, beaten only by NFL Games on Thursday nights on the NFL Network. Also making the move to FXX is the network’s latest hit, Legit featuring stand-up comedian Jim Jefferies, Dan Bakkedahl, and DJ Qualls, which was also renewed for a second season.