Walton Goggins and Timothy Olyphant, Justified
[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers from the Season 1 finale of Justified.]
Few were left standing at the end of Justified's bloody first-season finale, but among the survivors was Walton Goggins' Boyd Crowder, a character who has escaped death twice this season.
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In the finale, Boyd, who was originally intended to die in the pilot, survived a shootout between his friend/nemesis Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and two Miami drug-cartel assassins. Even though Raylan spent much of the second half of the season trying to put Boyd back in jail after he blew up a meth lab, he still lets Boyd give chase to an assassin instead of bringing him in.
"We hadn't planned that the arc would be about Raylan and Boyd, but that became apparent when we decided to keep Boyd alive," creator and executive producer Graham Yost tells TVGuide.com. "We knew the bad relationship would help form the spine of the season. Heading into the finale we knew we wanted to both resolve some things, get some answers, and yet throw open more questions.
"The big question is, 'What's going to happen with Boyd, what's Raylan going to do?'" Yost continues. "He's implicated in the murder of a confidential informant from the meth lab, but he has been, in his strange Boyd way, fighting a good fight to try to stop his father from bringing evil to Harlan. So what does Raylan do?"
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In truth, Raylan could ask himself that question about many of his relationships. Also in the finale, Raylan learned that his ex-wife, Winona (Natalie Zea), had kicked her new husband out of the house, but Raylan still went to great lengths to protect current squeeze Ava (Joelle Carter).
Additionally, Raylan's father (Raymond J. Barry) betrayed his son to Boyd's daddy, Bo (M.C. Gainey). "We realized that Raylan's father is a pretty bad guy, but it was possible Boyd's father could be even worse," Yost says. "There were these parallel tracks of these sons, one way or another rebelling against their fathers. That really intrigued us, and we wondered how we could that to play out and where would we go with that."
The end result was Boyd holding his father at gunpoint for having murdered the members of Boyd's newly formed backwoods church. But before Boyd could fire, one of the cartel assassins appeared to kill Bo.
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"We just loved M.C Gainey's performance, and so we haven't decided," Yost says when asked if Bo is really dead. Yost says the same is also true of Johnny Crowder (David Meunier), who Bo shot and left for dead at Ava's house. "We didn't see either one of them die. We saw them go down, but we don't know for sure they're dead. If we want to keep them alive, we will, but we haven't decided that yet."
As for Raylan's love life, Season 2 might present a more clearly defined love triangle, now that Winona and Raylan slept together again. "[Winona] is freaked out by what happened, but she is interested," Yost says. "Raylan will always be the true love of her life. That doesn't mean she can live with him. He stirs a passion in her that Gary doesn't. ... Raylan's always going to be the guy for her, and to an extent, Winona's always going to be the woman for Raylan."
Yost says that during the hiatus, the writers will re-examine this season to strike a better balance between serialized storytelling and standalone episodes. He also hopes to better incorporate the supporting characters into the plot, as many of them vanished late in the season.
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"We got little glimpses into Rachel [Erica Tazel] and Tim [Jacob Pitts] this season," Yost says. "It was just a matter of money. To keep actors in episodes we hadn't agreed to was just going to cost us more money, so we had to make hard decisions like that. Had it been up to me, they would've been in all episodes, but it's not my money."
In addition to answering the questions posed by the finale, Yost says the challenge of Season 2 will be creating new story arcs. Prolific author Elmore Leonard, who created the Raylan Givens character and serves as an executive producer of the show, is working on a new short story, which Yost says may help that cause.
"I'm going to see it in the next few weeks," Yost says of Leonard's new work. "We spoke on the phone and he just read me three pages from the story. There was just a moment when I thought, 'Seriously? I'm listening to Elmore Leonard read me new stuff?' In my line of work, it just doesn't get much better than that. If there's any way we can use it, we will. He's not following along with the Boyd story; it's a whole new story."