With a domineering mother and his police-chief big brother looking over his shoulder, Jeremy Davies' limping, sneering Dickie may be the most put-upon of the backwoods Bennett clan on this season of Justified. But he's also the most engaging. As executive producer Graham Yost puts it, "You can't take your eyes off Jeremy."
"Dickie is a vividly complex character, and unexpectedly funny and charming. But he's also an antagonistic force for [Deputy U.S. Marshal] Raylan [Givens]," says the erudite Davies, a lifelong Elmore Leonard reader who is thrilled to work on a series inspired by his hero's writing. "I grew up without TV, which is pretty blasphemous
to reveal in this context, and Elmore was a household name. I'm drawn to shows that have a way of being unusually literary."
No joke. Davies' last regular TV role was on the equally highbrow Lost, playing amnesiac physicist Daniel Faraday. "Dickie Bennett is a quantum leap from quantum physicist Daniel Faraday," Davies admits. "I had many offers to essentially reembody Faraday after Lost. But it's a rarefied honor to get a chance to make such a radical shift to another character."
Dickie nurses both a lame leg and a grudge against the man who long ago caused the injury: Raylan. So does Davies see a violent resolution between the two? Not necessarily. "What I love about the show is that Dickie is just as likely to suddenly embody the spirit of Gandhi and become shockingly well-versed in nonviolence," he says. "Sort of a Mahatma Bennett."
Justified airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.