‘Justified’ series finale goes out with a bang
“I can’t remember another show farewell in recent memory that left me feeling so down (to be fair, I still haven’t watched the “Parks and Recreation” swan song, because I’m in denial that it’s actually over.”
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Graham Yost on the Justified Series Finale and Saying Goodbye to Harlan County
Spoilers ahead—don’t read this interview if you haven’t watched the series finale of Justified.
Whether capping off an enterprise that was limited or long running, series finales have become subjected to unreasonable scrutiny, to the point where writing one has nearly become a can’t-win proposition for even the most seasoned auteur. That was the reality facing Graham Yost, the executive producer of FX’s Justified, as he set about trying to devise a fitting way to end the many storylines in play, most importantly that of his protagonist, Raylan Givens, while also being mindful of how the late Elmore Leonard—whose Fire in the Hole novella inspired this whole can of worms—would have wanted to say goodbye to those deep, dark hills of Eastern Kentucky.
Now that the final credits have rolled, and Raylan and lifelong frenemy Boyd Crowder have made their peace through partitioned glass, and Ava’s off picking pumpkins in Southwestern California, Yost can finally relax—assuming viewers don’t raise too much of a fuss about how it all went down. Yost spoke to Esquire about the burden of closing up shop properly, the show’s evolution from procedural to serialized saga, and working with the ever-opinionated Walton Goggins.
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SPOILER ‘Justified’ Finale: Graham Yost on Who Survived — and Those Elmore Leonard Tributes
The Hollywood Reporter
The showrunner talks with THR about how the end of the FX series changed from his original plan and more.
[Warning: This post contains spoilers from Justified’s series finale.]
Justified concluded its six-season run with a subdued series finale Tuesday that may not have have been as deadly as many had come to expect.
Although the FX drama regularly featured elaborate and alarming death sequences, only two characters of note ended up being killed off in the show’s final hour: Markham (Sam Elliott), who — after taking Ava (Joelle Carter) hostage — was killed by Boyd (Walton Goggins); and Boon (Jonathan Tucker), who was on the losing side of a gun duel with Raylan (Timothy Olyphant).
Raylan, however, did have the opportunity to shoot friend-turned-foe Boyd after Markham’s death — but when Boyd refused to draw his weapon, Raylan decided to merely arrest Boyd (and Ava). It seemed, for a moment, that Raylan would actually be to close to closing the case, but his unexpected confrontation with Boon — which occurred as Raylan was trying to transport Ava to jail — led to an injured Raylan being unable to stop Ava from stealing his car and escaping.
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‘Justified’ set to say goodbye
Olyphant says the impulsive Raylan hasn’t changed much over 78 episodes. Yost says that reflects the philosophy of the late novelist Elmore Leonard, who created the characters.
“In Elmore’s world, character is destiny, and people don’t change that much. Raylan is pretty much as he was at the beginning, but we do see a change in him over the course of the series,” Yost says. “Boyd changed a lot, but you never knew if the changes were real.”
Olyphant says Crowder was key to the show’s success, along with other memorable Raylan adversaries, including Mags Bennett (Emmy winner Margo Martindale) and this season’s crime kingpin, Avery Markham (Sam Elliott), and his sociopathic hired gun, Boon (Jonathan Tucker).
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VIDEO: FX’s Justified actors and creator visit Harlan County
WYM Mountain TV
Harlan County, Kentucky (WYMT) - Who will leave Harlan alive? We will find out Tuesday who on the FX series “Justified” will survive. Actors from the show were in Harlan County this afternoon for a special screening of the series finale.
“Justified:” the fictional television series, centered around a U.S. Marshal in Harlan County who deals his own brand of justice, comes to an end Tuesday, and Series Creator Graham Yost says he wanted to do something special for the region that inspired its setting.
“You know, we talked a long time about when we wanted to come back down to Harlan as a group and bring some of the actors down here, and it just finally came to be that we could do it right before the final episode,” Yost said.
The result was an early public screening of the finale at Harlan County High School Saturday. For several of the shows actors, it was there first time in the real Harlan County.
“Beautiful. Much more beautiful than I expected. The landscape and everything, and the people are very friendly and. So far, so good,” says Joelle Carter, who plays “Ava Crowder.”
“I don’t know, I’ve had the rich kids retreat. I get in a van; I come to the hotel; I get in a van; I go to the high school; I get in the van; I get buffalo wings - that’s been my impression of Harlan so far,” laughed Jacob Pitts, who plays “Tim Gutterson.”
Hundreds of fans came out Saturday - some from out-of-state. They say the show has played a special role in their lives for the past six seasons.
“It’s just a really great show and the dialogue is top notch. It’s just so much fun and I feel like I’m going to start crying at the end of the show,” says Rachel Lange, a fan who travelled from Washington, D.C. to attend the event.
Cameras weren’t allowed in the auditorium for security reasons; but fan reviews of the finale Saturday were positive.
“Out of this world! Totally unexpected! There’s a lot of twists that people are not going to expect and it’s fabulous, They went out with a bang, I can say that,” says Lynn Rowland, reacting to the finale.
The justified finale airs Tuesday, April 14th at 10 p.m. on FX.
The screening was followed by a question and answer session with members of the cast and crew.
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Farewell To The Fabulous ‘Justified’
“Justified,” as many of you already know, was originally developed from an Elmore Leonard short story, “Fire in the Hole.” I’ve been a fan of this show from the beginning even though the writing during the first season was often uneven. What hooked me right away, though, was Timothy Olyphant’s dynamic performance as marshal Raylan Givens, which should come as no surprise to anyone who watched him on the HBO series “Deadwood.”
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Scent of Murder by James O. Born
Two years after being tossed from the detective bureau for using questionable tactics while catching a child molester, deputy Tim Hallett’s life is finally on track. Assigned to a special K-9 unit with the best partner in the world, a Belgian Malinois named Rocky, Hallett has finally learned to balance police work with his family life. But that all changes in the heat of a Florida sugarcane field.
While searching for a kidnapper, Rocky locks onto the scent of a predator unlike anyone has ever seen. Or have they? The more Hallett digs, the closer he comes to his old issues when the case that ended his career as a detective appears to be the key to a series of kidnappings.
When the trail turns to murder, Hallett risks everything to catch the killer, even if it means clearing the child molester who drove him to violence and ruined his career. Along the way, Hallett and his partners learn the true meaning of loyalty and courage as their canine companions take police work to a new level and show that instinct means more than training.
Scent of Murder is a gritty police thriller from veteran law enforcement agent and author James O. Born.
What ‘Justified’ Really Says About Modern Manhood And Westerns
By John Daniel Davidson
Rachel Lu thinks heroes of the western genre like John Wayne embodied a noble vision of American manhood as honorable, reliable, and self-sacrificing—everything a good American man should be.
Understood in that light, Lu argues that the FX series “Justified,” although it has elements of the western genre, is thoroughly modern, its characters “infused with far more moral ambiguity than John Wayne typically faced.” The show’s protagonist, Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (played by Timothy Olyphant), might dress like a cowboy, but “as a family man, he leaves much to be desired”—because he sleeps around with strange women and refuses to join his wife and baby in another state. By contrast, the show’s villain, Boyd Crowder (the excellent Walter Goggins), is devoted to one woman and his “devotion even inspires dreams of respectability.”
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10 Most Twisted Quentin Tarantino Movie Characters
When it comes to portraying aberrant psychology on the screen, it’s all too easy to create a cartoon villain with a checklist of traits instead of any real personality. And many filmmakers have. Take a bit of Hannibal Lecter, add a dash of generic Bond villain and – presto! – you’ve got a bland and anonymous antagonist.
As a disciple of Elmore Leonard, Quentin Tarantino isn’t having any of that. Like Leonard, he knows the importance of character, and the best way to reveal character is through dialogue. The person in question might be a hitman, and a sadist to boot, but he won’t do anything until we’ve heard him speak
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Graham Yost on Fresh Air with Terri Gross (Audio and Transcript)
WESM FM 91.3
The FX series Justified, which is in its sixth and final season, is based on the novella Fire in the Hole by Elmore Leonard. Leonard was an executive producer of the series until his death in 2013. The show’s creator and showrunner, Graham Yost, says he has made it his mission to stay as true as he can to Leonard’s vision and storytelling style.
“Ultimately I look at this show as Elmore Leonard’s show, and we’re all in service of him and his view and his way of writing and creating these characters,” Yost tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “So whatever feels like it works within that world is something we’re open to.”
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