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'Justified' EP Graham Yost talks 'Where's Waldo?'

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Prashant Gupta/FX

SPOILER ALERT! In this week’s episode of Justified, “Where’s Waldo?”, written by Dave Andron and directed by Bill Johnson, the bag mystery deepened as Art (Nick Searcy) suited up with Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) and Tim (Jacob Pitts) to meet Waldo Truth’s family and learned they’re really looking for a pilot named Drew Thompson. And Boyd (Walton Goggins) paid Preacher Billy (Joe Mazzello) a visit and made Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) a business proposition that he politely/violently refused. As he’ll do throughout the season, showrunner Graham Yost takes us inside the writers room. Read our full recap of the episode here.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s start with Art. U.S. Marshals have mandatory retirement at age 57, and Art, we learned, just turned 56.

GRAHAM YOST: It just gives us another color to play with Nick and the character. We’re trying to stay at least reality adjacent. A chief deputy can retire, and they have to retire at a certain point, but then the Marshals service can always ask them, “Hey, do you want to come back? Because we’ve got an opening in Tucson and we’d love for you to fill in for a year.” It’s not like they’re suddenly out on the street working in private security. They often stay related to the Marshals service. But anyway, in our world — I think we’ve discussed this before — we’re now in our fourth season and the whole timeline of the Justified story really has taken place over maybe six months, or at most a year. So, in other words, don’t think that we’re going to be having a retirement party for Art Mullen anytime soon, but at least it’s on the table.

When talking about who might someday take over for him, Art dropped the news that Rachel was married and recently left her husband. 

We see a little more impact of that in her life in the third episode, and that then follows directly into the fourth.

Are we going to see Art out in the field more now? Because those scenes with him, Raylan, and Tim were great, starting with the stake out car scene — Raylan falling asleep, the talk of Pilates class and exotic dancing.

Here and there. The Pilates class was a nod to [EP] Fred Golan, who takes Pilates and often, it’s around a six o’clock or 6:30 p.m. class, so he’ll leave early on those days. Originally, when we were breaking that episode, it was just gonna be Raylan and Art, and Tim [Olyphant], as is his wont, will just say, “Well, let’s throw Gutterson into that mix, too,” and it just became a really fun scene.

Art’s “Marshal’s stiffy” was also a fun line.

It’s an Andron line. [Laughs] He just came up with it, and there’s a couple other references to it in the season so far.

The Truth Family, was that a dead guinea pig in the house?


I’ve seen Tim Olyphant on Ellen talking about how his family’s guinea pig does nothing. Was that the inspiration there?

It might have been, I’m not sure. Or something could have just come up from Dave Blass and his production design team. It just felt right for the Truth family. The Truth family was inspired a little bit by this great documentary, The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia, this sort of crazy ass family. That was our homage to them.

I love seeing Raylan with smartass kids. Milo (Ethan Jamieson) was amazing. Are we gonna see him again? 

You know, we have no plans to see Milo or the Truth family again. I was sitting outside having coffee with Fred Golan one morning, and we were talking about Milo. It was just in script form, just the idea of him riding his bicycle away from these guys and riding up to the house yelling that he’s being chased by pervies, and I actually did a spit take. I’d taken a sip of coffee and I had to spit it out, I was laughing so hard. There was just something about this kid on a bike yelling “Pervies!” that made me laugh. The kid was fantastic. And the moment where he gives Raylan two fingers — you know, that’s one of the things where we really kind of grin and shrug our shoulders and go, “Man, how lucky are we to work on this show.” But loved all the Truths, in particular Beth Grant [Mother Truth], who I’ve worked with a couple of times in the past. She’s the woman who goes under the bus in Speed [which Yost wrote]. She’s always been great, but this is one of those things where oh my lord, she was wonderful.

You also had children from Preacher Billy’s Last Chance Holiness Church come sing for Boyd and Ava (Joelle Carter).

The song they’re singing, which is “Shall We Gather at the River?”, is the song that the Temperance Union marchers are singing at the beginning of The Wild Bunch, so that is just a small little tiny homage to Peckinpah.

NEXT: Ellen May and Wynn Duffy make Boyd’s life difficult