Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched this week’s episode of Justified, “Foot Chase,” written by Dave Andron and Ingrid Escajeda and directed by Peter Werner, stop reading now. Boyd and Ava took a major step in their relationship, Ava scored them an invitation to a swinger party to help their hunt for Drew Thompson, and Shelby and Raylan teamed up to find Josiah. As he’ll do throughout the season, showrunner Graham Yost takes us inside the writers room.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s go right to Boyd’s proposal.
GRAHAM YOST: There are a bunch of pivotal episodes this season, this is certainly one of them. It’s a pivotal episode for the series. We knew Boyd and Ava were a devoted couple, but a proposal ups the ante. With what’s gonna happen specifically in episode 7 [next week], and the things they have to do, we just thought this was the time. Now in the execution of the scene, we were going to shoot it in one place, then scheduling kind of fouled up and we couldn’t do it, so we ended up just shooting it essentially at the same spot we shot a scene between Raylan and Ava back in season 1, where they were sitting on the hood of his car looking out over the lights of Lexington. We shot it here at the studio, so they’re actually looking out at the lights of Santa Clarita. You get a nice long lens, and you can’t tell where you are. The big thing to me about that scene is when Boyd says something to the effect of, “This is not how most people will do it, but we’re not like most people.” And Ava says, “No, we’re not.” That’s my favorite bit in it: They know who they are. And it’s also the idea of Boyd talking about the future. Again, that’s the focus of the season — Raylan thinking about the future, Boyd thinking about the future, and Ava as well. The original pitch was that he just gave her money, and then the next episode he was gonna go the store. We went through a lot of things, and then it was like, “You know what, let’s just put it all in one.”
And Ava’s line “Oh baby, it’s the other hand” wasn’t scripted?
I’m pretty sure that was improvised. That little bit of sloppiness is the kind of thing that makes a scene pop. It’s funny, I think if you try to write those too much, you don’t get it. It’s better for them to just find it in the moment. [Actress Joelle Carter confirms it was unscripted. Read her breakdown of the proposal scene here.]
We will see the swinger party in episode 7?
We will. It’s not the way it really is. Our production designer has actually seen the barn where those parties take place. That’s more like a roadhouse, honky-tonk kind of thing. We just couldn’t get that — we couldn’t build it or find it. So we went a different direction — a fancy house — that ended up working great with what emerged from the story.
I loved the scene of Ava procuring the invite.
That was a late add. It was, “Let’s have Ava do something to advance the story.” “Oh, we’ll have her go to Arnold.” Any time we can work with Brian Howe, who plays Arnold, is great. And then just coming up with the spin: “You? All you have to do is ask. You’re invited.”
It was very smart of Johnny to come right out and tell Boyd that if he were Wynn, he’d take Drew off his hands and then kill Boyd.
The last person you’d suspect would be someone who said that.
You got Raylan hooked up with Shelby this episode to hunt for Josiah.
It’s just to give Raylan another ally down there. I think it also cements in the audience’s mind that Shelby is serious about going after Boyd.
Why won’t Shelby tell Raylan about Ellen May?
He still doesn’t know [if she’ll talk]. She couldn’t be protected by law enforcement if she’s not willing to say anything. She hasn’t coughed anything up yet, but he knows she’s in danger, so he’s caught in this weird middle ground.
The Boyd line, “That’s what assholes do, Raylan, they get old and die from being assholes” — whose was that?
I think that might have been Walton’s. And I think that line went in and out in the cut, because we were trying to trim for time. And then we put it back in. It’s a great line.
What was the idea behind having Boyd and Arlo’s lawyer be the person behind Josiah’s kidnapping?
As soon as you see her in episode 5, where she’s willing to take money from Boyd, it’s that old, “Now you’ve established that you’re dirty. Okay, how dirty are you?” If you back it up, there is a point in [episode 5] where you see her asking Arlo for the information [on Drew Thompson]. We needed a bad guy, and we thought, who could get the name — or think they’ve got the name — but it would be steering them down the wrong path. Arlo doesn’t trust anyone.
The blowtorch to Josiah’s leg — was that inspired by anything?
It happened to me once. No, it just seemed like a logical thing. I wanted to do the greatest cauterizing scene since Rambo III.
Roz’s new friend Teddy, or, as Raylan called him, “Rapes With a Smile.” Whose idea was that nickname?
I’m pretty sure that was Andron. That’s very Andron-esque.
Is this the last time we’ll see Roz?
There was a version where we saw her again, but I don’t think we do.
When will we see Hunter Mosley, the former Harlan Sheriff who tried to kill Raylan in season 1, when Raylan was dealing with the Miami cartel, and who Josiah says would know if Drew is still hiding out in Harlan?
You’ll see him in episode 8.
You don’t want to tease anything about Tim’s arc with his friend, or the consequences of Colton running into Tim again, but can you say whether there was ever a version of that scene with the friend’s dealer in which Tim (Jacob Pitts) got shirtless?
No. I know you’d love to see him shirtless, but he’s a Marshal for god’s sake. [Laughs] They don’t put up with crap like that.
Should we expect Colton beating Max, the man wrongly accused of assaulting Johnny’s girl, to come back to haunt Colton?
Yes. Not Max in particular, but just the fact that he did that and Johnny was there for that — Johnny could sense there was something off.