By Mandi Bierly
January 07, 2014 at 06:15 PM EST
  • TV Show

If you’re trying to encapsulate what makes Justified FX’s coolest drama, a good place to start is the fact that Timothy Olyphant’s character, Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, often seems as entertained by the bad guys as we are. “It’s always fun to bring in new characters that are so wonderfully specific and full of contradictions and humor — scary and yet so funny,” Olyphant says. “I love when you have characters that seem reprehensible, and at the same time you just love spending time with them.” Season 5, which premieres Jan. 7 at 10 p.m. ET, is overflowing with them. Here, Olyphant, Damon Herriman (Dewey Crowe), Walton Goggins (Boyd Crowder), Joelle Carter (Ava Crowder), and executive producer Graham Yost tease what lies ahead.

For even more, read our extended interviews with Goggins and Michael Rapaport, who plays the season’s Big Bad, Darryl Crowe Jr. As Olyphant says, “People are going to be blown away by him. I think we have to track him down because he stole the season.”


There are a lot of fan favorite characters on Justified, but Dewey Crowe may top the list. “When we come up with an idea for a Dewey scene, we start laughing or we’re never quite crying but we’re going, ‘Oh Jesus, poor Dewey,'” Yost says of the writers’ affection for him. “He’s an imbecile. He’s a violent criminal. He’s just an avowed racist and all that stuff. But there’s something about him, his haplessness.”

Last seen in season 3, when he was drugged, abducted from prison, drugged again, and made to believe his kidneys were harvested (“Holy s—, you mean I had four kidneys?”), Dewey wins a large settlement from the federal government at the start of the premiere that he uses to — what else — buy Audrey’s from Boyd. “I thought that was a brilliant idea. It just seemed so appropriate,” Herriman says. “What more could Dewey Crowe want? As is often the case with Dewey, all the things that seem to be going oh so right for him in his world come crumbling down very quickly.”

It starts when Raylan interrupts Dewey’s game of naked Marco Polo with two prostitutes to ask him if he knows the whereabouts of his Florida swamp cousins, led by Rapaport’s Darryl Crowe Jr. “Raylan orders him out of the swimming pool, and they essentially have this conversation — just like a regular Raylan-Dewey scene — where Dewey’s standing there naked, covering himself as best he can. No one actually asked [if I’d go nude],” Herriman says, laughing. “It was just in the script like, ‘Dewey gets out of the pool completely naked.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, I guess he does then.’ There are sacrifices you make when you get to play a role this good. I don’t care too much about that stuff anyway, but ultimately, I knew it was gonna be a funnier scene, a more memorable scene, so there’s no way I wanted to mess with that. Sometimes as an actor, you feel like you read dialogue that you have to say and you know that you have to work incredibly hard to make that dialogue work. Whereas this is one of the very rare experiences where you read the dialogue and it’s almost like the good acting is written into the dialogue and all you have to do is say it and not wreck it.”

Raylan, who has history with cousin Darryl, heads to Florida in the premiere to help vanquish his family’s latest moneymaker. “It was a little nerve-racking — big nine-foot gators just a few feet from us while we’re shooting the scene. One was named Pete. He was the big one. He had a bunch of girlfriends. It’s true,” Olyphant says about filming on location. “I’m not sure if it was exactly safe, but we were told that we would be fine, and if they ran out of the water, just zigzag serpentine.” The real danger, story-wise at least: Raylan makes mention of Dewey’s good fortune within earshot of one of Darryl’s associates, consigliere/gator farmer Jean Baptiste (Edi Gathegi). “So he kind of goes somewhere he’d rather not go, to see some people he’d rather not see, and then somehow ends up bringing them all back,” Olyphant says. “Then things just gets worse.”

That’s because the Crowes —  which also include nutjob muscle Danny (CSI: NY‘s AJ Buckley), 14-year-old Kendal (Mud‘s Jacob Lofland), and reformed paralegal Wendy (Alicia Witt) — are interlopers: “It’s that sense that they’re carrion birds,” Yost says. “They come in, they’re invasive, they’re hard to get rid of.” Explains Herriman, “Darryl has various opinions on the price that Dewey was charged for Audrey’s and whether it was a particularly healthy business to be buying…. Dewey is so easily influenced: There’s a great moment where Darryl kind of talks him up in this Anthony Robbins kind of way to go and have it out with Boyd, and he does that. And then Boyd essentially does the same thing to get Dewey to go back and have it out with Darryl. It’s so great.”

But Dewey is more than comic relief this season. Look for episode 4 to be a turning point for the character. All Yost will say: “Darryl has told Dewey he’s going to do something, and it’s very hard for Dewey and it doesn’t go well.” Herriman calls the hour a “massive rollercoaster”: “There’s every emotion you could possibly imagine, and just when you think things have gone as wrong as they can go, they get worse,” he says. “You get to see the guy really kind of shattered by the circumstances that he finds himself in.”


Yost dubs the theme of season 5 “Let the Right One In”: “It’s making alliances with people and then coming to regret that,” he says. It goes for everyone, but especially Boyd, who, as we wrote in our Q&A with Goggins, has a lot on his plate as the season begins: We pick up roughly three months after his fiancée Ava (Joelle Carter) was busted moving Delroy’s body and she’s still in jail, impatiently awaiting her case to be assigned a judge so Boyd can get to threatening him. Problems with the heroin pipeline quickly send Boyd and Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns, now a series regular) to Detroit. “Jimmy is the person closest to Boyd, but still, he doesn’t trust Jimmy — not after what Johnny did,” Goggins says. “He doesn’t trust anyone, and that’s what’s so hard for him. Everybody needs to lean on somebody. None of us are islands. Not even someone as buttoned up as Boyd Crowder. We’ll see if that eats him up. That may ultimately kind of bring him down — his inability to trust people and/or maybe who he trusts…”

Boyd feels cornered, and that loss of control comes out in ways that “are not well thought out for a man who thinks about everything,” Goggins says. Yost confirms what you’re thinking: “There is a greater body count, no question. There’s a world of violence around Boyd this year.” And as Olyphant jokes: “People are going to go down. We’ve got too many characters on the show. Some people are going to have to go.”

The heaviness of what life brings Boyd and Ava starts to weigh on their relationship: “These two are trying to outrun their own lives right now. I guess this is what happens when you choose to live outside the law. It catches up with you,” Carter says. “I like to think she’s never going to give up on them, but there does come a point in the season where she has to reinvent herself, and she’s definitely left to her own devices.” Jail, Ava will discover, has its own set of rules. (It also has a not-so-nice guard played by actor-turned-screenwriter Danny Strong!) “It’s a different game,” Carter says, “and I think she finally realizes she’s in this game, and she’s in it solo, and she has to figure out how to play it. You’ll see a tougher, darker Ava. Anything that she’s potentially learned from her lover will come in handy. It will be nice to see. She was trying to be a businesswoman last season and step up and be a partner. Now she has to be her own boss, I guess. Sometimes I read the scripts, and I’m like, ‘Oh, poor Ava. Poor girl. They’re really beating her up this season.’ But it’s also exciting to see how they’ll come out at the end of the season. I can’t imagine after everything that has happened and that might happen in this season, that [Boyd and Ava] will be the same at the end.”


With Yost anticipating wrapping the series after six seasons — it hasn’t formally been renewed past season 5, so, he jokes, “we could still screw it up” — the writers have to start thinking about where they want Raylan to end up. Will it be in Kentucky or in Florida, where Winona is now raising their baby girl? “I don’t think he ever wished to be the same kind of father he grew up with, and yet, he seems to very absent from his child’s life right now,” Olyphant says. “So you’re kind of asking, ‘Will he be present in that child’s life? And if so, how does that affect his life as a marshal? How does he define himself? That’s seems a good question that keeps coming back up.”

For the moment at least, Raylan will be parenting long distance. “We’re going to try to keep that [Winona storyline] alive in a meaningful way,” the actor/producer says. “If we do that, I think it will be a win-win. We’ll feel the presence of the child and not have to act with them. That’s the way we like it. We’ve already got a dog [Danny Crowe’s male pit bull, named Chelsea], we don’t need kids around.”

Look for Raylan to meet a social worker, played by Amy Smart, in the second episode. Told EW approves of Raylan having more sex, Olyphant deadpans, “It depends who the sex is with, I guess, but you know, we like that — sex and violence, in moderation of course. That’s often, at times, the keys to good drama, and that’s what we’re trying to do here.”

There could, however, be another source of drama awaiting Raylan. Teases Yost, “You remember how last season ended: Essentially Raylan conspired with a criminal [Sammy Tonin] to kill another criminal [Nicky Augustine]. He did it to save Winona and their unborn child. He didn’t feel he had any options. But that’s a big, big thing to do. I just pose a question to you: What if Art got some inkling that something wasn’t right? That’s all I’ll say.”

To read more about Justified and 67 other new and returning shows, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands now. And come back to’s Inside TV blog throughout Justified‘s fifth season for our weekly postmortems with showrunner Graham Yost.

Episode Recaps

  • TV Show
  • 6
  • 03/16/10
  • In Season
Complete Coverage