Credit: FX

FX’s Justified will return for its sixth and final season in January, and while the additions of Sam Elliott and Garret Dillahunt to the cast recently made headlines, the first teaser puts the focus firmly on Timothy Olyphant’s Raylan and Walton Goggins’ Boyd. Watch EW‘s exclusive first look below.

It’s a reminder that Raylan was ready to leave Harlan (alive) until he decided to do one final thing—set Ava (Joelle Carter) up to rat on Boyd, presumably to help Vasquez (Rick Gomez) and Rachel (Erica Tazel) get to Boyd’s new business partner, Katherine Hale (Mary Steenburgen). The hat trick also insinuates that it’s been fun and games between Raylan and Boyd until now, even if said games involve Boyd taking a bullet from Raylan and not just his Stetson. In the final season, their standoff is serious.

Knowing that the series culminates with these two going head-to-head, it’s amazing to think that Boyd—who EW recently named one of the 25 best characters on TV right now—was supposed to die at the end of the 2010 pilot, just like he dies at the end of the Elmore Leonard short story “Fire in the Hole.” As Goggins told EW last year, “I took a bullet to the heart, and I was done. We filmed the pilot in maybe May, and they had their edit, and [FX Networks CEO] John Landgraf and [exec producer] Graham Yost were showing it around, and they looked at it, and they thought, ‘Well, I don’t know, man. I don’t know if we can kill this guy.’ Partly because of the chemistry—I just so enjoy working with Tim, and I think he feels the same about me. But the other part is what having Boyd there does for Raylan,” he said.

“This story is about these two people that came from a very similar set of circumstances, but one went this way and one went the other way, and yet, they’re more similar than either one of them cares to admit. That’s really interesting,” he continued. “When you’re making a show about a small town in America, with that comes a lot of history, and what better way to serve the protagonist than to have a person that has known him since the beginning and knows his secrets, knows him that intimately. They did their testing, and they talked about it, and they came back and said, ‘Would you stay?,’ and I jumped at the chance. I just wanted to know where the story went as much as they did. So it was very organic: Tim saying, ‘Let’s see what happens to these two people,’ and it was intriguing enough to me that I couldn’t say no, and I’m the better man for it.”

The late Leonard, who paid Goggins the compliment, “I don’t believe a goddamn thing you say, but I sure do enjoy watching you say it” during season 1, also resurrected Boyd in his 2012 novel Raylan. “It’s one thing to bring a character back on television, and while Elmore has done that before in his literature, it’s another thing to bring a character back on the written page,” Goggins told EW. “I get to give that book to my son someday, and say, ‘He brought Boyd Crowder back because of the show and because he liked him,’ and that means more to me than pretty much any compliment you could give me.”

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