'Justified' season finale: Walton Goggins talks 'Bloody Harlan'


Image Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

Justified‘s season 2 finale, “Bloody Harlan,” lived up to its name as the Givens/Bennett feud came to a head with a little assist from Walton Goggins’ Boyd Crowder. Goggins phoned EW after the East Coast airing, still anxiously awaiting the West Coast feed so he could watch it himself. If you’ve yet to see the episode, stop reading now and come back to us when you’re ready. Spoilers ahead. 

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay, so Doyle getting shot in the head as he stood over Raylan and Mags poisoning herself — amazing.
WALTON GOGGINS: What about Ava [getting shot by Dickie]? It broke Boyd’s heart, didn’t it?

It did. And here’s the thing I can’t believe: How did Boyd get through that hour without firing a gun once? Did that surprise you, too?
Yeah, it did surprise me. While Boyd is not as trigger happy as he once was, I thought there would be some sort of retribution based on everything that’s happened. And I think it was a brilliant move by [executive producer] Graham Yost and the rest of the writers not to have Boyd go down that road, but rather to see this on-again-off-again criminal be [a victim of] love, and have that as a motivation for his ire. It’s a guy who’s really uncomfortable, much like Raylan, showing any real emotion. And fortunately/unfortunately, he’s experiencing a real emotion and that emotion is love. He doesn’t quite know what to do with that. It just left that whole question open of what happens to her? What happens to them? What happens to Boyd going forward? In addition to all the other periods and question marks for the show, man. [Laughs] I can’t wait to see it. I can’t wait to read it. I can’t wait to say it.

Have you talked to Graham about how Boyd will start season 3?
We’ve had long discussions about it and what that might look like. And thank god we’re gonna get an opportunity to find out what happens. You never know in television, really. I would say that messing with Boyd Crowder is a bad thing, messing with a woman that Boyd Crowder loves is a worse thing.

Who’s left for him to retaliate against? Doyle and Mags are dead. Dickie’s in custody.
You know, I’ll wait till next season to answer that. [Laughs]

Have we seen the last of Dickie?
I don’t think you’ve seen the last of Dickie. I’ll give you that.

What would you like to see Boyd do in season 3?
I would like to see him continue to walk the line between a person that on paper you’re not supposed to like but a person when viewed is someone that you have great empathy for. I hope that we continue to explore the relationship between Boyd and Raylan and why these men have become the men that they’ve become. And I hope I get to lay naked next to Joelle Carter [Ava] again. [Laughs] I hope I have one more bed scene. I didn’t eat for a week before that scene in an effort to kind of show my six pack, so I’m hoping my starvation pays off in season 3.

There is something about Boyd’s chivalrous nature with Ava that keeps him likable. Is that important to you?
I think the season for Boyd was about asking for forgiveness and not really receiving that. It was a matter of Boyd coming to terms with who he is the way that Raylan had to come to terms with who he really is, and the way Mags had to come to terms with who she really is. At the end of the day, I think it’s a season about honesty. Whether you like them or you don’t like them, at least the viewers of the show can celebrate that.

Let’s talk about the scene in the finale with Raylan hanging in the tree. When it started, I planned on asking you if you wished you were there that day to watch Timothy Olyphant shoot it, but then, Boyd stepped out. 
When I walked up to rehearse that scene, they were still filming the scene prior and Tim was in a tree. [Laughs] And I said, “You did it? You really did it? You’re hangin’ upside down. I could do anything I want to you right now. What can’t I do to you right now? You are rendered incapacitated.” We had a good laugh, and then we got down to business. These men have saved each other’s lives and spared each other’s lives more than a time or two, and I think that speaks to the truly three-dimensional dynamic in their relationship, and I think that their friendship is as complicated and nuanced and as special as any friendship that I’ve had in my own personal life. I guess that’s why I keep coming back for more.

I just love that when we thought Raylan was absolutely on his own, Boyd ended up inadvertently having his back.
We didn’t want to repeat last year where they had a current common enemy and they teamed up together to beat the bad guys. I think it really smart for Graham to do things differently. So while they’re on the same side of the fence, Boyd’s always straddling both sides of that fence.

Why did Boyd let Raylan take Dickie?
I think it came down to you’re asking me for this, and as hard as it is for me to let you have it, it’s something that you need. I think Boyd, if he’s anything, is an observer of human behavior and he’s a quick study of people and what they need. I think that he sees that Raylan needs this in some ways more than he does. But that request doesn’t come without strings. And that favor that Boyd grants Raylan will have repercussions ongoing.

Do you think it ever crossed Boyd’s mind to go with Raylan to the Bennetts for that final scene?
I think he was probably in the woods, we just never cut to him. [Laughs] I’d bet money Boyd Crowder was in the background, and we just never cut to him.

How sad were you to see Margo Martindale (Mags) go?
Oh, I’m so sad to see her go. I’m so sad to see all of these people go because you know, I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve been very fortunate to be in television a long time, and I never thought that I would land in a situation where I cared as much about the character, or about the show, or about the creators of that show, or about the cast on that show as I did The Shield. They’re my family. The Shield, at the end of the day, was the woman that I will forever be dating. But now I have two great loves in my life, The Shield and Justified. I’m both humbled and grateful to be counted among what I consider to be a very talented group of people from the executives down to the guy running the craft service. Everybody is there in service of the story, and I’m grateful to be a part of that.

Graham had told us that for Mags’ whoop-de-doo earlier in the season, the prop department actually built a working still, but that it only produced a couple drops of moonshine.
That’s all you need is a couple of drops. One person drinks it, then everybody french kisses that person, and we’re all havin’ a good time.

But I love that authenticity. That’s what makes the show special — you can feel how committed to the story everyone is, and you can feel that chemistry between the actors.
Everyone tries really hard to be authentic. From the writers, to the actors, to the directors, so many feel the way that I do that we are honoring Elmore Leonard. We’re not looking down upon the people that we’re playing, but we’re eye-to-eye with them, and we’re trying to find their humanity the way that people in real life just try to find their humanity.

Hearing you say that makes me feel guilty for being slightly surprised that people in Harlan were throwing around the word “parley.”
You know Boyd is known for fancy words. Parley would be a sub par word in his lexicon. [Laughs] People in the South know how to spell. They know big words, believe it or not.

Last question: I remember thinking at the end of season 1, there’s no way the writers can top the Crowders. And then season 2 gave us the Bennetts. Have you heard whether we’ll be meeting a new clan in season 3?
I think that the people on the show would be loath to repeat themselves now. So I don’t know the answer to that question. But there are more than three last names in Harlan County, so you never know.

Read more:
Justified‘s season 2 finale: Rank the five best scenes

Comments (77 total) Add your comment
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  • Dessa

    I grew up in a tiny town in the midwest, everyone knew everything about each other. People could do some pretty heinous things, but they were still your friends or … I’ve never really seen that translated, the bonds of growing up together, showing people’s humanity, in a TV show before. I became attached to the people on-screen, especially Mags, who was just like one of my neighbors. Just … what an incredible show.

  • CA TOM

    Justified is a great hour of TV every week. The characters are all so full of life. You can hate them and love them … It’s a roller coaster of emotion.

    So very glad there is talk of a 3rd season!

    Thank you FX!

    • Maria

      It almost makes up for canceling Terriers. Almost.

      • dodgy pete

        Doesn’t make up for cancelling Deadwood…

      • the minister

        Well, it’ *can’t* make up for cancelling Deadwood, given that Deadwood was on HBO.

        And short of bringing back Firefly on FX, nothing can make up for cancelling Terriers :{

      • RobSD

        Doesn’t make up for canceling Terriers. That was a great show… sad that it had to die. Donal Logue is great in everything he does.

  • B

    Great episode – great interview. Wish the new season wasn’t a whole year away!

    • Elizabeth

      I second that!

  • Dave

    Awesome season finale. I love this show. Hopefully the Emmys will show it some love this year instead of snubbing it like they did last year. At the very least, there should be a nomination for the show itself for Best Drama, as well as nods for Timothy Olyphant and Margo Martindale. So sad that we’ve seen the last of Mags. What a great character.

    • Bobby’s Robot

      The casting and performances on this show are just about flawless.

      • The Other Anne

        I agree. Season 2 was flat out fantastic.

  • Lisa

    Absolutely AMAZING season finale. Tim hanging from the tree killed me. It was an epic episode. If he doesn’t get nominated this year, I am going to be livid. Margo Martindale definitely deserves a nomination, she was phenomenal.

    • Shellibelli

      it was great wasnt it? Loved that Raylan even the hero still gets beat up because he does make mistakes.

      I saw the Mags suicide thing a mile away, she lost her will to live, the little girl that she loved so much hated her, she lost 2 of her 3 sons.

      I was so happy that Art did show up and saved Raylan (you guys left that out of the article btw!!)

      Love Art and his sarcastic wit!

      I was thinking that Ava was going to die, but now it looks like she might now. I like her alot – waaaaay better than the ex wife.

      • Pat D.

        Actually, he seems to get beat up a LOT, LOL.

  • darclyte

    Last year’s season finale was one of the best of all time. This year, the season finale while not as spectacular was perhaps more “meaty.” Now the question is, how will they handle Winona’s pregnancy and Raylan’s request for a transfer?

    • Shellibelli

      im betting that she cannot still handle his job. But it is what it is I dont think its something that he can walk away from at all.

      Honestly i cant stand the character lol. I dont see them staying together unless SHE changes and accepts him for who he is.

  • Rhonda

    Wonderful characters and great stories… the kind of writing we don’t get enough of. When I find myself liking the “bad” characters and fussing at the “good” ones, I love it. I wait with bated breath each week to see what happens in Harlan County… and now a wait for Season 3!

  • Andrea

    The finale was excellent. The season was excellent. I’ve never felt so invested in a tv show before.

    I’m curious about who that old lady was from episode 12, though.

    My stomach dropped when Nick Searcy’s character told the inconvenient truth that sometimes you can’t help (rescue) people. That type of honesty is never written or hardly even said in real life.

    It was a surprise to see that he did help anyway considering he knows Raylan can’t separate the personal from the professional standards job requires for his safety and ethics.

  • Andrea

    Why hasn’t Justified’s cast been on the cover of EW, TV Guide, or other magazines? Or have they?

    • S.

      Make it happen for season three EW!

    • ThisIstheEnd

      Because it’s not reality crap, train wrecks, or Glee.

    • Bridget

      Recap this show, EW!!

  • ABigFan

    I loved it and can’t get enough of Justified. What an excellent ending tho waiting for Season 3 is going to be interminable..sigh.

    I wonder how going to be a pappy-to-be is going to affect Raylan and his mindset…start making safer decisions for himself and family, or stay true to who he is…going to have to rewatch both season 1 and 2 all over again to keep me occupied whilst i’m waiting for Season 3. Lets start an Emmys petition for this show!

  • Erin Clemens

    Hands down best show on tv, EW why aren’t you giving this show more coverage? Patiently waiting for Justified to be on the cover of your magazine!!!!!as well as weekly recaps and comments for next season- it’s going to be a long 9 months!

    • M

      Me too. EW recaps every sordid insipid Reality show on TV but cannot do a weekly recap or a cover for the best show on TV.

      • Cathy

        I third this- I’ve been very disappointed that Justified isn’t one of the shows that EW has chosen to do weekly recaps on. I hope that changes next season.

      • jimbo

        Let me add my voice to the chorus. If you guys at EW don’t celebrate excellence in TV, who will? Step up and do what’s right, give Justified more love.

      • momof8

        PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE start recapping this show, EW! Every week I log on here hoping there’s a place to discuss the episode and see if everyone else thought it was as amazing as I did, and every week you recap crap like Top Model, Glee, and other stupid junk. Please do this for us!

  • sam

    Justified is the best show on TV. Everybody involved deserves Emmy awards, especially Timothy Olyphant. EW should give it more coverage and official recaps. What a great season finale! I didn’t think that it could beat the season one finale, but it did.

  • Sam S.

    His name is Walter Goggins, just a heads up.

    • Sam S.

      I guess its both actually, my bad.

    • me

      Actually, his name is Walton , not Walter

    • Gabrielle

      Close! Lol. Walton Goggins.


  • CTU Chief

    I just love this show. Best writing on TV. Raylon and Boyds friend/enemy relationship and repartee is the best thing in years.

    • Megs

      At the end of last season I decided Boyd Crowder is the Severus Snape of TV characters. You just never can tell about him.

  • mia

    LOVE this show. I really want more people to watch it but it is hard in Canada as we don’t have F/X. I watch online. I really enjoy Boyd and actually had a dream about him the other night! haha. I do not like the ex wife either. She has to go. Can’t believe she is pregnant. Annoying. Love Ava but I think she should stay with Boyd.

    • andrea

      with all these bullets please make one hit her!!!! She is his ex for a reason. Where the heck was tim?

      • Sadie

        Tim was busy shooting Doyle!

    • Canuck_Jen

      Hands down one of the best shows on TV. I pay extra with my satellite service so that I can get the SuperStations which show The Closer (last season upcoming), Rescue Me (last season upcoming), Men of a Certain Age and Justified. It is worth every penny to be able to watch these shows as compared to the crap of regular TV – which is becoming nothing but reality TV now.

      EW…have to agree with everyone…please start recapping this show and give it some press so that it won’t run into the danger of being cancelled! Love Tim Olyphant, Walton Goggins…everyone!

    • Gabrielle

      Thank god you are on the same page as me! The ex HAS to go. Natalie Zea, or something like that. And Ava HAS to stay with Boyd. I agree. Perfect couple there.


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