'Justified' season finale postmortem: EP Graham Yost dissects 'Slaughterhouse'

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Errol got shot. Will he survive?
It remains to be seen. Demetrius Grosse is just an amazing actor. So, that said, having done this great work on this season, I think he’s got offers. I think he might be in a pilot, in which case we determine if we can get him for a couple of episodes or if we just say that he died. We’ll see. If we didn’t bring him back, it would be a very hard choice.

Will Arlo’s story continue next season, or will he just be in prison?
Listen, never say never. It feels like we’ve reached a certain conclusion to that part of the story. I would be very surprised if we didn’t see Ray Barry a handful more times in the course of the series. He’s an important part of the whole fabric.

And we’ve talked before about Natalie Zea (Winona), that her pilot deal allows for her to shoot a few episodes of Justified here and there if her Kevin Williamson Fox drama gets picked up.
As with Ray Barry, I would find it odd if she didn’t remain a presence for the rest of the series. We knew that we wanted to restore Winona to the Winona from the pilot, which is to say she is the one person that Raylan can go to and open up his heart a little bit. He can do it to a degree with Art, but there’s a certain back-slapping, arm-punching male banter that’s always gonna go on with the two of them, even if occasionally they can get pretty real. But Winona is the person who knows Raylan best, other than Boyd. So that just felt right, that he would go back to her and that we would see them in this different light where they’re okay with each other. It’s like we had two endings to their relationship in the middle of the season — one where Raylan thinks she’s taken the money and finds her at her sister’s, and again after Gary’s been killed and she bails Raylan out by finding the gun and giving it to him and says, “Don’t find me.” We just thought it was fun that they’re adults about this. He’s part of her life. They’re having a kid. And we were consciously echoing the pilot, where he’s coming into someone else’s house late at night. But we wanted to flip it, so he doesn’t sneak in, he knocks on the door and wakes them up.

And it gave you that moment of Raylan saying Arlo thought he could’ve been shooting him.
Yeah. We went back and forth on the cut. There was one where Winona’s expression was a little more neutral and we got the sense that she’s already put it together. And then we just thought, even though the audience has got it, it’s fun to see someone else put it together. It just reinforces that that’s in fact what Raylan just said.

Will we see Wynn Duffy again?
Subject to availability and working it out. I can’t say we would see Duffy for the rest of the series, because he is the kind of person that at the right moment we would want to kill. [Laughs] But ohmygod, two of my highlights from the season involve Jere. One is his response in the final episode when Raylan plays Harlan Roulette with him, just freaking out. We never see him lose his cool that much. And the other one is in the episode when Quarles is talking to Donovan, the kid who’s got a gun on him in the trailer, and he’s telling the story of his youth. [Laughs] You cut back to Jere Burns listening to that, and the expression on his face.

Are we done seeing Theo Tonin?
No, not necessarily, because Duffy made the deal, “I’ll give you a dead Quarles, but I want to run things down here.” Things didn’t work out the way Duffy said they would, so maybe Theo wouldn’t be really excited about that deal, but on the other hand, maybe he would be. It would be really fun to work with Adam in-depth on that side of the camera. It would also be really fun if he was directing an episode that he was in, and then we could give him lots of notes on both sides.

Last we saw Shelby (Jim Beaver), he was phoning Boyd to warn him that he was going to be arrested.
One little funny thing about that scene, Jim Beaver is also on Supernatural. He was just not really available for this last episode, so we had to shoot it earlier. Originally, it was scripted that he actually shows up at Johnny’s bar and talks to Boyd in-person, but it was clear that we couldn’t do that [with his schedule]. It actually ended up working. He says he can’t come by in-person because there’s two cops out front watching your place. It ended up helping us.

That helped explain why Boyd couldn’t make a run for it, even if he wanted to.
Yeah. And we had the sheriff’s office standing already as a set, so it was easy to get in and shoot him on the phone.

Will we see Shelby next season?
We keep accumulating this huge cast, so we have to figure out who we can get. We can’t afford to lock up people for a season, but we’d love to have Jim back, depending on his availability and how much he’s working on Supernatural.

What about Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies)?
Again, I would be surprised if in the course of the series, we didn’t see Dickie a few more times. That said, we might come up with an idea for next year that is Dickie-centric. In our minds, he’s not necessarily dead, but he is certainly going back to prison.

Talking big picture: After Mags Bennett (Emmy winner Margo Martindale), people wondered how you could match season 2.
Well, you just cast a crazy a–hole who looks like a husky and has a gun up his sleeve, who actually said to us at one point, “I’d love to be naked and on fire running down a road.” That kind of broke down in episode 12, where Quarles was naked at the start of the episode and then on fire at the end. Sorry, Neal, we couldn’t have you naked and on fire at the same time. But you get that, and it’s Tim and Walton, Natalie and Joelle. Nick and all of them.

What’s your plan for matching season 3?
We’ve got great writers and an amazing cast. When it comes down to it, the show’s about the guy on the poster, and I think the work that Tim has done throughout the series, but especially this year — that last scene with Winona, when he’s at the door and just the look he gives her before he puts the hat on his head — that’s as good as that gets. We did a very different season from season 2. We may mix it up yet again. We’ve had very, very preliminary talks about it. We are kicking around the idea that instead of doing one big story for the season, we do three chunks. But we may not do that. I do know that we’ve got Raylan and Winona and the baby. That’s something that has to be addressed at some point, whether that happens off-camera or on-camera. That baby’s gonna be born, and I can pretty much guarantee that it will be during season 4. We’ve got Raylan with a very pretty girl he’s slept with at least once who owns the bar, Lindsey, played by Jenn Lyon. She can shoulder a gun — that’s always good. There may be something to explore there. They’re just great together. And as always, I say it and then I start to feel like Lucy with Charlie Brown and the football, but I’d love to spend more time with both Tim Gutterson [Jacob Pitts] and Rachel Brooks [Erica Tazel] next season, as well as Art [Nick Searcy]. At this point, we’re maybe roughly around halfway through the life of the series. Just in really pie in the sky thinking, we’ve started to imagine how the series would end and what we’d be looking at for the final season or seasons. So, that will all factor in, in terms of the relationships. And then in Harlan, we might reduce the amount that Raylan goes down there next season, but meanwhile, still be giving a big chunk of the showtime to the antics and exploits of Boyd and Ava Crowder. Are they gonna get married? I don’t know. I do know that my goal is that they quickly become the king and queen of Harlan. I just have had this idea of them getting a house on the hill. That’s sorta a big thing in a community like that. Well, in any community. Springsteen wrote “Mansion on the Hill” about New Jersey. Also, the question about Johnny and Limehouse is certainly something meaty to play with.

So you’d like Limehouse to come back next season? Johnny told Limehouse they weren’t done.
That’s just us hanging a nice big fat question mark on it. I’d like to make it happen, but not sure to what degree. It gives us room to play next season. What is Johnny gonna do now that Limehouse has almost exposed him? What does he feel about Limehouse? Is he still trying to undermine Boyd and take over? What will his plans be? We’ll see how much of a story we can make out of it. And again, having to make deals with David Meunier, who plays Johnny, and Mykelti, who plays Limehouse.

Johnny being the one who tipped off Quarles about Devil — how long have you known he’d betray Boyd like that?
A couple of episodes before the finale we started coming to that idea, and it just seemed to fit. It made sense and explained a lot of things. It’s all well and good to have a character like Limehouse who knows everything about everyone at all times, but when you get to the specifics of “Well, how do you know?” it’s nice to have a reason. Way back in season 1, Johnny thought that he and Boyd were gonna make a play to take over his father’s empire, but instead, Boyd was just using it as a way to put his father out of business. And then by implication, Johnny was the one who’d told Boyd about the shipment, and that’s why Bo shot him in the gut and thought he killed him. But the laugh’s on Bo — he’s dead, Johnny’s not.

Twitter: @EWMandiBierly

Read more:
‘Justified’ EP Graham Yost talks ‘Coalition’
‘Justified’ EP Graham Yost talks ‘Measures’
‘Justified’ EP Graham Yost talks ‘Guy Walks Into a Bar’
‘Justified’ EP Graham Yost talks ‘Loose Ends’
‘Justified’ EP Graham Yost talks ‘Watching the Detectives’


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