'Justified' premiere postmortem: EP Graham Yost talks 'Hole in the Wall' and what's to come

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You introduced another new recurring character, Colton Rhodes (Ron Eldard). I’m guessing Boyd called him in because he plans on moving Johnny (David Meunier) out of the inner circle?

A little bit, yeah.

What can you tease about him?

In the second episode, he’s smart, he’s observant — he was good at his job as an MP. But you look at Ron Eldard with the long hair and kind of unkempt, and you know that this guy didn’t get discharged from the military last week. Life has maybe not been going exactly the way he hoped it would upon his return. So, he has issues, and those issues will start to manifest themselves more at the end of the fourth episode, and that takes us somewhere for the rest of the season.

He’s obviously fine with Boyd putting a firecracker in a man’s lap, which was a fun scene.

That just goes back to Boyd likes to blow sh– up and make money. It just suggested itself as something cool to do with Boyd in the first episode, and it also starts the mystery of what’s been happening in the past couple of months in Harlan and why things aren’t going perfectly for Boyd and Ava as they build their criminal empire.

Before we get into the Last Chance Holiness church, how soon will we find out why Boyd is hiding that money he collected — even from Ava? That was surprising.

I think it’s in maybe our sixth episode or something that you get a hint of what’s going on with that money. But we liked the parallel of both Raylan stashing his money in his sock drawer and Boyd sticking the money up in the ceiling. And there’s more money up there, so Boyd’s got a plan. You would not be off-base if you surmised that both Raylan and Boyd are kind of planning for the future.

On to Preacher Billy (Mazzello). I know you sent those two writers to a snake-handling church on that Harlan trip. In this episode, we heard that Billy and his sister Cassie (Lindsay Pulsipher) lost their father and grandfather to snake bites. Was that foreshadowing?

Well as Chekhov says, “The snake that’s introduced in the first act will bite in the third.” [Laughs] That’s all I’m gonna say about that… But did I tell you about the million dollar bill? Chris and Ingrid actually brought one back from Harlan. Someone was handing these out, and it was basically a flier for a church. We’ve got it somewhere in the writers room. That really struck us. But one of my favorite moments I think is Abby Miller playing Ellen May and she thinks it’s real. And then the pay off to that, and it was Tim’s idea, that when Ava looks at it, Ellen May says, “It’s not real” and Ava gives that look like, yeah, I know. Dear, Ellen May.

Let’s talk about her shooting the furry.

I have no personal experience with furries, although I think Tim, when he was shooting a movie in Pittsburgh, was at a hotel where they had a furry convention. He said it was really kinda weird to go through the lobby and see all these furries around. I’m trying to remember. [Laughs] We wanted Ellen May to shoot someone, let’s put it that way, and so one thing leads to another. We wanted her to get into trouble with Ava and Boyd and just have this low moment, and we felt her shooting something was suitably justified.

Episode 2 launches into a story line for Raylan and Lindsey (Jenn Lyon). But will we see the woman who called Raylan for help with the bail jumper again?

You mean Sharon Edmunds [Aja Evans], named after an old grade school friend of mine? Yes, we will see Sharon again.

And will she and Raylan be having sex again?

They will not have sex again. I am sorry. They’re very attractive naked people, but we’ve given you your thrill in the first episode.

Last question: Why is Raylan’s hair so long this season?

[Laughs] Tim just said he wanted to have it longer, and we said, “Okay.” Gutterson’s hair is a little longer this season, too. Art’s hair is not longer. Put that in there and see if Nick Searcy reads this.

Follow @EWMandiBierly

Read more:
‘Justified’ season 4 premiere recap: Hide and Seek
‘Justified’ season premiere review: Family matters. So does money.
‘Justified’ EP Graham Yost previews season 4: Plenty of snakes, possibly some swingers

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