'Justified' EP Graham Yost talks 'Money Trap' in weekly postmortem

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Image Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched this week’s episode of Justified, stop reading now. Borrowing from Elmore Leonard’s novel Raylan, the episode, “Money Trap,” was written by Chris Provenzano and directed by Don Kurt, and featured the return of bail jumper Jody Adair (Chris Chalk) and the introduction of Jackie Nevada (The Secret Circle‘s Shelley Hennig, making a nice career move). Oh, and there was the swingers party, which ended badly for Boyd — and Walton Goggins, it turns out. As he’ll do throughout the season, showrunner Graham Yost takes us inside the writers room.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What of the story is from Elmore’s novel?
GRAHAM YOST: Jackie Nevada was a character in that book.

We’ve talked before about Raylan’s weakness for pretty women, with Lindsey. Jackie gave him a nice chance to address that.
That’s a chunk from the book that Tim [Olyphant] wanted to try to get in last year, and we couldn’t fit it in. So it’s been a target for quite some time.

Any chance of seeing Jackie again?
I don’t know, maybe. We’ll see what the audience says. Shelley was great.

In the end, when Raylan told Art that Jackie wasn’t interested in him as she was disrobing to shower, was he just being self-deprecating for Art’s sake or did he believe that she’d just been flirting to distract him so he wouldn’t realize she’d stolen the money that Jody and Kenneth had tried to collect?
We just honestly want the audience to be wondering and have a question. We filmed stuff of Raylan getting in the shower with her.

You did?
We did. And maybe it will end up on the DVD extras. When it came to it, we just sorta thought it’s cooler for our hero to get the win by shooting the bad guy but not necessarily get the girl. Let’s just have him weary at the edge of the bed and having to go off and see his father. That was the choice we made.

So to be clear: He did not get in the shower with her offscreen.
Well, did he?

No!
That’s up to you. That’s your choice. That’s a fair choice.

The Jody and Kenneth (Mad Men‘s Michael Gladis) stuff was fun.
That’s also in the book. This is where it gets confusing, okay: In the book, it was Delroy and Kenneth. But we took the character name Delroy from the book and made that our pimp last year that then ran three whores to knock over a Payday Loans place. That was William Mapother. So we couldn’t use the character name Delroy again, so we came up with Jody. Anyway, in the book, it was Delroy and Kenneth, and he insisted on calling him “Kennet,” for some reason, and we thought that was funny. They were just this duo. And it’s Elmore, so someone would have pretensions to being a real filmmaker when, in fact, all they’ve really done is make porn.

Was the film Jody made for Raylan in the book? The credits killed me: “Produced and directed by Kenneth,” “Conceived and Written by Jody.”
Yes, that’s totally in the book. FX was unsure about the credits. They felt it kinda bumped on Kenneth’s state of mind: He’s being roped into being an accessory to murder and all this stuff, and yet he insists upon putting his name on a film where someone is threatening a federal officer. (Laughs) It didn’t really make a lot of sense, but we thought it was funny.

Jody riding away on top of Kenneth’s car before that was also a great visual.
That was something I came up with. We wanted to have Jody get progressively more injured over the course of the episode. And we’re also looking at a situation: Okay, how do we have Jody and Raylan run into each other and have a moment, and yet Jody gets away without Raylan killing him? (Laughs) So I thought the only way is if he can dive out the window of a second-story. Just the idea of Kenneth driving away with Jody on top sounded really funny.

I find it fascinating/odd that Jody didn’t think Raylan would shoot him.
These criminals are not the smartest. I don’t know what they’re thinking. You don’t go up against Raylan, but they do.

Side note: I feel like ‘a–hole’ is the word of the season. This episode Raylan used it to describe Jody (“He’s armed, and dangerous… and an a–hole”).
You know, it’s FX, we’re allowed to say it.

Another great line: Ava (Joelle Carter) telling Boyd before the swingers party, “Baby, you give as many handjobs as you need tonight.”
(Laughs) I was pushing for some kind of handjob line from early on. Just the idea that in the previous episode Boyd has proposed marriage and she’s accepted, and now, the very next time we see them, they’re going to a swingers party. It was just funny, and Provenzano — or maybe it was Walton or Joelle — came up with the spin on the line.

And Napier saying, “You’re about as welcome as a case of the clap” to Boyd?
(Laughs) That’s just Provenzano. He’s a very, very funny writer.

Were you happy with the way the swingers party turned out?
The design that Dave Blass, our production designer, did on the house that Don Kurt found, and the way Don shot it, it was almost like you were going into Rosemary’s Baby. There was just so much menace from these rich people. I thought it was wonderful. I get the feeling the real barn [where these parties occur in Kentucky], is much more of a hootin’ hollerin’ kind of place, a little wilder, a little less genteel, but this was what we can do with our production. And there was something about it when you get to that big confrontation scene at the end between Boyd and the Clover Hillers, as we call them, when they say, “This is what you’re gonna do, you work for us” — it was very threatening.

Tell me about the idea for the Clover Hillers to be scheming so they can all, in Boyd’s words, “suck off the Federal teat” of the EPA Superfund, and them trying to force Boyd to kill Frank, who doesn’t want to bust open one of his slurry ponds for the cause.
That [scheme] was just something that came out of the room. It’s something that rich people could conspire to do in a place like this to make money. In terms of [blackmailing Boyd]: Walton loved the scene — he loved Boyd being in the jam — but it was just so, so hard for him to just sit there and take that from those guys. It just drove Walton crazy. He just wanted to pull and kill them all. It was a difficult scene. The other actors were thinking, “Did we say something to upset him?” And it’s like, “No. Walton’s just identifying with Boyd.”

Let’s talk about Raylan going to see Arlo.
I think in early iterations of the script that had been near the top, and then the idea was no, let’s make that the goal of the episode that Raylan gets sidetracked from accomplishing by the whole Jackie Nevada story. Doing that then suggested where we could go with Episode 8.

Read more:
More ‘Justified’ postmortems with Graham Yost
‘Justified’ postmortem: Joelle Carter talks Boyd’s proposal


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