'Justified' EP Graham Yost talks 'Get Drew' (and Tarantino and 'Brady Bunch' homages) in our weekly postmortem

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Image Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched this week’s episode of Justified, “Get Drew,” written by Dave Andron and VJ Boyd and directed by Billy Gierhart, stop reading now. A familiar face returned and forced Boyd (Walton Goggins) and Ava (Joelle Carter) to make a decision they may regret after Shelby/Drew Thompson (Jim Beaver) went on the run with Ellen May (Abby Miller). They fell into the wrong hands, but Drew finally ended up with Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) — who now has to get him out of Harlan alive. As he’ll do throughout the season, showrunner Graham Yost takes us inside the writers’ room.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The opening scene was interesting because we found out that Boyd didn’t know that Arlo was dead, and Raylan didn’t tell him. Boyd later heard it from Drew.
GRAHAM YOST: We discussed that a lot. I’ve told you many times of the level of Tim’s involvement in this show. I think having a scene where he told Boyd, we weren’t sure what he would be trying to do. It sorta felt like it would be needling Boyd or petty. And it’s always fun to see what Raylan doesn’t say. He’s not the most loquacious of characters. In the classic Western tradition, he keeps his cards pretty close to his chest. So he would only tell Boyd if he had to tell him.

The exchange they did have — with Boyd telling Raylan that he could still be an a–hole and shoot people, his two favorite things, if he’d become an outlaw — made me miss seeing Boyd and Raylan together. Will they have more scenes together as we enter the final chapter of the season?
There’s a wonderful bit in the next episode — and I can say that because I co-wrote it with [Chris] Provenzano, so of course it was wonderful (Laughs). In 12, they’re not together, I don’t believe. And you get a big sequence together in the last episode. We always get to this thing with our Marshal advisor, Charlie Almanza, who says, “Why doesn’t Raylan just arrest him? You don’t have to prove anything to arrest someone, you just arrest them.” And so, that’s why we dealt with that at the beginning of 10. Yeah, he’s in custody, and he has to weasel his way out. But it makes it difficult at this point of the season if Raylan was to run into Boyd: Why doesn’t he just arrest him?

Drew was going to run on his own, but he went back to get Ellen May after seeing a stray dog on the road.
That was Andron’s idea. I was thinking, “Oh great, you tell production that you need a dog wandering along the side of the road at night.” It turns out you get a good guy with a dog, and they can wander along the side of the road at night. It was poetic that he sees this lost animal, and Ellen May is no better, no different.

After the plan to catch Drew at the airport is aborted, there’s the roadblock where we got the “whore’s underwear” conversation in which Raylan realizes Drew has Ellen May, and Art’s speech taking a moment to acknowledge how badass Drew is. What was the inspiration for the latter?
That is a great speech and Nick [Searcy] just nailed it. Originally, Raylan gave that speech, and then Tim being Tim said, “You know, let’s give it to Art.” It was suggested by a story that we heard from Charlie and another Marshal who came to visit the set. I can’t tell you exactly what happened because we may steal the actual story someday, but it was, at some point, one Marshal saying, “Well, I’ll call LAPD, and they’ll get their helicopter,” and the other guy said, “Whoa, wait a second. Let’s just acknowledge that this guy is awesome, okay? And you want someone else to catch him? No, we’re gonna catch him.”

The scene where Ellen May is driving and thanks Shelby for coming back to get her as he’s lying in the backseat — hearing her talk about Mexico, you really wanted them to escape, which is what made what happened next so heartbreaking.
If you were to watch that scene again, you realize that Shelby has already decided what he’s gonna do: He’s gonna get her to safety, and then he’s gonna go turn himself in. You watch Jim Beaver’s masterful work lying down in the backseat, and there’s an air of melancholy and sadness to him. He’s playing along with her talking about Mexico and the Catholic church and Spanish, but he already knows that they’re not going there.

Ava told Boyd that Ellen May had been friendly with a new character, Nicky Cush (True Blood‘s Daniel Buran), who owned Audrey’s before Delroy. He told Boyd that Ellen May had always threatened to go to Limehouse when she was mad.
Looking for an interesting foil for Boyd, we just thought of this guy who’s a bit of a conspiracy nut, although that doesn’t play that much in that scene. Nicky Cush does appear again. I’m not gonna tell you when.

Johnny (David Meunier) called a sleeping Wynn to tell him that Shelby is Drew, and Mike brought Wynn the phone wearing his robe. Little things like that always get me.
Those are the little things that we honestly get a huge kick out of in the room. When Andron and VJ came up with that, we all just laughed. We just thought it was funny. And then let’s give Duffy a sleep mask. (Laughs) I think when they shot the first take of it, Mike was not wearing the robe, he was just shirtless. It was like, “Okay, we kinda think that Duffy is gay, but we don’t know. There’s nothing wrong with it, but let’s just make it more mysterious.” And him in a robe is funnier. We never lose sight of the fact that we want to be a funny show.

NEXT: Limehouse returns

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