'Justified' postmortem: EP Graham Yost on 'Good Intentions,' Raylan's new lady, and Boyd's alliance

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Image Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched this week’s episode of Justified, “Good Intentions” written by Benjamin Cavell and directed by Dean Parisot, stop reading now. As he’ll do throughout the season, showrunner Graham Yost takes us inside the writers room.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s start with Allison (Amy Smart) smoking pot. She’s not necessarily as innocent as we thought.

GRAHAM YOST: Right. Although in our present context, I think, like, the NFL is gonna relax the rules on pot smoking — when that happens, you know everything has changed.

Henry (Scott Anthony Leet), a father whose son social worker Allison had taken from him, interrupted Allison and Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) getting it on and drew Raylan outside the home he’s staying in. Raylan’s gun was missing from his holster?

The intent was that he was just rushing outside, unarmed. But generally, he would always have his weapon with him. I think we first wrote it that he was running outside in his underwear, but we didn’t do that, much to your chagrin.

I loved the scene of Raylan going to see Henry and using Henry’s bat on him. That advice Raylan gave him kept Raylan’s father storyline alive.

It’s that, and it’s also just one of those classic Raylan taking no s–t showdowns. It’s just fun to see Raylan knockin’ heads and just beatin’ up on an a–hole.

Henry told Raylan that Allison planted the meth so she could take Henry Jr. away from him. That’s true?

It was always our belief that yeah, she did it. It was a very, very bad guy, and he shouldn’t have had a kid with him, and so yeah, she did it for the sake of the kid…. We have established that she is not as pure as the driven snow, but she had nothing to do with the grab for the confederate gold. She just thought that Raylan might enjoy that little bit of titillation [when she told him he'd never know for sure]. Ooh, she’s a bad girl, you know.

You’ve said before that Allison will remain in Raylan’s life.

We will see a lot more of Allison this season, which was not our original plan, but Amy is great, the character is great, so there you go. It was about this episode we decided. If someone is doing a great job, we just start kicking stuff around, “Oh, what if Allison…”

Let’s talk about the gold: Raylan originally thought that Charles Monroe (Xander Berkeley) had sent Henry to the house to scare him out of crashing there. Charles, on the other hand, assumed that Gloria (Gabrielle Dennis) had sent a man there to lure Raylan out so she and the guy could steal the gold in his safe. What did you think when you first heard the idea for Charles to repeatedly suffocate Gloria? So twisted.

When we all heard it in the room, we said, “Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.” It’s such a great way to establish this character, who’s just been a jerk, has crossed that line from jerk to oh, no one’s gonna cry if he dies.

Is he dead? Raylan and Rachel (Erica Tazel) told Gloria to lie and tell Charles that his gold was taken from the safe that Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) had installed, so they could ultimately nab Charles going after Wynn. Wynn’s man Mikey (Jonathan Kowalsky) shot Charles.

[We probably won't see Charles again], but on Justified, unless you see them lowering the casket into the ground, they’re not dead. (Laughs) We liked the notion of Raylan going to Duffy and saying, “Yeah, there’s someone coming to kill you,” and that sense of Duffy almost being first surprised that Raylan would care to warn him but then finding out that he sent the guy there: So you’re telling me you set something in motion that could lead to my death, and I’m supposed to thank you? We thought that scene was fun. And then just the idea of, in a sense, the climax of the action taking place offscreen — we’ve never done that before — and have it happen in a weird, unexpected fashion with Mike. In the fifth season, it’s not only can we try stuff like that, we have to, because otherwise, we’re just gonna do the same stuff we’ve done before with just different costumes in different locations. That’s our desire to try to keep it a little fresh.

And like Raylan said, he didn’t think Mikey had it in him.

We haven’t really seen Mikey do a lot of bad stuff. We always say, and Jere has joked, “Mike is the world’s worst bodyguard, because he’s supposed to keep people from getting on that motorcoach, and they always just get on.” So, like, what do you keep him around for, besides the ambiguously gay duo part of it? We thought, let’s show a different side to Mike.

Will we see that different side again this season?

It’s in the planning stages, but the idea is that at some point you see Mike do something else that’s kinda badass.

Let’s back up and talk about arguably my favorite Wynn Duffy scene of all time — him using the BB gun on dealer Cyrus (Bill Tangradi). When he called out that he was going to shoot his ear, I died.

It’s set up in episode 2, which Dave Andron wrote, with Cyrus plinking at the guy on the street, which we loved. And then Ben just riffed off that, and then Jere riffed off that: He was originally just supposed to shoot him once, and then the director got into it, and Jere got into it, and the actor playing Cyrus got into it, so it just became a thing. So then they had to rig it all up to get stuff to pop.

With info obtained from Cyrus, then Ava (Joelle Carter) and Candy/Teri (Cathy Baron), Boyd learned that it’s cousin Johnny (David Meunier) who’s been hitting his shipments.

We will see Johnny in episode 4, and that’s all I’m gonna say.

Boyd is also dealing with Mara (Karolina Wydra), who let him know that her husband, Lee Paxton (Sam Anderson), told Sheriff Mooney (William Gregory Lee) to kill him. Mara grabbing Mooney’s nuts was a nice touch in the scene where she and Boyd confronted Mooney.

We needed big payback for what he did to her in 502.

Mara suggested Boyd kill Mooney, but Boyd needs Mooney alive until he gets the Paxton situation under control for Ava. So he made Mooney think he’ll pay him off if he tells Paxton that Boyd’s dead. Let’s talk about Mara and Boyd in the bar, when she had Boyd shirtless looking at his tattoos so she could find one to put on a piece of a corpse as proof.

Ah, the tattoo scene. I did a couple of trims on that and sent it back to Cavell. My general proviso with all the writers is I’ll take a pass sometimes on a script and just cut scenes or trim things down, change a few lines, and I say, “Look, this is just my rough stab, you guys make it sing.” So Cavell’s answer to that was just to restore everything that I had cut. And I was initially kinda miffed, and then I thought, you know what, let’s just see how it plays, and it played great. So he was right, and I was wrong. We’ll now have that in print, and he can lord this over me.

What had you been concerned about?

At first, I thought it was going on too long and too much talking about Latvia and her mother. But listen, we have Karolina Wydra and the always adorable and handsome Walton Goggins, and with Ava in jail and all of this, we thought this could be a cool scene.

The placement of Boyd’s hand in, putting it nicely, Mara’s lap as they stood there — I assume I saw that correctly.

Look at you, putting it nicely. You know what, the first couple times I watched that, didn’t notice that. Then I realized, oh, he’s kinda being very fresh. And she’s kind of insisting upon it. Hmmm. Okay.

Are we going to see that tension playing out more? 

Yes. That’s all I’ll say.

Switching gears, I feel like this is the episode where Darryl Crowe Jr. (Michael Rapaport) really came alive with him using the courses he took in prison to try to weasel his way into some of Dewey’s (Damon Herriman) fortune.

Back in the summer, when we were first coming up with Darryl, we liked the idea of him saying to Raylan, “You know, going to prison did me good and I learned stuff.” We just thought it was a fun thing for him to riff on real estate like that, and then for Dewey to get it all wrong.

Darryl pumped Dewey up to go get some of his money back from Boyd, then Boyd turned Dewey around to go back and have it out with Darryl. Boyd’s speech to Dewey was Walton at his best. He was practically singing it.

It’s just fun for those two guys to play together — they haven’t had that many opportunities since the first season — and especially in this context with the whole notion of Dewey trying to stand up for himself and it going badly. It was just a fun scene for Ben to write and a fun scene for the guys to do.

In the end, Darryl figured out that Messer (James Le Gros) was skimming money from Audrey’s for Boyd — and told Dewey he needs to kill Messer. We’ll find out next episode if Dewey follows through?

Yes, we will. Episode 4 is the first half of Dewey Crowe’s very, very bad day… and night and day.

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