'Justified' postmortem: EP Graham Yost dissects 'Kill the Messenger'

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Dewey and Danny took Carl to Mike’s cabin. When Jimmy called Carl’s cell phone, the reception was so bad — as it should be — that neither Jimmy nor Boyd could hear that it was Dewey and not Carl on the line. HILARIOUS.

[Laughs] It was just to try to mess it up. We went back and forth on whether or not Boyd would actually find out that Carl was taken and that Dewey was ransoming him. We just ended up going this way because the payoff to it wouldn’t have been that big, and it happens anyway: Carl escapes and goes to Boyd, and Boyd wasn’t gonna come to his rescue.

Rachel and Raylan showed up at the cabin, and Rachel got to kick Danny’s ass, which was great. Then instead of Carl turning on Danny, so Raylan and Rachel could take Danny in, Carl played it off as he and Danny were S&M lovers who hadn’t thought of a safe word. Also hilarious.

The actor who plays Carl, Justin Welborn — that’s one of those moments where you go, “Ohmygod, that guy’s really popping.” It’s just a wonderful performance in that scene. That’s just an idea that developed in the room: We knew we wanted some kind of showdown between Raylan and Danny, but it’s only the sixth episode, so it can’t go lethal. And we just liked the idea of Raylan essentially coming down to Harlan to punch Danny in the face, and he doesn’t do it. But Rachel does. That was the goal.

It also set up Carl as being smart in addition to badass. Was Raylan not worried that Boyd and Carl would actually kill Danny? Or did he not care?

I don’t know how much in the forefront of his mind that was. It was just sorta, well, I’ve done what I can. It’s up to these idiots. Whatever they’re gonna do is out of my control.

Danny relaying the story to Darryl and Wendy, trying to say “consensual” but saying “consexual” –

That’s AJ. Danny’s sorta the bigger, scary Dewey. [Laughs]

You hinted at the beginning of the season that Boyd and Darryl may not be enemies all year, but still, it was an interesting surprise when Boyd came and asked the Crowes to back him and Jimmy when they went to confront the brother of Gretchen and get him to change her orders.

We knew by episode 6 we needed Boyd to make the overture and to see the beginning of the partnership, because you’ll see where that goes. I won’t say it was an easy get. It was hard to motivate it and find a good reason. And the basic reason is that Boyd is undermanned and these guys give him big badasses there. Part of it that came together was the idea of, well, what if out of a situation where Boyd has been threatened by these guys, he turns that around and hires them? And that seemed to work in our world.

And that was set up in the scene in the bar last week when Darryl marveled at Boyd being cool as ice. There was enough appreciation there for fellow badassery that you could see Darryl making that leap.


It was interesting seeing Darryl beat Gretchen’s brother. I feel like it’s the first time we’ve really seen him get his hands dirty.

We had a version where it was Dewey doing it, just out of the rage and frustration and everything. And nah, we need to see Darryl be a real scary MOFO. I would say that Darryl’s true trait is shown in the first episode when he gets Danny to kill Dilly and then later on when he gets Dewey to kill Messer. There is that sense that he always gets someone else to do the dirty work. BUT, when called upon, he’s a big scary guy.

Boyd called Hot Rod to make sure things would go smoothly in Mexico, and I loved the way Hot Rod slyly tipped him off that things weren’t well. He said it would go as smoothly as that day they were both buying weed from Dickie Bennett in the barn. Boyd knew that was the day that he’d ripped Hot Rod off (and when they figured out it was Boyd’s crew because of Arlo’s limp).

We were just looking for Hot Rod to give Boyd a heads-up, and we landed pretty quickly on the idea of what had happened in season 2 in the Bennetts’ drying shed.

In the end, Boyd went back to Darryl and told him he wants help killing Johnny.

The relationship between Boyd and Johnny reaches a certain crescendo in the next episode.

Walton Goggins and Michael Rapaport together is a nice combination. Does this mean they’ll be getting a lot more scenes together?

Yep. You’ll see…

Programming note: The next new episode of Justified will air Feb. 25, after the Olympics.


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