Justified: Season 4 is a Mystery
For those who caught the Season 4 premiere FX’s Justified and perhaps noticed that there wasn’t a clear indication that this season had a main villain/antagonist like the previous two seasons, EP/showrunner Graham Yost and star Timothy Olyphant addressed that and spoke about what this year will be about.
“It’s a mystery,” Yost said, at the TCA Winter Press Tour. “We stumbled upon something. There’s an old story I’d heard that’s nicknamed ‘The Bluegrass Conspiracy,’ and I knew that it involved, in the first episode, someone whose parachute didn’t work and they landed somewhere in the South – I believe it was actually Tennessee – but with a lot of cocaine on them. So that sparked something in us, and we thought it would be interesting to sort of play that out. What could have happened 30 years ago that would have an impact on events today, and of course, it ties into Arlo and Raylan’s family and all of that. And Boyd’s family – the late, great Bo Crowder. So that’s what kicked it off. We really thought that would be a fun thing to try this year instead of just doing another ‘big bad.’”
Did mapping out the mystery of Season 4 offer up any unforeseen challenges? “I’ll tell you, it’s difficult,” Yost explained. “I mean, it’s not it’s something you get into and you go, ‘Oh, this will be fine,’ and then you realize, ‘Wait a second.’ And it’s taken a lot of thinking. It’s been a problem to figure out the puzzle, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job. We knew we needed to piece it out. And we try to do episodes a little more standalone in the first part of the season and then get into the big story for the second half or the last two thirds. So it was sort of parsing out the bits of the mystery for the first four episodes, and by the fifth episode, everything is pretty much focused on that.”
Yost then revealed as to whether the “Bluegrass Conspiracy” would last for the entire season, from premiere to the finale. “The mystery actually gets solved in the ninth episode,” he said. “But then there are problems that come from the solving of it, and that plays out for the rest of the season.”
Star Timothy Olyphant, who usually isn’t the biggest fan of explaining his acting process, then spoke about the joy of playing Raylan four years in. “The fun about the game that we seem to play with [Raylan] is the trick that you’re playing an iconic character, and you can only go so far, so the key is to try to figure out how to throw rocks at that guy and how to make the situation complicated enough that that character remains a mystery and remains interesting,” he said. “And that’s the trick, because without that, it just looks bored. And I can’t tell you what a lovely thing it is to be in the thick of Season 4 and still find the job so terrifically interesting and entertaining and engaging, not only as an actor on the show, but as an audience and a fan of the show.”
Follow Matt Fowler on Twitter at @TheMattFowler