Based on the works of crime novelist Elmore Leonard and developed for television by showrunner Graham Yost, the FX drama series Justified is back for Season 5, which is also its penultimate season now that its been announced that it will be ending with six seasons. This season, U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) must confront the deadly and dangerous Crowe family while Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) struggles to free his imprisoned fiancée Ava (Joelle Carter), as he partners with the Dixie mafia’s Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns).
During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, actor Walton Goggins talked about being motivated to do justice to the work of the late Elmore Leonard, how everything is moving towards a conclusion now, why everything is unraveling all at once for Boyd, what affect not sacrificing himself for Ava might have, that he’s been talking to Graham Yost about Boyd’s final outcome since Season 2, and where things are headed during the rest of this season. He also talked about what sounds like a crazy role as an entertainment lawyer in William Monahan’s upcoming feature film Mojave, starring Garrett Hedlund and Oscar Isaac. Check out what he had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
WALTON GOGGINS: I don’t feel it as a weight. I think we’re a small piece of Elmore’s very, very long coat. I would use the word motivation. I am motivated, and I think Graham [Yost] and Tim [Olyphant, and all of the writers and actors on the show, are motivated to get it right or die trying. So, with that comes a lot of work and a lot of conversations and second-guessing, before you make the final decision. Then, you fucking go for it. So, we are acutely aware that there is a large piece of our pie missing, but we’re very, very grateful to be mentioned in an article alongside Elmore Leonard.
With just one more season left, does it feel like everything is moving towards a conclusion, or does it not feel that way yet?
GOGGINS: I feel like for Boyd, it’s always been moving very slowly in that direction. Boyd’s unraveling, for me, is a real straight shot to the show’s conclusion. It’s very tough to be a part of it, to see it, to witness it, and to feel the havoc that he’s wreaking in this world and the number of people that he has violently killed. This is a man that’s only killed two people in four years – one person in the pilot and Devil. That’s it. It’s quite a bit more than that in Season 5. And while I feel that his motivations for him – a person with a skewed moral compass – are justified and righteous, I think he’s going to come to a point where he’s going to look at all of it and see the futility and the ugliness of it, which is great to play.
Does it feel like everything in Boyd’s life is unraveling all at once?
GOGGINS: Yeah, and he’s becoming sloppy. He’s reacting, instead of being pro-active. But at the end of the day, he’s a criminal. He’s good at what he does and he’s good at covering his tracks, most of the time. But I would be surprised if that is his undoing, so much as his love for Ava. I don’t know. We’ll see.
But for as much as he says he loves Ava, he hesitated about throwing himself on the sword for her.
GOGGINS: Absolutely! He could have said yes. He could have traded places with her, but he didn’t. What does that say about him? How does he feel about himself, after making that decision? For me, it’s a part of him that I knew was there, but never really wanted to look at. In that moment, when he could have said yes and that have been it, for a person as verbose as Boyd, he had nothing to say and he acted out with his fists and resorted to the animal that is a large part of his lesser nature.
Have you had conversations with Graham Yost yet, about Boyd Crowder’s ultimate end?
GOGGINS: Oh, many conversations, yeah. We’ve been talking about the end since Season 2, really. Graham is taking it all in, and he’s going to do it the way that he wants to do it, but he leans heavily on both Tim and I for our input, and the other writers do, as well. We’re all a team. Ultimately, it will be Graham’s decision, but I have my version of it. We’ll see whether or not it plays out that way.
GOGGINS: I think it’s somewhere in between. I think it’s nuanced. I can’t tell you what I would like to see. I would like for their to be some closure in his relationship with Raylan and some closure in his relationship with Ava, and I’ll leave it at that. You can read between as many lines as you want to, but you’ll have to get really close.
Viewers love seeing Raylan and Boyd together, but you don’t want to overplay that either. Are you happy with the level of interaction, or do you wish there was more?
GOGGINS: Well, I wish there was more because I enjoy working with Tim so much. But, I really think that we’re letting those meetings happen organically now. They’re not manufactured. If there’s a reason for them to come together that doesn’t just involve plot, but actually advances their relationship, then that’s what we’re looking for. I feel that we did that very well in Season 4. I was very, very happy with how that came about, and where we left that relationship, at the end of Season 4. And I’m happy that we’ve continued that, going forward.
Boyd has definitely had a lot of people betray him, in one way or another. Does he have anyone he can actually rely on, this season?
GOGGINS: No. His back is against the wall. For the first time in his life, he’s not surrounded by people that he has a real history with, from Ava to Arlo to Devil to Jimmy. There is no one that Boyd is interfacing with this season that he has any real history with, besides Jimmy, who’s become his right-hand man, but he’s only known him for a year. It has caused a lot of anxiety in his world and has really upset his ocean, so to speak. He’s a man on his heels, trying to keep up.
Where are things headed between Boyd and cousin Johnny? Is it headed to some big blow-up?
GOGGINS: I would wager to think that that’s going to happen. I think that’s a relatively smart bet. You can’t write this, but the smile on my face tells it all. It will be interesting to see what happens. He’s been asking for it, for a long while. Knowing that cousin Johnny is waiting in the wings, I don’t think that Boyd can wait to dance with anyone as much as cousin Johnny.
Was it fun to get some of those interactions in Detroit?
GOGGINS: Oh, my god, yeah! I really talked about that with Graham and with Fred Golan, as far as what Boyd thinks about Detroit and how we can comment on Detroit and really put him in that situation. The same thing happens when he goes to Mexico, in an upcoming episode. It’s nice to see this guy outside of his comfort zone.
How was the experience of doing Mojave?
GOGGINS: Wait until you fucking see that, man! (Writer/director) Bill Monahan is a genius. Garrett Hedlund and Oscar Isaac are in it, who are fantastic actors. It’s an unbelievable character – this guy, Jim. I can’t wait for people to see it! You just have to see it. He’s an entertainment lawyer like no other.
Justified airs on Tuesday nights on FX.