Before The Bullets: An Oral History Of The Creation Of ‘Justified’

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The pilot episode of FX’s Justified debuted on March 16, 2010. Based on a short story by Elmore Leonard titled “Fire in the Hole,” it introduced viewers to a shoot-first U.S. Marshal named Raylan Givens, a charismatic and eloquent crime boss named Boyd Crowder, and a collection of other characters from both sides of the law in Harlan, Kentucky. Over the course of its five seasons to date, the show has accumulated critical acclaim and a loyal following, as well as eight Emmy nominations (with two wins) and a Peabody Award. It begins its sixth and final season this week.

With that end in sight, we thought it would be fun to go back to the beginning and look at the show’s journey to the screen from the perspective of the people involved. We talked to some of the key players in the development of the series and the result is this account of how Justified came to be.

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