TV

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

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.

The Script

The first time I spoke to Elmore Leonard was after he read the script, and he said he really liked it. And I joked with him “Of course you do, I just totally stole from your writing.”

Written under the placeholder “Untitled Elmore Leonard Project,” the pilot script by Graham Yost, a veteran of film and television whose writing credits include Speed and Boomtown, sought to bring Elmore Leonard’s world of conflicted good guys and smooth-talking bad guys to the small screen. All he needed was a bite from a network, preferably from a fellow fan of Leonard’s work who might share his vision. He found that kindred spirit in FX President John Landgraf.

GRAHAM YOST (Creator and showrunner): I’ve been a long time Elmore Leonard reader. I had read Fire in the Hole, I had read Riding the Rap, so I was familiar with Raylan. I loved Elmore’s world and I’ve always thought it could be a television show, but it needed the right story. And more than that it needed the right character.

JOHN LANDGRAF (FX Networks President): Graham came in with a short story called Fire in the Hole about a character named Raylan Givens who is sent back to Kentucky where he’s from because he has some insider’s knowledge to try to hunt down a character named Boyd Crowder. It’s really about his homecoming. And to me I was really excited about getting back to the Elmore Leonard world because I love it. I love those movies and I love his writing.

YOST: The first time I spoke to Elmore Leonard was after he read the script, and he said he really liked it. And I joked with him “Of course you do, I just totally stole from your writing.”

LANDGRAF: We developed a series called Karen Sisco that was based on the character from Out of Sight, the Jennifer Lopez movie. Carla Gugino played Karen Sisco in the series. Terrific pilot, just a beautiful pilot, directed by the same director who directed Justified, Michael Dinner. So I worked with him on that and as a producer on that show. But what we found was once you got past the pilot, which you could really lavish attention to and really work very hard to attach the view of Elmore Leonard’s unique tone and dialogue and approach to story and character, it really was very difficult to sustain the quality of the scripts thereafter. At least I don’t think we were able to with Karen Sisco.

YOST: When I read Fire in the Hole, there was just this one scene where Raylan’s at Ava’s house. Ava’s upstairs taking a shower and Dewey comes in and Raylan says, “You go outside, you don’t just go into someone’s house without them saying it’s okay.” And Dewey says, “Fine, I’m going to go out then come back in,” and he goes out and gets a shotgun. Raylan goes out and talks him down without even pulling his own gun. He just tells him how his world works and what he does and when and how and why, and he’s able to get Dewey to give up the gun. I just thought that we would have a shot at putting pretty much the coolest character on television out there and that just got me. Okay, I see this Raylan Givens. I think he would be a really fun person to watch.

LANDGRAF: What I got excited about, along with [everyone else], is this notion of the iconic cowboy white hat hero. It’s the American archetype back to Gary Cooper, Clint Eastwood, Henry Fonda, John Wayne — the thing that was really unique about Raylan. You were examining the roots of his anger and disfranchisement.

YOST: There was a lot of interest, which was great. But FX seemed the most interested and John Landgraf had experience with Elmore Leonard. When he was at Jersey Films he worked on the show Karen Sisco. I actually co-wrote an episode. So he understood Elmore and what it meant to try to do that right on television. That counted for a lot. So we went with FX.

LANDGRAF: It began with a character I loved, but most importantly, with Graham, who I really believed at the time — and it proved correct — was a guy who was going to be capable of sustaining the quality of that writing, 13 hours a year. So it was a pitch, and I bought it aggressively in the room and chased after it hard.

Finding A Raylan

I think Tim is a lot like Raylan in some odd way. He’s not a Southerner but he’s a laconic kind of wiry, lanky guy. But more than that he’s an extremely smart guy, and a very funny guy by the way, extremely intelligent and extremely witty. But very taciturn and not given to revealing very much about himself.

Now that the show was getting off the ground, ever so slightly, Yost and FX moved on to their next challenge: Finding a Raylan Givens. Raylan, a U.S. Marshal the audience meets in the opening scene of the pilot when he kills a Miami criminal named Tommy Bucks, was in many ways a typical Elmore Leonard protagonist. He was cool, he was willing to operate in ethically gray areas to get the job done, and he was equally quick with a one-liner or a firearm. Justified needed someone who could pull all that off while carrying the show. It would help if he looked good in a hat. (Timothy Olyphant, who portrays Givens, had limited availability for this project. Some quotes from him have been compiled from other interviews and attributed to the proper sources.)

YOST: We had a hard time initially finding a Raylan. Tim was on the list, basically at the top of the list, but he was unavailable, and we wanted to go sooner rather than later. So we hunted around and couldn’t really find anyone that would be anywhere near as good as Tim. Finally I said, you know what, this is cable, we can wait, so let’s wait. So instead of shooting it in April we shot it in June. That was a big plus for the series. We wouldn’t be on the air without him.

OLYPHANT (from an interview with EmpireOnline): [Graham] was very straightforward. He was refreshingly honest. If he didn’t have answers he would just tell me he wasn’t sure. It was an unusual situation for both of us, in the sense that you’re adapting a writer’s work but he’s not the guy who’s running the show, so you’re essentially playing copycat, trying to figure out the voice of another writer.

YOST: Tim played a sheriff on Deadwood so we knew he would look good in a hat and with a gun, and he could do that sort of gruff lawman. But I had also seen some of his more comic work, and I knew he’d done romantic comedy, so I knew he could be very funny. The thing about Elmore is you have to get people who can be funny. We’ve really found, casting throughout the years, that we were served best by getting people who had some background in comedy.

OLYPHANT: Graham’s a good man. Witty. Patient. Put up with six years of me blabbing on and on about god knows what. He let me in the room, and allowed me to be part of the process. For that I’m extremely grateful. […]

HBO and FX, they’re both class act operations. Both have a ton of respect for the storyteller. The only difference I can think of is on FX they let you say things like “bullshit” and “asshole.” On HBO, they let you say things “cocksucker” and “cunt struck.”

LANDGRAF: I ultimately had to really endorse Tim. Interestingly enough, I think Tim is a lot like Raylan in some odd way. He’s not a Southerner but he’s a laconic kind of wiry, lanky guy. But more than that he’s an extremely smart guy, and a very funny guy by the way, extremely intelligent and extremely witty. But very taciturn and not given to revealing very much about himself.

OLYPHANT (from an interview with Esquire): There is a level of professionalism that runs through a lot of Elmore [Leonard]’s work, that really is about what Elmore was like, that I think Raylan possesses to some degree, even as he’s been a little loose about the way he handled things and the trouble he’s gotten himself into. He’s not careless and he takes his job seriously. He takes things like being a man of your word and certain ways you treat people — I think those are things that are very attractive about the character.

YOST: In casting for a part like Raylan, not only do you come up with a list of names of people you would just offer it to, but you also just bring in actors who are good and working and you might find someone and just go, “Holy shit, that’s the guy!” We’d seen a bunch of auditions and I said “Yeah, that’s not the way that scene should be,” and they said, “Well, how should it be?” And I said, “Well, I’ll do it for you.” So I got up in front of our group and I did one of the scenes as Raylan. I always thought that Camille had taped it and that she was going to use this against me, but she said it was never recorded, thank God. I was probably incredibly terrible.

The Ballad of Boyd Crowder

Whatever it is, whatever part of this country that you come from when you first come to this town, to this business, you will perpetuate the stereotype of your culture. That’s just how it is. That’s how we do things. You have to earn your way out of it. And I had just done that enough, for things that I wasn’t very proud of. I was in a position spiritually and monetarily that I just wouldn’t do that anymore.

After the hard work of casting Raylan, finding his nemesis, Boyd Crowder, should have been easy. In both Leonard’s short story and in the original draft of pilot, Crowder is a rocket-launcher-toting redneck neo-Nazi who spouts the titular line “Fire in the hole” and eventually dies at Raylan’s hands. The role was supposed to be a relatively simple one-off. Landgraf and company had the perfect guy, too, a native Southerner they had already worked with for years and who might be willing to do them a favor — Walton Goggins. But the simplest decisions can often have a way of complicating themselves, and two problems sprung up: One, Goggins didn’t want the role. And two, once they convinced him to take it, he was way too good to kill off.

WALTON GOGGINS (Boyd Crowder): The first time I read the script, what Graham did to it was unbelievable, but I felt that there was no way they would let me do it the way I wanted to do it, so I initially passed because I just did not want to perpetuate a stereotype of a hick type of Southerner that I have, more often than not, portrayed coming up in my career. That’s how I made a living very early on.

YOST: He was concerned about playing Boyd on the page. In the stories he’s a white supremacist. Walton’s from Georgia and was very sensitive about playing a Southerner who hit that stereotype. He didn’t want to do that.

GOGGINS: If you’re from the Bronx, if you’re Italian, and you come out to Los Angeles, more often than not you’re going to play a mobster. If you’re from an Arab country you’re going to play a suicide bomber. Whatever it is, whatever part of this country that you come from when you first come to this town, to this business, you will perpetuate the stereotype of your culture. That’s just how it is. That’s how we do things. You have to earn your way out of it. And I had just done that enough, for things that I wasn’t very proud of. I was in a position spiritually and monetarily that I just wouldn’t do that anymore.

LANDGRAF: Walton was just so unbelievably good as Shane Vendrell in The Shield, to tell you the truth we just asked him to do the pilot as a favor. He was initially reluctant to do that because, I don’t know if you saw The Shield, but Shane Vendrell was a) a racist and b) kind of a compellingly bad guy. And I think for Walton, who’s an extremely literate artist and who’s heart couldn’t be farther away from white supremacy and racism — he’s married to a lovely Egyptian woman — I think he was just worried about getting pigeon-holed, particularly for a one-episode part.

YOST: It had already been my decision that Boyd would be someone who uses things in order to really get what he wants, which is, we boil it down to blowing stuff up and making money. Being a white supremacist was just a way for him to recruit people to be his gun thugs. And so Tim called him and talked him into it, I called him and talked him into it, so we got Walton.

GOGGINS: We started talking about it on the phone, and I really kind of understood where Tim was coming from. He said, “This is something smart.” I said, okay, let me think about it. And he said, “You can also do what you want to do.” And then I had a conversation with Graham, and I’m a huge, huge fan of Graham Yost. I have been for a very long time. His show Boomtown came on a year after The Shield came on. I remember watching it and thinking, God, that’s just smart television. How did he do that? How did he weave that together?

So I had a conversation with Graham and Michael Dinner. I went over and had a rehearsal with Michael and Tim and I said, “If you let me do what I want to do, and let me be the smartest guy in the room second only to Raylan Givens, and let me play it from an angle that this is a guy who doesn’t necessarily believe what he is saying but is saying it because he needs an audience, then I’ll do it. I would really, really like to do it because I don’t think a Southern character has been portrayed in this way before.” And they said, “Go for it man, just bring your heart and soul and do whatever you want to.”

YOST: With Walton, for Boyd, it’s just that he’s just an incredibly charismatic actor that can make you really intrigued by the bad guy. And the thing is, that was strangely less of a concern for us because Boyd was supposed to die at the end of the pilot. So there wasn’t this huge weight of casting that part. We knew it was important, but it was important just for the pilot.

GOGGINS: I just had the best two weeks of my life in that way as a temporary figure in the Elmore Leonard world. And that was it. Was killed and that was done.

LANDGRAF: I think when Walton agreed to do it it was expected that he was just going to come in and do the pilot. We had done really well with The Shield. Not only was he unbelievably great, there was a chemistry between them, really truly memorable. Like Butch and Sundance memorable. But ultimately we started to examine, well, what is this series fundamentally about? Because it’s not really about catching bad guys. It seemed that Boyd had this really vital role to play as this sort of anti-villain to Raylan’s anti-hero.

YOST: After we all saw the pilot, there were a lot of people in testing who said “You better not let him die.” And it was FX’s strong conviction. We all just signed on immediately, let’s keep him alive. There was this conviction that Boyd could bring a lot to the show. That he was this dark mirror for Raylan.

LANDGRAF: I think Walton really loved the character, and loved the words in the character’s mouth, so fortunately for us he was excited when we approached him about becoming a really important part of the series.

YOST: He and Tim were so spectacular together, and there was so much wonderful chemistry, that for that and many other reasons, we decided to keep Boyd around. It was as if, doing the pilot, we had opened the door and seen into what Walton could do with this character.

GOGGINS: But before I agreed to do it Graham and I had a conversation about it and I said, well, where do we go from here? For me the thing that I’m most interested in is that he is no longer the guy we met in the pilot. I don’t want to play that guy. In an of itself I want that pilot to be a color of who that guy is and a jumping-off point. What a rare opportunity it is to introduce a character to an audience and have them think he’s one way and then the next time you meet him he’s something completely different. To establish kind of the enigma that is Boyd Crowder.

YOST: If we had cast any differently we wouldn’t have kept Boyd alive, and if we cast the role differently I don’t think we’d still be on the air.

Ava In The Middle

I never saw Ava as a victim. She brought everything upon herself. She’s just not unlike these other men, she’s also a product of her environment.

The conflict between Raylan and Boyd was always multi-faceted. Part of it was their shared history growing up, part of it was just the nature of their opposite chosen professions, and part of it was in the form of one Ava Crowder. When the pilot picked up the action, Ava had recently killed her abusive husband, Bowman Crowder (who happens to be Boyd’s brother) with a shotgun in the dining room of their home. She did not seem all that broken up about it. When Raylan came back to Kentucky, his presence in town, and in Ava’s life, led to a tense showdown with Boyd in the final scene that saw all three of them pull guns, with Boyd getting shot. Somehow, as the show progressed, the relationship between the three of them would manage to get even more complicated.

JOELLE CARTER (Ava Crowder): I received the audition material and the script for the pilot, and I read it and was like, “Oh my gosh, this is such a wonderfully layered character.” Just within the pilot you get so much information about her for the one scene that I do with Raylan. I was like, “If I get to do that scene I would be so happy.”

OLYPHANT (from an interview with The Huffington Post): I remember when Graham and I first started the show, and he had introduced the ex-wife character. And also knowing that he was going to have this relationship with Ava early on the show who, at the time, seemed like an absolute disaster. She had just shot and killed her husband and Raylan shows up after, God knows how many years, and she kisses him on the mouth and thinks all of her prayers have been answered, and you think, “What a disaster.” She’s just as concerned with the fact that she’s murdered her husband with how Lysol is the best cleaning product to deal with the bloodstain and her hair’s a mess. It was just a wonderful, bizarre character.

CARTER: What I loved most about the way the script was written was that it had a lot of stuff stolen from Elmore Leonard and then re-created to make a whole pilot that was his flavor, the way he writes character and how there’s always this alter underlying meaning, and the way he incorporates humor. Also, it took place in the south, and I could bring my history into Ava, which is always wonderful. I’m so attached to a lot of Southern ways — the history, how I’ve been raised, my memories of being a girl in the South. I could really dream and imagine this woman and putting myself in her circumstance.

GOGGINS: The thing that I didn’t know, that I really didn’t know, was the chemistry between Boyd Crowder and Ava Crowder. That was a surprise to me. I was just so taken with Joelle as a person. And what she did as an actor.

CARTER: Not unlike Boyd, who was supposed to die in the pilot, Ava was just a guest on the show. And then after the pilot they decided they liked the chemistry between Raylan and I and what we did. And so that relationship is born in the pilot. I think Ava was in a place of kind of rediscovering. She had just freed herself from a horrible relationship and she was taking charge in a way. She also has a weakness for men, I think, and the idea that they are going to save her… we see that from the beginning. For her Raylan was always kind of the image of what she wanted to do when she was growing up. She thought she was marrying the right guy who was going to get her out of town and she would go places and discover the world.

I never saw Ava as a victim. She brought everything upon herself. She’s just not unlike these other men, she’s also a product of her environment. And it was a very violent place to grow up.

Lightning In A Bottle

I got to the point in the story where Boyd is talking about Jews, and all of the inflammatory, verbose, incendiary dialogue. I just remember stopping before I read it and looking at all of my Jewish friends on this call and in the room and on the teleprompter and saying, “I’m about to sell the shit out of this. We’ve been friends for a long time. So get ready.” I just launched into it. And then everybody was laughing and they got it.

With pre-production finished, the final step was to actually go out and get the action filmed. And when they did, they struck a chemistry goldmine between Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins that would become the driving force of the show going forward.

GOGGINS: We had such a good time. The one thing you can’t write about is chemistry between two people. You can write all the words you want on a page, but you can’t write chemistry, and I knew when the first word came out of Tim’s mouth as Raylan Givens that this was something really special between these two people. And between the two actors. This doesn’t happen every day. You can get the best actors together in a room and it may not be there. Whatever that unquantifiable thing that allows actors to transcend the words on the page, I knew it right in that moment. It was like lightning in a bottle.

YOST: You’re hoping for that even for one episode, even one scene. You want that chemistry, for the smallest parts, for the biggest parts, you just want those parts to fly. And so when we had that, we knew how rare that could be for something to have that kind of electricity.

GOGGINS: We were reading the script and I got to the point in the story where Boyd is talking about Jews, and all of the inflammatory, verbose, incendiary dialogue. I just remember stopping before I read it and looking at all of my Jewish friends on this call and in the room and on the teleprompter and saying, “I’m about to sell the shit out of this. We’ve been friends for a long time. So get ready.” I just launched into it. And then everybody was laughing and they got it. And Tim, in our first conversation, said, “This is what I could do to get you what you want.” And Tim says at the end of it, which was not originally scripted, he says, “C’mon Boyd. You’re smarter than that. I know you don’t believe all of this stuff.” What he was doing was essentially letting Boyd off the hook, and saying that he’s much too bright to believe this, that he sees through him and knows exactly what he’s doing. It was just a way for me to understand this character in a way that was palatable and to get a grip on it. It worked.

OLYPHANT (from an interview with Collider): Walt’s fantastic. Anytime he’s on the call sheet, I know it’s going to be an easy day for me because I just sit back and let him do all the work. When you’ve got someone who’s going to take things moment to moment and keep you on your toes, it reminds me of my acting teachers saying, “Just work off the other person.” When you’ve got someone like Walt, it makes that real easy to do it.

GOGGINS: It was literally the first day we worked together. We both looked at each other and said, wow, this doesn’t happen that often in a person’s career.’ I really felt that that very first day. […] Not only do you have Elmore Leonard dialogue, not only do you have a showrunner of the stature of Graham Yost, you have the director who is one of the best directors working in television, Michael Dinner. There are some good ones out there but Michael Dinner takes second fiddle to no one. And then you have chemistry between these two people. I just knew it was going to be a very special run.

CARTER: I felt chemistry immediately with both of these gentleman and these characters, the idea of them even. I can see the the richness there and I think the chemistry is a huge part for all of us. I think there’s a huge romance between Raylan and Boyd. It’s ugly, it’s friendship, then it’s a denial of friendship, but there is history that is there and has to be dealt with.

OLYPHANT (from Esquire): We’ve been pretty tight from the beginning. We talk often. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. He’s a good guy. I don’t think a week goes by without us talking about the direction of the show and the characters. I love him. He’s not only a tremendous actor, he’s so invested in his character and that’s what you’re looking for.

GOGGINS: When we were filming, every scene that I had with Tim was better than the scene before. It just snowballed into this last, final scene of the pilot episode, of two guys sitting around having chicken and a beautiful woman holding a shotgun, and everything we were saying was not about a chicken dinner. It was about history. It was about this shared history. And one guy who went one way and another guy who went another way. I knew at the end of that night, that no matter what, no matter if it got picked up or not, that we had a special hour of television that either no one was going to see, or a whole lot of people were going to see.

Elmore

Author Elmore Leonard Portrait Session And Book Signing At Book Soup
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Elmore had very strong feelings about what kind of hat Raylan should wear, and it was not the hat that Timothy wears.

In talking with the people involved with Justified for this project, one thing that came up again and again was a deep respect and admiration for the source material and its creator, Elmore Leonard. Leonard’s work had been turned into films before — Get Shorty, Out of Sight, 3:10 to Yuma, Jackie Brown (adapted from his book Rum Punch) — but Justified marked the first successful television series inspired by his writing. This proved to be a point of pride for the people associated with the show, that they could give that to him before he passed away in 2013. It helped that he enjoyed the show. Even if he hated Raylan’s signature accessory.

LANDGRAF: I think you can probably tell by talking to me, and also if you’re aware of the kinds of programing FX has done, I don’t see the world as a study in black and white. I see it as a complex study in shades of grey. Absurdly funny and dark at the same time with comedy and tragedy coexisting very closely adjacent. I really find the writers that I gravitate to the most tend to be both very dramatic and sometimes very dark and very funny, from Kurt Vonnegut or John Irving to William Shakespeare. Elmore was just a writer that I loved. I loved his love of the idiocy and self-delusion of criminals. He loves them and writes them with great affection and love, but he doesn’t pull his punches about the tragedy and the pain they leave in their wake, or about their folly or self delusions. He often delights in their stupidity. But he doesn’t write from a point of judgment, he writes from a point of sort of writerly, journalistic observation and affection.

GOGGINS: I started with his films, with Out of Sight and Get Shorty, and then I started picking up more books from him. I’m not a student of Elmore the way Graham is or John Landgraf is, or certainly Tim is at this point, but I really understood his humor and the way he was writing it. It was so specific and was so serious and so absurd, but full of truth that you could laugh at.

YOST: We would get together over the years at various events. I regret that I never went to Detroit to visit him there. I went there for the funeral, but I had not been there just to say hey. But he came out the first season of production. He went out to set and that’s where, sitting in the director’s chair by video village, by the monitors, Tim said “Hey, why don’t you write another Raylan short story?” And Elmore thought, “Yeah, okay, yeah I can do that.” And that one story turned to two, turned to three. And that became his, what turned out to be his last published novel, which was Raylan.

LANDGRAF: He had put the character down for years. He was inspired to come back and write further stories for Raylan. He then asked if he could use the poster art as the cover of the book and we said, “Are you kidding? Heck yeah.” And then he wrote, we paid him and he said, well, I’m not going to take money if I’m not writing, so he wrote material and submitted it to the writers, and of course, they devoured it. They strip-mined it — as Graham would say — for material. For example, the fantastic storyline involving Mags Bennett, the patriarchal weed growing clan in season two was an idea that came directly from Elmore.

YOST: He came by the writer’s office, and we had him into the writer’s room for lunch, and took him round to editing and showed him some scenes. That was just a great great time. Just to hang out with him. In terms of fun stories, we didn’t go rob a bank, or steal a car, although I wish we had. It was just fun hanging out with him because he’s just a funny guy. Like his characters, he’s not sort of making jokes, he just has a wry view of the world and that would just say these things that would tickle me.

OLYPHANT (from Esquire): Elmore was cool. When he spoke, he was just really easy company. He was a great storyteller. He was kind of unassuming, great humor. And he was curious. He was interested. He was a professional, and he was a craftsman. He just loved his work. I found, unexpectedly, that there was a lot he and I had in common.

LANDGRAF: Elmore had very strong feelings about what kind of hat Raylan should wear, and it was not the hat that Timothy wears. It was not a Stetson. But the alternative didn’t look good on Tim.

CARTER: I do know that Elmore didn’t love the hat [laughs]. Tim and I were just talking about the hat, and … I’m not going to give anything away. I can’t say it. Sorry. It might come back. We might reveal Elmore’s hatred for it [laughs]. He just had a very different idea of what hat Raylan would wear. And the one that Tim had chose. And we didn’t hear about his choice until after the show had been going for a while.

LANDGRAF: I think one of the things that was most meaningful to me about this whole experience was that everyone had a really profound relationship with Elmore Leonard. It was just such a big deal to me.

CARTER: Elmore came to one of the guest panels, that’s when I got to meet him in person. He spoke about his appreciation for my interpretation of Ava and how that was exactly the way that he saw her, and that he really enjoyed me in this role. That meant everything to me, that validation.

LANDGRAF: When Elmore passed away his son came out for a reading in his honor that was held at a local theater. Joelle read, Tim read, Walton read, other people who had been involved in Elmore Leonard projects from the past came and read. And his son came out and spoke on his behalf and reiterated that in some ways the last unfulfilled dream of Elmore’s was to have a really great television series made based on his work. It had just never happened. He was incredibly gratified by Justified. I gotta say, we had a lot of material success, and ratings success, and the AFI naming it one of the ten best series, and plenty of things. But I don’t think anything means as much to me as the fact that it meant that much to Elmore.

YOST: The best thing for us ever was that Elmore liked our show. He was proud of it and felt like we were doing his writing justice. And that continues to be sort of our guiding principle.

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