And with a clean chop of the arm, season three of Justified comes to an end.
This season has been the definition of an adventure! We discovered a new world in Nobles Holler and found tragedy in a villain’s fall from grace. We’ve watched Boyd—with his queen beside him—strengthen his hold over Harlan, but not without struggle. And, most of all, we’ve seen Raylan’s understanding of “family” move further and further away from home, settling somewhere between a lonely apartment above a bar and the Lexington Marshal’s office.
I remember, at the start of the season, the big question was: how do you fill the shoes of Mags Bennett. Well, from the start, the writers of Justified knew that those shoes were not to be filled, rather to be complimented. And so we met Quarles and Limehouse. Two new pairs of shoes, formidable and intriguing.
Thirteen episodes later, we are left with just as many questions as answers. Where will Raylan, Winona, and their unborn child find themselves next season? How much further can Boyd and Ava push their luck before the law wedges them apart? And they say you never get out of Harlan alive, but will we see Quarles and Limehouse again?
Well, before we get ahead of ourselves and jump into season four, I sat down with Executive Producer Fred Golan for one last, season three Writer’s Recap video. Fred and I discussed the season finale and more than a few juicy, behind-the-scenes moments, including how the Justified team managed to cut a man’s arm off!
So enjoy the video. Thanks for watching. And we’ll see you next season!
Not everything that is written ends up on the screen, especially how it is written.
When Taylor Elmore turned in his first draft of “Coalition”, the opening scene had me in stitches. It was such a funny, surprising piece of writing, but I knew only a handful of people would ever read it. So it seemed likely (and, frankly, a bit sad) that this hilarious section would go unseen by the fans of Justified.
Well, when it came to writing this week’s blog post, I immediately saw an opportunity to show you all an overlooked side of screenwriting. And I saw a chance to make you laugh. Now, keep in mind that the script page (below) is from an old draft and that things do differ from what you saw in the episode when it aired. For example, originally, this scene was the episode’s Teaser—the first scene you see before the theme song kicks in—but now occurs shortly after Act One begins. All and all, I just wanted to show you—the fans—how much fun the Justified writers have in making this show, if it wasn’t already obvious.
(Click page image for full-size view)
And to find out more about all the craziness that occurred while writing, filming, and editing episode 312, check out this week’s Writer’s Recap video with Producer/Writer Taylor Elmore.
This week I’ve got a couple of very cool surprises in store for you. First, T.O.N.E.-z goes Hollywood…
When I heard T.O.N.E.-z (the rapper on Justified’s theme song) would be visiting the Justified set, I grabbed my camera and hustled over to video village. T.O.N.E.-z spent the day on the Nobles Holler set and we got a little surprise once inside Limehouse’s BBQ joint—an acapella version of “Long Hard Times to Come”.
Also, I’ve got a great Writer’s Recap video for you this week. As you can probably tell: things are heating up in Harlan. Alliances, in addition to enemies, are being made left and right. Well I sat down with Ben Cavell, the writer of “Measures”, to discuss this week’s episode and sort through all the high-stakes action.
Enjoy the videos! See you next week after another heart-stopping episode of Justified!
For more on T.O.N.E.-z, check out his fan page at:
Season one of Justified: VJ Boyd was the show’s writers’ PA. He was a bright-eyed, hard-working assistant who barista-ed the coffee, corralled the lunches, and smiled through it all. Well last night, his first episode aired. VJ has done what many only dream of: going from assistant to staff writer in the span of one season.
When Graham Yost first read VJ’s spec pilot (Note: a spec is a script written as a writing sample… aka, without pay or promise), he was impressed by VJ’s sense of humor. When you read script submissions for Justified, you come across a lot of cop genre specs and the writing tends to be bogged down by the conventions of the genre. The writing can get a little grim. But for Yost, VJ’s writing was more than just a bunch of cops yelling cop-like things at one another; VJ’s characters were smart, engaging.
So VJ paid his dues as an assistant and, last night, he reaped the benefits as his episode, “Guy Walks Into A Bar”, opened with: Written by VJ Boyd. Everyone likes when the good guy wins in the end and VJ is your quintessential good guy. So from all of us at Justified, we’d like to congratulate VJ on his episode and all of his hard work!
If you’d like to hear a few more details about VJ’s road to becoming a writer, check out this week’s Writer’s Recap video.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Justified is coming back for a fourth season!
I know what you’re thinking, “Wait, but season 3 isn’t even over yet?!” Well, it’s true. We still have some loose ends to tie up this season. (See what I did there? Loose ends. Like the episode title.) But we are overjoyed by the news that the adventures of Raylan Givens aren’t over yet—not by a long shot.
You see, the filming of season three ended last week when we wrapped production on episode 313, the season finale. Post-production is still hard at work, cutting together the final string of episodes for the season, but the writers are already beginning to think season four thoughts. We’re always trying to stay a step ahead of the game.
But before I get ahead of myself, we still have four more episodes to air this season and, let me tell you, if last night’s episode, “Loose Ends,” is any indication of what’s to come (and it is!) we are about to see Justified at its best!
For this week’s Writer’s Recap video, I sat down with the writer of “Loose Ends”, Ingrid Escajeda, to discuss her path to Justified as well as some of the more surprising moments encountered on-set.
I can’t say enough about Graham Yost. He is a master artist with the yellow pad as his canvas. He is the fearless leader to seasons of literary sailors, old and new. He is the world’s best boss. And, yes, he is looking over my shoulder as I type.
But, in all seriousness, Graham is a guy who loves TV and, more so, sharing his knowledge with those eager to listen. So when I sat down with Graham for this week’s Writer’s Recap video, I wasn’t really surprised by how much I learned. And the topics were extraordinary: we covered TV death etiquette, season expectations, and using music to tell a story. And that’s just the tip of this proverbial iceberg. So sit back and get ready for a little education, ‘cause this week Graham Yost talks about his episode, “Watching the Detectives” and a whole lot more.
Achieving the look and feel of Justified is a collaborative effort drawing from every aspect of the show. Sometimes it’s the Southern drawl. Sometimes it’s a slightly tipped Stetson hat. And, sometimes, it’s the music.
When the producers of Justified heard Lynda Kay for the first time, they knew they had to find a place on the show for her. Her music was just too Justified to be left out of this season! And if you watched Lynda Kay perform on this past week’s episode of Justified, I’m sure you agree.
Well Lynda, being the kind-hearted woman that she is, wanted to thank the Justified team in her own way. So she arrived to our office looking like she had just stepped off the Ed Sullivan stage—wearing her trademark, gold-sequin suit and a perfect coif—and began to play. She performed two songs for the writers and staff (one of which—“Jack and coke”—she performed in episode 308) and then presented Justified creator Graham Yost with a coffin-shaped guitar case, stamped with the Justified logo. Pretty badass!
Noticing the opportunity, I quickly grabbed my phone and hit record (Sorry about the quality, folks). You can see Lynda, Graham, and the coffin case in today’s special-edition video.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that television is a business. A TV show needs an audience to turn a profit. Without the audience, advertisements would fall on empty living rooms and the paying advertisers would simply disappear. So it will always be important to produce quality TV, because the audience knows when they’re watching good TV and when to hit the off switch.
But sometimes making good TV just isn’t enough. Sometimes, to make a profitable show, you have to leave room for profit; meaning, you have to reduce spending when possible. For years, producers have been employing the trick of ‘cross-boarding’ to save money. When an episode shoots, typically, scenes that take place on the same set are shot together on the same day regardless of when they occur within the episode’s timeline. This technique, which allows the producers to shoot out of sequence, saves both time and money (which are often one in the same when it comes to production).
This year on Justified, we took ‘cross-boarding’ one step further. Instead of just grouping the scenes by set for one episode, we did ‘cross-boarding’ for two— episodes 307 and 308. By ‘cross-boarding’ these episodes together—both directed by Peter Werner—we were able to save a day of filming.
Well ‘cross-boarding’ isn’t the only behind-the-scenes tid bit that I’ve got for you today. In this week’s Writer’s Recap video, Ryan Farley talks about his episode—“The Man Behind the Curtain”—being on set, and what it’s like to work with some of Justified’s new talent.
You would never have known it, but by watching this week’s episode, you got yourself a bit of a history lesson. Courtesy of Justified.
You see, not many people know about Kentucky’s Coe Ridge Colony. In fact, it was a new piece of history for many of the Justified writers. But when it was brought up in the writers’ room, it didn’t take long to realize that Coe Ridge needed to become part of the Justified landscape. And, thus, Nobles Hollar—home to Ellstin Limehouse—was born.
Nobles Holler shares much of Coe Ridge’s history. Like Coe Ridge, Nobles Holler is a small sliver of country cut out by emancipated slaves following the Civil War. As one can imagine, keeping the people and culture of Coe Ridge secure from outside threats became a constant battle. It was the colony’s willingness to defend itself, by any means necessary, that kept enemies out and ushered in abused and battered women from all over the state, hoping to escape their hot-tempered lovers. After all, no white man was dumb enough to try and chase his wife into a holler like Coe Ridge.
In this week’s writer’s recap video, I sat down with Nichelle Tramble Spellman—one of the writers of “When the Guns Come Out” (the other being Co-Exec. Producer Dave Andron)—to discuss the genesis of Nobles Holler, the history of Coe Ridge, and all the usual behind-the-scenes goodness from the Justified set.
Andy Serkis, dinosaurs, and Joshua Tree. Sounds like your prototypical nightmare, right? No, it’s just what happens when Jon Worley puts pen to paper. If you watched last night’s episode, “Thick as Mud”, you were graced with a glimpse into the minds of Jon Worley and Benjamin Cavell. Last night, Worley and Cavell took us on a romp through Harlan as Dewey Crowe desperately tries to raise enough money to buy his kidneys back (yes, his kidneys). It’s not every day that a TV drama has the confidence to focus an episode on one of their auxiliary characters, but when you have an actor like Damon Herriman, it just makes sense.
Well, I caught Jon in one of his more lucid moments, turned on the cameras, and discussed the behind-the-scenes making of his and Ben’s episode. The result is unbelievable, to say the least.