‘Justified’ Showrunner Graham Yost Talks Season 4
It’s only been a matter of hours since ‘Justified‘ concluded its third FX season with the spectacularly arm-chopping “Slaughterhouse,” but that’s no reason we can’t start running wild with speculation and existing details! Plus, the man behind the curtain might just be able to clear up a few details for us…
Speaking with HitFix in a post-mortem assessment of ‘Justified’s third season, showrunner Graham Yost not only got in depth with some of the better moments from the last 13 episodes, but also managed to point out a few details and relationships the already-ordered fourth season of Justified’ would be likely to touch upon. For instance, “Slaughterhouse” offered up a relatively low body-count considering, so what villains and dynamics might take shape when the next season rolls around?
Says Yost of ‘Justified’ season 4:
We’ve started to think about [planning season 4]. We’ve got a certain number of story questions: what’s going to happen with Johnny, Limehouse, Boyd and Ava? What’s going to happen between Raylan and Winona, once the baby is born? We’re also wondering, do we want to do another bad guy of the year? Do we try and mix that up? Do we want to do one story? We’ve been thinking about Elmore [Leonard, Raylan Givens' literary creator]‘s “Raylan” book, which came out this year, which is three stories: do we want to do that? Three four episode chunks rather than one big thing?
So we don’t know. And we’re also looking for that thematic unity, which also gives us something to look at, poke at, turn around and see what we can find out by looking at things from different directions. Certainly, I think that the idea of betrayal as something that will come up in a fourth season, in what’s going on with Boyd and Johnny and Limehouse.
Yost also talked about the possibility of several season 3 villains’ return, particularly given certain fan, reactions, noting of Mykelti Williamson’s Limehouse that “Limehouse is a keeper [given Mykelti's availability]. He just did great work, and it’s a fun character. People get a kick out of him.” So too might Natalie Zea’s Winona return, despite the actress taking a position with an upcoming pilot, for which she’d be available for up to 3 episodes of ‘Justified.’
Even fan-favorite villain Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies) and little Loretta MacCready (Kaitlyn Dever) might be back once or twice, despite her committment to ABC’s ‘Last Man Standing.’ But might ‘Justified’ season 4 be the last, as some critics have suggested? Says Yost:
Listen, if we screwed it up, if we really blew it next year and the ratings tanked, yeah, I guess it could be the last season. There’s the reason they only upped us for one season. That’s the nature of the business. I hope that we don’t screw it up, and it’s certainly in our planning, we’re thinking more about six than we are about four or five. Beyond that, the fear is you always wear out your welcome, and how many different stories can you do? This is the great thing about basic cable: even at the end of six years, we’d have only done 78 episodes. At the end of six years on network, you’d be on a hundred and thirty-something. We feel like that’s a boon now.
Check out our recap of ‘Justified’s third season finale “Slaughterhouse,” and tell us what you thought of the episode! Would you like to see ‘Justified’ last longer than four seasons? What do you hope to see from Raylan Givens the next time around? Quick-draw some suggestions in the comments section!