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‘Justified’ Season 4 Wrap Up: Where Will Season 5 Take Us?

Justified Season 4 Season 5 Graham Yost
FX

After what had seemed like only a few weeks, ‘Justified‘ season 4 officially put a cap on its arguably best season yet, closing out with last night’s driven, if muted “Ghosts.” Most of the season’s major threads were well tied off even before the finale, leading to more character-driven final hours, but plenty of seeds were planted for the newly guaranteed season 5 as well. Series showrunner Graham Yost made the rounds to talk about the season at large, as well as the latest dish on season 5, so find out about the present and future of ‘Justified’ inside!

‘Justified’ took a big risk in its fourth season, eschewing the central (even Emmy-winning) bad guy formula it had utilized the previous two years in favor of a season-long mystery that connected its characters this time around. Speaking to a number of outlets, executive producer Graham Yost expressed his relief the experiment proved successful, even if some felt the season was initially slow in going. Moving forward, Yost said he hoped the staff would find a new method to drive the characters forward in season 5, rather than focus on a singular big bad, or fall into a mystery habit like ‘Twin Peaks‘ or ‘The Killing.’

Yost also admitted that the reveal of Drew Thompson as Shelby Parlow (‘Supernatural‘s’ Jim Beaver) hadn’t always been the case, with original plans pinning the parachute on one of the sinister Clover Hill folk, or Gerard McRaney’s Josiah Cairn, but that Shelby’s involvement proved the most interesting, and fit the bill in terms of plausibility. The inclusion and prominence of Mike O’Malley‘s Nicky Augustine, rather than the oft-mentioned Theo Tonin, however, had to do with the increasing unavailability of Adam Arkin, and his commitment to producing ‘The Americans.’

Going forward into season 5, Yost confirmed that we would see Boyd desperate to get Ava out of prison, putting revenge on Lee Paxon (‘LOST‘s’ Sam Anderson), Sheriff Mooney and Johnny Crowder (David Meunier) on the back burner. Raylan too will have his own career to worry about, as well as the birth of his daughter, which Yost confirmed would most likely come to fruition in season 5, given the show’s relatively compressed timeline. Yost tells TVLine of future stories:

The thing about Boyd is that he just never stops; he’s always going to be trying something. So, it’s our feeling that, at least for the first chunk of next season, he’s going to be trying to get her out of jail. And then, what is life going to be like for Ava behind bars? What are the conflicts going to be? What is she going to do to survive? She strikes me as someone who’d just try and keep her head down and do her time and get out, but chances are she won’t be allowed to do that.

There’s also the ramifications of Raylan’s, if not promotion then certainly rise in stature, and what effect that will have. And then it’s Boyd, and what is he going to do to get Ava out of jail. Those are the big things. We’ll also have to have a couple writers head down to Harlan and start nosing around to see if there are any other little worlds for us to get into.

The showrunner remains uncertain how far Raylan could conceivably take his promotion, given the short timeline of the series and a desire not to remove Nick Searcy’s Art Mullen from the cast. Yost acknowledged the possibility that FX could opt for more, but that he, the cast and crew have always worked in mind the notion of ‘Justified’ running for six seasons, making the idea of an endgame somewhat more prominent when the season 5 writers’ room kicks off in July.

And don’t you worry about fan-favorite characters like Constable Bob (Patton Oswalt) or Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman) as Yost told HitFix, “we just have to see. It’s always our fear with these characters everybody loves: we’re just terrified of wearing out the welcome. How much we see of Bob next season, I can’t say. But I know that Bob is a big part of the show going forward.”

Well, what say you? Do you feel ‘Justified’ season 4 proved to be its best yet, or would you prefer the FX drama have a more central antagonist going forward? What lingering plot threads from the finale are you most excited to see resolved? Tell us what you thought of ‘Justified’ season 4 in the comments!

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