As the sixth and final season of FX’s Justified hits its stride, the show’s inspiration and history present some interesting details. Here are some factoids about television’s most appealing extralegal lawman, Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens.
1. The Harlan County Setting Isn’t Real.
None of Justified‘s shows have filmed in Harlan County, Kentucky. The show’s pilot was filmed in Kittanning, Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh). Most episodes film in Los Angeles, with outside staging often taking place in Green Valley, California. You can see some comparison shots at the Harlan Country Trails website.
2. The Raylan Givens Character Has Lived For Decades.
The late Elmore Leonard first created Raylan for his 1993 book, Pronto. He appeared again in 1995’s Riding the Rap. The Justified pilot story was adapted from Elmore’s 2001 short story, “Fire in the Hole.” The show’s success inspired Elmore to write a third Raylan book, simply called Raylan, in 2012.
3. Raylan’s Always Been A Father In The Books.
Mind you, this Deputy U.S. Marshal was always more of a career junkie than a family man. In all three of the earlier Raylan works, our antihero’s thoughts only occasionally wandered to his young sons, Ricky and Randy. Only in the television show do we see Raylan become a father for the first time (when he and Winona welcome baby Willa). Of course, he’s an absentee father all across the board.
4. Timothy Olyphant Planned To “Leave” His Wife At The Emmys.
The 2011 Emmy Awards recognized Olyphant with a nomination for his portrayal of Raylan. He didn’t win the award, but he told Conan O’Brien about his scripted speech: “Kyle Chandler won the Emmy, it was lovely, I was very happy for him. I feel like he deprived some people of a good speech. My opening line — this was my wife’s idea actually — I was going to look at [the trophy] and then look out at my wife of twenty years and say, ‘Well, honey, this is it. I’m finally leaving you.’”
5. “What Would Elmore Do?”
According to The Wall Street Journal, all of the writers for the television show sport blue wristbands that simply read, “WWED.” This visual reminder helps them channel the spirit of Elmore and concentrate on the dialogue and tone from the original Raylan sources.
6: Elmore Almost Entirely Approved Of Olyphant’s Raylan.
In 2012, Elmore said, “Olyphant plays the character exactly the way I wrote him. I couldn’t believe it. He’s laid back and he’s quiet about everything but he says; if I have to pull my gun, then that’s a different story. And it works. There are very few actors that recite the lines exactly the way you hear them when you’re writing the book.”
7. Well … Except For The Hat.
Elmore made one chief complaint, which was that Olyphant wears a different hat on the television show than that of his literary counterpart. The book-based Raylan wears a smaller head adornment known as a “Dallas Businessman’s hat.” In the tv show, Olyphant works a Stetson hat.
8. Season 1 Nearly Ended With Chainsaws.
According to the DVD special commentary for the first season, writers originally intended to skip the Crowder family shootout at an isolated cabin. Instead, Boyd would have visited the family of his white supremacist recruiter in Oklahoma. Raylan would have followed him, and the family would have chased both of them with chainsaws. (Awful, right?)
9. Olyphant’s Method-Acting Fever.
Towards the end of season 3, Timothy Olyphant fell ill with a ferocious fever. He opted to forge forward and not hamper the production schedule. The plan worked well for Raylan’s harried and world-weary state during these episodes. His professional and familial life was a mess, and so was his physical state.
10. Walton Goggins Didn’t Want To Play Boyd
The good man Goggins grew concerned after reading the pilot script. He didn’t want to play a stereotypical white supremacist character or be typecast as such. Goggins only signed on as a favor to his longtime buddy (Olyphant) and with the understanding that the character would die during the pilot. Olyphant told Rolling Stone, “I’ve known Walt for years, and when we first mentioned the idea of him playing Boyd, he had concerns — the stereotype of the Southern racist and all that. He’s from the region so he was sensitive about putting that out there in a one-dimensional way.”
Bonus: This one is a well-known tidbit amongst fans, but it behooves us to remember how the greatest bromance of our time nearly met a premature end.
11. Elmore Leonard Kept Boyd Alive
Elmore thought Goggins was so fantastic in his role that it would have been a crime to kill off the character. After much consultation, screenwriter Graham Yost told USA Today, “We had our doubts about killing off Boyd, even as we were killing him off in the first go-round of the pilot. Walton’s so wonderful, and Walton and Tim together are so wonderful. Boyd’s ability to hold up a dark mirror to Raylan was pretty invaluable. This show wouldn’t be on the air without Tim playing Raylan, but I think right behind that, it would have a tough time if we didn’t have Boyd.”