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By Suzanne

Graham Yost

Interview with Graham Yost of "Justified" on FX 4/3/14

It was great speaking with Graham Yost. I love Justified - it's such a great show. He was a very interesting speaker, with a lot to say. I look forward to next season of the show. He also produces "The Americans" on FX, which is another very good show.

Final Transcript FXNETWORKS: Justified April 3, 2014/10:00 a.m. PDT

Stephanie Kelly
Graham Yost


Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Thank you for standing by and welcome to the Justified conference call. At this time all lines are in a listen-only mode. Later there will be an opportunity for your questions and instructions will be given at that time. As a reminder, todayís conference is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to our host, representing FX, Miss Stephanie Kelly. Please go ahead.

Stephanie Hi, everyone. Thanks so much for joining us for our Justified conference call with show runner, Executive Producer and Writer of Justified, Graham Yost. As a reminder, the season finale of Justified airs Tuesday at 10:00 only on FX.

So, without further ado, Iíll turn it over to the question and answer portion.

Moderator Our first question today comes from the line of Diana Price representing The Examiner. Please go ahead.

Diana Well, first of all, thank you, Graham, and thank you to the moderators for inviting me to this conference call. This is my first one with you guys, so thank you.

Graham Oh, thank you, Diana. One little thing, everyone. Iím on a cordless handset. Sometimes it drops out, so if it just drops out for a second just bear with me.

Diana No problem. Well, something that I think many people seem to be kind of glossing over in the ďStarvationĒ episode is kind of the full gravity of the change we saw in Raylanís character. I mean, we know heís willing to get his hands dirty and tends to be just a little trigger happy, but heís so desperate to get Darryl Crowe, I mean heís willing to throw Ava under the bus and that adolescent kid. Is this super hardcore Raylan that weíre seeing a temporary thing or has the character truly undergone a pivotal change that weíll now see throughout the rest of the series?

Graham You know, itís interesting that you can see it as the hardcore Raylan who, as Winona called him in the pilot, the angriest man sheís ever known and I think that is part of it. But itís also Raylanís struggle because he wants to get Darryl, but he canít just kill him because then that would doom Kendall to a long stretch in prison.

But itís also, I think, itís something that happened in the 11th episode, when after Art was shot and Raylan is talking to Tim Gutterson and Tim is basically saying do you want to go out and just find Daryl and kill him? And Raylan says, ďI donít think thatís what Art would want.Ē

And so Raylan has the struggle in him of the guy who wants to get revenge and yet canít because of the kid, but he also wants to try and do things in a way that Art would respect. Weíve always seen Art as his good father and heís, obviously, incredibly disappointed Art this season in a way that he never has before, so thatís the struggle. Okay?

Diana Okay. So, in a sense heís not actually going farther, hardcore; heís actually coming back to being more professional and trying to kind of come back to being a good guy in a sense?

Graham Well, in a way. And yet, you know, you see what he does in those scenes with Ava and I think it tears him apart. I donít think he wants to be the guy who says Iíll get the guards to look the other way, but heís desperate. And I think that itís more than him being hardcore Raylan as being desperate Raylan. And he is really just trying to figure a way out of this.

Diana And just one other quick question. It seems like most of the members of the cast are being reduced to kind of every man for himself. Theyíre losing all their allies and all their support systems. Will we kind of see the results of that, of them reaching their breaking points and being on their own in the finale or is that something thatís going to kind of carry through the rest of the series?

Graham Youíll see a big shift in the finale. Youíll see what happens to the resolve of Ava this season, the resolve of the Crowes and also the Boyd story. And there is a big reset that happens in the finale. But, yes, the whole sort of point of this season was to strip away everyone from everyone so that Ava is alone in prison, Boyd is alone on the outside and Raylan is alone.

And yet with the ďStarvationĒ really the point of it, or one of the points of that episode was that when Boyd confronts, publicly confronts Raylan with the accusation, the truth, that he, Raylan, was implicated or involved in the death of Nicky Augustine at the end of last season. And he says it in front of Rachel and Tim. Rachel and Tim have Raylanís back.

And so that is sort of the beginning of them coming together and I will say that that is one thing weíre headed towards in the final season.

Diana Okay. Well, I will say I noticed that when he did that, the look on Raylanís face reminded me of that first church scene when Boyd asked him if he saw his dadís face when he shot Tommy. It was like uh-oh.

Graham Yeah, itís a little bit of okay, now what? And Rachel and Tim backing him up was Raylanís victory in that episode.

Diana Well, thank you so much.

Graham Absolutely.

Moderator Our next question today comes from the line of Daniel Calvisi with Act Four Screenplays. Please go ahead.

Daniel Hi, Graham. Switching gears for a second here to talk about writers in the industry, if a new screenwriter were to write a great pilot and get themselves in the room with a show runner for, basically, an intro and a meeting or an interview, what kinds of questions should they expect from a show runner?

Graham Do you have a story? Are you going to pitch it now on the call? Iím just kidding. Listen, this is a very interesting time in the history of television. Never has the marketplace been as big, as fragmented; it allows for shows that are very much of themselves. Itís no longer just the, especially in hour-long, the franchises of police, law and medicine.

And so, I think that what any show runner is looking for, the scenario youíve set is that happens, but itís also young writers coming up with an idea and going to a network, going to a studio. And what are people looking for. Well, that changes minute by minute. Maybe theyíre not looking for vampires or zombies now, but theyíre looking for something and everyone is trying to guess.

But what people are really looking for is a vision, something that has legs, you know, whatís episode 17? And a compelling narrative, why do you want to get into this world and it can be anything now. Itís so broad. The fact that Sam Shaw is doing a show on the Manhattan Project, thatís something that people would have dreamed about 20 years ago and the fact that that can happen now is just wonderful.

Samuel How important is having a show reel or footage? Because I hear that in the age of webisodes, building your own audience online or just having something that looks really cool, letís say youíve shot the pilot or youíve shot a couple of scenes, is that important do you think?

Graham I donít think it can hurt. Except, and this is not good, Iíve seen some things that people have done, some webisodes, things that essentially turned into a pilot and the financial side of me, the first thing I asked was how much did that cost? How much did you spend? Because that looks fantastic and that is part of the deal, too.

I will say that one of the problems is that if youíre doing those webisode things or trying to do an independent pilot, the big risk is are you going to get acting talent that can deliver? And also, can you make it look good? Can you make it look like a really professionally produced product?

So, those are all things you have to weigh, but that helps. I mean, if you donít have a track record, if you donít have a list of credits, showing what you can do, especially if you want to direct it, then that becomes critical.

Samuel Okay, great. Thank you.

Moderator Our next question today comes from the line of Suzanne Lanoue with The TV MegaSite. Your line is open.

Suzanne Hi, Graham. Justified, I think I tell everybody, is the best show on television and I really mean that.

Graham You know what, I tell everyone that, too, but no one takes me seriously.

Suzanne Thatís great. I was going to ask why are you deciding to end the best show on television next season?

Graham Listen, I donít think we are the best show on television, but I think weíre all just incredibly happy to be even thought of in the company of other great shows that are on right now. And I think thatís one of the reasons why we want to end it after six seasons is we want to make sure we donít overstay our welcome.

We donít want to run out of story. We donít want to be treading water. Weíve already done a few things that to our mind are dangerously close to repeating ourselves. And sometimes weíve repeated ourselves without knowing it. Itís like, wow, in retrospect that seems an awful lot like the one in season two or three or whatever.

So, thatís the big thing is we want to leave the party on a high note.

Suzanne Okay. And do you have ideas of what you might want to do after Justified?

Graham I do have ideas. I generally donít talk about anything until itís actually shooting. But I have a lot of interests. And, listen, Iíve been an incredibly fortunate writer that Iíve gone from project to project that has interested me and I hope that that just gets to keep going on.

Suzanne Well, great. I also loved The Powers That Be actually.

Graham Oh, you know, I think weíve now had more reunions of The Powers That Be personnel than we did episodes. Weíve remained a pretty close group and Iíll tell you getting together with Norman Lear, who is 90 years old now and working on his memoirs and not sharp as a tack, but sharper than a tack. He is hilarious and still just so focused on whatís going on and interested. Thatís one of the great pleasures of the whole thing.

And then, getting to spend time with Peter MacNichol at any point is always a joy in life. And Holland Taylor, too. What a riot.

Suzanne Well, thank you very much. And I look forward to the last season, even though Iím going to cry.

Graham Well, that will be our goal. Thanks.

Moderator And our next question comes from the line of Simon Applebaum representing Tomorrow Will Be Televised. Please go ahead.

Simon Itís Tomorrow Will Be Televised on BlogTalkRadio and now on Brooklyn Independent Media HD. And first of all, Stephanie, congratulations to you, FX and the folks behind The Bridge for getting the Peabody Award yesterday.

Graham Oh, fantastic. I hadnít heard that. Thatís wonderful.

Stephanie Thank you.

Simon Yes, Graham. The Bridge was one of 46 projects, radio TV, that won the Peabody. It will be given out here in New York at the Waldorf on May 19th. Hope to be there for that. Elwood Reid, the co-creator with Meredith Stiehm, was on our show last year and Iím curious what you think about The Bridge getting it?

Graham Listen, I love Elwoodís work and I think The Bridge is another wonderful show from FX and very deserving of a Peabody. Iíve been lucky enough to, we got one on Justified and there was another one for Boomtown years ago and the thing that validates it the most is to see Stephen Colbert hold up his proudly. And itís like, okay, then it really does mean something if Colbert is bragging about it.

Simon Graham, sort of a follow-up to an answer you just had a moment ago. When you started Justified FX was one of the few basic cable networks that did original scripted programming and now we have a marketplace where you have so many networks getting into the scripted game. Weíve already had this year Discovery get in, El Rey got in with Rob Rodriguez, WGN America gets in with Salem and Manhattan, which you mentioned earlier, WE gets in and weíre not even counting Netflix, Google, Amazon maybe Microsoft, etc.

What do you make of this marketplace and how did it stimulate you folks to raise the bar in your final season?

Graham Well, I mean I think itís fantastic that the marketplace is like this and weíll see how it shakes out. Because itís not as though the marketplace has expanded and everyone is doing the same show. Itís not as though thereís five new outlets and theyíre all doing zombie shows or vampire shows or gritty cop shows or whatever. People are trying different things, like Manhattan.

My friend, Remi Aubuchon is working with Charlie Huston on Powers thatís going to be on PlayStation. And thatís just a wonderful, wonderful series idea. So, itís all over the place and itís really, I think thatís really wonderful. The question is how it will shake out and then the other question is how does that raise the bar for us for the last season?

I think that the pressure has been mounting each year that weíve done Justified. But we honestly try not to think about that too much. We really just are going to be thinking how can we end this series in the most exciting and heartbreaking and true to what weíve done before way that we can?

Simon And one more think, Graham, with Elmore Leonard passing away last year, how is his spirit still being reflected in your scripts and in the show?

Graham His name comes up every day in the writerís room and on set. You know, Tim, Walton, the other cast members talk about him and his work all the time. We really do take seriously the notion of what would Elmore do? And we think about it a lot and we refer to his texts almost as if they were scripture, you know. Itís, well, in Tishomingo Blues he did this, and in Gold Coast he did that and, oh boy, City Primeval.

City Primeval was one of his earlier crime fiction books and we look to that for inspiration a lot this season. Our bad guy had that ability, a Daryl Crowe, Jr., like the bad guy in City Primeval to sort of always get out of the good guyís traps.

Simon Graham, thank you very much. All the best the rest of the way with Justified and what youíve got coming up in the future. And, again, congrats, Stephanie, to you and FX and everybody involved in The Bridge for the Peabody.

Moderator And we will go to the line of Rick Porter with Zap2It. Please go ahead.

Rick Hi, Graham. Thanks for your time this morning. I really appreciate it. Iíve seen the finale. FX sent a link out the other day and I donít want to spoil it for anyone else who maybe hasnít on the call yet, so Iím going to try to ask you to talk around it in asking you this question. It seems like the way things end is a more explicit flow from one season to the next than youíve had in the past.

And Iím curious if you sort of approached, when you decided that you were going to have two more seasons, if you sort of approached those two as one big story as opposed to a discrete sort of season-by-season thing that youíve done in the past?

Graham Yes. I mean, youíre absolutely right and very perceptive on that. Thatís exactly what we did. Leonard Chang, one of the writers, called it pretty early last July when we were talking about Season 5. We found that we couldnít help also talking about Season 6 and we knew by that point that that would be our final season.

And we started discussing, well, how do we want this whole thing to end? Where do we want to go? And Leonard said, you know, maybe we should just be thinking about this one big season thatís divided in two parts. That said, youíve seen the finale.

You know that the Crowe story reaches a conclusion, but the story of Raylan, of Boyd, and of Ava and the office, particularly Rachel and David Vasquez, our U.S. Attorney, that everything, and that would involve Gutterson as well, everything is pointed in a certain direction for next year and that was our goal from pretty early on.

Rick And I donít know if youíve started breaking stories or working on Season 6 yet, but do you have a sense of is it going to be sort of a fairly condensed time frame, like you had this season where Raylan sort of gave himself a deadline there at the end?

Graham Yeah, I mean, itís funny on our show, weíve done the math and the whole thing is really taking place over two years, the five years have. And we also figured out at one point that our show, when it started was taking place in the future because we went on the air in 2010. If you do the math, by various dates that have been shown in the show, that it really should have started in 2012.

But, that aside, we do deal with a pretty condensed time frame. We donít intend to do that. We just find that one story does lead into the next, one episode to the next. So, yes, it will be in that fashion. We imagine that the sixth season will take place over a fairly short period of time, certainly a few weeks, maybe a couple of months.

Rick Okay, thanks.

Moderator And we have a question from Abbie Bernstein with Assignment X. Your line is open.

Abbie Hi. Thanks for doing the call. Iím going to ask you tweaky questions. How much will we see of Art next season?

Graham Weíll see Art. Iíve tried right from the beginning, since Art was shot in the 11th episode of the season, Iíve tried to not be coy at all. Weíre not playing that for suspense. Art lives and he will be a part of things. I will say this, that one of the themes of the final season, as it were, theme might be not exactly the right term for this, but is the notion of one more thing before I go.

And that is certainly the case for Raylan. Itíll also be the case for Boyd and we also think itíll be a case for Art. In talking to our technical advisor, former Chief Deputy in L.A., Charlie Almanza, he said that itís not uncommon for a chief deputy before he retires to say, you know, thereís one more case I want to handle, one more guy I want to get. And that will be part of Artís story.

Abbie And will there be, I mean, Iíve seen the final episode, we know what the season arc is going to entail; will be there be little cases of the week or is it really going to be just the through line set out in the final episode of this season?

Graham You know, itís really our goal to make it more serialized than we have in the past and to make it more one big story. The marching orders I got at the beginning of this series from John Landgraf at FX was that you can do stand alone episodes in the first half of the first season and start really focusing on the serialized aspect and weíve done fewer and fewer stand alone episodes as the series has progressed because, in general, we have the audience that weíre going to have and theyíre relatively loyal, theyíre very loyal and they know the stories.

And so, there was a certain frustration with some of the long-term fans with any stand alone stuff we did this season. And weíve heard that, but we were already intending to go more serialized in the final season anyway, because thatís what we really have to serve is the stories of Raylan, Boyd, Ava and the Marshall.

Abbie Thank you very much.

Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Kara Howlend with TV Goodness. Your line is open.

Kara Hi, Graham. Itís so nice to talk to you.

Graham Oh, thanks for calling.

Kara So, I wanted to go back to Art for a second. Did you guys ever talk about killing him off?

Graham Listen, we have a very freewheeling room, so we talk about stuff all the time. And, yeah, thatíll come up. Itíll come up should we call off Rachel or Tim? Boy, that would really set Raylan on fire. But it just never felt like it was our show. Certainly people die in the show and I think thereís been great heartache and sadness along the way.

But I think that level of heartache is almost, is really kind of outside of our story, or outside of Elmore. Now, that said, weíre heading into the last season. And we still donít know who is going to live and who is going to die. We donít know who, if anyone, will leave Harlan alive. And so, everything is on the table. And if we can find a way to make it work or if it gives us something, if it is really a wonderful character story then anything can happen to anyone in the final season.

Kara Okay. Well, I have to say Iím glad you didnít do it this season, because I donít think I could have forgiven you guys.

Graham Well, honestly, Iíve had those experiences in the past with shows and I think you have to be very careful with that.

Kara Absolutely, so talking about Boyd, I find him such a compelling character and everyone I talk to the show about kind of loves him as well, despite his faults, Iíll say that euphemism. I really find myself rooting for him. Has your opinion or journey for Boyd changed from the beginning of the series?

Graham It has to a degree. I think that one of the things; I remember this phone call I had with Walton, I remember I was in a car, I remember where I was going and I was calling up and saying, ďWalton, weíre think that maybe Boyd Crowder should live,Ē because we were remembering that we killed him when we shot the pilot and then decided to bring him back to life.

And Walton was thrilled. And I remember him talking about other things that Boyd could get involved in. We came up with the idea of him finding religion in that first season. And we like the idea of Boyd getting sort of passionately attached to things.

You know he goes this way, he goes that way. And one of our guiding principles has been something that Elmore said to us when he was watching the episode through the first season, he said about Boyd, ďI donít believe a word he says, but I love to hear him say it.Ē But our thing is that Boyd believes it.

And Boyd is really, the one anchor heís had, the one thing heís had is that he loves Ava. Thatís the most important thing in his life. And yet, he makes certain decisions at the end of this season that sort of makes you wonder how important that is. And youíll see what happens at the end of the season.

If you havenít watched the episode big questions are asked about Boyd and about Ava and thatís stuff that we want to explore next year. So, I think...

Kara I have seen the finale.

Graham ...and weíve evolved and our opinion of him has evolved, but thereís also a degree to which Boyd is always going to be Boyd.

Kara Okay. I donít think Iíd have it any other way. And I have seen the finale. I thought it was great.

Graham Oh, thanks.

Kara So, my final question is about Raylan. Do you think heíll actually ever make it to Florida?

Graham Well, Iíve got to say, thatís still up in the air. Tim was saying a friend of his in watching the show had said, ďMan, I donít know if Raylanís going to live or die,Ē and Tim kind of rubbed his hands together and said, ďFantastic,Ē because we still donít know and weíll find out.

Kara Okay. Well, great. I love the show so much. Thank you.

Graham Oh, thank you.

Moderator And weíll go to the line of Allen St. John representing Please go ahead.

Allen Yeah, Graham, thanks so much for doing this. First question is sort of going forward next year it seems like itís poised for Boyd to sort of be the ďbig bad.Ē On the other hand, as weíve said before, we love Boyd. So, whatís the difficulty there of sort of, again, having him be the main antagonist, but on the other hand somebody that we root for?

Graham Well, I mean thatís been part of the DNA of the show, right from the beginning. You know, Boyd has always been the big bad. Heís always been essentially the white whale for Raylan. And I think Raylan has looked the other way because Boyd has served his purposed at times, but I think that as we see toward the end of this season, Raylanís frustration with that and where Boydís life has taken him and brought him to do things that Raylan is just agog at.

And also the effect itís had on Ava and I think that thatís one of the things we were going for in the penultimate episode. So, itís not going to be easy. We canít just, you know, Raylan is not just going to go shoot Boyd in the first episode of the final season. We have to figure a story.

And thatís one of the reasons we brought Mary Steenburgen in, to create and bring in another world and another thing that Boyd can be involved with for the final season.

Allen And a quick follow-up on something else. Loved to see Wood Harris during the course of the year and it seems like heís part of a sort of larger trend of lots of actors from The Wire getting really nice, meaty parts any number of years after the show stopped and departed. So, talk about, one, Wood, in general, and, in general, the bigger question of why now for these soft of...?

Graham Okay, my phone just beeped and dropped out when you said why now?

Allen Yeah, why now in terms of actors from The Wire sort of getting this second chance here?

Graham You know, thatís interesting. I donít know if there is a why now? I mean, you know as well as anyone that The Wire is esteemed in this sort of hallowed position in the industry, that it is looked at as perhaps, it, The Sopranos, a couple of others along the way, as the highest bar to try to clear.

And so, thereís just always respect for people who have been on it and to get Wood and to get Steve Harris on the show, that was something, that came through Tim. Tim knows them and there was chitchat back and forth, maybe thereís something on the show, would you want to make sure, letís do it.

And then Dave Andron got to work on the episode where they first appear and then he got to write with Leonard Chang the big episode for them, the 9th episode as well. So, it all just kind of worked out and we try to have that kind of faith on the show that we can find something fun for actors to do.

Allen All right. Thanks so much.

Moderator Weíll go to the line of Ben Travers with Indie Wire. Please go ahead.

Ben Thanks for putting me on the call. I just have one question for you. It might seem like kind of a silly one, but fans want to know if youíre thinking about making a movie once this series wraps?

Graham Again, I wonít be coy. Weíve talked about it, but thereís absolutely nothing concrete. Our focus is just so entirely on trying to put together the final season that we havenít really thought beyond that. At the same time, we always think about it.

Now, that would lead you to believe that then Raylan must live, but that is something that, again, because we havenít decided, you know, listen, if he dies then thereís not going to be a movie. Unless itís about Dewey. And we love our Dewey, but it really hasnít been decided. But it also is something that we do talk about.

Ben Well, thank you very much and have a good one.

Moderator Our next question is from Damon Martin with Please go ahead.

Damon Hi, Graham. My question is with so much onus on the whole finale thing, you know, we saw it with Breaking Bad, we saw it just the other day with How I Met Your Mother. How much pressure is there to deliver that final moment, that final scene and is that something in the long-term planning you guys have already thought about?

Graham Yeah, itís something weíve thought about almost from the beginning, but itís something that changes year-by-year. Ideas we had for the ending two years ago donít really sort of work with what weíre thinking now. But at the same time over this past year I had an idea about, letís say about a year ago or a little less than a year ago for how the series could end.

And then, kind of we moved on from that into another version. But a couple of weeks ago we all gathered the writers and we went back to the previous one, so we still donít know what weíre going to do. And you just hope that you come up with something that works. I had the incredible pleasure of sitting at a table with Bob Newhart back in September and I asked him, because the end of Newhart is one of the best endings in the history of television and I said, ďWho came up with that?Ē And he pointed to his wife. It was her idea.

And so, you hope, we just hope that we come up with something that really satisfies people. Itís funny, the ending for The Sopranos disappointed so many people and yet, in retrospect and over the years people have kind of started to nod and say, well, you know what, maybe that was just perfect for that show and those characters.

So, itís hard to say. We donít want to do a snow globe like St. Elsewhere, although I was one of the people who actually loved that ending because ultimately what does it matter? The series is over. It doesnít change all the episodes that came before. You try to come up with something that seems to hold the whole thing together. And, yeah, weíll see what we do.

Damon Would you say that with this finale episode and then going in that there is, I remember talking to Kurt Sutter with Sons of Anarchy and he said, ďYou know, I had the idea of the last shot of the show for a while now. How we get there is what I needed to figure out.Ē How much in the broad story have you guys kind of thought about the story? Is that something in stone right now, or is it something youíre still working on as far as how this final season will go?

Graham Itís something weíre still working. As I said, Iíve had ideas for the last show as well, but theyíve changed over the years and weíll see what really works with the story that we come up with for next season. We always have targets, we have goals. Like early on in the first season we said, yeah, letís get Boyd and Raylan on the same side of the gunfight. And that became our goal and we ended up with ďBulletville.Ē

With Season 2, once Mags poisoned the guy in the first episode I thought, well, thatís the way this season has to end, with Mags poisoning herself. So, weíll come up with those targets and then like Kurt says, you just have to figure out how to get there. And at the same time have the flexibility to let the targets change.

We had a goal early on in this season. We wanted to see Boyd and Raylan working together again and they did in the penultimate episode. But, boy, the take away from that was very different than I think what we had first imagined. It became far more acrimonious and fraught than we had first thought.

Damon My last question; you mentioned that there are a lot of questions during, on the Reddit AMA, about guest stars for the final season. You said multiple times it would feel wrong not to bring back characters like Limehouse and different people. Is there an expectation of that for the final season, you now, because, obviously, itís going to be a different story than what we have right now, but at the same time Iíve got to imagine that the main focus is always going to remain on Raylan and Boyd and how thatís going to conclude.

Graham Yes, youíre absolutely right. And the danger is that it becomes a farewell tour. So, oh, thereís that guy from Season 2 or thereís that woman from Season 3. And thereís part of me that loves that and wants to do that because I have a sentimental attachment and I think a lot of us on the show do to a lot of these characters, but at the same time, having seen that done in other shows, we know that it doesnít deliver what you hoped it would deliver and that just boiling it down to the main characters of Raylan, Boyd and Ava and the Marshall, that thatís what the story comes down to.

Damon Awesome. Thanks so much.

Moderator And we will go to the line of Bruce Eisen with HereTV. Please go ahead, sir.

Bruce Good morning. We were talking a little earlier about it kind of being a golden age of TV and Iím wondering when youíre not busy working what, if anything, do you like to watch?

Graham You know, I only watch FX shows because thatís part of my deal. No, but I do watch a lot of FX shows. Iím a big fan of the other dramas, but also their comedies. Iíve been watching Sunny for a long time and Archer, I love what Adam Reed did this year with the reboot of that show. A big show for my son, who, at first I was resistant was Game of Thrones because I was a big science fiction fantasy reader back when I was younger, but sort of didnít want to get back into that again.

But then he said, no, youíve got to watch the first episode. And once Jaime Lannister tossed Bran out the window, I was in. And so Iím really looking forward to the fourth season of that. My wife and I watched True Detective and really got hooked by that. But I donít watch everything. The writers room is big enough that between all the writers at least someone is watching, in toto everything gets watched. So, we have a sense of whatís going on out there.

Bruce And on FX do you watch The Americans and/or Louie?

Graham Well, The Americans Iím part of, so I maintain that I have one of the best jobs in television. I get to hear pitches from Joe Weisberg and Joel Field on episodes, I get to read first drafts of scripts and I get to see early cuts. So, that is the coolest thing because I love that show and Iím just so happy to have any relation to it.

Louie, I think that at times Louie is the best thing thatís ever been on television and that will sound hyperbolic, but there have been episodes where Iíve just been laughing and crying in the whole thing and just agog. I do think that looking back people will say, wow, that was maybe the best thing. Itís just such a tremendous show and thatís one of the great reasons to be at FX is the fact that Louis (C.K.) would say, you know, Iím tired I want to take a year off and they kind of shrug and say okay.

What a wonderful place to be that there is that freedom.

Bruce Do you think thereís anything of interest on broadcast or could there be?

Graham I think there could be. Listen, itís a weird world where thereís only, by the sort the commentariatís review, thereís one good show on broadcast, which is The Good Wife. Although Iíve heard a lot of really good things about Crisis. I havenít watched that. That is the kind of show that intrigues me. I like a really, good, smart action adventure thriller.

Iím really looking forward to Season 2 of Orphan Black, by the way. Thatís another show I follow. But I think there could be. Itís interesting, Iíve been talking to Noah Wylie about some things and, listen, he was on ER and that was about as good as television gets at times, especially in the first seven, eight, nine, 10 seasons. And thatís a long run. And it went even longer than that.

And the thing was even by the end ER was still really strong. People just got used to it. That was the only problem. And there was a period when ER and West Wing were on at the same time. That was pretty great television. So, I think that networks can do that and find the big, broad appeal shows. Itís just except for Good Wife it hasnít been done recently.

Bruce Well, thank you, Graham. Appreciate it.

Moderator Our next question today comes from the line of Daniel Calvisi with Act Four Screenplays. Please go ahead.

Daniel Hi. First, itís actually Daniel Calvisi.

Graham Okay, hey, Daniel.

Daniel Hey, Graham. Me again. I have a request. Can you tell your buddy John Landgraf to lock down Natalie Zea, pay her whatever she needs to quit her 50 other TV shows and just play Winona next season?

Graham You know, itís so funny. Back in the first season and then for the second season there were camps. There was Team Ava and Team Winona. That was back in the days of the early Twilight movies and all that Second Day crap, but anyway, itís so funny how itís evolved because there were times when people were, they always loved Natalie and just thought she was doing a brilliant job, but didnít enjoy Winona entirely.

And it became truly one of our goals, because we like Winona. We thought Winona was speaking truth to this pretty messed up guy and loved him nonetheless. And so we made it our goal to rehabilitate Winona and really capping it with her and Raylan firing guns in the nursery in the last episode of Season 4.

So, yeah, itís kind of a story thing, too. We just need to sort of figure out where weíre going and when, if Raylan gets to Florida and what the relationship is going to be. If you have not seen the last episode this season thereís a moment between them, another Skype call that I think sort of indicates at least down deep what their emotional connection is. Yeah, we love Natalie. So, weíll see.

Daniel Well, you know, if youíre thinking about that final image, what about Raylan walking onto South Beach and Winona is there in a tiny bikini and they just embrace and then fade out.

Graham Really, thatís what it comes down to? Thereís the other half of our audience who would want to make sure that Tim was shirtless at that point.

Daniel Yeah, you can throw that in, too.

Graham Yeah, you know, listen this is the thing. And I think one of the realities is this is the question about the last image, the last scene, the last episode is that no matter what we do there are going to be a lot of people who are going to be disappointed. And our hope is that we do something that we think is good and right.

I had breakfast with Damon Lindelof a couple of months ago and Iím one of the people, actually I like the way Lost ended, but then again, Iím someone who really kind of goes with whatever the people doing the show are doing. Itís sort of like, well, Iíve entrusted you with this for a long time and I like what youíre doing, so if you choose to end it this way, then I think that thatís right and good.

That said, I didnít like the end of Seinfeld.

Daniel Okay. And, yeah, on a serious note I think you should just say screw all the Internet haters and the critics. End the show how you want to end it and who cares? Itís your show.

Graham Honestly, we never sort of say screw them, but we do say, okay, I hear what people are saying. What can we do? We donít become obsessive about it, we donít read a lot of stuff. But, for example, I was very concerned about the cigarette pack bomb in the 11th episode. That was my idea, there was a lot of hemming and hawing over that, whether it was ludicrous or wonderful.

And so, one of the other writers, V.J. Boyd texted me while that episode was airing and said, ďTwitter likes the cigarette pack bomb.Ē And I honestly went, whew, fantastic because I really didnít know how that was going to play. So, we are always like anyone in this business looking for approval. But was also really try to do stuff where we look at each other and go, that was cool.

Daniel It must be different in the age of social media to be writing and producing these shows than the work you were doing.

Graham Oh, itís completely different. Twenty years ago you didnít get every episode reviewed. You got a review at the beginning of the season or the beginning of a series and maybe a couple of times from then on and that was about it.

Daniel Has that changed at all how you write?

Graham Itís totally changed and people on our show follow that and say, you know, like Iíve heard this year that our fans are tired of the stand alones. They just want the serialized. So, we pay attention to that.

Daniel Okay, great. Thank you.

Moderator Our next question comes from Suzanne Lanoue with TV MegaSite.

Suzanne Hi, again. Itís funny because I actually like the stand alones.

Graham Well, there you go. And we do, too. And I think that some of our best episodes over the years have been stand alones.

Suzanne Well, because it was mostly Raylan, for one thing, when you had the stand alone. Thatís why I liked it.

Graham Mostly Raylan. I think that one of the things that weíve always tried to do is that even if itís a stand alone it advances something in terms of Raylanís story or the larger story of the season or itís something that weíll bring back in later on and it will have an effect. So, nothing is completely a stand along on this show.

Suzanne Right. I was going to ask you a question about, Iíve always like the relationship between Raylan and Rachel and I was wondering if youíve ever thought of going with them as a couple?

Graham You know, I got asked that on the Reddit AMA and, you know, and the thing that popped into my head was Mary Richards on the Mary Tyler Moore show, the later season that she and Lou Grant go on a date and they actually kiss and then they both break into laughter. Listen, again, we talk about every character dying, we talk about every character kissing Raylan, Raylan kissing them and, yeah, there is fun stuff between Raylan and Rachel and the question becomes is that something that feels right?

What can we get from it? Is it entertaining? Does it feel Elmore? And thatís a big thing. And if it does feel Elmore, because Elmore loves men and women who both get the joke and just really like each other, but weíll see.

Suzanne Okay. And you mentioned Crisis, I was wondering do you think that itís harder on the so-called regular networks to do these shows where the story is so involved you have to watch every week and they hope that everybody is tuning in, but then people donít and so they sort of get lost? I mean you hope that the show is going to be Lost, but a lot of times people just donít watch the show and they end up canceling it. It seems like the old shows where they had, everything was episodic it might have been easier for people to tune in and they didnít have to worry so much about it.

Graham Youíre absolutely right. I think that sums it up. What could the networks do? How does it work? And one of the things about Lost is that its ratings were so huge in the first season that even though it probably fell off year-by-year, it started from such a high point that even falling off left it with a good chunk of viewers. And thatís harder for other shows starting out. You donít know if youíre going to get that.

Suzanne Yeah, it seems to work fine with cable because you donít have to worry as much about how many viewers you have if you only have 10 episodes a season, five seasons, whatever. But with the networks if theyíre not good in three episodes like Crisis, which I like, it seems, okay, itís canceled. Itís like, what?

Graham Right. And that is one of the burdens of being a network. And the trick is finding that balance.

Suzanne I had another question, but Iíve forgotten. Well, thank you very much.

Graham And one quick second, everyone. Iím just going to pick up this other phone. No, you know what, Iíll just let it go.

Moderator Weíll go to the line of Sheldon Wiebe with Please go ahead.

Sheldon One of the biggest themes in the show right from the get-go has been family and it seems like itís more than most other cop or crime shows. Raylan has three families. Heís got his dysfunctional original family, heís got his slightly less dysfunctional surrogate family in the office and then heís got his former girlfriend and daughter. Then thereís the family Boydís tried to make for himself and then weíve had crime families like Dennis and the Crowes. Thereís even a quasi-familial relationship between Raylan and Boyd.

Could you talk to us about...

Graham One quick second. Sorry about that everyone. So, the family.

Sheldon Yeah, could you talk to us about the importance of the family to the series and how that has evolved over its run and will continue to evolve through to the finale of the show?

Graham Yeah, itís been a big part of the show, obviously, and I think that part of it comes from the region. Listen, I think family is important everywhere in the world and I think that that is one thing to always keep in mind that no region has a particular ownership of that story.

That said, the notion of family and clan is very important in Appalachia. And thatís something that we gravitated to, especially in the second season and the notion of a feud between Raylanís family and the Bennett family. But then that also sort of brought up the notion of Raylanís family and Boydís family and that there was a bond and a rivalry in that kind of thing.

And then, yes, the notion that Art has, from the beginning what Iíve mentioned earlier, Raylanís good father and that his true family, his family of choice; so itís his family of origin, that he had no choice over, but his family of choice has been the Marshal service. And so thatís the one that we could really see the fractures in and the problems of what it means to be Raylan and what it means to work with someone like Raylan.

So, you nailed it. You picked out all the families in the history of the show and so, yes, that will be a big part of the final season. And I think you see things in these last episodes of this season about Raylan and his Marshall family sort of coming together after the great fracture that happened in the middle of the season.

Sheldon Terrific. Thanks very much.

Moderator And we have a question from the line of Abbie Bernstein with Assignment X. Your line is open.

Abbie Hi, one more tweaky question.

Graham Sure, go, Abbie.

Abbie You changed who sings the song at the end of the season. Why did you do that? What does it signify?

Graham Well, actually, you want the full history?

Abbie Sure.

Graham Okay. So, at the end of the first season we used Brad Paisley. And then we thought of going off his version at the end of the second season, but went with Brad again, just a shorter version. We didnít use the song in the third season. And then last year we had Dave Alvin record it. And Dave is a friend of the show. He actually performed in the third season.

And then we always thought if, and this is giving a little bit of a spoiler to anyone who hasnít seen the last episode, but I think everyone knows that weíre headed with something with Ava and I thought that if we ever ended a season where Avaís predicament was at the forefront it would be good to have a female version.

And we listened to a bunch and just Ruby Friedmanís version with its percussiveness and the sort opening of it, itís just kind of ethereal a cappella stuff just seemed absolutely right and we actually wrote that scene and designed that scene to use her version.

Abbie Well, great. Thank you.

Moderator Weíll go to the line of Ernie Estrella representing the Please go ahead.

Ernie Hi, Graham. Good to speak with you again.

Graham You got it, Ernie.

Ernie I was wondering, one of the side characters that Iíve always been fascinated with is Loretta McCready and she seems like someone who I would actually like to follow after the series is done. Iím always wondering what sheís up to. Can you talk about being able to use her throughout these last couple of seasons and sprinkling her in, you know, any kind of other inspiration that that character is giving?

Graham Itís obvious from the second season on that weíve always looked for something to do with Loretta. We just fell in love with the character, but more importantly with Kaitlyn. She is just an amazing actor. And so, we just always, when we were breaking the season we ask ourselves is there anything for Loretta this season?

And for this season, because one of the issues has been Raylan and parenthood we thought, well, who better than Loretta to sort of shine a light on that? Whether or not we see her next year, we donít know. But, yeah, Iím really glad you like to think about her and where sheís going and what sheís doing because we love her, too. Hello?

Ernie Iím here.

Stephanie Graham, Iím here.

Graham Did I drop off for a bit?

Stephanie No, I donít know if the other line, is Tom there, from AT&T?

Moderator Certainly. I just thought he was going to follow up. I was waiting.

Graham Yeah, it was weird.

Ernie Iím here.

Graham Oh, there he is. He just must have muted for a second.

Moderator Okay, weíre all good.

Stephanie Okay, so weíll have him ask the follow-up and then the last question will be the next question. Okay? Thanks.

Ernie So, my follow-up is that being that Justified is a cop show, and there are so many out there, but has there ever been any idea or any story that had to be scrapped because of something thatís been done in another cop show? Has that ever kind of come across your desk?

Graham We get into things and the writers will say, oh, you know, they did that on Breaking Bad. And thatís what we heard a lot, damn that Breaking Bad, that Vince Gilligan and his team. So, I canít think of any specifics.

But there were also real concerns at the beginning of this season about Ava in prison in the world of Orange Is The New Black. But we had her in jail and then in prison and there was nothing that we could do about that. And so, we just had to do it anyway and just kind of put blinders on and pretend that the other show didnít exist.

Ernie Okay, great. Thanks, again.

Moderator Our final question today comes from the line of Melissa Girimonte with The TeleVixen.

Melissa Hi, Graham, itís a pleasure to speak with you today. Iíve always been fascinated with the character of Ava and back when she was introduced in the first season I didnít realize that she was going to be such an integral part of the series. At what point did you realize that there was more to this character and that she would have this lasting power throughout multiple seasons of the show?

Graham Listen, we decided very early on that she would be a part of the series. We just loved what Joelle was doing. We thought the character of Ava was really fun and interesting and so, we started off with her as Raylanís girlfriend. And then we though, you know what, letís play with that. Letís have that break apart and then the question became how does Ava stay a part of the show? And we went for the idea of her linking up with Boyd.

And that then gave her a position for the rest of the series. But a lot of that was just predicated on loving Joelle and just wanting her to be part of the show.

Melissa Okay. And is it intentional you keep putting her through so many terrible things? It just seems like every year sheís got, she seems to go through the most I think, like in terms of physical abuse.

Graham She really does and as much as we love Joelle, we also like to torment her. The whole decision to cut her hair was a big deal to see and we went back and forth on that a lot and she was just such a game player and said, yeah, letís do it. But the goal of this season was to see Ava on her own and how she would survive. And she does survive.

Melissa Well, thatís excellent. Thank you so much.

Graham You got it. Thanks, everyone.

Stephanie Thank you so much, Graham. And, again, the transcript will be available within 72 hours. Weíll send it out to you and, as a reminder, the finale airs Tuesday at 10:00 on FX.

Graham Thanks, again, everyone. Bye.

Moderator And ladies and gentlemen that does conclude our conference for today. Thank you for your participation and using the AT&T Executive Teleconference Service. You may now disconnect.

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