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Interview with Graham Yost of
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Suzanne Well, great. I also loved The Powers That Be
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Graham Well, honestly, Iíve had those experiences in the
past with shows and I think you have to be very careful with
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
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
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
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
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 Forbes.com. 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
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
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
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
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
NerdCoreMovement.com. 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Suzanne Hi, again. Itís funny because I actually like the
Graham Well, there you go. And we do, too. And I think that
some of our best episodes over the years have been stand
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
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
Moderator Weíll go to the line of Sheldon Wiebe with
Eclipsemagazine.com. 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
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
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
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?
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
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 BuzzFocus.com. 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,
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
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
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