Do you have a timeframe in mind for the final season, in terms of how much time is going to pass? Because "Justified" time is much shorter than real time.

Graham Yost: I think VJ did a timeline once, and we found out a couple of things. There have been a couple of jumps. This season was supposed to start essentially a couple months after the end of season 4. But other than those jumps, everything takes place in a very condensed timeframe. We just find we end an episode and we want to start the next one the next day. Especially as we get into more serialized storytelling.

So should we not be expecting Art to come back to work?

Graham Yost: Well, there might be a jump. It might pick up a few weeks later. It is our plan to have him come back to that office; we're just not sure when.

Where did the idea to have the Harris brothers play brothers come from?
 
Graham Yost: It came from Tim. Tim and Dave. Tim knows them. I think the same manager.

Did you wind up using them more than originally planned?

Graham Yost: They were really good. My standard line is that unless you actually see the doctor pronounce someone dead on "Justified," you don't know, so Jay and Roscoe could come back. It ended up working great. We had initially a different plan for that episode, where it was going to be one brother trying to avenge the death of the other brother, and they weren't interested in that. Which opened us up for that episode where they're teaming up.

Why did Allison break up with Raylan so abruptly?

Graham Yost: That was something we kicked around a lot. I wasn't entirely satisfied with the resolution of that, and tracking her logic and why she says "No." This is what we intended, and whether or not we dramatized it perfectly is another question, but our intention was that first of all, she says to him at the end of the sixth episode, "You're the guy who runs into the burning building, but I get the feeling you're setting the fires." And she's been saying that from the beginning. He is the cause of all the problems in his life, which Raylan absolutely can't see. In the eighth, when he says, "Let's go to Florida," it is a weird ask, to go visit his ex-wife and baby. She's game, but she's not jumping up and down. Our feeling was she's thinking, "Okay. Maybe I said you should change, and you're trying to change, and I should support that." But by the end of the episode, she's saying, "What am I doing?" We thought it was more interesting that they not be in a great place for what happens after with Art getting shot protecting her.

You sent off some significant characters this year. Boyd kills Johnny and it appears Dewey is going to prison for a very long time. Did you feel like you had to clear the decks of some familiar people before the final season began?

Graham Yost: Those are two separate things. David Meunier (who plays Johnny) is getting more and more work, and keeping him on the show was getting more difficult. So we made a deal with him that we would give Johnny a big exit if he came back for part of the season. And on the storytelling side, it was about how much more we could get out of the Boyd and Johnny dynamic. It felt like we had gone as far as we could go. It was my choice to not have a big speechifying scene before Boyd killed him. It was my choice to have them do that earlier in the episode when they're at the big house, and it was just matter of fact and in the moment, rather than making a big deal out of Boyd shooting him.

With Dewey, we sat him on the bench in the fourth season. He was really the impetus for the whole season, talking about Dewey Crowe and what we could do with Dewey. It started from talking about Dewey to wanting to bring in more Crowes, because Elmore loved his Crowes. Whether he goes to prison forever or not, we'll see. I did design that last scene between Raylan and Dewey, where he's being put in the squad car, to echo their first encounter in the pilot, where after the discussion about "the third person," Dewey says, "Man, I don't understand you," which was one of his lines in the pilot. So if he doesn't come back, they had closure.

Was there ever a point in the run of the show where you thought the Raylan/Boyd confrontation was going to come sooner? Or, once you decided to let Boyd survive the shootout in the pilot, did you always intend it to be the concluding story?

Graham Yost: I think pretty early on, we knew it would come back down to the two of them, and Ava.

Alan Sepinwall may be reached at sepinwall@hitfix.com
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