As Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, Timothy Olyphant embodies a modern-day cowboy, right down to the Stetson. The trigger-happy lawman of the FX hit Justified is based on the protagonist from Elmore Leonard’s short story “Fire in the Hole,” but Olyphant has had a hand in Raylan’s development throughout the show’s second season. “I’m very involved in the show, in ways that I probably have no business being,” says the actor, who signed on as a producer after season one. “I enjoy it. Someone gave me a TV show, I figured I’d have as much fun as possible.” Vulture talked with Olyphant about what to expect from tonight’s finale, his guest stint onThe Office, and why Lakers fans need to stop whining.
It feels like this whole season has been building up to a legendary showdown. The episode title alone, “Bloody Harlan,” is a hint of what’s to come—
Somebody’s going to stub a toe.
Sure, that’s all.
Someone’s going to need a Band-Aid.
Got any highlights you want to share about the episode?
I’m not sure I do. My job description is not giving away endings, you know? What can I tell you? I’ve seen it, and there’s a lot of good stuff. We’re very proud of the season, and the finale has what the best episodes of the season have: some great writing, great storytelling, great performances. I’m not beating around the bush, I just don’t know how to talk about it without telling you things you don’t want to know.
Last season’s finale — with its epic shoot-out that found Raylan and Boyd on the same side — was a big one, so this week has a lot to live up to.
My way of thinking is, well, we did that, so let’s not do it again. Nobody wants that. Even though they think they do, they don’t. And at the same time, let’s just try to live out this story as dramatically and interestingly as possible. The characters this season were just so rich and so great, and the ones that don’t stick around will be missed.