Raylan goes to see Boyd Crowder in prison.He’s still angry at his father Arlo and wants to know if Boyd has any dirt on him that could put him away.Boyd agrees to look into it.
The next morning, Raylan’s in his hotel room with Ava when his boss Art comes to the door.Raylan’s careful Art doesn’t see Ava when he slips out, but later, in the car, he all but admits he’s sleeping with Ava.Art’s furious, sleeping with a witness in a shooting involving himself, this could be a real black eye for both Raylan and the marshals.
Raylan and Art are on their way to visit an art dealer in Cincinnati as part of an ongoing case against Owen Carnes, a crooked Madoffesque money manager.Owen is trying to sell some valuable paintings, and as the marshals are very close to confiscating all of Owen’s possessions, any proceedings from this art sale also belong to the Marshals Service.
Raylan and Art show up at Owen’s sprawling ranch along with the art dealer, Karl Hanselmann.As Karl analyzes the paintings, Raylan and Art discover to their shock these paintings are supposedly by Adolf Hitler!Karl owns dozens of Hitler paintings, and will purchase these if they turn out to be authentic.
While Karl looks at the art, Raylan takes a stroll through the property and meets Owen’s much younger wife, Caryn.Caryn was just a riding instructor for Owen’s kids before Owen left his first wife for her.Now she’s clearly broken up about the prospect of losing her newfound life of ease and riches if Owen is convicted.
Raylan returns to the house to find Owen furious.Karl says these aren’t real Hitler paintings, but fairly poor forgeries.
That night, Owen’s summoned Caryn’s art dealer, David Mortimer, to the house.He’s chewing him out about selling him fake Hitler paintings when Greg, the horse trainer, sneaks up behind him and kills him with an antique Luger.David is shocked, but Caryn and Greg quickly go about making the death look like a suicide.Caryn’s been having an affair with Greg, and she figures the marshals can’t convict a dead man, or confiscate his money and estate.Owen discovering the Hitlers were fakes was only a slight hiccup.Caryn had indeed enlisted David to sell her husband fakes, splitting the profits with him, but she’s got David over a barrel, because if he tells anyone about the murder, she’ll reveal he swindled Owen.
The morning the police discover Owen’s body, Luger in hand, and the fake Hitler paintings gone, apparently burnt in the fireplace.Raylan’s not so sure it’s a suicide, though.Normally in suicides the gun falls from the victim’s hand, but in this case Owen’s still got a pretty firm grasp on it.
Later that day, Raylan’s ex-wife Winona comes to his office to ask for a favor.She wants him to run some names, but she won’t say why.Raylan agrees.After looking into the names, Raylan sees something suspicious enough to warrant a visit to Winona’s husband Gary’s real estate office.Raylan insinuates to Gary that he knows Gary might be up to something not quite ethical, and if Gary endangers Winona in any way there will be consequences.
As he continues to investigate Owen’s death, Raylan discovers those weren’t the fake Hitlers in the fireplace, after all.The remains aren’t the right kind of paint.Raylan figures something fishy is going on, and he confronts Caryn, spooking her.
It turns out, Caryn kept the paintings in order to always have some blackmail material on David Mortimer.She goes to Greg after Raylan confronts her and tells him they’ll have to kill David, just in case.Not long after Caryn leaves Greg, though, Raylan shows up to talk to him.He encourages Greg to ask himself “where does it end?”Once you’ve killed one person, and then you’re forced into killing another… Does it ever end?
That night, Caryn and Greg lure David to the barn.Greg puts a gun on him, ready to take him out, but hesitates.He asks Caryn the same thing Raylan asked him.“Where does it end?”Angry, Caryn tries to convince Greg to go through with it, incriminating herself in the process.That’s when Raylan and the police step out of the shadows.Greg was wearing a wire.
The next day Raylan goes to see Karl, the Hitler art collector, to tie up some loose ends.At Karl’s urging, Raylan reluctantly agrees to take a look at Karl’s Hitler collection.Karl takes him into a back room containing no paintings, but instead shelf after shelf of jars with what looks to be ash inside them.Karl explains that his father was part of the Third Reich, and that one of his fondest memories was of going throughout Germany on behalf of Hitler and buying up the art he had produced in his youth.Karl hated his father, and now he buys Hitlers wherever he can find them, then he burns them.
Later, Raylan goes to Boyd again and tells him he’s changed his mind, he doesn’t want anything on Arlo.Boyd wants to know if he’s sure, because he’s found a something out that could put Arlo away for the rest of his life.
Toiling away down in the windowless rat-maze of Business Affairs, we see all sorts of crazy ideas for shows come down through the pneumatic tubes by which we communicate with the outside world. Our job is to turn those ideas into contracts so uniform you can’t tell one show from the next. But every now and then, a show catches your interest and you follow it’s progress.
A show set in the South caught my eye. I grew up eating grits and butter beans, and my mama panfried a cornbread that could kill a man in more ways than three, and that’s no joke. But TV has a sour history of depicting Southerners in ways that are, shall we say, less than complex.
Ever since Walter Brennan crabbed about Pepino’s work habits on “The Real McCoys,” TV has made a fortune off the “dumb hick” shtick. Whether it’s the town drunk Otis checking himself into his jail cell on “The Andy Griffith Show,” or Granny on “The Beverly Hillbillies” doing laundry in the cement pond, or Arnold Ziffel inheriting a million dollars on “Green Acres,” or Cooter and Boss Hogg getting tangled up in another scheme on “The Dukes of Hazzard,” the googly-eyed redneck has a been a cheap source of laughs for generations. Even “The Simpsons” skewers a clan of inbred yokels headed by Cletus and Brandine.
It doesn’t matter that Ma Kettle always ends up being wisest in the end. The first sting is what everyone remembers – the urban sophisticates laughing at the bumpkin with corn on his chin. So I watched this show carefully, given it’s about a lawman rounding up crooks. How goofy, exactly, are the crooks gonna be? Cooter goofy? Otis goofy?
Allow me to digress on Elmore Leonard a spell. Now, unlike Ian Fleming or Chuck Norris, Leonard isn’t interested in criminal masterminds who command minions with their psychotic genius. Leonard likes the minion, the kind of criminal who gets caught, and the kind of lawman who winds up locked in the trunk of his own cruiser before catching him. We may imagine we could be Dr. Evil if we had the opportunity, but Leonard sees what we would really turn out to be, if it came to that – the deer in the headlights kind of crook, whose first success comes by dumb luck and the kind of violence we’d immediately regret. It’s the same whether it’s Vegas, or L.A., or New York, or Harlan, KY. Most criminals get caught by their own stupid panic, and lawmen catch them with cool-headed patience, tedious detail work and, well, also dumb luck.
As Flannery O’Connor once put it, a bad child is hard to endure, but more interesting to read about. “Justified” is a show about bad children all growed up – more or less. Criminals and lawmen, the Elmore Leonard kind. That means that most of the populace of Harlan County, the decent, honest, funny, serious, hard-working or hard-luck good people of rural Kentucky, are not going to show up as characters except on the sidelines, gawking along with the rest of us at the clucks who thought they could get away with it. And often as not, the clucks are Yankees who scorn their neighbors but are no better or smarter for all that. They get caught too.
The sensible, intelligent and witty folk like Raylan, Art, Rachel, Tim, Winona and even Ava (bit trigger happy, she) round out the picture and form the savvy fabric that holds the show – and the South – together. And if the crooks behave in ways that are, on occasion, goofy, they are individuals, not types, and some even make a peculiarly crooked kind of sense. Because still, the show’s being made for FX’s lineup, where the lines between legal and not, moral and necessary, are more smudged than clear. It’s a show about good guys for a change – without being TOO uplifting.
Raylan and Rachel have been on a stakeout for 3 days, looking for a fugitive named Wilson Toomey.They’re outside his ex-wife’s house, but they haven’t caught a glimpse of Wilson, and therefore have no grounds to go inside looking for him.Raylan decides to get a closer look.He dons a baseball cap, goes to the front door and tells Toomey’s ex-wife Sonya that he’s a man down on his luck, looking to do a little yard work in exchange for food.While Raylan goes about the yard work, he tries to get a peek in the windows/doors, but doesn’t see any sign of Toomey the first day.
Meanwhile, in Harlan, Raylan’s father Arlo breaks into one of the homes he rents out and starts destroying the tenants’ belongings with a baseball bat.He then phones 911, reporting his own break-in anonymously.When Sheriff Hunter shows up, he finds Arlo asleep on the sofa.Sheriff Hunter brings the tenant, Stan Perkins, in to try and settle with Arlo.Arlo claims that Perkins doesn’t pay his rent, which Perkins disputes.Arlo knees Perkins in the balls and subsequently gets carted off to jail.After the police have left, Perkins goes into a closet and opens a secret compartment.There’s nothing inside, but from the look on Perkins face, there should be.
That night, Raylan’s in bed with Ava when she gets a call on her cell, only the call is for Raylan!It’s his Aunt Helen, currently his stepmother, calling to get Raylan’s help bailing Arlo out of jail.
While Raylan is at the jail bailing Arlo out, Helen gets a visit from Stan Perkins and a couple of thugs he calls his nephews.They start ransacking the house, Stan claiming Arlo stole something from him.When Helen slashes at Perkins with a knife, the nephews defend him, knocking Helen to the ground.
Arlo and Raylan return to Arlo’s house to find the place a mess and Helen roughed up.Arlo’s furious, says he’s going to go after Stan and the nephews.Helen tries to calm him down.She asks for Raylan’s help, but Raylan’s already out the door.Helen goes after him, privately reveals to Raylan that Arlo had a heart attack a couple of years ago.She’s worried about him.
After Raylan’s gone back to Lexington, Arlo goes to a diner, finds the nephews, and beats the crap out of them with a baseball bat.As he’s beating them, though, he’s suddenly hit with another heart attack.
Back in Lexington, Raylan continues doing yard work at the Toomey house.He gets inside the house by telling Sonya he needs to use the bathroom.Wilson Toomey, the fugitive he’s been looking for, is indeed inside.Raylan pulls him aside and reveals he’s a U.S. marshal.He tells Toomey he’d rather not have to arrest him there in front of his young kids, but Toomey resists.After a brief fistfight, Raylan gets him to the ground and cuffs him.That’s when Sonya comes around the corner with a shotgun, the kids right behind her.Raylan is able to talk her down, though, explaining that he’s got no wish to see those kids parentless.
Raylan goes back to Harlan as soon as he hears about Arlo’s heart attack.He visits Arlo in the hospital and warns him to be careful about Perkins.Sheriff Hunter’s revealed to Raylan that Perkins used to be a drug trafficker.Raylan then goes to see Johnny Crowder, local low-life and cousin to Boyd Crowder.Raylan finds out from Johnny that Perkins is not only a one-time drug-trafficker, he’s in fact still dealing oxycontin in the Harlan area.
Armed with this information, Raylan goes to Perkins’ house.Perkins lets him in without protest, and in the secret compartment in the closet, Raylan finds a bag of Oxy.Perkins swears that wasn’t there earlier.That last time he checked the compartment was empty, because Arlo had stolen $75,000 dollars in Oxy from that very compartment the night he busted up the place.
Raylan goes back to the hospital and confronts Arlo and Helen.He’s figured out that Arlo probably stole the Oxy, then came back to Perkins’ house, busted it up and called the cops himself so he’d be found there with nothing on him, making it look like there’s no way he could’ve been the one who took the drugs.Raylan’s also figured out that the bag of drugs he himself found at Perkins’ that night was probably in fact planted, just as Perkins said it was – planted by Helen, since Arlo was in the hospital.Arlo and Helen arranged the entire situation so that not only would they get the drugs, but Raylan would get Perkins out of the way.The only thing they hadn’t planned on was Arlo’s second heart attack.Helen tells Raylan that maybe this whole thing could’ve been prevented if Raylan had just gone to see Arlo when he first got to Kentucky instead of continuing to exclude him from his life.This whole situation took place partly because Arlo was just plain mad at Raylan.He just wanted to see him.
Enjoy the interview below with “Justified” Staff Writer Benjamin Cavell!
Q: What’s your favorite thing about writing for Justified?!
A: I love being able to collaborate with such a smart, talented group of writers; it’s really a pleasure to sit in the Room every day — as a novelist (which is what I’ve been for the last eight-plus years), you spend most of your professional life by yourself, don’t get to feed off that kind of collective creative energy. Also, I love getting to write Elmore Leonard dialogue!
Q: Were you a big Elmore Leonard fan prior to writing for the show?
A: I’ve been a huge Elmore fan for as long as I can remember. I think every American writer — even ones with a subject and style completely different from his — ought to know Elmore’s work, because it expands one’s understanding of what’s possible. In that way, he’s like Hemingway or Faulkner.
Q: You wrote the recent episode “Fixer,” in which Raylan goes up against a thug intent on outdrawing him. Are you a big fan of westerns, and is it accurate to call Justified a modern-day western?
A: I am a big fan of Westerns, and I suppose in some sense Justified is a modern-day western — obviously, the hero wears a cowboy hat and outdraws bad guys — but Raylan is also self-conscious to an extent (he knows that he dresses and behaves in an anachronistic way and he has made a choice to be what he is), which is not a quality one associates with the classic Western hero. In the movies at least, John Wayne was just born John Wayne; he never made a decision to become that person.
Q: How has the Kentucky backdrop inspired you as a writer?
A: This may sound strange given my last answer, but one of the things that really appeals to me about Harlan County as a setting is that it may be the closest thing we have in modern America to the wild west: in part because it demands a level of self-reliance from its residents, because it’s isolated… By the way, in case anyone thinks I might be exaggerating… I suggest they search for articles about the murder of Paul L. Browning, Jr., a former Harlan County sheriff who’d been kicked out of office and sent to prison for plotting to murder his political enemies and who was himself murdered twenty years later, while again running for sheriff. He was killed by a drug dealer at the behest of a current Harlan County deputy who was worried Browning might cut into his bribe profits. The case broke when the dealer dimed out the deputy because it turned out the deputy had been having an affair with the dealers wife. How can you NOT be inspired to write about a place where all of that actually happened — you can’t make this stuff up… well, maybe Elmore could.
Q: Can you give us a hint about what else is coming this season?!
A: Without giving too much away, I’ll say that Raylan will have to continue to deal with the fallout from both of the shootings we saw in the Pilot. Also, we’ll go much deeper into Harlan and what it means for Raylan to have been forced to return to a place he swore he’d never go back to.
When a Los Angeles dentist furiously rips the gold fillings out of an unruly patient’s mouth (sans anesthetic), it’s discovered this dentist isn’t just any dentist.He’s actually Roland “Rollie” Pike, a fugitive who escaped Raylan’s custody six years ago.Art sends Raylan and Rachel to Los Angeles to locate Rollie.
While Raylan and Rachel investigate Rollie’s dentist office alongside the other authorities, Rollie plans his escape to Belize with his girlfriend/receptionist Mindy.Mindy even smuggles some dental gold out of the office under some tamales a client had given Rollie as payment for dental work.When Mindy sees federal agencies at the office, she knows they’re after Rollie for more than just ripping the gold fillings out of a guy’s mouth.She confronts Rollie, who admits he used to launder money for a drug cartel.
When Raylan and Rachel discover the gold is missing, they figure Mindy must be working with Rollie.Raylan calls Rollie on Mindy’s phone and reminds him that if the cartel finds him before the authorities do, they’ll kill him.Rollie won’t turn himself in, though, and tosses the phone in a passing truck so it can’t be traced.
The cartel, meanwhile, already has guys looking for Rollie.Frank and Joe, a couple of heavies, recognize Raylan as the guy who killed Tommy Bucks. They make a call to the cartel bosses to find out how to proceed, and the bosses approve a hit on Raylan.
Rollie, meanwhile, goes to one of his patients, a woman whose family he’s done dental work for despite their inability to pay, and asks for help.He wants help finding a “coyote” to smuggle him and Mindy into Mexico.The woman’s father helps Rollie, but the woman herself calls the police about Rollie’s presence.
Raylan and Rachel don’t arrive in time to catch Rollie, but Raylan is able to convince the old man to tell him where Rollie’s meeting the coyote.Outside the house, Raylan notices Frank and Joe and he slips in the back seat of their car.Raylan tells them to leave town or he might have to kill them.
Rollie and Mindy meet the coyote and head for the border, but Raylan’s hot on their trail.He locates their abandoned car only a few minutes after they’ve left it.Unfortunately, Frank and Joe are right behind him.Raylan phones in for a helicopter… and an ambulance.Then he turns to face Frank and Joe, who are out of their car, guns drawn.Raylan gives them fair warning, but Joe keeps coming closer to Raylan, and Raylan has to put him down.Frank pretends to lay his gun down, then turns it on Raylan, and Raylan kills him as well.
Rollie and Mindy, meanwhile, are nearly at the Mexican border when their coyote turns on them.He demands more money than they have, and when they can’t pay threatens to rape Mindy.Rollie tries to defend Mindy and the coyote stabs him.But Rollie’s still got the strength to grab a rock and kill the coyote with it.He and Mindy continue on.
Raylan catches up with Rollie and Mindy right at the border.Rollie appears content to turn himself in and enter witness protection in exchange for testimony against the cartel, but there’s a sniper on the Mexican side of the border.Rollie’s shot but not dead, hiding behind a bluff while Raylan and Mindy hide behind the shell of an old truck.When the sniper stops shooting, Rollie guesses aloud that he must be circling around them to get a better shot.He fears the sniper will kill Mindy, too, and against Raylan and Mindy’s protests, stands up on the bluff, sacrificing himself for them.