‘Justified’ Creatives Look Back At The Magic Behind Hit FX Series—ATX

On Saturday afternoon at ATX Festival, Justified creator Graham Yost led the series’ creatives reunion panel, where fans were exposed to secrets from the writer’s room. Executive producer and director Michael Dinner, as well as writers/producers Taylor Elmore, Dave Andron, Chris Provenzano, Benjamin Cavell, Ingrid Escajeda, VJ Boyd, and Wendy Calhoun, joined Yost for the special event.

The show, which followed lawman Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), aired on FX for six seasons from 2010 to 2015. The network announced a limited series sequel, Justified: City Primeval, earlier this year, which is presently three weeks in production.

“Our partner FX was one of our biggest secrets.” “We pitched the program to eight places and were quite fortunate in that six of them were very interested, so it came down to FX and HBO,” Yost remembered. “One of my favorite pitching anecdotes is about HBO when I pitched my heart out and received nothing in return. So I took out all of my jokes, and they said it was my best pitch to date. I got rid of all my amusing items! They had made me an offer by the time I arrived to the elevators.

We chose FX because we knew John Landgraf and his crew would be accommodating. I merely described the show as a four-minute conversation between two evil men over chicken, and that we could do those kinds of things where you never knew what would happen. There was always the uncertainty of whether two people would become best friends or if one of them would shoot the other. The visual effects were crucial to the whole event.”

Elmore said that the U.S. Marshall who worked as their consultant and helped shape the show’s solitary adventures was also a component of the secret sauce.

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“Our on-set consultant, Charlie Alonso, is the most modest and quiet kind of man who would tell us tales like, ‘Holy crap, that happened?’ ‘OK, we’ll have to utilize that,’ we’d say. A lot of it came from Charlie, and some of it was like re-enactments of our own messed-up pasts that we transformed into TV by making it smarter. For me, such stand-alone pieces were a lot of joy.”

“As writers, we had this talent that we could do anything we wanted: you could do cops and robbers, you could do romance, you could do straight drama, and you could do levity and comedy,” he continued. No show I’ve ever worked on has ever had the right mix of elements. It wasn’t only the people who were participating; it was the method we tackled it that really set the show apart.”

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