Fans of FX's "Justified" have been abuzz about the new season's change up from pitting Timothy Olyphant's U.S. Marshal against a Harlan County villain to focusing on a season-long mystery.
The shift away from the typical Big Bad creative direction was done in an effort to shake things up, brought about by constant speculation on who would take the season four antagonist role. "Just the way they said that, in that kind of tired, we-know-what-to-expect way -- I thought, OK, we're not going to do that this year," Yost said. "It was a conscious attempt to mix it up."
Olyphant's Raylan Givens pries into a long cold case, inspired by the "Bluegrass Conspiracy" case in the mid-1980s, involving missing drug money, Raylan's incarcerated father Arlo, as well as his boss Art (Nick Searcy).
"He has sort of a personal connection to [the mystery]," Searcy told Zap2It. "And, you know, I think the getting out behind the desk thing, I think Art, like most people who get to my age, every once in a while they still want to prove themselves, prove that they still can do what they used to do. Whether they can or not is a big question. But I think that's some of the motivation, is to show it's not over yet."
Yost sees the mystery as not only a way to push viewers out of their comfort zone with the series, but also to inspire the show's writers. "It has been a problem to figure out the puzzle, and I think we've done a pretty good job," Yost said. "We knew we needed to piece it out and let there be -- I mean, if you've watched the show, we try to do episodes a little more standalone at the first part of the season and then get into the big story for the second half or the last two thirds. So it was sort of parsing out the bits of the mystery for the first four episodes, and by the fifth episode, everything is pretty much focused on that."
Expect the mystery to unravel a little more with tonight's episode "Truth and Consequences" on FX!