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We've got the latest word from the set of Justified season two with behind-the-scenes stories, interviews, episode recaps and more.

By at 11:57 am

Come on in and sit a spell! We best catch up a bit before the new season is at our door…

Well, while you were gone, Justified kept things rolling during the hiatus. The big news first: the ever-talented Margo Martindale, who played Mags Bennett in Season 2, took home a chunk of gold in the form of an Emmy after winning Best Supporting Actress. Our sincerest congratulations go out to Ms. Martindale!

And the awards keep a-coming… the Justified mantle now also includes the CableFax Program Award for “Best Show or Series – Drama”, a Television Critics Award and the #9 spot in New York Magazine’s Top 10 Television Shows of 2011. Oh, and I should mention: Time Magazine called Justified the #4 show of 2011, graciously including the Season 2 finale in this year’s Top 10 TV episodes. Yes, the year 2011 has been a plentiful one! And we owe a great portion of the show’s success to you—the Justified fans!

(Check out the New York Magazine Top 10 article at: http://nymag.com/arts/cultureawards/2011/top-ten-tv-shows/)

So, this year more than any other, we welcome you back! We usher your return to the world of Harlan with eager, knowing smiles because this season, we’ve got a lot to grin about. In Season 2, Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens squared off against criminal matriarch Mags Bennett . The season finale brought about the end of the Bennett family’s hold over Harlan County and the return of Raylan’s old nemesis/friend Boyd Crowder to the criminal life. Now with control of the Harlan underworld up for grabs, it just may surprise you to see who makes a play for power.

This season the show will raise the stakes and the Justified blog looks to follow suit! Check back throughout the season as we chronicle the making of Justified’s third season with cast interviews, scene breakdowns, behind-the-scenes footage and a whole slew of good watchin’.

And this year, we would like you to be a part of the blogging! Send your questions, comments and thoughts about all things Justified to JustablogOnFX@gmail.com and you might just see your response pop up on the blog.

The highly anticipated third season of Justified airs January, 17th at 10p on FX. Check local listings for channel information. In the meantime, below are a few Season 3 Teaser Promos that’ll get you in the mood. And, if that isn’t enough, Season 2 DVDs are available for purchase starting January 3rd. Pre-order your copy at the FX shop online now!

Promo #1 – THE HAT

Promo #2 – FACE OFF

Promo #3 – PAINKILLER

Promo #4 – ENEMIES (new!)

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By at 5:56 pm

At the Lexington office, Art offers Raylan his sincere condolences over Helen, despite the fact that he is still deeply hurt and angry over Raylan’s betrayal.  Raylan asks for another weeks leave, adding a request for Art to recommend him to Glynco.  Art reminds him that Glynco is a promotion, and tells Raylan he needs to think about it.

Doyle rolls up to Mags’ store announcing that Boyd Crowder wants a parlay, a peace talk in a safe, neutral location. Despite Dickie’s arguments for war, Mags agrees to the sit-down.

Boyd secretly meets with a new partner, Nick Mooney, one of Doyle’s deputies, now embittered by the Bennett betrayal of their land with the Black Pike deal.  Boyd hands him a wad of money in exchange for his cooperation.

In Lexington, Loretta’s foster family goes to church while Loretta opts to play sick and stay home.  As the family pulls out, Loretta notices beat-to-hell car, parked opposite.  In the drivers’ seat, a shady man sits, watching her…

At Raylan’s motel, Winona questions Raylan’s commitment to returning to Glynco, unexpectedly dropping the bombshell that she is pregnant.  Raylan, blown away by this news, promises they will go to Glynco, or at least do whatever is necessary to escape this violence.

Doyle and Mags roll up to a local church, where Boyd and Arlo wait inside for the parlay.  A nervous minister checks them for guns or other weapons, then leaves them alone to discuss business.  Boyd says one thing is clear: bloodshed is bad for business.  Mags retorts that besides money, business is built on agreements and trust, and Boyd broke trust with Mags when he stole their pot money.  Boyd agrees, and apologizes by returning all the money he stole from Dickie.  Mags says it’s a step in the right direction.

Meanwhile, as the parlay continues, we see Ava and Devil, armed and waiting inside Ava’s house, while across town, Johnny Crowder rolls his wheelchair up into his house.

Back at the parlay, Mags‘ tone changes: one of these days, she says, Boyd is going to want more, and she’s sure he will try to take it...

Back at Ava’s, three armed gun thugs approach Ava’s house, while two more roll up on Johnny’s place in a pickup. They exit the pickup and approach Johnny’s front door, guns at the ready.  But no sooner do they enter, than an explosion rips the house apart, killing both — while Johnny looks on from across the road.

Ava is not so lucky.  While Devil is distracted in a firefight, Dickie appears behind Ava, and when she turns, shoots her in cold blood.  Ava goes down, bleeding from a chest wound. Dickie races out of the house, jumps into his truck and peels out, abandoning his last man to the mercy of Devil’s rifle.

At the parlay, Doyle gets a desperate call from Dickie: things didn’t go as planned; Boyd somehow knew they were coming.  Boyd, seeing the look on Mags’ face, knows that he’s turned the tables on the Bennetts, He might have underestimated her before, but now, he thinks they understand each other.

Loretta’s foster family has returned home to find Loretta missing.  Local police have been called, and the officer, finding Loretta‘s cell phone, dials the last outgoing call.  The phone is answered by Raylan, who is driving Winona to work. Learning that Loretta is missing, Raylan tells Winona he needs to make a short detour.

At Ava’s house, Boyd rushes in to find Ava laid out on the couch, weak and bleeding.  Enraged at Devil for letting her put herself in harms way, he demands to know who shot her.  Devil tells him that it was Dickie.  Boyd takes out his phone and calls his new informant, Deputy Mooney: “I need you to find me Dickie Bennett.”

While Winona waits in the car, Raylan listens incredulously to Loretta’s foster parents give a police statement. When the police leave, Raylan presses the foster father until he gets the truth: there was a handgun and $300 cash hidden in the house yesterday which have gone missing with Loretta.

We discover Loretta at a gas station with Wade Messer, the shady man who was watching her earlier. He’s a Harlan local whom Loretta has hired for a ride back down to Mags’ place.  When Loretta pulls out cash to pay for the gas, the man notices the handgun in her bag. He confronts her over this, telling her she’ll endanger both their lives if she rolls into Harlan with a gun asking questions about what happened to her father.  When he threatens to take her back to her foster home, Loretta turns the gun on him and jumps out of the car.  She’s going to see this through; she owes her father that much.

Outside the foster home, Raylan returns to his car to tell Winona that he needs to drop her off and go to Harlan. Winona, freshly home from a funeral in Harlan where Raylan just killed a man, begs him not to go.  Raylan promises he will be safe, and she can see in his eyes that he has to protect Loretta.  Resigned, she lets him go, but says she can’t promise to be there when he gets back.

Doyle and Deputy Mooney roll up on the Bennett house, where Dickie and Mags wait for battle with a ragtag group of thugs.  Doyle tells Mags that there is a police BOLO out for Wade Messer, who is heading their way with Loretta. Raylan, apparently, is not far behind them.  Mags orders Dickie to wait for Loretta at Messer‘s place, and to bringthe girl back to her, safely. Mooney watches Dickie as he goes...

At Ava’s house, Arlo ushers in a local doctor, willing to treat Ava, off the record, in exchange for a generous gift to his free clinic. Boyd tells him to fix Ava as if his life depended on it because it does.

Back in Lexington, Winona tells Art that Raylan went down to Harlan and begs Art to send marshals down to back him up. Despite the tears in Winona’s eyes, Art has to turn her down: Raylan’s gone to Harlan on his own time.  He understands the risks he’s taking.  Sometimes you just can’t help.

Raylan rolls up on Wade Messer’s property, and finds Wade repairing a fence, but no sign of Loretta. As Wade explains that he left Loretta at a gas stop, Dickie appears from behind Raylan, and knocks him cold with a baseball bat.

Raylan awakens to find himself hanging upside-down, tied up by one leg, swinging from a tree limb. Dickie sends Messer to go find Loretta, then turns his attention to the helpless Raylan.  Taking his time, Dickie whacks Raylan with the bat, promising to maim Raylan’s leg the same way Raylan maimed Dickie’s leg 20 years ago.  As Dickie winds up for more torturous fun, Boyd appears, gun drawn, and makes Dickie drop his weapon and cut Raylan down.  Raylanpicks up his hat and gun, and is about to leave Dickie to Boyd’s unforgiving vengeance when Dickie pleads to Raylan: Dickie is the only person who can help Raylan get past Doyle’s gun thugs to save Loretta.  Raylan, realizing this is true, convinces a very unhappy Boyd to let Dickie come with him.

Loretta walks up to the heavily guarded gate at Mags’ place.  Despite the threat of war with Boyd, Mags is overcome with happiness at seeing Loretta again. Once they’re alone in the house, Loretta’s sweet tone changes to one far more serious.  Mags is not surprised: it’s time to talk about Loretta’s daddy.  She is, however, surprised to see Loretta pull out a gun...

Outside the house, Raylan rolls up on Doyle and his thugs, with Dickie in tow as a human shield.  He demands to see Loretta, but Doyle puts him off with a shit-eating grin.

Inside the house, Loretta aims her gun with frightened hands, as the calm and fearless Mags nears her, trying to talk the gun away from her. Loretta appears on the verge of giving it up, when she suddenly shoots Mags in the leg. The sound of the gunshot sets off the itchy trigger-fingers of the gun thugs, and a suddenly hail of gunfire drops Raylan to the ground, as Dickie dives for cover in the car.

Lying helpless and wounded on the ground, Raylan looks up to see Doyle standing over him with a pistol: “This bullet’s been on its way for twenty years.”  As Doyle is about to shoot, a rifle cracks nearby, and Doyle’s head blooms red.  He drops like a stone, as Raylan hears Art‘s voice over a loudspeaker: “Drop your weapons!”  The entire marshal squad descends from the woods, as Art walks up to his estranged and wounded friend.  Raylan, with appreciation and remorse filling his eyes, tells Art that it’s good to see him.  He then goes inside to rescue Loretta.

Flanked by Rachel and Tim, Raylan finds the wounded Mags at the other end of Loretta’s handgun.  Mags confesses to Loretta that she was the one who killed her father, realizing it might be the last thing she says.  In an emotional moment, Raylan and Mags together talk Loretta into giving Raylan her gun, finally breaking the cycle of murder and revenge. Tim and Rachel escort Loretta outside, leaving Raylan alone with Mags. Raylan informs her that Doyle is dead, and Dickie in custody.  Mags, realizing her family legacy has died for good, offers Raylan a drink – some apple pie, to ease the pain….

In a sinister replay of Mags’ murder of Loretta’s father, Mags sets out two glasses of moonshine.  She and Raylan drink, then Mags offers Raylan her hand – time to end this feud, once and for all.  Raylan grips her hand, but quickly realizes something is amiss: what has Mags done?  She shrugs: “Same thing I did to Loretta’s daddy.”

But moments later, Raylan realizes that, this time, the poison was in Mags’ own glass. Dying, Mags tells Raylan that this is how she’ll end her life, and see her boys again. Then her hand goes slack, and she slumps back in her chair. Raylan pulls his hand free.  Mags is dead.   Her troubles are ended.   And Raylan’s….?

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By at 7:05 pm

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By at 12:39 pm

In a surreal daze, Raylan approaches Helen’s house to see that his childhood home is now an active crime scene.  He is in street clothes, off duty as a marshal.  Trooper Tom Bergen tells him that Helen got off at least one shot before she died and hit one of the shooters; they are searching for someone with a bullet wound.  Tom, seeing Raylan’s quiet anger, reminds Raylan that Arlo had a lot of enemies; they can’t assume the Bennetts did this.  Tom tries to suggest that Raylan not do anything rash, when Arlo comes outside as Helen’s body is wheeled out on a stretcher.  Arlo shares a look with Raylan.

At Ava’s house, Boyd cooks breakfast for Devil and Johnny, gearing up for war with the Bennetts.  Devil says he has more men coming in a couple days, with weapons and explosives to back them up.  Ava enters and tells Boydthat Helen is dead. Realizing the war is on, Boyd turns to Devil: get those men here tonight.

Raylan finds Arlo in Helen’s house, drinking and loading his gun, convinced that Dickie Bennett was behind the killing.  Raylan wants to know where where Arlo was in the middle of the night, when Helen got shot. This triggers a fight, which is interrupted when Boyd and Ava appear at the front door, to offer their condolences.  Raylan leaves, but asks Tom Bergen to have a cruiser behind to keep an eye on Arlo.  Inside, Arlo tells Boyd that he is sure Dickie identified him through his mask at the pot robbery.  Boyd wants to know if Raylan knows about the robbery, but Arlo says it doesn’t matter: by the time Raylan finds Dickie, Dickie will be dead.

At Jed’s house, Dickie picks out the buckshot Helen fired into Jed’s arm.  As he works, he slyly gets Jed to reveal where his share of the Givens’ money is hidden.

At Mags’s store, Mags offers Raylan her sympathy, but Raylan isn’t in the mood.  He wants Dickie, and when Mags won’t give him up, Raylan warns her what will happen if Arlo finds Dickie first.  Mags finally admits he might be at Coover’s house, but she isn’t sure, since she broke ties with Dickie after he betrayed Coover.  On his way out of the store, Tom Bergen arrives and tells Raylan that Arlo gave his men the slip. As Raylan drives away, Mags makes a phone call: “Doyle, we’ve got a problem...”

Raylan rolls up to Coover’s house to find Arlo lying in wait for Dickie. As Raylan searches the house for some clue to Dickie’s location, Arlo drunkenly tells Raylan how much he loved Helen.  Raylan is unimpressed; he only wants to find Dickie.  Arlo won’t help him, because he wants Dickie dead, not simply in custody. Raylan, fed up, threatens to haul Arlo off to jail for being drunk and concealing a loaded weapon. Facing arrest, Arlo tells Raylan to look for Dickie at Audrey’s.  Raylan thanks Arlo, then throws him in jail anyway, for safekeeping.

At her new foster home, Loretta is still having trouble adjusting.  Her foster mother assures her that she is welcome there.

Raylan visits the very strung-out prostitute, Ellen May, looking for Dickie.  Ellen May finally tells him that Jed is Dickie’s shadow; find Jed, and you’ll find Dickie.

Dickie exits his hideout as Mags and Doyle roll up. Mags is furious – why did he do it? Dickie tells her about Boyd’s power move, and how he feels she hasn’t been thinking straight since Coover died. They needn’t worry about Raylan; Dickie has a plan to frame Jed — who already has the incriminating gunshot wound — so  Doyle can shoot him for “resisting arrest.”  Doyle isn’t happy about this, but Mags gives the plan her tacit approval.

That night, Doyle knocks on Jed’s door. Jed’s wife angrily confronts Doyle, not letting him get a word with Jed alone.  It looks like Doyle may have to kill her too, when Raylan appears out of the shadows.  Raylan guesses at Doyle’s intentions, and after a brief standoff, Doyle backs down and leaves.  Inside Jed’s house, Raylan coaxes a confession from Jed: he’ll testify against Dickie, but doesn’t know where Raylan can find him. As Raylan leaves, containing his rage with an unnerving calm, Jed tells Raylan that the bullet wasn’t meant for Helen.  They were there for Arlo, because of what he and Boyd did to Dickie.

Minutes later, Raylan drives up to Ava’s house, fuming, and confronts Boyd: he’s responsible for Helen’s death. Boyd and Ava keep him at bay with their guns.  Boyd calms Raylan down enough to suggest that they draw Dickie out of hiding.  He says that Raylan still hasn’t played his ace in the hole with Mags: the black pike deal has yet to be officially closed, and still hinges on her controlling Arlo’s property.  Force her to make a choice between the deal, and Dickie.

Raylan confronts Arlo in his holding cell and tells him to threaten Mags with his Black Pike property: trade Dickie for the land, or the deal will collapse.  When Arlo says he doesn’t want to give back they money he was paid, Raylan lunges at him, punches him, and grabs him by the throat: Mags will give Dickie up –  and Arlo is absolutely going to make her.

Arlo visits Mags at her store.  He lays out the deal plainly: the property for Dickie.  Mags asks if Arlo will kill him if he finds him.  Arlo admits he wants to, but it’s not up to him; he’s been sent by Raylan.

Dickie sees Doyle approaching his hideout, but as he comes out to meet him, he discovers Raylan, just a few steps behind Doyle. Raylan tells Dickie that Mags gave him up, and stands by as Doyle cuffs him.  As Doyle leads Dickie to the car, Raylan knocks Doyle out with the butt of his gun.  Doyle collapses, and Raylan tells the handcuffed Dickie to walk into the woods.

At a secluded spot, Dickie falls to his knees, weeping, and pleads for his life.  Raylan reminds Dickie that his is how it’s always ended with them: blood for blood.  When Dickie blubbers that he shot Helen in self defense, Raylan silences him: Helen’s love and support got Raylan out of Harlan, saved him from the life that both families are still mired in.  But as Raylan talks about Helen’s hopes for him, for the kind of man she wanted him to be, he realizes that killing Dickie would be a betrayal of everything Helen hoped for him.  He knocks Dickie out instead.

At Helen’s funeral, Raylan stands by Helen’s grave at their family plot.  Winona joins him by the graveside, and eyes the tombstone waiting for Raylan, knowing his time might come sooner than necessary.  Boyd and Ava are in attendance, as well.  Ava approaches the bereaved Arlo and tells him that Helen had no regrets, and wouldn’t have lived any other way.

With Dickie in jail, Mags closes the Black Pike deal officially, but immediately after, makes another deal with Jed’s family.  Jed recants his story, confesses to Helen’s murder, and claims that Raylan coerced him into implicating Dickie.

That night, Dickie is released from jail, and finds Doyle and Mags waiting to greet him.  Still stinging fromher betrayal, Dickie finally lets himself be enfolded into his mother’s embrace.  Mags apologizes: its what she had to do to get the Black Pike deal closed.  With the family’s future secured, she can now turn her attention to taking care of the rest.

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By at 12:02 pm

We’ve talked about the violence and crime and drugs and action on JUSTIFIED, but any successful story always comes down to one factor: character.  We sat down in the room recently with Consulting Producer — and seasoned NY theater vet — Gary Lennon to talk about his experience writing for both stage and screen, and the art of creating dynamic flesh-and-blood characters.

Our conversation (slightly edited) went like this:

Besides the format, what do you think the real differences are between stage plays, teleplays, and screenplays?

Well, the forms are all different, obviously, but in a film, you need to show instead of tell. So there are amazing openings of films that are ten to fifteen minutes without any dialogue at all, because there are actual moving pictures telling the story. On stage, because you have a limited amount of space, it’s often through dialogue that stories are told. So, for me, the main difference is that on stage it’s always about the word and the character. And it’s very similar in TV. You can’t just have a stationary scene, so it has to be driven by dialogue. And that’s why I think TV is so great and why you have so much good writing going on right now, because a lot of the writers who are writing for TV are from the theater — are playwrights.

Do you find that writing for TV comes with more or less freedom, in that sense?

I think you probably have more freedom in TV, because you can do anything you want, depending on where you do it. If you’re working on a network television show, you have less freedom, because it’s incredibly restrictive on the kinds of stories you can tell, the kind of language you can use, the kind of characters you can portray.

If you look at the landscape of network TV in particular, they don’t explore blue collar lives very well. It’s always ‘blue sky,’ people with jobs and careers and shit like that. (laughs). They don’t really deal with the lower ranks, which really interest me actually. And that’s why I continue writing plays. I like to explore characters that are broken. I like to explore characters who are on the fringe. I like to reflect on stage pieces of humanity that we don’t normally get to see portrayed in film and TV – particularly on TV.

So, because a play can delve deeper into a character’s dark side, do you feel that TV is only interested in exploring gritty violence as opposed to gritty character?

It depends on the show really. I’d have to say it’s from show to show. Because when I think of some of the best characters on TV right now, they’re on “Mad Men” or “Breaking Bad.” And “The Shield,” which I worked on during the last season, was an incredible exploration of a character who was completely flawed, an antihero. I think that did it really well. But if you’re asking if network TV just wants violence, I would say that you’d probably see more of that — action and plot-driven things happening. With a lot of those procedural shows, which are huge phenomenal hits, [the audiences] are watching stories being told that are very formulaic, and that’s what network TV is usually about.

What do you think is the perfect balance between character and plot momentum?

I think everything comes from character. I think your plot comes from a character. I don’t usually work with outlines — except [on this show], of course, we certainly do. But if I’m writing a feature or a play, I usually come to writing that from a character. It’s almost a sense of purity. I have to find out: who is that person? What does that person want? Then of course, the structure starts revealing itself. So the balance, I would say, is 100% character first. Know your character. Know what toothpaste he uses. Know how he ties his shoes, and how he ties them differently from you. How does he walk? Does he strut? Does he have a bop? Does he talk quickly? Does he talk slowly? Know your character, and then his behavior will come to you because you know him so well.

So do you think you’re in the majority or the minority of TV writers who advocate focusing on 100% character first?

I’m in the minority.

So how do you bring your theater experience into the structure of pounding out four acts and shaping a story into TV format every day?

I think that a lot of shows need writers like me. Because, if they want interested flawed characters who have different life experiences, you’re going to want to bring somebody in who’s really good with character and has these life experiences, so you can make your standard cop who solves a crime each week more interesting. We already know where that story’s going, right? Cop gets up in the morning, he gets dressed, has something bad happen, solves the crime. That gets really boring to watch unless that cop has a demon or a flaw or is conflicted in some way, or has a relationship that seems tortured to him…

So, at the end of the day, I think I’m in the minority, but I think that shows need people like us because we make ordinary things seem extraordinary, I think.

Right. And you, personally, have had a very interesting and colored past.  Do you think you need that to write dark characters, or do you feel that everyone has that dark quality in them, and a good writer just finds a way to tap into that?

I feel really fortunate and blessed that I’ve had such a weird upbringing, because it’s actually given me a livelihood. I’m made a living out of my mess, if you will. Sort of like James Ellroy says he feels he’s exploited his life. In the things I’ve sold, I’ve been really fortunate to be able to make sense of my chaos through the things that have happened to me.

And I don’t feel that you need to be a murderer to write a murderer… But I do think that having a life fully lived gives you an expanse to tell many different stories. Like John Huston, the director: the famous story he told is that he went around to all these writing schools and they said to him “oh my god, you’re so amazing and you made so many great films… what should we do?” And he said, “Go to Mexico. Get drunk. And fuck some whores.” (laughs.) Which is amazing, because he was basically saying, “Go live life.”

Because if you come to a writing room, and all you have is a very limited experience that is textbook driven, what do you have to say? … I personally don’t often like when I hear pitches that derive from other movies. “That’s like in this movie, etc.” I’d like to hear about what actually happened to someone. But that’s just the way that I work. It’s different for everybody.

To clarify, though, I don’t think you’ve had to have a terrible life or a dark and mysterious past to write really incredible, dark, conflicted characters. I think everyone has an imagination. I do think, though, that the more experiences you have, the more tools you have to draw from.

Which character on JUSTIFIED do you feel you are most like?

I would say Boyd Crowder. (laughs). Having known me, you may not think that, because we are obviously very different people. But I think I identify with his conflicted spirit. I think he’s someone who comes from a humble background, with a very screwed up family dynamic, and has struggled with many, many demons. And I have as well, in my life – I come from screwed up parents, I’m sober twenty-something years. So I would say Boyd – I find his journey most interesting to me.

What are some of the most remarkable plays you’ve ever seen or read?

For me, one of the most incredible plays I’ve ever read – I saw it, then read it – was a play called Balm in Gilead by the Steppenwolf Theater Co., written by Lanford Wilson. I saw it in NY when I was a young actor. And, as I mentioned, I came from a really poor background, so when I went to go see plays originally, I only saw rich white people on stage with homes, and horses, and estates. And it was very hard for me to see myself reflected in those stories being told. Then I went to see this play called Balm in Gilead, and it took place in this diner (or donut shop), and there were pimps and whores and drug addicts – damaged souls. And when I saw that, it blew me away, because I thought “whoa, you can write about those people on stage?” I could write about that. I know those people. And it really gave me a sense of permission to write about my life experience.

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By at 11:47 pm

In the wake of last episode’s botched hit attempt, Raylan and the marshals work with CID agents to figure out who tried to kill Raylan and Winona.  While they talk, a livid Gary stands screaming outside the office, blaming Raylan’s cowboy lifestyle for putting Winona in such danger.  Art cools everyone off, sending Gary and Winona to Gary’s house under Rachel’s guard.  He then tells Raylan to stay out of the investigation, and assigns Tim the unenviable task of babysitting Raylan and keeping him out of trouble.

At Gary’s house, Gary apologizes to Winona once more for all his mistakes in their relationship.  At Raylan’s motel room, Raylan warns a very cautious Tim that he needs to talk to some people alone; either Tim lets him go, or Raylan will give him the slip.

Ava and Boyd wake up in Ava’s bed together, clearly having consummated their budding romance.  Setting ground rules for Boyds criminal enterprise, Ava makes him promise not to run any prostitution in Harlan.  Boyd hesitantly agrees.

Ducking out of Tim’s earshot, Raylan makes a call to Dan Grant in Miami, who immediately asks if Gio was the person behind the attempted hit on Raylan and Winona.  Unfortunately, Gio only hires Cubans, and the men who attacked them were definitely not Cuban. Sounds closer to home.  Dan asks him if he’s pissed off any locals recently.

Out in the woods, Dickie prepares for battle, training his newly assembled gang with some target practice at a bootleg firing range.  Back at the motel, Raylan leaves with the obvious excuse of an ice cream craving; Tim naturally follows him.  After stringing Tim along from store to store, Raylan finally finds a moment to successfully slip Tim’s guard.

Boyd and Johnny pay a visit to Arlo and ask him to join their side in the war for Harlan County.  While Arlo agrees to the offer, Helen shows up to find Ava waiting for Boyd, offering some motherly advice on how to live with a professional criminal.

Raylan rolls up to Mags’ store to find the front wall defaced and the heavily-armed Oakridge Boys standing guard outside.  Raylan asks Mags if she was behind the hit attempt; she promises that she wasn’t. Their feud is finished.  Tim, having known exactly where to find Raylan, shows up to take him back.  Not a minute later, Doyle shows up as well, stirring the pot with Raylan until Mags calls him off.  Tensions are high all around, but everyone walks away.

In the Bennett drying shed, Dickie is making a large weed deal with Tennessee hoodlum Rodney Dunham, when Boyd, Arlo, and Devil (the latter two wearing ski masks) enter the shack with guns drawn.  They take the money and the weed, and make their statement once more to Dickie.  Afterwards, two of Dickie’s new men abandon the cause; they wanted a bit of cash, not a war.  Dickie shoots them both dead.

Late that night, Gary’s house is now full: Rachel, Tim, Raylan, Winona and Gary sit around watching television, commiserating on their lack of suspects.  Gary apologizes to Raylan for his earlier outbursts and heads off to bed.  Everyone needs to catch some sleep, leaving Raylan to stand guard of the house for a few hours.

Boyd and his new gang sit around a table in the Crowder family cabin, counting their score and reminiscing about the past with Bo and Bowman.  Ava, understandably, is not too fond of these memories, and Boyd consoles her.

During his guard shift, Raylan finds an armed man creeping up outside Gary’s house.  Sneaking up on the man, Raylan cuffs him to his steering wheel and pulls out a  business card from the man’s wallet. Tracing the company name, he finds that the business belongs to Wynn Duffy.  Realizing that Gary ordered the hit, he wakes up Gary, grabbing him by the throat.  This man is here for Gary because Gary has been dodging Wynn.  Raylan makes one thing clear: they are going to put an end to this tonight.

Raylan and Gary drive in the handcuffed assailant’s car to meet Wynn in his trailer.  When they arrive, it is clear that Wynn is ready to execute Gary, as he is the only loose end in a trail of federal crimes.  But Raylan has another plan.  He tells Gary to get in his car and disappear, tonight, forever.  Duffy grudgingly accepts the situation.

Raylan goes back to Gary’s house to find Tim waiting for him.  Tim, realizing Gary has disappeared, barely even wants to confront what has happened since he fell asleep.

In the middle of the night, Helen wakes up to the sounds of someone rummaging through her kitchen, only to find Dickie and an accomplice waiting for her with shotguns.  Dickie informs her that Arlo has robbed his money and his weed, and he wants it back.  Helen, rifle poised by her side, asks what they will do to Arlo when he returns the money, but it is obvious.  When she cocks her weapon to defend herself, they shoot her dead.

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By at 9:07 am

At the marshal’s office, Art informs Raylan that according to police statements, Dickie blames Walt McCready’s murder on Coover, and they don’t have ANY evidence to prove otherwise.   Switching gears, he pulls Raylan into his office to discuss the unspoken tension between them over the missing evidence money.  Art cooly lays out his position on their situation: They’re not going to talk about what happened in the evidence room.  Which means that, whatever Raylan’s limitations, Art is stuck with him, and nothing he can say is going to make Raylan straighten up.  But at the rate he’s going, Raylan probably won’t live long enough for it to be an issue .  Raylan receives the underlying message; something’s been lost in their relationship, probably forever.

In the midst of mourning Coover’s death, Mags meets Helen at a local diner to deliver Helen‘S share of cash from the Black Pike deal.  Helen begs that Mags not seek revenge for Coover’s death, reminding her that their families have shared 20 years of peace until now.  Mags, deep in mourning, gives Helen her word: the lid stays on.  No harm will come to Raylan or the Givens family.

Boyd tells Ava that he has to move out of her house for good; he swore to not engage in any criminal activity whilst in her home, and now that he is headed down that road, he thinks it best to go.  Ava reminds him that she defended his criminal behavior after the mine heist, but Boyd has made up his mind.  He thanks her for all she has done for him.

After avoiding his calls for days, Winona approaches Raylan at the courthouse, requesting a ride to her attorney’s office to finalize her divorce with Gary.  As they drive, Raylan notices that a silver Cadillac has been following them since the courthouse.  The car becomes enough of a distraction that Raylan pulls over, gets out, and approaches the two suspicious men inside.  He warns them to stop following him, and for the moment, they do. With the distraction gone, Winona suggests that she and Raylan not see each other for a while.

Raylan gets a call from Loretta’s social worker.  Apparently, Loretta refuses to get out of the social worker’s car and meet her new foster family. When Raylan arrives outside the family’s house, Loretta tells him that she misses her mother even more than her father.  Raylan tells her she’s strong, and she will be fine in her new home.

At the Bennett’s drying shed, Mags and Doyle tell Dickie that he will inherit the rest of the weed business, but because of his betrayal of Coover, is otherwise cut off from the family.  Dickie insists that he only told Raylan where Coover was to protect Loretta.  Mags reminds him that he went outside the family, and that’s the bottom line.  When Dickie demands that he and Doyle put Raylan in the ground, Doyle lays out the situation: Dickie gets the weed.  Boyd Crowder gets everything else.  Nobody kills Raylan Givens.  Dickie is crushed.

Winona and Gary sit in an office with their divorce lawyers, haggling over life insurance policies. The meeting comes to an abrupt end when Gary bursts into tears — deeply distressed over Winona’s betrayal, and his own bad decisions.

Boyd reunites with Johnny Crowder, still alive, but wheelchair-bound since taking a shotgun blast to the gut from Bo Crowder in the season finale. Boyd asks for Johnny’s help bringing Harlan County back under Crowder control.  Johnny, still bitter, refuses at first, but Boyd eventually appeals to Johnny’s family pride.

Ava comes home to find that Boyd has officially packed up and left.  She sits alone in his now-empty bedroom, clearly distraught.

Behind his family’s back, Dickie asks Bennett family employee, Jed, if he’d like to step up his role in the Bennett family business.

Boyd and Johnny walk into an illegal back room poker game, where Boyd’s former lieutenant, Devil, plays Texas hold em with a group of local criminals.  Johnny and Boyd pull out guns and rob the owner, recruiting Devil in the process.  The old Crowder gang is slowly coming together again.

Winona finds Raylan at his office after hours.  She assures him that her divorce with Gary is not designed to pressure Raylan, but rather, is simply the right thing to do. Raylan tells her he’s realized that he helped her replace the money in the evidence vault, not because he’s crazy, or a bad marshal, but because he loves her.  He suggests moving back to Glynco, the one place that he and Winona were truly happy.  He could get a safe job, and they could have a fresh start. Winona says she needs to think about it.

At a local bar, Boyd, Johnny, and Devil are plotting their new takeover of Harlan, when Dickie Bennett approaches.  He warns Boyd that whatever deal Boyd had with Mags is officially off; Boyd is welcome to join him, but if not, he’d best get out of Harlan County.  After Dickie’s left, Boyd lets him men know that his challenge will not go unanswered.

Raylan is driving Winona home, when the Cadillac that followed them earlier in the day suddenly appears out of nowhere, and sideswipes Raylan’s car.  When the driver and his accomplice come out gunning, Raylan shoots out the glass door of an office building, and drags Winona to safety inside. Ducked in a corner, Raylan leaves Winona with a spare gun and goes to ambush the shooters.  He engages and kills the first one.  The second is drawing a bead on Winona, when Raylan appears behind him and shoots him as well.  After the shootout, Winona rests in shock against a desk in the office building. “Yes,” she says, having made up her mind. “Glynco.”

Boyd visits Ava at her house late at night, saying he had to see her one last time – even if only from a distance.  Hearing this confession of his unspoken love, Ava draws Boyd into a passionate kiss, as we fade out.

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By at 12:21 pm

Mags combs Loretta’s hair with a motherly touch, getting her ready for the big party Mags is throwing for the people of Bennett. Mags gives Loretta her mother’s old broach, saying it’s okay to be beautiful sometimes. Loretta misses her father, and asks Mags if she can speak to him soon.  Coover bursts in the room with a question about the party, and Mags scolds him, harshly.  From the hallway, Coover overhears Mags confessing her shame in him, whereas Loretta has been a dream come true.

Boyd shows up at Mags’ party with Ava, uninvited, and insists on having a word with Mags.

Burning with jealousy at the affection Mags is lavishing on Loretta, Coover snorts a line of oxycontin, then puts on the gold watch he took from McCready’s body, and goes back to the party.

Raylan shows up at the party, providing security for coal company fixer Carol Johnson. Soon after their arrival, Carol runs into Boyd, who confirms that he managed to come to an agreement with Helen and Arlo over the rights to their property.  Carol is thrilled to hear it.  Meanwhile, Raylan takes it upon himself to chase E away a 21-year-old boy who is attempting to ply Loretta with moonshine.  Loretta tells Raylan she doesn’t need a chaperone; she has her father for that.

Carol approaches Mags, warning that if they don’t come to terms before Carol leaves the party, there will be no payday from Black Pike for the Bennetts. Unimpressed, Mags invites Carol inside, where Carol is surprised to see Boyd joining the discussion.  Boyd tells Carol that the rights HE SECURED to Helen and Arlo’s property now reside solely with him.  And he’s signing those rights over to Mags.  Any leverage Carol thought she had is gone.

Outside, Dickie approaches the the front door, wanting to join the discussion, but Raylan stops him. It’s a private meeting – if Mags wanted Dickie in there, he’d be in there.  When Dickie attempts to push part Raylan, Raylan knocks him down.

Inside, Carol writes a number on a piece of paper and slides it to Mags: a one-time offer for her land.  Mags refuses, but has a counter-offer: triple the amount just offered, plus a 4% stake of Black Pike’s parent company, a legacy deal to provide for Mags and her family, for generations to come.  Carol says Mags’ property is worthless and barren of coal, but Boyd and Mags correct her: it’s not about the coal, it’s about building a road to carry the coal.  And The property Black Pike needs to build those roads on belongs to Mags.

Carol speaks with her higher-ups, and Black Pike reluctantly accepts the deal.  Carol leaves Mags’ house, and asks Raylan to take her away, someplace where she can get a drink.

Mags and Boyd make a side agreement: In appreciation for Boyd’s help forcing Black PIke to come to terms, Mags grants Boyd free reign to conduct any kind of criminal enterprise he wants to in Harlan territory. Onl one thing he needs to leave alone: the pot business.  THat belongs to the Bennett family – always has. Boyd, exhilarated from his big win, sweeps Ava onto the dance floor.

Back at Carol’s hotel room, Carol makes one more attempt to seduce Raylan.

As the party ends, Mags tells Loretta that she has just done something wonderful for the family, Loretta included.  Things are going to be different for all of them, from now on.

AS Loretta helps Coover clean up after the party, Coover makes a point of flashing her father’s gold watch where she can see it. Loretta goes pale and excuses herself.

As Raylan drives Carol to the airport, Carol finally admits to having hired someone to set off the firecrackers in the town meeting.  She also busts Raylan: under his apparent indifference, he still cares deeply about the people of Harlan County – she can tell.

Later that night, Loretta shows up at Coover’s house and offers him a joint MADE FROM her father’s finest pot, secretly laced with formaldehyde.  Coover finishes the joint, but as he drifts off he taunts Loretta, hinting at her father’s fate.  As soon as he’s asleep, Loretta searches teh house, and finds the gold watch.  Weeping, she calls Raylan for help.  But before she can explain, Coover attacks her, and the phone goes dead.  Leaving Carol at a gas station, Raylan races back to Bennett.

Coover reveals that he wasn’t asleep at all; he set a trap for Loretta and she’s fallen into it.

Coover wants to take Loretta to the abandoned mine, her father’s final resting place, to meet her father’s fate.  When Dickie tries to stop him, Coover chokes Dickie half to death.  While Coover tries to revive his brother, realizing he’s gone too far, Loretta takes off running. Coover jumps up, racing after her.

Dickie is awakened Raylan splashes the contents of Coover’s bong in his face.  Raylan forces Dickie to tell him where Coover has taken Loretta, then heads after them.

RAYLAN arrives to find Loretta unconscious on the ground.  As he bends to help, Coover leaps at him out of the darkness. A vicious battle ensues, the more powerful Coover pushing Raylan to the edge of the mineshaft. As Raylan struggles to keep from plummeting down the shaft, Loretta appears, gun drawn, screaming for Coover to stop.  AS Coover looks up, Raylan manages to pull hisBACKUP gun and shoot Coover in the neck.  Coover topples into the mineshaft, and disappears into the darkness below.

At dawn, the mine is a crime scene, as police pull Coover’s body out of the shaft.  They also discover the body of Walt McCready, badly decomposed.

Mags rolls up to the scene in Doyle’s cruiser, begging to speak to Loretta.  Raylan refuses. “There’s no way.”  Furious, Mags walks away.   Raylan watches her go.  This isn’t over.

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