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‘Justified’ finale points to possible return to series’ roots

Will Walton Goggins's Boyd Crowder character be the impetus for a future season of "Justified"?James Minchin/FX

This item contains spoilers.

FX’s “Justified: City Primeval” ended last week, and it contained a doozy of a twist. Before I discuss it, here is another spoiler warning for those who are still chipping their way through the eight-episode miniseries.

OK, then. Here’s what happened. Once the season’s villain was dead, the show returned for about six minutes to a character from the original series: Boyd Crowder, played by Walton Goggins. Boyd, Raylan’s one-time friend and long-time foe, is shown in a Kentucky prison, preaching to his fellow inmates and telling them he’s terminally ill and being transferred to another facility.


Of course, Boyd being Boyd, it’s a big old lie, and during the transfer he escapes with help from a prison guard he’s having a relationship with. Gleeful, they take off together.

Meanwhile, Raylan, who has retired from the US Marshals service and is out boating with his daughter, sees an alert about an escaped prisoner on his phone, which then begins to ring. Just when he thought he was out, they pull him back in?

So clearly there is talk of a future season of “Justified,” which would be better news if “Justified: City Primeval” had been a little sharper. I loved seeing Timothy Olyphant as Raylan again, but the miniseries lacked some of what made “Justified” so good, including Kentucky bad guys, careful plotting, and solid character motivations, with Raylan usually personally invested somehow in the case. That final sequence with Boyd was a thrill, even if it reinforced the weaknesses of the previous eight episodes, and even if it threatened the perfection of the finale of the original series.

If the “Justified” ship sets sail again, with Boyd on board, will it be a good thing? I’m on the fence. No official announcement has been made, but you know how Hollywood works: More is more.


Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him @MatthewGilbert.