Justified is halfway through its second season and continues to enjoy solid ratings. Raylan Givens and his assortment of interesting and offbeat supporting characters looks like they’re here to stay a while. Which is great news. If only folks had supported Terriers more…

I’ve seen through episode seven (airing March 23rd) and it seems things are getting a little sticky for our abiding lawman. Actually, he’s not abiding much at all these days. Though the big conflict between the good guys and the backwoods drug family hasn’t reached a fever pitch it’s obvious that the shit is about to hit the proverbial fan.

FX Networks was kind enough to have a few conference calls with stars of the show in the past week and I was able to sit in on them. Due to the format I wasn’t able to heavily participate but what follows is a snapshot of some of the more interesting things. At the bottom of this article is links to Damon Houx’s interviews from his set visit earlier this month.

Folks, if you aren’t yet watching this show it’s time to get off your ass.

From the conversation with Walton Goggins, arguably the show’s best character and one of the best actors we are lucky to have working in televisions these days on his character who we thought we had pegged in the first season but who has continually unfolded into something much different…

Walton Goggins on Boyd Crowder’s evolution:

I think that Boyd is continually changing. I think that from the pilot to episode two was a big swing in a completely different direction. Then from Season One to Season Two is an even bigger swing. I think that if you look at the trajectory of Boyd Crowder and you think about kind of this Svengali, kind of this showman in the pilot episode. Then this near-death experience and this religious conversion and the ambiguous kind of nature of that conversion, only to be revealed at the end of Season One that he did truly believe in God.

In some ways that was his answer so that when we come into Season Two having that foundation rocked to its core, I think what you found is a man who is not even searching for meaning. He’s searching for the absence of meaning. He’s just trying to wander and be aimless for a while. I think we, as human beings, find a character like that sympathetic. I think that with that type of vulnerability that Boyd is feeling this season that you’re going to get an opportunity, as you already have through these five episodes to kind of see who this guy is. You’re looking behind the curtain; you’re getting to see behind the façade.

It’s really interesting to me because I didn’t really know who he was. It’s still a mystery to me. I’m still kind of figuring it out every single day. This season, at the beginning, I think what Graham and the writers and myself tried to do is to take a man who lived in the extremes only to thread a needle, to come out the other side and maybe find a man in balance. What will a Boyd Crowder in balance look like? I don’t know.

Walton Goggins on the differences between Justified and The Shield in terms of how long he has to prepare for an episode:

On The Shield, we never knew. We never knew anything, like literally until the day before we started shooting we would get the script. It would be these crazy situations that they would put us in. They really kept us in the dark. I know a little more in advance—probably a week-and-a-half in advance, certainly more than I knew on The Shield. I think the reason why is Graham and the writers have invited participation from us because we’re in the heads of these characters. It’s really, I think, productive in this particular situation to seek out that collaboration. We’ve had a really good time and in some ways kind of share ownership over these characters and the situations they kind of find themselves in.

The writers kind of come up with the story and they break the story. They give us some key character arcs that they want to get through over the course of the season. We sit and talk about that. Sometimes we bring them to them and a lot of times, they bring them to us. Once those situations are set up, then the conversation begins about how Boyd would really react in this situation. There’s a scene in episode four, I think, where they’re talking on the porch and it started off as really kind of a small scene just to establish the guy’s coming. I said, “Graham, no there’s gold here and I think if we do it right the audience will just want to sit and listen to Boyd and Ava talk. Let’s experience that scene as if they’ve only done it maybe one time before, but then from there forward we can imagine that every single one they’re out enjoying a cup of coffee together. That really lays the cornerstone for where their relationship might go.” It worked. I think people really liked it. But you never know, but that’s kind of our process and I like it.

Walton Goggins on what FX and shows like Justified represent:

I think that FX and basic cable is tantamount to independent cinema.

We make this product for a particular audience. Like Mad Men is made for a particular audience, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, all these shows on cable and basic cable are meant to reach out to a select group of viewers that want to watch it every week, that want to get lost in a book on television. I thank you again for supporting us in this way because without your support, we wouldn’t be here.

From the conversation with Joelle Carter, who plays Ava Crowder, another person we thought we had pegged in season one but totally did not…

Nick Nunziata: When I heard of the show, right, it was an Elmore Leonard series which immediately creates a visual image and a tone, you hear about the star, you see the name, you see the ads and you think this is going to be a testosterone test, a boy’s show, and it is. It has all of those things, but it surprisingly has managed to paint rather nice intricate portraits of the female characters and I kind of want to get what’s it like being in the epicenter of that ‘man storm’?

Joelle Carter: The ‘man storm’! I like it. I’m going to use that. Yes, it is! It’s a lot of testosterone. There’s a lot of manly stuff out there beneath. I think it’s a challenge as it is and it is business. It’s a very male dominated business, so it’s kind of a real life challenge that’s come into play in the working world. I think that the writers and all of us have developed some really strong female characters that complement the male testosterone that we’re living in. That’s what makes it exciting, because we are the sauce, you know, the sensitive part to their lives, but you don’t mess with them and you see them stick up for themselves and you see them call the shots. I think do us justice.

Nick Nunziata: Yes. Well your character in particular, I still haven’t necessarily pegged who she is and what she’s going to be and that’s very rare in the show where you can usually pigeon hole almost every character through the pilot episode, so it’s a testament to Graham and everybody that it’s definitely not your average show and that everything about it is unorthodox in terms of the current TV landscape. Was that obvious to you guys as you started making the show and as it’s evolved?

Joelle Carter: It’s become more obvious, especially with my character. I’ve talked with the writers and we kind of like that sometimes we don’t even know where it’s going and she doesn’t know where she’s going, but she is so complex that we discover along the journey with her different things and that’s a lovely unveiling. It’s been amazing to watch it unfold and to see us kind of embrace strongly the unknown and go for it.

Damon’s interviews with Joelle Carter, Joseph Lyle Taylor, Margot Martindale, Jeremy Davies, & Walton Goggins.