And yet, reincarnation is exactly what happened to Goggins, whose bank-robbing Boyd went from shot dead at the end of the “Justified” pilot (which was also the conclusion of Elmore Leonard’s original short story, which the show is based on), to a recovered thorn in Kentucky lawman Raylan Givens’ side in the hit cable drama.
“We knew we had something special,” says “Justified” showrunner Graham Yost about Goggins’ casting. “Then FX said, ‘Guys, what’s coming out of testing is that people are disappointed when he dies, that they think he’s a great foil for Raylan. Could we keep him alive?’ We said, ‘That’s a no-brainer.’ ”
Goggins’ magnetic villainy and ability to keep you guessing as to Boyd’s motives gave the writers the ideal counterweight to Timothy Olyphant’s good-guy cool. His work didn’t just light up the screen, it inspired the writers.
“Not only do Raylan and Boyd have a history, but the fact that Raylan can see through Boyd, and Boyd knew that, led us into a new part of the story for us that wasn’t in the Elmore short story,” says Yost. “The big arc became Raylan and Boyd. As soon as we landed on it, it just opened up so many ideas for stories and gave a coherence to our first season.”