Justified's Joelle Carter Previews Ava's 'Poetic Romance' With Boyd: 'She May Surprise Him!'

Whoever said “Nice guys finish last” just might be a member of the Justified writing staff, because one of Harlan County’s prettiest catches, Ava Crowder, effectively rebounded from a spell of “raw passion” with U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens to find true romance with resident bad boy (and onetime bro-in-law) Boyd. Will Ava get more than she bargained for from this unlikely union? Or is Boyd the one due for a shock? TVLine spoke with Joelle Carter about what to expect from the FX series’ Season 3 (airing Tuesdays at 10/9c).

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TVLINE | When we spoke at the start of last season, you teased something “pretty spectacular” ahead for Ava. In retrospect, were you referring to her unlikely, almost sweet romance with Boyd?
They told me there was going to be a romance with Boyd and Ava and I wasn’t sure how that was going to work out, but I think they really earned it in Season 2. They let it be a slow ride. I was just talking to Walton [Goggins], and he was saying it’s such a poetic romance, one that’s rarely been done on TV before. It’s kind of odd that these two people from such violent pasts have found love at this stage in their lives. I thought it was going to happen faster than it did — I thought Ava would be going into more of a “Bonnie and Clyde” relationship with Boyd [during Season 2] — but it turned out to be a true romance.

TVLINE | What’s your take on why the same woman who could have her head turned by righteous lawman Raylan Givens could also fall for a scalawag? You yourself said you were tentative about how she would get to such a place.
Yeah, because in Season 1 they show her hating Boyd’s guts, and I think part of that is because he was yet another one of the people in the town who turned their heads to [Ava’s husband] Bowman and his abusive ways. Maybe Ava and Boyd had a connection but she was really hurt that he didn’t stand up for her? Raylan and Ava, I think, met up they were both at a point in their lives where they needed the escape of a sexual romance. A director was saying to me the other day, as Tim [Olyphant] and I were doing a scene, “I know there’s a hatred between [Ava and Raylan], but is there anything happening here?” I said, “I think there’s always going to be something happening there,” because they were great sex partners. There are people in life that you connect with on different levels – some intellectual and some raw passion. Boyd and Ava “get” each other, they truly are in love with each other. Boyd and Raylan are the same kind of men – they’re both violent and dangerous and a little scary, and they live by their own rules. It’s just that Raylan I don’t believe was in love with Ava; Boyd is.

TVLINE | I found it interesting to hear that Walton believes the guys genuinely like each other, while Tim is coming from a place of “They hate each other.”
Raylan might hate his whole past, so he thinks he hates Boyd — but as you see, time and time again, they kind of end up having to trust and help each other. One article I read said they were “soul mates.” [Laughs]

TVLINE | How are you summing up Ava’s journey for Season 3?
It’s goooooood. [Chuckles] Within ourselves lies the strength to become the best person we can be, and sometimes you just need a little help finding that. This journey with Boyd and the love she’s found is encouraging her to stand on her own two feet. And she might actually surprise Boyd in the end, too. Hmmmm….

TVLINE | As far as Boyd’s bad boy ways go, where do you think Ava will draw the line? Because she does have a line still, right?
I like to think so. Ava’s a fast and hard lover, so when she dives into something she goes the whole way. I guess its “to be determined” how far she will go. That’s something she will ask herself this season.

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TVLINE | How are things with Winona? Is Ava forcing herself to be extra-cordial to the mom-to-be?
I actually had a scene where I meet up with Raylan, and I asked the writers, “Is [Winona’s pregnancy] a known thing through the town?” And they were like, “No, Ava doesn’t know.” And Raylan doesn’t share that with her. And I haven’t gotten to cross paths with Winona yet. Doesn’t that suck?

TVLINE | Do you think a tiny part of Ava considers Raylan “the one that got away”?
You know what, I think that every woman that’s had a man in her grasp likes to think, “They’re still pining for me, they still want me a bit.” So Ava, every time she’s around him, would like to think that he feels like she’sthe one that got away.

TVLINE | Nicely put! You wielded a mean skillet in the premiere. Will Ava be brandishing any other weapons soon?
There are weapons in my future, but I think they’re a little more traditional. [Laughs] Let’s just say they let me have my shotgun back.