Natalie Zea on Winona's 'Puzzling' Justified Return and 'Very Delicate' Situation With Raylan

Justified Season 4 SpoilersLast we saw, Justified‘s normally cool-as-all-get-out Raylan was left reeling from the con job pulled over on him by his latest conquest, Lindsey. But this Tuesday (FX, 10/9c), the Southern-fried marshal will (briefly) put that all behind him for a long-overdue reunion with his MIA baby mama Winona — who, let’s be honest, is the real reason Raylan’s been so moody and broody this season.

Here, Natalie Zea — who can currently be seen on Fox’s The Following — discusses with TVLine her character’s “puzzling” return to the Justified scene, when she may return and what she sees as the endgame for Harlan County’s on-again, off-again “soulmates.”

TVLINE | What brings Winona back into the picture?
I have no idea. [Laughs] For me, this was a free trip home to Los Angeles and I got to hang out with all of my colleagues on Justified, so it was really great. I’m hoping there’s a bigger picture purpose [to her return]. And I’ll say that it’s… puzzling. I’m going to trust that there’s a real good reason for it, though.

TVLINE | Last week left Raylan in a pretty vulnerable place. Did you know where things stood, plot-wise, when you returned?
I didn’t know anything when I shot this stuff. I don’t even know what’s going on in that episode.

RELATED | On Justified, Rachel’s Quiet Frustration Boils Over, Creating ‘Tension’ Between Her and Raylan

TVLINE | Yeah, he’s not feeling too hot at the moment. Should we be concerned about where this reunion will leave him?
Awww, bless his heart… I love that I didn’t know all of that going into it because Winona doesn’t know all of that. She’s very sheltered from his life outside of whatever interactions they may have. Now that you’ve told me that, I think it worked rather well. [Laughs] It worked especially well for the character. She’s in the dark — and she’s got other things on her mind right now. She picks up a little bit that something is maybe not right, but it doesn’t go too far below the surface.

TVLINE | Since for now you’re only back for this episode, I imagine we won’t get too much backstory on what Winona’s been up to?
Nope! [Laughs] The baby bump is bigger. They say [she’s about] 7 1/2 months along.

TVLINE | And Graham Yost has said she won’t have this baby this season!
[Laughs] Oh God! When is this going to end?! That baby needs to get out of the belly at some point. [Laughs] But I guess in the Justified world a season is only a few weeks-to-months long anyway, so I could do this all my life, I suppose.

TVLINE | What has time away from Raylan and Harlan County done for Winona?
I think she’s taking care of herself. She really wants him to be a part of this, and obviously he wants to be a part of it. So, they’re just being very delicate with each other. A lot of it’s on the surface — “We’re all good and well. Everything’s fine.” And they’re not really saying what they’re thinking or feeling; they’re just trying to keep the peace. They’re in as good a place as they can be.

RELATED | Justified: Raylan and Boyd’s Falling Out, Winona’s Whereabouts and More Scoopy Bits

TVLINE | And you’ll likely be back on Justified again this season, should scheduling permit. Any movement on that front?
We’re in the middle of a bit of a chaotic situation with that — we’re really trying. Really, really trying. And I will jump through whatever hoops that I need to jump through to get back there. It’s very important for me to maintain a presence in that world. It would be weird if she didn’t pop up every once in awhile. So, I’m working hard to get back over there.

TVLINE | Your new series The Following aside, do you believe that when all is said and done, Winona will ultimately be by Raylan’s side?
I think in some shape or form, they will always be together. Whether that means they’re physically part of some exclusive union, I don’t know. That obviously hasn’t worked well for them. But there has been talk of them being soulmates, and I see it — I will drink that Kool-Aid for sure. [Laughs] It is so romantic and it’s destiny and all of those purple words. You know, even if it’s not happily ever after, I think that the best outcome for the two of them would be to find peace with each other.

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  1. Enad says:

    I was getting the feeling that Natalie Zea could care less about her character and Justified until we got to the second to last question/answer, so thank goodness that she said that she’s willing to maintain a presence on the show.

  2. Dee says:

    I love Raylan and Winona so I’m super excited about their scene tonight. For some reason I love that she has no clue what’s going on. I do hope they can find a way to get Natalie back to Justified this season, there has to be some movement in their storyline. Especially with the baby that she’s going to be pregnant with for 4 seasons now.

  3. Tony S says:

    I always preferred Raylan with Eva. But if I had the choice between snakes and Winona, I’d go with Winona. I hate snakes. Are we stuck with them all season?

    • Meg says:

      You obviously didn’t even bother to read the article . And it’s Ava not Eva . I am happy Winona is back for this episode and hope she returns again this season . I love Natalia Zea , and will watch her in anything .

    • Joey Jo Jo Jr. Shabadoo says:

      Will you be stuck with the snakes or Raylan and Winona all season? If it’s the latter it’s answered in the article. And it’s Ava, Eva is pronounced completely different.

  4. Mel says:

    So glad Natalie is coming back, even for a little bit. I think in the end (last season), she and Raylan belong together, but for now, I am okay with it being an on-again, off-again thing.

  5. Jasmine says:

    I really missed Raylan and Winona. I want them back so badly on my screen. Cant wait to see this episode.

  6. amycorvus says:

    Reblogged this on Neon Disease and commented:
    Such a large portion of the internet seems to hate Winona but I love her- both the character and the actress. She’s one of the few truly rounded girlfriend/wife t-types on TV, she’s got a life outside whatever her man is doing and it’s written in a way which doesn’t derail the main story with useless side plots! Can’t wait to see her back, even if its only for a little while.

  7. brutony says:

    Shes also on Californication! Shes a busy gal, and Im all the more glad for it!

  8. A. says:

    I love Natalie but I was never big on Winona. Just the way she was from the start. Plus Im not big on cheating in the first place lol. I feel like if their relationship ickdd up again if she had just gotten divorced I would robably accept their relationship moee. But Raylan helped in that too. I loved him with Ava and thought they could work till that episode in season one. But i am curious how they wil get her back with her schedule for the following and such

    • Melissa says:

      Natalie has to appear 4 episodes per series I read somewhere.Ava is meant for Boyd. Raylan is for Winona. Boyd and Ava are similar while Raylan and Winona are complete opposites.
      Raylan only loves Winona hence married her and probably marry her again. They are soul mates inspite of everything that happened between them.

  9. Arnell says:

    My favorite couple! Great chemistry!!

  10. Moname91 says:

    Yost said before that when Natalie signed on to The Following that it was negotiated for her to be in at least 4 episodes of Justified. I hope that’s true I really miss Raylan and Winona. I think the point of her visit was to show the audience that even though Raylan wants to do right by his child Winona is very much alone in her pregnancy. He missed the last 2 baby appointments and was technically late and had to rush away from her again. She can’t really trust Raylan to be there for them and we’ll see her making decisions that are best for her and her child and leaving Raylan out in the cold and I can’t say that I blame her. Perhaps when Justified ends Raylan will finally put her and their child first and they’ll ride off into the Kentucky bluegrass together.

    • Melissa says:

      I agree with you here. Of course that is what we will expect. I don’t know how many more seasons Justified will have but I see Raylan in the end with Winona and their child together as a family, perhaps married again. Perhaps do what he promise Winona about moving back to Glynco. There is no doubt they love each other. Winona is just waiting for Raylan to come and be with them. I can’t say I can blame her. Having Winona to protect is one thing, but having to protect their child is another. Raylan needs to man up and be there for his new family, I hope when the series ends we get a happy ending with Winona, Raylan and the baby.

      Btw I did not care for Raylan being a ladies man and all. Ugh! He needs to stay true to Winona!

  11. Melissa says:

    I love Winona. She keeps Raylan grounded and she calls it when she sees it. She is Raylan’s soul mate and true love. I hope she gets to have more appearances in season 5.