Post Mortems

Post Mortem: Justified Boss Explains 'Heartbreaking' Twist, Eerie Final Scene

Justified Dewey Dies

The following contains spoilers from Tuesday’s Justified season premiere.

As FX’s Justified opened its final season with a tense hour that pitted Raylan against a federale, had Ava on edge and saw Boyd pull off a brazen bank heist, almost everyone made it out alive.

Almost everyone. 

Because in the course of the aforementioned heist, Dewey Crowe was used as a distraction, to draw Raylan and Tim off Boyd’s scent. After Dewey grumbled some about his fate as bait, and with Boyd wary of the parolee’s trustworthiness, he received as recompense a bullet in the back of his head, as he studied an old photograph of Boyd’s coal miner kinfolk.

TVLine asked Justified showrunner Graham Yost about pulling the trigger on the delightfully dim-witted, delusional Dewey, who has been played off and on by Damon Herriman since the pilot, as well as the premiere’s final, unsettling scene.

TVLINE | No joke, you made me jump out of my seat when Dewey died. I mean, I was looking intently at the photograph with him,  looking in their eyes like Boyd told me to, and then bam! Talk about that decision to kill off Dewey.
That was up there with the hardest decisions we’ve made on the show. Killing off Dewey was just about as hard as killing off Arlo. Dewey had become the odd comic heart of the series, and I think it was because of that that we felt that [his death] would have this impact and establish how serious this all is for Boyd, that he kills someone who he even remotely suspects might be working for the other side.

I mean, when we took out Arlo in Season 4, it was with the feeling that there’s only so many seasons left, and we’re not going to have everything happen in the last year, and we won’t have everything happen in the last few episodes. So, if Dewey was to go, it was sort of better to do it now. But it was really hard, and not least of which because we just love Damon Herriman. He’s a great guy, and he’s been so much fun to work with. Just the way he did Dewey…. We would write stuff that on the page was hilarious, and he would play it straight and absolutely earnest, and it would become heartbreaking, even funnier… and slightly scary.

TVLINE | He lived in this wonderful little reality, you know? He’s like, “You can’t touch me, Trooper. I’m Teflon!”
I know. And his mangling of words became so much fun because he says it with such confidence. It was tough, because we had to tell Damon when we were doing DVD commentary on Season 5. Before we go in, we’re all smiley, and he said, “So, what have we got planned for Dewey [in Season 6]?” We go, “Oh, we’re talking about things.” We didn’t want to tell him. And then we came out, and we said, “Look, Damon… we’ve got bad news. Dewey’s going to die.” He said, “Oh no, oh no, no, no. When, when?” And he’s thinking halfway through the season. “Well, in the first episode.” He was so upset, because he fell in love with Dewey as well. But when he read the episode, he said, “You’re right, it’s time.” He liked that we gave him as much fun as we could in that episode — but that was a heartbreaker, you know?Justified Dewey Dies

TVLINE | Also, give me some idea of what’s going on in Boyd’s mind as he’s sitting there at sleeping Ava’s bedside.
We have no idea. Honestly, there are times where we just throw something and say, “Let it play off of what Walton [Goggins]’s doing.” I’m open to interpretation. Is he suspecting her? Is he just happy to see her? Is he trying to look over her? Is he wondering about her?

TVLINE | Because when I saw that in the Season 6 trailer, I assumed it was, like, an Episode 3 moment. That maybe she will have done something to make him suspicious….
Yeah. No, listen, that [scene] was in. It was out. It was in. It was out, and then we just decided, you know what? It’s a strong, dramatic conclusion, and we walk back from it to a certain extent, in that there’s a truth about Boyd that Raylan says to Ava in the fifth episode: “Boyd’s ego was such that he would kill three of his own men before he would suspect Ava,” because he could not believe that Ava would betray him. And so that’s ultimately where we land on that, which is he may be questioning it, but he’s not going to act on it, or be vocal about it, or ask any questions, really. He can’t really deal with the reality of that possibility, but there’s an exchange in the second episode, between him and Katherine (played by Mary Steenburgen), where you realize that he’s defensive about it, and defensive usually indicates a vulnerability. So it’s there. He just doesn’t want to bring it front of mind.

Want more scoop on Justified, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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27 Comments
  1. Cobra says:

    I was stunned when Dewey took that bullet. I was so shocked, I had to go back and watch it a second time, because it was so quick, you almost miss it. Great episode.

  2. Maya says:

    Really Amazon premiere. Loved seeing so much of Tim. The introduction to Garret Dillahunt was well done and can’t wait for more scenes with him and Timothy.

    Sad to see Dewey go. He was always so much fun and I am grateful he was on the show for five seasons.

  3. znachki says:

    As soon as Boyd had Dewey looking at that picture, I just knew it was coming. Kind of like George and Lennie in of Mice & Men. We’ll miss you Dewey.

    • Marci says:

      I had the same feeling; as soon as Boyd told Dewey to look closer at the picture, I knew he was going to shoot him.. He
      was always such a hoot and great comic relief. I’ll miss him.

    • Kim R says:

      When Dewey was talking & it was feeling so sentimental, I said to my husband, Boyd is going to kill him. I looked away when they stood in front of the picture. I didn’t want to see it happen. At least Boyd did it in a way that didn’t make Dewey afraid. Boyd’s twisted version of compassion.

  4. Poor Dewey! But then, I had a feeling he wasn’t going to make when he did his “make it like it was” monologue. It reminded me of New Jack City. That joker will definitely be missed.

  5. christopher bee says:

    Once again a masterfull episode. Everything works, from editing, acting, Steve´s wonderfull guitar picking soundtrack to the color grading. This is one of the very best crafted series ever.

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    dailly and get good information from here every day.

  7. kkgator says:

    I knew Dewey wasn’t going to make it to the end of the season. He was just too stupid to keep on living.
    That’s one loose end tied up. Wonder who dies next?

    Words cannot express how glad I am the show is back. Although, I’m sad that it’s the last season.

  8. This excellent series would not even be if not for the tremendous talent of the late great
    Elmore “Dutch” Leonard. Most crime fiction writers write like people read. Mr. Leonard
    wrote like people talk. His characters and dialog made it feel like you were right there with
    them. The only other crime fiction author who could do it was the equally late Robert B.
    Parker ( the Spenser Franchise ). Justified will be missed. Thanks to all involved in bringing
    it to us.

  9. Joe Seba says:

    I think “Justified” is one of the best shows on television. Maybe one of the best that ever has been on television. One of the reasons is the elimination of Dewey in the season’s opener. It was clearly inevitable. The prolonged conversation between Dewey and Boyd was leading up to that moment. And that’s what makes this show special. Not everything has to be a “twist” or a “shocker”.

  10. Dave says:

    Just look at the flowers, Dewey.

    I had a pit-of-my-stomach feeling for 45 minutes that it was going to be Tim who bit the bullet just because it was his biggest episode yet (clearly I haven’t recovered from Joss Whedon adding Amber Benson to the opening credits of Buffy & killing her 42 minutes later).

    • znachki says:

      I know what you mean, although Jacob Pitts has long been in the opening credits iirc. I will worry about Tim until the final credits roll.

  11. Mark Bertram says:

    Dewey getting killed did NOT surprise me a bit and it was long overdue!!! I still don’t know why they’re ending Justified, the best show on TV, besides The Blacklist and Hannibal.

  12. IMHO says:

    Happy the show is back.
    Sad that Dewey Crow and his turtle dog will no longer be a part of it.
    Really looking forward to seeing more of Garret Dillahunt and the intro of Sam Elliott

  13. Sche says:

    In the beginning there was alot of fun in each episode. Yes high drama, anxiety, tension and thrills, but always something quirky to make me laugh… Sorry but I can no longer watch this show.

  14. Loretta says:

    I really wish they’d have waited til at least halfway through the season to take Dewey out! Boo!But then I’m still disappointed that Mags only made it to the end of season 2.

  15. BrianR says:

    Dewey Crowe is so dumb he should have died in the first season much less last until season 6. I figured he would get eaten by a gator at some point.

  16. ? says:

    Honestly, Dewey has slipped the noose so many times on this show that if he hadn’t been killed at the end of this episode, I would have been more shocked. As for Ava, well, she may have got one over on her first Crowder husband (whose name I can’t spell), but Boyd’s a very different sort of animal entirely.

  17. Eli says:

    Knew Dewey would die as soon as Raylan said something to him about “fate’s right hand” and that was the title of the episode. Wish they wouldn’t do that, but it was great and I’ll miss Dewey.

  18. jkgroves75 says:

    Can you please change the practice of placing the pic of the dead character in the headline? You always warn spoilers, but that spoils it right there, keep the pic neutral. I love the site but get spoiled that way!

  19. m3rcnate says:

    Saw it coming the moment he said look at the picture and started to walk away, a total TWD “look at the flowers” moment. Not a rip off IMO to be clear…it makes sense and it fit with the story.

  20. Susan Ritchie says:

    I’m so glad it’s back, I wish it could go longer. So many great shows ending this season, that’s a shame.

  21. Nancy says:

    What a wonderful pleasure to watch this show. I sure will miss it. Thanks to all involved with the show, especially Tim.

  22. John says:

    What is the deal with Boyd’s empty bar?
    He never has any customers…