The main character in FX’s “Justified” and “Justified: City Primaeval,” Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), is the archetypal neo-Western lawman, a 19th-century gunslinger stranded in the 21st century. The ‘Justified’ universe takes into account the fact that a lot of time has elapsed since the original series ended in 2015 since it was cancelled. With more salt than pepper in his hair, Raylan is older and wiser. Raylan is ordered by a judge to remain in Detroit, Michigan, and after being drawn into the judge’s murder investigation, Raylan meets Clement Mansell, alias The Oklahoma Wildman, one of the most dangerous and unpredictable killers Raylan has ever encountered. Here is our opinion on whether Raylan will pass away in the revival series. Spoilers follow.
Will Raylan Die in Justified: City Primeval?
The original series was inspired by a number of Elmore Leonard works, including “Fire in the Hole.” The revived series mostly takes inspiration from the book “City Primaeval: High Noon in Detroit,” which has Detroit detective Raymond Cruz as a separate protagonist. Raylan was introduced into the plot by the show’s creators, Dave Andron and Michael Dinner, thereby demoting Cruz to a supporting role. The addition of Raylan to a plot where he initially does not exist adds an intriguing element of uncertainty. Anywhere the writers want the story to go, even to Raylan’s demise, is possible. This was stated by the series’ creators in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“If you’re bringing Raylan back, you put him up against a really, really bad guy who doesn’t have any problem killing people, because Raylan could die,” said Andron. “This is a short-lived [series], and Raylan might not survive this. You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive was the show’s closing theme song every season, but he actually does. Raylan won’t die, and he didn’t at the end, so you know that up until the very end of the show. But I believe that all bets are off at this time.
Dinner reiterated his partner’s perspective, adding that they intended to stay true to Leonard’s book’s “three-hander” storyline, in which the lawyer who represents Mansell is also a party to the fight. He remarked, “We wanted to keep faithful to that. You get the impression that cosmic forces are bringing individuals together and that one, if not all, of them won’t be there at the end when American crime fiction is firing on full cylinders. Raylan has come this far, but will he make it through this? He may not very well.
The show’s writers were also adamant that “Justified: Primaeval City” would be a limited series and that they had no plans to make a multi-season sequel to “Justified.” It’s somewhat of a treasure in Elmore Leonard’s library. Dinner told the same site, “In a way, this is the grandfather of Raylan’s character. “We weren’t planning to restart ‘Justified,’ and we weren’t planning to pick up where we left off, but we thought it would be interesting to, what I call, ‘do a mashup.'” What if we inserted our character right into the action while still paying tribute to a book character and benefiting the book as a whole? We used Raylan in this story because we wanted to “recapture the feeling that we had working together in the past, rather than so much the past itself.”
Mansell’s character’s erratic behaviour brings a great deal of confusion to the story. Even his closest friends and family don’t know what he will do next. Many people, including his attorney, are taken aback by his unexpected visit to Raylan’s daughter. The fact that he is sufficiently self-destructive to commit crimes that other criminals would not make is what makes him so hazardous for Raylan.
Raylan’s role as a father is one of the key focuses of “Justified: City Primaeval,” which is something the original didn’t go into. Willa’s prominence in the narrative provides a weakness for Raylan, which Mansell takes advantage of early on in the series. He has no excuse not to repeat the action.