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Write On: Justified: City Primeval's Showrunner Michael Dinner

July 18, 2023
2 min read time

The world out there is a brutal place. If you have a hankering for some of the rough justice you remember from old-school lawman Raylan Givens – you’re in luck. Justified: City Primeval is about to drop on FX starring the same Raylan (Timothy Olyphant), we all came to know and love in the six seasons of the hit-show Justified. His hair has more sliver streaks, partly due to age but also due to worrying about his precocious 15-year-old daughter Willa (played by Olyphant’s real-life daughter Vivian), in this thrilling 8-episode limited series.

I talked with showrunner Michael Dinner about evolving Elmore Leonard’s beloved lead character in this spinoff that’s set in the mean streets of Detroit, while staying true to the risk-taking Raylan who’s not afraid to get his hands dirty in the hollers of Kentucky. Now the father of a teenaged girl, Raylan’s priorities have shifted – so will he still reach for his gun with the same ease as before?

“In a way, this is the second chapter of his life,” says Dinner. “His first chapter is, ‘You can’t go home again.’ We pick him up 8 or 10 years later, he’s divorced, he has a daughter. I look at the work in these 8 episodes and it’s more adult and I feel he’s made another step – not the actor, but the character. So, I think it’s interesting to look at it with that kind of perspective, that it is a character who is further down the road.”

Dinner also shares his advice for creating characters who ignite conflict and push each other’s buttons in ways that help sustain a show over time and engage the audience in deeper ways. Also, I ask the question, who is Raylan Givens without Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), and if we might see Boyd Crowder anytime soon. Dinner’s answer may surprise you! Click to hear more from our podcast with Dinner about the new limited series Justified: City Primeval. Hear more in Final Draft's Write On podcast. 

Justified: City Primeval comes to FX on July 18.