The preview for Tuesday's new "Justified" episode — "The Toll" — reveals Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Art Mullen (Nick Searcy) getting critically wounded in the line of duty, and marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) hot on the trail of the person who shot Art.
The duo's uneasy father/son relationship has been extra rocky as of late, as Art became privy to info that suggests Raylan's usual rebellion may have taken a turn into full-on, highly illegal activities, and Raylan all but 'fessed up to the crime. So now that Art's laying in a hospital bed in critical condition, and the tension between Raylan and his boss remains unresolved, Raylan's fully committed to making Art's shooter pay. Not surprisingly, all fingers seem to point to the Crowe family, namely psychotic family head Darryl (Michael Rapaport).
Meanwhile, Raylan's childhood friend and adult nemesis Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) continues to see his own carefully-plotted life unravel, also thanks in large part to his association with Darryl and the Crowes.
The cast talked to Yahoo TV on the red carpet for last week's Television Academy evening with the "Justified" gang, and shared some big scoop on what we can expect for the final three episodes of Season 5:
Things may not get better for Boyd, but there is at least one major surprise in store:
"It's been a tough season emotionally for Boyd and for me as an actor," Walt Goggins said. "But I think there will be a surprise at the end of the season that was so unexpected to all of us in how we kind of got there. I think that's kind of the greatest win [Boyd] could have, but it's complicated, you know, like last season. He got everything he ever dreamed of, and yet he lost the thing that was most important to him. And this season, I don't want to give it away, but something extraordinary's going to happen."
Raylan and Boyd have been on very divergent paths this season, and have shared little screen time. That changes in the season's penultimate episode, April 1's "Starvation":
"We've been so far apart this year and both in our own worlds, and I think it was a good decision on behalf of [executive producer] Graham [Yost], because we're going into our last season, and there's going to be a fair amount of crossover," Goggins said. "He's going to come into my sight line in a real way and I'm going to come into his crosshairs. So I think it was smart to keep us apart as long as they did, but we've got a lot of interaction coming up in Episode 12 that I think will be big."
Olyphant on Season 6:
At the center of Boyd's troubles this season is the imprisonment of his fiancé, Ava (Joelle Carter). He's committed major crimes — OK, murder — in the quest to secure her freedom, but she recently became so distraught with her dangerous situation inside jail that she broke up with Boyd. She also just murdered her big prison rival, Judith, so her broken romance may not be her top priority. Can Season 5 possibly end in a safe way for her?
"I think there's always something hopeful with Ava," Carter told Yahoo TV. "They really put her in the fire, and she keeps managing to find that humanity that keeps her from throwing in the towel. Yeah, it's strange the way [the season] ends, but it's hopeful... Ava really has some good stuff [coming up]. I guess they save the best for last, so it gets better and better. You'd think Judith was the end, but it's not."
But is there hope for Boyd and Ava as a couple?
"It's hard. I think they're two people that have been on very separate journeys," Carter said. "They have to reconnect and try to figure out who they are now as a unit, as a team. I always have hope for them because, in such a chaotic, dark world, they found each other, and they found love and support, so I gotta hold onto it."
Does Carter feel like Ava's living her own version of "Orange Is the New Black"?
"I mean, it took a whole year to get me into prison, and then [producers] found out ['OITNB'] came out during our hiatus, so they were very fearful of that," she said. "But I said, 'No, no, no, you got me in here, you guys better do something with me!' So they did, and they found their own way, their 'Kentucky Beige Is the New Orange.'"
Art Mullen's wife will be played by actor Nick Searcy's real-life wife, Leslie Riley:
"We've been married for 30 years, and so I've gotten her jobs all along, just to make sure that she continues to sleep with me," Searcy joked. "That's how it works in Hollywood. She said, 'I only had to sleep with him for 30 years to get a part on 'Justified.'"
About Art surviving the shooting and his future on the show, Searcy is mum, but he did reveal he's in the season finale, which was directed by actor and frequent FX director, Adam Arkin:
"I love Adam," he says. "Adam directed ['Shot All to Hell'], where I had the big diner shootout... it's always fun to work with him. And I did work with him in Episode 13, so there's a teaser."
Art's injuries mean there's need for an acting Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal. Might Erica Tazel, who plays Deputy Marshal Rachel Brooks, know anything about that?
Art's shooting "will throw us into a bit of a tizzy and set up some interesting things in terms of the ball rolling toward the finale," Tazel says. "So watch out for the main cast; there might be a shakeup there... Like I said, that sort of throws the marshals into a bit of a tizzy, and you have to make some decisions, and part of that decision will affect me greatly. I always say that Rachel has great career ambitions, and she may get what she asked for. It just may not look the way she thought it would look."
And Rachel's friendship and working relationship with Raylan at the end of the season?
"In a word or two, [it's] honest and transparent," Tazel said.
What about Jere Burns's wily Wynn Duffy, a character who was nearly killed off on at least three occasions? Will he live to finish out the series in next year's sixth and final season of "Justified"?
"He's never the top dog; that's why he's survived for this long," Burns said. "He's never been the alpha, because the alpha always gets killed. He's always been the beta. You know, he's up, he's still standing [at the end of the season], and that's a lot. I probably shouldn't have even said that, but.. I'm interested to see how they're going to kill me. I'm interested in how they're going to kill a lot of people, you know what I mean? It's just going to be mayhem. So I'm looking forward to it, I'm really looking forward to it."
Additional reporting by Dru Moorhouse.
Watch the Television Academy panel "An Evening With Justified" in full:
"Justified" airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.