This article contains spoilers about the series finale of "Justified."
"Justfied," the rugged Kentucky-set drama pitting Deputy U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens against a revolving gallery of psychopaths, rednecks and assorted criminals, reached its finale Tuesday.
The episode was highlighted by the much-anticipated showdown between Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and his arch nemesis, smooth-talking bad guy Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins).
Most devotees of the series, based on "Fire in the Hole" by the late famed novelist Elmore Leonard, likely anticipated that either Givens or Crowder would perish in their last head-to-head encounter.
But executive producer Graham Yost and his writers came up with a twist that led to a surprising -- and arguably more satisfying -- climax.
During the course of the drama's six seasons, Goggins received accolades and critical praise for his portrayal of the treacherous yet charming Crowder. He had previously scored positive notice for his work in FX's "The Shield," in which he played troubled rogue cop Shane Vendrell.
"Justified" was only part of Goggins' whirlwind resume the last few years. He made several memorable appearances as transgender escort Venus Van Dam in FX's biker saga "Sons of Anarchy," and he's currently filming Quentin Tarantino's post-Civil War western "The Hateful Eight" (He also appeared in Tarantino's Oscar-winning "Django Unchained.")
Earlier this week, Goggins reflected on his years on "Justified," the show's legacy and why he considers Venus his most important character.
Q: So what was it like bringing the curtain down on "Justified?"
GOGGINS: I'm filled with pride. I'm proud not for me personally but for what this company was able to do -- service a master of the narrative form. It's one thing to have a show coming from a showrunner's imagination. But for Graham and the writers and the actors, we were all trying to live up to the standards of Elmore Leonard. And until the final episode, all of us were collectively holding our breaths to see if we could pull it off. For better or worse, I think we did. It's not easy to walk in the footsteps of giants, but Graham did it.
Q: Was it emotional having to say goodbye to Boyd?
GOGGINS: To be honest, I don't know if I've fully said goodbye to Boyd. He lives just under the surface of my imagination. The weight that Boyd has been under ever since (his fiancee Eva's) incarceration) has been immense, and the stress just snowballed. The release of that tension came in the scene where he's preaching at the prison. I can't tell you what a relief it was to get to that scene.
It was also acknowledged that the relationship between Raylan and Boyd was more than of an adversarial nature. It was something rooted in a shared and common struggle. With every life experience, it takes a while to reach equilibrium.
Q: You and Tim always had amazing chemistry.
GOGGINS: It was the luck-of-the-draw DNA. The first day of filming and the first words we said to each other, everything just seems to fit. I don't know where that comes from, but I'm so grateful. Our chemistry was rooted in the words of the imagination of Elmore, his understanding for subtleties and dialogue. It was just really lucky that we were actors who got that and fit together like the pieces of a puzzle.
Q: "Justified" had always built up to this idea that there would have to be a final showdown between Raylan and Boyd, and only one of them would be standing at the end. There was a showdown, but you both emerge standing.
GOGGINS: I would argue that they did die. Raylan is no longer the angriest man in the world, so that part died. Boyd sees the error of his ways and the ramifications of the violent life he's been living. So that part dies. The showdown happens without bullets flying, but for my money, that's the only way it should have gone. It ends with what so many people love -- two men having a conversation.
Q: Dressing up for your role in "Sons of Anarchy" also got a lot of attention.
GOGGINS: It was like Cinderella being invited to the ball. To be able to go into that show at the 12th or 13th hour and participate as a thread in their jacket was one of the greatest privileges of my life. And Venus is the most self-realized person I have ever played -- she's braver than both Shane and Boyd put together! She's by far the boldest person the way she dealt with life -- going into a dark room, turning on the light, opening a window and saying "This is who I am." I was proud to be in her shoes -- although those high heels hurt. Just having her in the conversation of 'Sons of Anarchy' brings a smile to my face.
Q: "Justified" is over, but you are staying very, very busy.
GOGGINS: Yeah, I'm filming Quentin's movie on a soundstage in L.A. It's 30 degrees on the stage -- colder than it is in Colorado -- but I'm having the time of my life. And then I'm going to do "Vice Principals" for HBO -- it's Danny McBride's new show.
Q: So it's a comedy. We're going to see a whole new Walton.