Timothy Olyphant Talks Returning to ‘Justified’ Amid Reckoning for Police Misconduct

“We’re not a show that’s a cheerleader for law enforcement,” the executive producer and star of “City Primeval” said during the Winter TCA Press Tour

Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens in "Justified."

“Justified: City Primeval” won’t gloss over the topic of police brutality and inequality, star Timothy Olyphant said during the Winter TCA Press Tour while discussing the return of his popular character, U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, in the new FX limited series.

Set 10 years after the finale of “Justified,” the new crime drama finds Givens juggling work with raising his teenage daughter Willa (Olyphant’s real-life daughter Vivian). Inspired by Elmore Leonard’s novel “City Primeval,” the action moves from Kentucky to the city of Detroit, where Givens joins the police department’s investigation into The Oklahoma Wildman, known as Clement Mansel (Boyd Holbrook).

In the years since the hit Western crime drama ended in 2015, conversations about racial inequality and incidents of police brutality have put a bigger focus on how law enforcement is portrayed on screen. Olyphant, who also served as executive producer, emphasized that this extension of the “Justified” universe will play a part in that conversation, while staying true to the show’s tone.

“We’re not a show that’s just a cheerleader for law enforcement,” he said. “Some of the characters are aware of their flaws, they’re aware of their shortcomings and they’re aware that it’s complicated.”

Producers touted the casting of Aunjanue Ellis in the role of Carolyn Wilder, a white character in the book, as a conduit to bringing up those conversations organically. It was essential for the show to address how the issues addressed in recent years would affect Given’s world.

The new show is an extension of the “Justified” universe, meaning new viewers won’t have to be familiar with the original series to jump into the new story. Though longtime fans of the series can expect various Easter eggs to show up throughout the new show’s eight-episode run.

“These guys gave us so much material to launch, what I’ve always thought was, potentially numerous stories,” Olyphant said, adding that as long as producers continue to find inspiration on Leonard’s books he would be willing to keep playing the character of Raylan Givens in the future.

“Justified: City Primeval” is expected to premiere in summer 2023.