Timothy Olyphant's Rumored Return to 'Justified' Character Would Be Based on This Book

Fans of Elmore Leonard definitely have a reason to celebrate: the creative team behind Justified will be adapting another Leonard property for television. Variety reported that Justified alums Graham Yost, Michael Dinner, Dave Andron, Chris Provenzano, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly, VJ Boyd and Taylor Elmore will be serving as executive producers of the series, and Dinner and Andron will co-write the series based on Leonard's 1980 novel The City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit.

The novel is focused on "a crazed, psychopathic killer" named Clement Mansell, the "Oklahoma Wildman." Mansell has made a habit of getting away with murder, thanks to an extremely competent lawyer, Carolyn Wilder. However, when Mansell executes a crooked judge, homicide Detective Raymond Cruz becomes single-minded in his pursuit of the killer.

"Lieutenant Raymond Cruz thinks the 'Oklahoma Wildman' crossed the line long before this latest outrage, and he's determined to see that the hayseed psycho meets an end he deserves, with a gun pointed at him," the synopsis reads. "But that means a good cop, having to play somewhat fast and loose with the rules ... in order to maneuver Mansell into a wild Midwest showdown that he can't walk away from."

However, Timothy Olyphant's fan-favorite lawman, Raylan Givens, is not featured in the novel The City Primeval. Cruz is the primary protagonist, offering readers (and soon-to-be viewers) a fresh perspective. However, that doesn't mean that Givens couldn't be written in, which is allegedly the plan. According to Variety, nothing is "set in stone," at this point, but that Olyphant could be written in as a guest star, or even as a main character in the series. Still, "playing somewhat fast and loose with the rules" sounds right up Givens' alley.

That is if Olyphant wants to return to the role. In an interview with Rolling Stone at the end of Justified's critically acclaimed six-season run, Olyphant seemed content to wrap things up as Givens. When asked whether or not he would miss playing the lawman, Olyphant replied in the negative. "I know what you mean by that question, but… no," Olyphant admitted. "I mean, I realize this was a great part to play, and I'll miss working with these guys a lot. But I had some problems with Raylan. I'm not so sure he's a great guy."

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"The way he presents this situation, Raylan makes it seem on the up and up," Olyphant said about Givens' decision to shoot a man in cold blood in the first episode of the series. "'I don't know what the trouble is here. He had a gun. There was no way he wasn't gonna have a gun. He wouldn't have been there if he didn't want to shoot me. I did warn him.' There's also a sense that this is no big deal for him, you know… 'Why is everyone getting their panties in a bunch about this? The guy was a criminal.' I've thought long and hard about this, and that's not how you want law-enforcement officers to behave. I think people would have thought it was just God-awful and be troubled and offended by it, but people seem to love him. They think he's awesome."

Olyphant credits Givens popularity with the strength of Leonard's writing, saying, "he's just a good, well-written character, which is more because of Elmore Leonard than me. When people tell me they like Raylan, I just say 'thank you very much.' I honestly do appreciate the compliment. Just because I think he's kind of an assh— doesn't mean they have to think that too."