Timothy Olyphant: Laying Down 'Justified' Laws

Timothy Olyphant plays Raylan Givens, a present-day U.S. marshal with Wild West inclinations on the FX series Justified.

Timothy Olyphant plays Raylan Givens, a present-day U.S. marshal with Wild West inclinations on the FX series Justified. Mark Seliger/FX hide caption

itoggle caption Mark Seliger/FX

This interview was originally broadcast on March 28, 2011. Justified begins its third season next week.

Timothy Olyphant plays Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on the FX series Justified.

In the first season's opening episode, Givens was based in Miami. But after forcing a drug dealer into a showdown — and then shooting him — the loose-cannon lawman was transferred back to his backwoods Kentucky hometown, where his job puts him on the trail of childhood friends who are now on the other side of the law.

"The thing that's very attractive about the character is the moral code of it all," Olyphant tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I always go back to that scene in the first episode, where Raylan told a guy that you don't walk into someone's house unless you're invited — and at the same time, he gave somebody 24 hours to get out of town or he'd kill him. That to me says everything you'd need to know about the guy."

Olyphant also starred in the HBO series Deadwood as Western sheriff Seth Bullock. His film credits include Gone in 60 Seconds, The Broken Hearts Club and A Life Less Ordinary.

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