Jesse Luken Speaks on Justified Death, Surprising Star-Crossed Storyline

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Boyd's personal and professional lives went all kinds of bad on Justified season 5.

Through it all, his right hand man, Jimmy, was there by his side, whether it was to speak Spanish at a crucial moment or to strangle an old man from the back of a car. Jimmy was there. He was loyal to the end.

On Justified Season 5 Episode 13, Jimmy was killed by the Mexican cartel in retribution for the deaths in Mexico. In that moment, Boyd lost his most loyal and dependable associate. 

TV Fanatic jumped on the phone to talk with Jesse Luken (Jimmy) to discuss his character's end. Jimmy may be gone, but Luken can be seen weekly on The CW's Star-Crossed as Eric.

Scroll down for excerpts from our exclusive Q&A...


Why do you think Jimmy was able to survive so long? Everyone around Boyd seems to die, but Jimmy had a long run.

Yeah. I agree. I'm grateful for it. I think Jimmy did well keeping his head down. As Boyd's henchmen tended to do, they were either too stupid or too ambition and a lot of Boyd's guys have tried in vain to kind of branch off on their own or double-cross Boyd or make a deal or get to big for their birches and then make like Icarus and fly too close to the sun and get burned. Jimmy understood his place. He wasn't as smart as Boyd, but he was smart enough to realize that and kept his head down and follow.

Jesse Luken

Why do you think he stuck around so long, especially after he killed the man for Ava?

That was a tough -- that episode I thought was a really good episode in that it presented an interesting moral dilemma and it was felt down the line into Jimmy. It was a really tough choice for Boyd and then Jimmy kinda had a reaction like, "Are you serious? I'm not working for you to murder grandfathers in the back seat of a truck."

But, I think Jimmy's fiercely loyal and I was grateful that they gave the line that he tried to alert Boyd at the end. I think his loyalty ultimately ended up costing him, but it was it was his calling card throughout the arc.

When did you find out that Jimmy was going to be killed?

I found out about two or three weeks for we shot it. [Executive Producer] Graham Yost called and I hadn't a script yet. The call was a number I didn't know. I immediately -- I picked up and he said, "It's Graham Yost." I said, "Oh, shit. Really?" And, he said, "Yeah, really," because you know when Graham calls there's kinda only one reason for it. So, yeah we had a really nice conversation and that was how I found out.

How was it shooting that scene?

It was pretty grueling. It was simultaneously the most difficult and the most rewarding shooting day I think I've ever had. It was six hours or so of shooting that scene from different angles and trying to keep the emotion up and having my mouth taped and not being able to say anything but trying to convey to Boyd that I was sorry that I had gotten us into this. At this point, I think Jimmy believes they are both going down. Boyd obviously makes it through the finale, but I think Jimmy looks at Boyd and thinks this is the end of both of us and I'm sorry.

Now that Jimmy's gone, Boyd has nobody left. How do you foresee Boyd moving forward?

I think that has we have seen towards the end of this season and going into next season, I think Boyd is tired. I think he's sick of the life. It's the only life he know and the only life he's good at, but Boyd's evolution is going to -- he's really really at the end of his rope. I think you're probably going to see in season 6 a very desperate Boyd and a desperate Boyd is an incredibly interesting Boyd because he's so cunning and smart and charismatic and all those things.

What will you miss the most about being on Justified?

The people. The people are second to none. The crew and the writers and the producers and the other actors. I just love each and every one of them with my whole heart. I consider myself to be extraordinarily lucky to have been able to spend three years with them.

You also play Eric on Star-Crossed, what's coming up on that show?

Roman and Emery finally kissed. The Trags and the Red Hawks are gearing up. In the main plot, you get to see Grayson -- the fall out of him being scorned and not being chosen by Emery. And then for Eric, they introduced this dynamic with him and Julia and they take it to some places that I was not expecting to be sure.

They are like two opposites. I would never have expected the two of them to be paired, but that car scene was a lot of fun.

It was a lot of fun to shoot and MJ [Malese Jow] is a wonderful actress and she's so fun to play with and play off of. ... I think, hopefully, that you started to see in that episode that both of them not understanding why they are drawn to each other. That's the beautiful thing about people, we don't understand why we're drawn to each other.

Jesse Luken can be seen Mondays on Star-Crossed and later this season he will be guest starring on Castle.

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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Justified Quotes

"There's a third option, we just get to it right here and you die in the car. Any takers? Ok, then.


Nothing brings you peace but the triumph of principles.