The core team behind FX’s hit crime saga Justified are returning to their Elmore Leonard source material, with an adaptation of his 1980 novel City Primeval for a series at the network. Justified creator Graham Yost will executive produce the adaptation, while writers Michael Dinner and Dave Andron write, executive produce, and co-showrun the new series. Dinner will direct some of the series as well. There are also rumors of Justified star Timothy Olyphant returning, in some capacity, though this is currently without comment.
City Primeval is set in Detroit–common stomping grounds for Leonard’s characters–focusing on Clement Mansell, an unhinged criminal whose lawyer provides him with the legal loopholes to get away with murder… literally. Though when his unpredictability crosses the line, he attracts the attention of a hard-nosed homicide detective, numbering Mansell’s days as a loose cannon. Leonard’s original book doesn’t feature Timothy Olyphant’s Justified character Raylan Givens, calling into question his possible return to the new FX series. Stranger things have happened, of course, and the Justified writing team would likely make things run smoothly to get their main man back in the saddle.
Justified ran for six seasons at FX, where it was nominated for several Emmys, winning two for actors Margo Martindale and Jeremy Davies. Olyphant’s iconic Raylan Givens made his first literary appearance in Leonard’s 1993 novel Pronto, and has featured in other novels and short stories by the legendary crime writer.
The City Primeval adaptation, whose title isn’t yet nailed down, is very early in its production, with Olyphant’s involvement still a mere rumor. The new Leonard series is being developed by Sony Pictures Television, where Justified had also been curated.
I’m skeptical of Olyphant’s return, seeing as City Primeval is quite a different card than Justified turned out, but time will tell. More Elmore Leonard words making their way to the screen is always a good thing, with or without a Stetson-adorned leading man.