If there's one thing I wish the producers behind Justified spent more time working on: it's the characters of Tim and Rachel. Never as fully fleshed out as Art, Raylan's boss, and never given much of a storyline outside of the plots that heavily feature Raylan, both characters always seemed like after-thoughts.
But as Justified season 5 comes to a close tonight, Rachel - played by Erica Tazel - might get an opportunity to shine in the upcoming sixth and final season.
After watching the penultimate episode of the season
but before I had a chance to watch the season finale, I had the opportunity to talk with Tazel about Rachel, whether or not Rachel really shrugged off the fact that Raylan was involved in the murder of Nicky Augustine and what we might expect in tonight's finale.
BuddyTV: In last week's episode, Rachel and Tim both sort of shrugged off Boyd's revelation that Raylan was involved in the murder of Nicky Augustine. Did Rachel really shrug that off? Or can we expect more fall out later in the season?
Erica Tazel: I have not had an opportunity to see the episode yet, but I think what you are referencing is the scene in the bullpen after Boyd shows up. Under normal circumstances, none of the Marshals would ever shrug off such an accusation.
However, what's most important in the moment is that there has been an attempt on Art's life and we have not made an arrest. Boyd is the master of manipulation and is very skillful at exploiting people's vulnerabilities.
We as the Marshal's are pretty vulnerable right now. We cannot allow anyone to see that.
So what may appear as a "shrug" is us choosing to be unified and have each other's back until we close this case.
Will there be any fall out to that later? That remains to be seen. All I know is that Raylan does not get another black eye from a fellow Marshal, at least not at this point.
Rachel is now interim head of the marshal's office with Art in the hospital. Will she take a different approach to running the office -- and handling Raylan -- compared to Art?
This is still in development ... as I said earlier, right now the focus of the team is to bring Art's shooter to justice and before the season ends, there is a shift in that focus. Past that, I honestly have no knowledge of where the Interim Chief appointment will lead to in Season 6 and how it will affect my dealings with Raylan.
As Graham Yost has already said, Art does not die.
What's been one of your favorite moments over the last five seasons?
Personally, I loved a particular scene Jacob Pitts and I shot for this year's finale that involves Boyd and the Mexicans.
As an audience member, if I had to choose, my favorite is from Season Two. Coover has been killed and Mags requests to see her him. Raylan refuses her request. There is no scene I have replayed as much as that one.
You have to pick a favorite season--what's your favorite one and why?
For me it is Season Two. We found our legs as a series that year.
Also, the Bennett family was just a complete and complex group of people and they were interesting individuals. It was clear what they wanted and it made for some interesting truths and consequences that season.
The creation of that season felt very pure and organic. There was some pretty phenomenal work that came from all involved, from the actors to the designers and everything in between.
Who's the most fun actor or actress on the show to share scenes with?
I have truly enjoyed playing with all the actors I have had the opportunity to be on set with.
Any fun set stories?
It is always a joy to hear Tim and Nick talk about their kids in between takes of big dramatic scenes. They are such proud dads. Jacob's impersonations have been a highlight as well. He has a really good Alan Rickman and Owen Wilson.
Are you excited or sad about the fact that the next season is the final one?
Both. Sad because never again will this group of people be together again. Six seasons is a tremendous run and some incredible relationships have been formed.
I'm excited because we get to end our story on our terms. Then we all get to walk off into the sunset and I cannot wait to see what's beyond that.
Any teases for the final two episodes of the season?
There will be death of course and a twist that will open up a well of interesting story possibilities for the final season.
Where else can we see you once Justified is done for the season?
At the beach with an adult beverage
Anything else you'd like to share with us?
I'm truly grateful for all the fan support of Rachel. There has been such a great outpouring of love for the character, this year in particular. I really appreciate that very much! In the meantime, you can come hang out with me on Facebook: Erica Tazel and on Twitter @EricaTazel
Justified airs 10pm Tuesdays on FX.
(Image courtesy of FX)