As the saying goes, a hero is only as good as the villain who opposes him – and for Timothy Olyphant’s Raylan Givens of FX’s Justified, two villains might just make him twice the hero. With production on season 3 underway soon, some eleventh hour casting brings former Boomtown actors Neal McDonough and Mykelti Williamson to the series as the season’s main antagonists.

First up, McDonough (Captain America: The First Avenger, Minority Report) will portray Quarles, a Detroit gangster looking to make a power play in the void left by the Crowder and Bennett families from seasons past. Given Quarles hails from the Motor City, and supposedly has a penchant for fine tailoring – he may find himself a fish out of water in Harlan County.

Williamson (Forrest Gump, CSI: NY) plays Limehouse – the decidedly more homegrown of the two baddies in season 3. Limehouse comes from a small, predominantly black town in Harlan County – and has no qualms with breaking the law in order to keep his holler protected.

Of the two, Williamson’s Limehouse certainly seems to have the potential for a moral grey area, and, being a local, a modicum of empathy from Givens. McDonough’s Quarles, though, may be the more cut-and-dry villain of the season. Fans can begin to speculate how the pair will manage to cause trouble for Raylan and his marshals.

However the characters play out, the fact remains that McDonough and Williamson have some big shoes to fill after Margo Martindale’s performance as the cunning head of the Bennett clan earned her Justified’s sole Emmy – despite Olyphant, Watlon Goggins and Jeremy Davies being nominated for their respective portrayals of Raylan Givens, Boyd Crowder and Dickie Bennett.

While Martindale’s turn largely made the second season of Justified the critical success and crowd-pleaser that it was, fans will likely be ecstatic to see Jeremy Davies return as Dickie, the tenacious member of the now depleted Bennett clan – who, given the events of last season’s finale ‘Bloody Harlan,’ can add the deaths of his brothers and mother to the laundry-list of grievances held against Raylan.

As an executive producer and head writer on Justified, Graham Yost (Speed, Band of Brothers) must choose his villains very carefully, as it has become evident each installment isn’t merely looking for every big bad to be dispatched by Raylan at the close of the season – but by keeping adversaries like Boyd Crowder and Dickie Bennett alive, the writers are enriching the Justified pool of characters, and in essence, creating a bit of a rogues gallery that is every bit as intriguing as U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens.

The 13-episode third season of Justified starts in January 2012 on FX.

Source: Entertainment Weekly