Elmore Leonard, creator of Raylan Givens, the Kentucky lawman of his Fire in the Hole short story and FX’s hit program Justified, is so enamored with the show and Timothy Olyphant’s portrayal of Givens that he is planning a new novel for the character, just as the series gets ready to debut its second season in February.

That’s high praise indeed for the program, the kind FX is getting used to, after Justified proved a standout amongst, not only the network’s other acclaimed series, but an increasingly crowded television market as well.

Many among the show’s principles see Leonard’s ringing endorsement as proof they’re upholding the integrity of his creation. While discussing the upcoming season of Justified, Olyphant touched on his discussions with Leonard about the show.

“It just feels good. [Leonard] was very generous with his compliments, when we first met. We didn’t meet until after he’d seen our first episode, and he was very gracious and very kind. I was quite tickled with the whole thing. He just couldn’t be cooler. I really enjoyed spending that time with him, and I was thrilled that he was pleased, and I begged him to write more.”

Unfortunately, Leonard was not present at the recent Television Critics Association winter press tour – where Olyphant spoke candidly about the program and his performance, telling those in attendance: “I hate to say this because I’d like to win awards someday, but it’s easy to play.”

Whether it is the original short story or Justified’s current storytelling, Olyphant clearly credits writers not only for the show’s success, but also his critically lauded performance. “If the writing is good, it just makes your job easier. When writing’s not good, it’s harder to memorize. It’s harder to figure out what you’re doing. I find the character rather complicated and quite surprising, and that makes it fun to do.”

While not all of FX’s series will be making a second season return (Terriers a critically lauded, but largely ignored, series starring Donal Logue and True Blood’s Michael Raymond-James, was recently referred to as “a beloved 13-episode miniseries” by FX president John Landgraff), the network seems committed to utilizing shows like Justified to keep its programming slate appealing to as many viewers as possible.

Justified begins its second season February 9 at 10 pm EST.

Source: E! Online, Collider