"Brother's Keeper"
Season 2, Episode 9
Justified s2 ep9
Air date April 6, 2011
Written by Taylor Elmore
Directed by Tony Goldwyn
U.S. Viewers 2.79 million
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"Brother's Keeper" is the ninth episode of the second season, and the 22nd episode in the series overall. It was written by co-producer Taylor Elmore and directed by Tony Goldwyn. It first aired on April 6, 2011.



As the coal mine makes one final attempt to negotiate with the Bennett clan, Loretta begins to piece together what the Bennetts did with her father.

This episode is in dedication to U.S. Marshals Derek Hotsinpiller (1986 - 2011) and John Perry (1962 - 2011), who were the first on-duty U.S. Marshals to be shot to death. Hotsinpiller was killed in West Virginia on February 16, and John Perry was killed in St. Louis on March 8.


Mags combs Loretta's hair in preparation for the big party. The girl wonders whether her father has called. Mags, of course, killed her father, Walt McCready — unbeknownst to Loretta. Feeling guilty, Mags then offers Loretta her treasured hair clip, an heirloom. A filthy Coover enters — and Mags angrily shoos him out. "I used to tell people that I dropped him on his head as a baby," Mags tells Loretta. "Truth is I got no excuse for him." A very hurt Coover listens from the other side of the door.

Later, the Bennett party gets underway. No one in the clan is happy to see Boyd show up with Ava on his arm. Boyd asks for a "word" with Mags — and tells Doyle that he's not leaving until he does.

Soon, Raylan appears with Carol. It's shaping up to the most uncomfortable Sunday gathering ever. Sure enough, a drunken rube named Curtis tries to hit on Carol — and then tries to actually hit her. Carol deftly twists the man's arm behind his back before none other than Dickie steps in to restore the peace.

Carol smiles at an admiring Raylan. "What?" she playfully says.

Coover, meanwhile, hides behind a truck and takes two giant snorts of a crushed-up pill. Inside his ramshackle house, a bleary-eyed Coover slides on the watch taken from the body of Loretta's dads and heads back to the fun.

The party continues — and so does the drinking. Carol approaches Mags, who is condescending at best. "I walk away from here now and there is no deal — there never will be," an angry Carol warns. "Black Pike will take your mountain and blow the top off of it and you'll get nothing." Mags agrees to talk — alone. Raylan doesn't like it. Carol then gives Raylan a kiss on the mouth. "For luck," Carol says.

Inside, Carol finds Boyd and Mags sitting across from each other. Boyd informs Carol, his supposed boss, that he has bought a sought-after property out from under Mags and Carol. Outside, Dickie tries to enter the home, but Raylan steps in front of him. It's a standoff until Dickie tries to rush past Raylan, who easily pushes him to the ground. Embarrassed and angry, Dickie limps away.

Back inside, Carol offers Mags a substantial amount of money for the property, but Mags demands triple the amount and a four-percent interest in the company that owns Black Pike. "Sufficient to provide for my kin and the community for generations to come," Mags says. Carol scoffs that her land is not worth that amount — and Mags explains that a road will need to be built to get to the top of the mountain. Mags — and now Boyd — own the land needed for that road. Without such a road, no one is mining on the mountain top. Mags, Boyd, and Arlo and Helen Givens own the land needed. Carol realizes she is stuck.

Carol then makes a quick call to Black Pike — and returns with news that Mags has herself a deal. "I'll take the cash up front," says Mags, who doesn't care at all about selling out her neighbors. Carol leaves in a huff. Mags then wonders how Boyd got Arlo to come over to their side. Boyd simply says that Arlo can be "practical" when he needs to be. Mags tells Boyd that the Crowders can have the county — under one condition. "Stay out of the weed business — that's Bennett territory," Mags says. The two shake hands. Later, Loretta helps Coover with a beer keg — and spots her dad's watch. "What's wrong, girl?" Coover asks. "It looks like you've seen a ghost." Loretta excuses herself and heads inside. She is shaking and crying. Loretta now has confirmation that her daddy is dead.

Sometime later, Loretta shows up at Coover's door and offers him a joint. "Think it would be alright if I hung out here a little while?" the teen asks. Coover agrees. He is soon smoking up — and complaining that mama is paying so much attention to Loretta. "You never ask about your daddy," Coover says. "Why is that?" Loretta feigns ignorance until Coover passes out from the strong weed. Loretta then begins searching the filthy living house, eventually coming across the watch. She pockets it — and calls Raylan. "I knew they killed him!" she cries. "Please help me, Raylan!" Raylan, who is driving Carol to the airport, does an immediate U-turn. They're heading back to the Bennett homestead.

Coover, who had feigned passing out from the joint, grabs Loretta by the scruff of her neck. He demands to see what Loretta has in her hand. She reveals the watch and Dickie, who has emerged from a moonshine-induced stupor, moans in disbelief and horror. He can't believe his brother was stupid enough to keep the watch. Coover, meanwhile, asks Loretta if she wants to know how her daddy met his maker. "I'll take you to see him right now!" Coover screams. Dickie tries to stop his brother from making a huge mistake. "I think you're just a wee bit jealous because mama has taken a shine to her and not you," Dickie says. Coover explodes in a rage, pounding and then throttling his older, but smaller, brother.

Dickie appears to have died. Coover is immediately remorseful — and then notices that Loretta has escaped. He charges outside and pursues her — and quickly catches up. Sometime later, Raylan dumps bong water on Dickie's face, and the Bennett boy splutters to life. Raylan then steps on Dickie's bad leg and the Bennett boy screams. Raylan demands to know where Coover has gone. Screaming in pain, Dickie reveals that Coover likely went to the same place where they dumped Loretta's dad — at a spot up in a certain mine. "Don't you hurt my brother, Raylan!" Dickie screams as Raylan exits.

At the dark forest at the mouth of a mine, Raylan finds Loretta lying unconscious on the ground. He stoops to help the girl when Coover steps out of the darkness. A furious fight ensues. The two end up grappling on the edge of a deep shaft. It looks like Raylan is about to fall when Loretta suddenly appears. She holds a gun.

"Stop it!" Loretta screams. Raylan then pulls his gun and shoots the distracted Coover, who falls into the mine shaft. After several thumps on the way down, his body lands with a thud.

Outside, Raylan approaches a weeping and terrified Loretta. He hugs the girl tightly.

Later that night, Doyle awakens his mother from a deep sleep to break the bad news. Coover is dead. Back at the scene, Raylan tells Art that Loretta has been taken to a hospital. A uniformed officer approaches and explains that in the course of recovering Coover's body, they found a different, badly decomposed corpse at the bottom of the mine shaft — Loretta's dad.

Mags and Doyle then pull up in a pickup truck. "I'll handle this," Raylan says. The marshal explains that Coover is dead and Loretta has gone away. He explains that Mags can't speak with Loretta. Mags cries. "I never even got to say goodbye," Mags pleads. Raylan tells her that there is "no way" she will ever contact Loretta again.

Mags' face hardens and she transitions back to the ruthless matriarch she has revealed herself to be. "Let's go," she tells Doyle.

And so they go. Raylan watches them warily.


First AppearancesEdit

  1. Hobart Curtis - A citizen of Harlan, Kentucky who attends Mags Bennett's party and attempts to flirt with Carol Johnson, only to be rebuffed and have his arm twisted behind his back when he tries to hit her for turning him down.


  1. Coover Bennett - Shot by Raylan and falls down a mineshaft to his death.


Starring cast

Guest stars


Screenshot GalleryEdit