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"The Promise"
Season 6, Episode 13
The Promise.jpg
Air date April 14, 2015
Written by Graham Yost, Fred Golan, Dave Andron and Benjamin Cavell
Directed by Adam Arkin
U.S. Viewers 2.24 million
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Justified: City Primeval

"The Promise" is the thirteenth and final episode of the sixth season and the 78th episode in the series overall. It was written by series creator Graham Yost, Fred Golan, Dave Andron and Benjamin Cavell and directed by Adam Arkin. It first aired on April 14, 2015.



Raylan, Boyd, and Ava fight one last, bloody battle to find out who leaves Harlan alive.


KSP Deputy Lappiccola cuffs Raylan and puts him in the rear of a KSP cruiser.

Boyd searches Grubes' cabin for the rest of Avery Markham's money. He spots a shovel with dirt on it.

Birch and Crosley, the two crooked county cops, bring a bound Ava before Markham. She reluctantly tells him that the rest of the $10 million is up on the mountain at Grubes' place, that her uncle helped her drag it up there, but that he had nothing to do with the taking of the cash.

Tim and Rachel brief an assemblage of law enforcers on the search for Boyd and Ava, and give instructions, Costanza tells the two Deputy U.S. Marshals that dog teams have tracked Ava across Tates Creek Bridge before scent ran out, but then were alerted to something in the grass. He holds up a small evidence bag containing Dewey Crowe's gator tooth necklace.

When this information in broadcast over law enforcement radio referring to it as "animal tooth," KSP prisoner Raylan tells Deputy Lappiccola to ask if it's an alligator tooth. The Deputy ignores him and the two men keep driving as dawn arise. Raylan asks "Please!" Lappiccola picks up the mike and calls in with Raylan's suggestion, but the dispatcher will only say that "the teeth are about an inch long and sharper than shit." As he disconnects, Raylan starts to pursue that thread, but the KSP Deputy cuts him off abruptly, and tells him for the final time to "sit back and shut up." A frustrated Raylan complies.

The two men pull into a KSP sub-station, and as Deputy Lappiccola begins to escort Raylan inside, he is met by Art, who wants to take custody of the prisoner. There's a minor jurisdictional dispute, and the three men head inside to have Duty Officer Mathis make the decision.

Outside Grubes' cabin, Boyd, favoring his damaged left arm from Zachariah's makeshift suicide garment, is digging up Grubes' gravesite. His shovel strikes something, and as Boyd excitedly continues digging and clearing with his hands, his discovers Grubes' face. This unnerves him considerably. He laughs with irony, when a phone is heard to ring inside the cabin. He goes in and answers an old-style rotary desk instrument. It's Ava. "Uncle Zachariah," she says, and carries on a conversation pretending it's her recently deceased uncle. Boyd is not in a very forgiving mood, but Ava holds up her end of the pretense in front of Avery, explaining that he's going to kill her if she can't deliver the rest of the stolen money, and gets the message across that she is the only person who knows where it is. Boyd instructs her to tell Avery to send one unarmed man for a meeting at Compass Rock, and hangs up.

Markham sends Boon, with Loretta as a guide, off to meet with Zachariah to get his money. "Make sure you get all of it," he tells them, "then kill him!" The gunman tips his black-hat in acknowledgement and leaves.

Art escorts a still-cuffed Raylan out of the KSP barracks under the watchful eye of KSP Deputies Mathis and Lappiccola. Once they are alone in the Marshal's SUV, Raylan tries to explain what's going on with Ava and Markham, causing Art to pull the vehicle over and make a decision. He opens the console compartment, gathers up Raylan's badge, ID and pistol and gives it back to his prisoner. "You dumb son-of-a-bitch!" he tells Raylan.

With helicopters overhead, Rachel, Tim, Costanza and others take the door to Grubes' cabin. After a quick search of the location, as Boyd watches from higher ground, they find Grubes' shallow grave and Zachariah's blown-up body. Costanza spots Boyd taking off up the mountain. "We got a runner!" he hollers, and at rifle distances, there is a fusillade of pistol fire as Boyd keeps running. As he gets to a ridge, tracking dogs and a sizable group of marshals, guardsmen and sheriffs behind him, Boyd ducks behind a rock outcropping to begin lighting the fuses of some of Zachariah's dynamite sticks and tossing them one by one at the pursuers closing in.

Art and Raylan walk into a bar to interrogate the off-duty Stiles, sitting on a stool nursing a drink. His battered face gives him away as the crooked cop who sneaked Carl into Boyd's hospital room to affect an escape. Before the Deputy Marshals can continue, Leon the bartender tells them in order to drank there, they "need a badge or a pair of tits." "Show him your tits," Raylan tells Art, but Art prefers showing their badges instead. "Fine," Leon says, "but you needs to check your guns at the door." Raylan is incredulous, and a cocky Leon pulls a baseball bat out from under the counter. In short order Art decides to cut to the chase, unholstering his sidearm as Raylan relieves Leon of the bat. He continues interrogating Stiles, punctuating his questions by violently whacking the bar top with the bat. Stiles, still suffering the affects of the concussion he received from Carl's beating, quickly gives up Markham's location: the Bennett pot-drying barn.

As they leave the bar, Art gets a call about the stand-off between Boyd and his dynamite, and his pursuers, and decides to respond to that location. He tosses Raylan the keys to his SUV and says he'll have Nelson Dunlop take him to meet with Rachel, Tim and the others. His final instructions: "Hey, and Raylan, no matter what you find at the drying shed, whatever they've done to Ava and Loretta, you...." his voice breaks off into a sigh. Raylan looks at his boss. "I understand," he says as he opens the door to the SUV.

At the drying barn, Avery gets a call from Boon that Zachariah wasn't at Compass Rock, and angrily ends the call. He turns on Ava and threatens her with his pistol under her chin. The barn door creaks open... it's Birch. "WHAT?" a greatly perturbed Avery yells. And arm appears with a pistol in its hand as Boyd marches Birch in at gunpoint. "Keep those gun hands where I can see them," Boyd orders. Matters get very ugly, very quickly, and lead to Avery stepping out from behind Ava and opening fire on Boyd. A furious gunfight ensues, with Boyd prevailing, one on three as the two crooked cops die quickly, and finally Avery as Boyd puts a round through his left eye. Ava makes a move for one of the dropped handguns but Boyd stops her. "Look at me!" he commands. "LOOK AT ME!" She rolls into a seated position and looks at him. He pulls the trigger, twice, only to be met by the click of a hammer falling on an empty chamber.

The frozen moment between the former lovers is interrupted by the sound of the door opening again. Boyd turns his head and sees his old adversary. "Goddamn, Raylan," he yells at the intruder. "Your timing SUCKS!" "So I've been told," the U.S. Deputy Marshal rejoins, his gunhand on his holstered weapon. There's discussion, and a greatly disadvantaged Boyd suggests that they resume their last confrontation, the previous night in the woods. Raylan says "There is another way," but that doesn't suit Boyd because he knows drawing on Raylan is a losing proposition. There are more words exchanged, but Raylan cuts it off, "Either way, I'm going to put you down." He makes Boyd drop his empty pistol and pick up a loaded one he's kicked over to his feet. Boyd just wants to ask Ava one last question. "Why?" he entreats. "We had the money. We were home free." "Honestly, Boyd," Ava answers with obvious emotion. "I put myself in your shoes. I did what I thought you would do." The couple look at one another, then the outlaw decides. "I'm not going to pull on you, Raylan." The Deputy Marshal counters, "Yes you are." They argue back and forth for several moments, as Boyd refuses to raise the pistol in his hand. But he tries to goad Raylan into shooting him, insisting that when he gets out he's going to kill Ava, and then he's coming looking for Raylan. It's a tough decision, and it's all Raylan can do to keep from killing the man across from him in the barn.

Then there are helicopters overhead, and Boyd is marched out in custody of the police as Ava sits handcuffed in the front seat of a Marshal's Crown Vic sedan. Tim tells Rachel and Raylan that they'd been out to Compass Rock but there was no sign of Boon or Loretta. Rachel decides that she's the one that'll drive the prisoner Boyd. Art comes along and shows Raylan a duffel with some stacks of money in it, and say that Ava wasn't very forthcoming when he asked her about the rest. "It's a long way to Lexington," Raylan says, handing the bag back to Art. "I'll see what I can do."

Alone in the Town Car with Raylan driving, the cuffed Ava says "You know I'll never make it inside. I can tell you where the rest of the money is... almost $9 million, Raylan." "You trying to bribe a Federal officer now?" he asks. "I'm just wondering if there's still a deal to be made," she entreats. "No! No deals. No outs," he says matter-of-factly. "I'm sorry, Ava." They ride in silence for a bit before she asks, "Why didn't you just kill him? You heard him. You know there ain't a cell can keep him. What's it prove, letting him live?" "Maybe nothing," Raylan says.

The pair continue driving as the mournful strains of Darrell Scott's version of "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" are heard on the soundtrack as the Town Car rolls pass the Harlan County sign. On a straight section of road a silver pick-up truck races up behind them and rear ends the Marshal's car. Raylan makes a skidding 180-degree stop as the truck stops about 50 yards away. The drivers look at one another. The truck door opens and Boon gets out and closes the distance a little. Loretta is in the passenger's seat. Telling Ava to "Stay down," Raylan get out and moves to the front of his vehicle, a look of concern on his face as he realizes that Boon is about to get his long-desired Old West showdown. There's a little palaver and Raylan draws his duster clear of his holster as Ava sinks lower in her seat. The two men stare wordlessly at one another before Boon draws his single action six shooter and fires... no empty chamber under the firing pin this time around. A split second behind him, Raylan draws and fires as well. Both men are hit. The Deputy U.S. Marshal falls flat on his back and doesn't move. Boon drops onto his knees, and slowly falls forward onto the roadway, his shirtfront bloody high on his chest as blood trickles from the right side of his mouth. Raylan lies motionless on the road. Boon, his eyes losing focus, struggles to bring his muzzle to bear on his fallen foe. A booted foot steps on his gunhand... he looks up to see Loretta, his last sight as his body goes limp, and he dies on the spot.

Loretta kicks the six-shooter away from Boon's dead hand and walks toward Raylan's body. There is movement as the Deputy Marshal regains consciousness and reaches back for his hat, which is sporting a .45 caliber hole in the front. He has a grazing wound on the left side of his scalp. Just then there's a squeal of tires as Ava has slipped behind the wheel, put the car in reverse and stepped on the gas. "GODDAMN IT!" Raylan yells, but the Town Car makes a flying turn and disappears into the distance while he watches helplessly.

A patched up Raylan walks into Art's office in Marshal's HQ. "When's your flight?" the boss asks. "Couple of hours," Raylan says, but he is reluctant to leave with Ava still on the run "out there," and $9 million unaccounted for. Art tells him not to worry about it. "You got Boyd Crowder, and you got him right." They shake hands, but as Raylan turns to leave, Art holds him up so they can have a last drive from Art's special bottle. "Tell Winona I said hey," he says. Nelson comes in to tell Art he has a call waiting. Raylan goes to his desk and pulls a well-worn paperback, George W. Higgin's The Friends of Eddie Coyle, from his desk drawer. "You read that a bunch or you buy it used?" Tim asks. "If I say I've read it 10 times, I'm low," Raylan says and tosses it over to Tim at the next desk, then picks a hat off a cadenza behind him. He passes Rachel entering the offices. "Nice hat," she tells him with a big grin. "I tried it on and it fit," Raylan replies with a smile, then heads for the elevator. As he gets on, he places the hat on his head. It was the fedora Boon was wearing when he died.

Four Years Later - Miami, Florida

Raylan and his daughter Willa are eating their ice cream cones at a table in a public playground. They are enjoying one another's company immensely. She goes off to play on one of the contraptions and Winona saunters in, chiding Raylan for Willa's ice cream. "So much for the kale salad," she sighs, taking a seat next to Raylan. They chat amicably about their daughter as the girl bounces back to rejoin them. "Can daddy come for dinner?" she asks. Uh oh. Raylan begs off because of work. Richard, Winona's new husband, shows up, and the two men greet each other cordially. Willa is perfectly comfortable with Richard, and she says goodbye to her father and leaves with her stepfather. Winona and Raylan talk a little more, and have a light argument. "You're the stubbornest man I know," she says. "At least I'm not angry," he ripostes, then agrees to Winona's request to pick up Willa after school on Wednesday.

Raylan, still wearing the dead gunman's hat, enters the local Marshal's HQ as he and Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Greg Sutter share friendly banter with each other in a similar manner as he once did with Art in Kentucky as he tells Raylan to transport a prisoner from the Glades. Raylan looks at an article that Rachel sent that says profits from a pumpkin patch are benefiting a local elementary school. Ava’s in the photo.

Lebec, California

Raylan drives up to a house and knocks. Ava answers. He asks if she’s going to invite him in. She says all she has is water and he asks if she has coffee or an RC. She says she has a hard enough time sleeping as it is. She says the place is a mess so she can’t ask him in. She says they can take a walk if he wants and he says as long as she leaves behind her rifle. She props it at the door and they walk. She tells him she’s in the caretaker house of the ranch. Raylan asks how she got out of Harlan and who helped her. She says she hitchhiked. Raylan says she was in handcuffs. Raylan says they talked to Ellen May, but she was accounted for that day by her WitSec Marshal and then Limehouse, who had left Noble's that day but he thought it was Wynn Duffy as he would likely help her get through roadblocks in exchange for the missing $9 million of Markham's money. Raylan says Wynn has vanished off the face of the earth. She asks how he find her and he says someone saw her in the background of a new story about a pumpkin patch. She says she never should have gone and the one she bought had rot. He asks how she’s getting by and Ava says she helps the owner of the ranch work with special needs kids and she looks after the big house, works at the school in town and other volunteer work. He says she ran on him three times and she says she’s not running whores or robbing banks. Raylan says he can’t congratulate her on not doing what she shouldn’t be doing anyway. She says she has something to show him but he can’t tell Boyd about it. Ava calls and a young boy comes out, the child that she had with Boyd, dressed in a similar attire to his estranged father. When Raylan asks his name, she says "Zachariah, the only man in my life who never wanted anything from me." With that off her chest, she tells Raylan that if he's going to take it to the next level, she needs to make arrangements for her son. He tells her he's not going to take her in. Tearfully she thanks him. He tells her that hopefully she'll be able to sleep better. "You're not the only one I've been afraid to see at my front door," she says.

Tramble Penitentiary, Kentucky

Boyd is back to some serious preaching again, this time with a captive audience in matching orange jumpsuits in the prison chapel. Prison Guard Cregger interrupts to inform Boyd he has a visitor. To his surprise, it's Raylan who's there to tell him, with supporting (forged) documents — Oklahoma driver's license, death certificate — that Ava had died three years earlier in a car crash late one night in West Texas. At first Boyd is saddened, but then gets suspicious as to why Raylan would come all that way to bring him this news. "Now, you could have called the warden, sent word through my lawyer." "You asking why I came," Raylan asks, and when Boyd nods yes, "Thought it was news that should be delivered in person." "That the only reason?" Boyd probes, and when there's no response other than a smile, "after all these long years, Raylan Givens, that's the only reason?" They look each other in the eyes for several moments before Raylan says, "Well, I suppose if I allow myself to be sentimental, despite all that has occurred... there is one thing I wander back to...." "We dug coal together," Boyd finishes for him. "That's right," Raylan says.

- Created by Dean Speir for IMDb


First Appearances[]

  1. Leon - A bartender who exchanges barbs with Raylan Givens and Art Mullen when they arrive to question Deputy Stiles on Ava Crowder's location.
  2. Richard - Winona Hawkins' boyfriend when the episode does a four year time jump during the epilogue.


  1. Birch - Shot to death by Avery Markham.
  2. Avery Markham - Shot through the left eye by Boyd Crowder.
  3. Crosley - Shot to death by Boyd Crowder.
  4. Boon - Shot by Raylan Givens.


  • The name of the episode, "The Promise", refers to Raylan's promise to Ava in the season five finale: "Don’t be [scared], everything’s gonna be fine".[1]
  • The house in Lebec actually is in Lebec, Californa. Nearly everything in Justified is set in Kentucky, but shot elsewhere.[1]
  • The Charlie chief Sutter throws a ball to is an uncredited Charlie Almanza, the show's technical advisor.[1]



Starring cast

Guest stars





External Links[]