If you watch “Justified” with any regularity, you’ve seen Jesse Luken quite a bit. You may not, however, heard much of him.
Luken plays Jimmy, Boyd’s (Walton Goggins) right-hand man on the show. The character is smart, dependable — and quiet. It’s the nature of the role that while Jimmy is on screen quite a bit with Boyd, he doesn’t say much. Luken says he’s learned to handle those kinds of scenes.
“The trap that you can fall into is to just sort of watch the action happen,” he tells Zap2it. “You are watching the action happen, but as his No. 2, I’m the guy that’s supposed to be guarding him and protecting him. … You do occasionally get lost as an actor because Walton is so brilliant and all the rest of the actors on the show are so wonderful that you’re just like ‘Wow, I’m watching a play right now.’
“So I think [the trick is to] just actively listen and actively engage, and there’s going to be times that they’re going to want to look to you, so you’ve got to be able to give them reactions to what’s happening in the dialogue. It’s sort of just basic stuff: Listen, don’t be an idiot, I guess. Which is difficult enough for me. I struggle with the second part of that.”
Luken (who also recurs on The CW’s “Star-Crossed”) will have a somewhat more prominent role in Tuesday’s (March 5) episode of “Justified.” In last week’s episode he traveled with Boyd and the Crowes to Mexico, where a drug buy went seriously sideways.
“[Boyd is] in quite a pickle and has to figure out how to get out of Mexico, and it’s quite a journey and a lot of fun to play,” Luken says. “You find out that Jimmy speaks Spanish, which is helpful in getting them out of Mexico and not previously known on the show.”
Luken thinks the difficulty Boyd has had this season, both with his business and with Ava (Joelle Carter) being in prison, has wornon the character. “Boyd has sort of lost his sense of light in the world, and things are getting very dark for him,” he says. “I think you start to see something out of Boyd that you’ve never really seen before, which is fatigue.
“I think he’s getting tired of this life, and there’s a scene in a couple of episodes that presents a real moral dilemma for Boyd — and Jimmy, in fact — and you sort of see the consequences of the route they start to take.”
“Justified” airs at 10 p.m. ET/PT Tuesday on FX.