Sam Elliott! JUSTIFIED! Enough said!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Autumn weather has arrived… along with the first news about the sixth and final season of JUSTIFIED.

My dad just bounded into my room, excitedly exclaiming that Sam Elliott has joined the cast for a recurring role. (He read it on his phone.) I share his enthusiasm, because… Sam Elliott. On JUSTIFIED.

Deadline reports that Elliott will play Markham, “a legendary Kentucky gangster who returns from exile with a private army and bags of cash (earned growing legal weed in Colorado), hell-bent on winning back his empire and the lost love of his life, Katherine Hale (Mary Steenburgen).”

TV Line adds that Markham “will butt heads with Raylan and Boyd and even Katherine, who secretly believes that he is the rat who brought down her husband.” Katherine’s husband, of course, was the criminal mentor of wheeler-dealer and women’s tennis aficionado Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns), whose eyebrows arched even higher than usual upon her arrival in Harlan County last season.

How great is this? Elliott is a perfect fit for the show, and I can’t wait to see him on television again after his hilarious turn as Ron Dunn, the Bizarro Ron Swanson, on PARKS AND RECREATION. He’s got one of the best voices in film (or anywhere), and he can pack plenty of danger behind that deep, easy drawl when he wants to. From rowdy ROAD HOUSE brawler Wade Garrett to stoic Virgil Earp in TOMBSTONE to the curious narrator of THE BIG LEBOWSKI, he’s done a little bit of everything and always does it the best (while saying it even better). I’m so excited about this.

Garret Dillahunt has signed up for Season 6, too, as Walker, “a Special Ops veteran who’s spent much of the past decade deployed in combat zones, first as a soldier and most recently as a private contractor” who “now handles security for a quasi-legal businessman.”

Dillahunt was memorable in his one short scene in LOOPER, and he was so good on the first season of DEADWOOD (opposite JUSTIFIED’s Raylan Givens, Timothy Olyphant) that they brought him back to play an entirely different character in the second. (And other than looking the same, he truly created two entirely and believably different people.) He was hilarious on RAISING HOPE, a nefarious force of un-nature as a Terminator on THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES, and, like Elliott, he’ll fit right in on JUSTIFIED as it hits its home stretch.

As sad as I am that this will be the final season, I’m happy that JUSTIFIED’s ending on its own terms, especially after the way the Season 5 finale set things up for one last confrontation between Raylan and Boyd. Will either leave Harlan alive? I don’t expect Boyd to make it, but I do expect his demise to be unexpected.

Season 6 premieres in January, and it can’t come quickly enough.