Prior to making the move to CBS for the relationship-driven and reality-based comedy The Unicorn, star Walton Goggins played a lot of twisted badasses, from Vice Principals' Lee Russell to The Shield's Shane Vendrell. But arguably the biggest shining star of his career has been Justified's southern-fried thief Boyd Crowder. With a drawl as thick as a brick, Boyd would absolutely freak the hell out of The Unicorn's Forrest and Delia, but the season finale's big guest star would be quite familiar with Boyd, being a Justified vet herself.
For The Unicorn's Season 1 finale, Walton Goggins' & Co. welcomed Natalie Zea aboard for what may be a small role, or one that builds up into something more in the future. However it goes, Walton Goggins was instantly ready to hit social media with photos of Wade and Zea's character. Here's how he excitedly put it to TVLine:
You mean, why is Raylan Givens’ ex-wife hanging out with Boyd Crowder? [Laughs] Yeah, dude, I can’t wait to post about that on Instagram. 'Look who’s with who now!'
For any fans of The Unicorn who weren't too familiar with Justified, Natalie Zea played Winona Hawkins, the ex-wife of Timothy Olyphant's U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. Despite being married to another guy during the FX neo-western's early days, Winona never stopped loving Raylan, and vice versa, which was made apparently a time or two during Justified's run.
Meanwhile, Walton Goggins' Boyd Crowder was basically Raylan's nemesis, with a shared history that set them as two sides of the same coin, inextricably linked. So the idea of Boyd hooking up with Winona is tantamount to treason, or some other highly punishable offense. Thankfully, The Unicorn doesn't have to worry about inciting gunfights with Natalie Zea's arrival.
There were a number of names that we kind of put out there — and CBS weighs in a lot, as they should — and as soon as Nat came up, I just said, 'It’s her. She’s the one.' . . . They really loved her. We’ll see if [her character] is a period, or a question mark. You have to watch the show to kind of find that out. But I’ve known Natalie for 12 years now, and I’ve been a fan of hers for longer than that, so to go through this experience with her is really exciting.
Sure, there are lots of actresses who could have joined The Unicorn and won Wade's heart over in a fictional sense. But it's much cooler for it to be Natalie Zea, given their long friendship together. After all, getting into new relationships is quite an emotional journey that Walton Goggins wanted to see through.
Natalie Zea has been all over the small screen both during Justified's six-season run and afterward. She had a starring role in Kevin Bacon's cult thriller The Following and was a main star in the TBS comedy The Detour. Most recently, she appeared in an episode of the Fox spinoff 911: Lone Star, and she recently signed on to star in the NBC drama La Brea opposite former Chicago P.D. star Jon Seda. Who do we have to talk to about getting Walton Goggins to guest star on that show now? Or maybe a Justified revival...
The Unicorn airs Thursday nights on CBS at 8:30 p.m. ET. While waiting to see if Season 2 will happen, check out all the other shows debuting in the coming weeks with our Winter and Spring premiere schedule.