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The Justified Character You Likely Forgot Chadwick Boseman Played

The late Chadwick Boseman left behind several great film performances when he tragically passed away in 2020. This most notably includes Prince T'Challa from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and also real-life historical figures like baseball legend Jackie Robinson in "42" and funk pioneer James Brown in arguably his most underrated movie "Get on Up." It's these characters for which he'll be remembered for decades to come. Still, some early acting roles in his career have been overshadowed by his later work as a leading man. Like, for instance, an early part of TV's "Justified."

Underworld figure Ralph "Flex" Beeman (Chadwick Boseman) appears just once on "Justified," in the Season 2 episode "For Blood or Money." It's not a particularly prominent role, but it is memorable, particularly in retrospect, given Boseman's later career as a full-fledged movie star. Even without Boseman's later stardom, though, the character is distinguished by his hobby as an aspiring magician.

It's a grace note that adds plenty of humor and charm to the character, typical of many minor supporting characters to have walked through the periphery of Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and the various criminals he faces up against throughout the show.

His character's magic career and life were both cut short by a bullet ... but not one shot by Raylan Givens

Unfortunately, Chadwick Boseman's Ralph "Flex" Beeman was never able to realize his dreams of becoming a successful magician. But it wasn't Raylan Givens who cut the young man down. Instead, it was his fellow US Marshal Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel), who shoots Beeman after he pulls a gun on her brother-in-law Clinton Moss (Larenz Tate), whose criminal history has left deep wounds on Rachel, whose sister (and Clinton's wife) he killed in a car accident years before.

"For Blood or Money" is centered in part on Moss's attempts to flee the scene of a murder he commits at a halfway house, and at one point, he meets up with "associate" and drug dealer Beeman in the hopes of acquiring some traveling funds. When Beeman refuses him, Moss shoots him in the hand, leading Beeman to pull his own weapon and hold Moss at gunpoint, which eventually leads to the climactic shootout that claims Beeman's life and eliminates Boseman from the larger "Justified" universe.

In his most famous role as Wakanda's champion Black Panther, Boseman is a regal and noble superhero and statesman, while Flex gave the actor a chance to showcase his range in a character that's quite different from T'Challa. And it's exciting to go back and see a movie star in the making in an excellent early episode of "Justified."