Timothy Olyphant Improvised This 1 Line in ‘The Good Place’
In The Good Place, Maya Rudolph’s character, Judge Gen, is obsessed with actor Timothy Olyphant. The fourth and final season of the show is now available on Netflix, and fans are finding out that Olyphant actually makes a cameo in The Good Place. According to creator Michael Schur, Olyphant’s comedic timing was impeccable and the actor actually improvised one of his lines.
[Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for Season 4 Episode 10 of The Good Place.]
Why Timothy Olyphant cameoed on ‘The Good Place’
In The Good Place, an all-knowing judge played by Rudolph enforces the rules of The Afterlife. Because she has a lot of time in between hearing cases, Judge Gen is always binge-watching different TV shows. She frequently voices her attraction to actors like Olyphant, Mark Harmon, and Kyle Chandler.
By the fourth season of the show, Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), Michael (Ted Danson), Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper), Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil), Janet (D’Arcy Carden), and Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto) realized a new Afterlife must be designed.
In Season 4 Episode 10, “You’ve Changed, Man,” the Judge has decided to reset Earth instead of designing a new system. To hold Judge Gen’s attention while they pitch their new Afterlife design, Olyphant makes a cameo.
How the cameo came to be on ‘The Good Place’
While there were a number of actors that could have cameoed on The Good Place, Schur felt Olyphant was the right choice. In an interview with TVLine, Schur explained why the show picked Olyphant.
“We knew we were going to get to this episode where they needed desperately to keep her attention, and the solution, given four years of her talking about bingeing TV, was to conjure a TV star that would just stand there as eye candy and would buy them some time…,” Schur said.
He continued, “Mark Harmon was raised in the room as an option, but Tim was the first guy we thought of, in part because I know him a little bit, and knowing who he is, I thought there was a pretty good chance he would do it.”
Schur told TVLine that he then called Olyphant to see if he watched The Good Place and to ask him to appear in an episode. After Olyphant agreed to do the cameo, Schur said the writers wrote it so that Olyphant and his character Raylan Givens from Justified were Judge Gen’s current crush.
Timothy Olyphant improvised a line on ‘The Good Place’
In the episode of The Good Place, Olyphant did not just sit there to keep the Judge’s focus. He also interacted with the other characters as they explained their plan for The Afterlife, sometimes even questioning their plan.
“… that was the real fun comedy writers’ room creative breakthrough, which was: He shouldn’t just stand there. He should start causing trouble for them, which really made us laugh,” Schur told TVLine.
It turns out that one of the funniest moments in the episode happened because Olyphant improvised a line.
“No, honestly, we literally used every line we wrote for him. And then also, he did one hilarious small improv, which was when Eleanor says, ‘Good question, Timothy Olyphant,’ and he goes, ‘Tim’s fine.’ [Laughs] That was just him improvising in that moment, which was truly delightful,” said Schur. “It’s such a funny little aside. But we used literally every moment that we had him for.”