|Season 3, Episode 2|
|Air date||January 24, 2012|
|Written by||Benjamin Cavell|
|Directed by||Michael Watkins|
|U.S. Viewers||2.71 million|
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"Cut Ties" is the second episode of the third season, and the 28th episode in the series overall. It was written by Benjamin Cavell and directed by Michael Watkins. It first aired on January 24, 2012.
Raylan realizes that Boyd manipulated him into the fight they had in order to get into the same prison as Dickie Bennett. He revokes his statement against Boyd causing Boyd's release to be scheduled. Dickie is moved into solitary confinement but Boyd uses his contacts amongst the guards to get to him anyway. He learns that Mags Bennett's money is being held for Dickie by Ellstin Limehouse. He tells Ava the bad news. Limehouse is the ruthless boss of an isolated black community and keeps his men in line with the threat of mutilation with lye and water.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Bill Nichols is killed while in Kentucky checking on his clients in the Witness Security program. Assistant Director Karen Goodall comes to town to lead the investigation and appears interested in rekindling her past relationship with Raylan. She is disappointed when she finds that he is serious about his relationship with Winona Hawkins. Goodall, Raylan and Art Mullen manage to uncover a link between Walter Vondas and organized crime boss Joe Delahunt. Goodall and Raylan visit Delahunt and learn that Vondas was trying to buy back into the business. Mullen interrogates Vondas and learns that he sold the identity and location of another witness to raise the funds. Vondas killed Nicholls to conceal his plans. Rachel Brooks protects the witness from the hitmen sent to kill her and disaster is averted.
A realtor brings a family through the house that Winona used to share with Gary. They succeed only in waking up Raylan, who emerges from the bedroom in his boxer shorts and a T-shirt. The realtor beats a hasty retreat — and Winona half apologizes for the inconvenience to her man. CUT to prison, where it appears Boyd is about to assault Dickie when a guard suddenly announces that Boyd has a visitor. That visitor turns out to be Raylan. The U.S. Marshal tells his old friend/nemesis that he amended his official statement and Boyd could be set free as early as the next morning. Of course, Boyd, who only went to prison to gain access to Dickie, protests — to no avail.
Later, Dewey approaches approaches Boyd with news: Dickie has been taken to isolation (probably Raylan's doing, too). CUT to the home of a visiting U.S. Marshal Bill Nichols, who stops in to see Art before heading to the home of young mother in the witness protection program. "It gets easier," Bill says. "Once you testify, it won't be hanging over you." The mother, Mary, isn't comforted. "Do you think Carlos Salazar is one to forgive and forget?" she asks.
Sure enough, a man watches Bill and Mary from inside a dark SUV. The SUV follows Bill to a nearby store. The man inside, Terry, then turns his attention to a smart-phone video game when Bill sneaks up on him. "You better have one helluva story," Bill says. Terry then pulls a gun and shoots Bill in the leg. "Sorry, Bill, but you know how it is," says Terry. Sometime later, Rachel arrives at Mary's home and gives her a giant hug. "I'm your college roommate and I'm visiting from Dallas," says Rachel, explaining her cover in case anyone is watching.
Winona, meanwhile, shows Raylan an ultrasound. The U.S. Marshal compares the image to one from Alien and mentions getting a new home — again. The couple parts and Raylan soon discovers that Assistant Director Karen Goodall is waiting in Art's office. She is there to investigate the untimely death of Bill Nichols, who was found dead in a nearby field. All of his many charges in the witness protection program are under surveillance, but the gang is worried that he was tortured into giving up one (or all) of their locations. Karen then announces that she is taking Raylan to see Little Joe, who was once put away by one of the people in the witness protection program.
On the drive to Little Joe's, it becomes clear that Raylan and Karen have some sort of history together. CUT to Art, who visits the home of a nearby man in the witness security program. This man, Terry Poe, turns out to be Bill's killer, though the marshal doesn't know it. Art tells Terry to pack a bag — just in case — and the fast-talking Terry manages to sneak a gun into his gym bag. Raylan and Karen, meanwhile, arrive at a fancy hotel and knock on a room door. A pair of goons answer the door and get fresh with Karen, who manages to subdue and cuff them with Raylan's help. Turns out Little Joe is indeed inside. Raylan calls Art, explaining that Little Joe is nearby, meaning Terry must be moved.
So Art drives Terry's car while Terry lies down in the back seat. Art notices that the GPS has recently been set to the location where Bill was shot. Suddenly, Terry pulls his gun out of his bag. Art manages to subdue the thug and stop the car. CUT to the prison yard, where Boyd intentionally provokes a group of black inmates. Moments later, he is in the infirmary. Boyd refuses medical treatment — the punishment of which is time in the hole. So now Boyd finds himself next door to Dickie. Both are in solitary confinement.
Later, Art takes Terry back to Terry's place — and performs a search. He quickly finds a large bag of cash stowed in the vent. "You got one chance — exactly one — to tell me what you did," Art says. Terry remains silent, so Art does the talking. Turns out Little Joe told Raylan that Terry called a few weeks back looking to get "back into the game." Little Joe said sure — with a buy-in fee of $2 million. So Terry trailed Bill Nichols to discover the locations of folks in witness protection and sold those locations to the bad guys. Art then punches Terry multiple times, demanding to know who Terry sold out.
CUT to Rachel, who gets a call from Art. Mary and her kids are in trouble. Rachel looks out the window. "They're already here," she says. Uh oh. Raylan and Karen soon show up at Terry's to collect Art. Meanwhile, two thugs break into Mary's home with their guns drawn. Rachel, Mary, and the kids hide out in the attic. The baby's cries give their location away. One of the thugs peeks into the attic — and Rachel opens fire. Raylan, Art, and Karen then burst into the house, killing the other thug. Everyone is safe.
CUT to the prison. The door to Dickie's cell swings open ... revealing Boyd. Clearly, a guard has been paid off. Dickie immediately begins to cry as Boyd whispers threats into his ear. Rather than kill Dickie, however, Boyd demands to know where all of Mags' money was hidden. A terrified Dickie explains that it is being held by a man who will give it to no one but Dickie. "That money dies with me," Dickie cries. On the outside, Raylan reunites with Winona at the station ... as Karen tries not to watch. Later, Raylan says goodbye to Karen.
Boyd, in the meantime, is released from prison and embraces Ava. She asks where Mags stashed her money. "It's with Limehouse," Boyd says. Ava's face falls. So who is Limehouse? CUT to a rural shed where Limehouse butchers a pig carcass. He has found one of his men sleeping on lookout duty. Limehouse gives the young man a choice: have his hand dipped in lye or promise never to fail again. The terrified young man chooses the second option. One gets the distinct impression that this is a rare instance of Limehouse showing mercy.
- Ellstin Limehouse - Local butcher, diner owner, and all-knowing resident of Noble's Holler who operates as a banker for locals
- Errol Butler - Loyal henchman of Limehouse who helps to threaten Bernard
- Bernard - Henchman of Limehouse who is threatened for sleeping on watch duty
- Ash Murphy - Prison guard bribed by Boyd Crowder to gain access to Dickie Bennett in solitary confinement
- Lance - Prison medic who treats Boyd after his altercation with black inmates
- Karen Goodall - Former partner of Raylan Givens from Miami, who helps out with the Bill Nichols case
- Walter Vondas - WitSec protectee of Nichols who he also murders, former hitman for Joe Delahunt. Interrogated by Art Mullen.
- Mary Archer - WitSec protectee of Nichols, whose location is ratted out by Walter Vondas
- Bill Nichols - U.S. Marshal and WitSec protecter of Mary Archer and Walter Vondas. Shot by Vondas.
- Guero Moncada - Assassin for Carlos Salazar sent to kill Mary Archer. Shot by Rachel Brooks.
- Adan - Assassin for Carlos Salazar sent to kill Mary Archer. Shot by Art Mullen.
- Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens
- Nick Searcy as Art Mullen
- Joelle Carter as Ava Crowder
- Erica Tazel as Rachel Brooks
- Natalie Zea as Winona Hawkins
- Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder
- Mykelti Williamson as Ellstin Limehouse
- Jeremy Davies as Dickie Bennett
- Clayne Crawford as Lance
- Michael Harding as Bill Nichols
- Damon Herriman as Dewey Crowe
- Frank John Hughes as Walter Vondas AKA Terry Powe
- Bonnie Root as Mary Archer
- Todd Stashwick as Ash Murphy
- Lenny Citrano as Joe Delahunt
- Demetrius Grosse as Errol Butler
- Cleavon R. McClendon III as Bernard
- Carla Gugino as Karen Goodall
- Justin Cuomo as Butch
- Rachel Eggleston as June Archer
- Mel Fair as Nelson Dunlop
- David Fernandez Jr. as Adan
- Peter Gantenbein as Gloansy
- Derek McMillon as Guard
- Hector Atreyu Ruiz as Guero Moncada
- Maura Soden as Real Estate Saleswoman