Is Clement Mansell AKA The Oklahoma Wildman Based on a Real Murderer?

Image Credit: Chuck Hodes/FX.

Justified: City Primeval’ marks the return of Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), everyone’s favorite neo-Western deputy US Marshal, to the small screen after nearly eight years. About the same time has passed in the fictional world of ‘Justified as well. After being forced to work with law enforcement officials in Detroit, Michigan, Raylan finds himself in a new city surrounded by new allies, pursuing one of the most brutal murderers he has ever encountered in his career. Clement Mansell, AKA The Oklahoma Wildman (Boyd Holbrook), is dangerously intelligent and unpredictable. 

Oklahoma Wildman: Fiction or Reality?

The original ‘Justified’ series is based on late American author Elmore Leonard’s stories about Raylan Givens, especially ‘Fire in the Hole.’ ‘Justified: City Primeval’ is a revival series that heavily draws from ‘City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit,’ a book with a different protagonist. Raylan was injected into the story as the main character, and the original protagonist was relegated to a supporting role.

Unlike Raylan, Mansell is very much part of Leonard’s story, serving as the main antagonist, just as he does in the show. In an interview with Collider, Holbrook reflected on his character. “There’s who he thinks he is, and then there’s who he is,” the actor said. “He thinks he’s this pseudo rock star who’s got talent and can sing, but he’s really just a f[expletive]ing d[expletive]g hustler who will probably slit your throat in a back alley somewhere. What I wanted to put into that was that I wanted to look the part. I wanted to be more gaunt. This guy is actually hungry. He’s not living the fat life. You can see that in his face, and it was about doing the physicality of that.”

Mansell added, “He’s gonna make it. He’s gonna get out of the gutter. He’s not gonna suffer anymore. People will do anything not to do that, after a long period of time. That’s what his driving force is, and he one hundred percent believes it, right up until the very end. He wears his heart on his sleeve, in a way. He’s a complete contradiction of himself, in every single way.

Image Credit: Chuck Hodes/FX.

Leonard’s novel came out in 1980. In the book, Mansell hails from Lawton, Oklahoma, which, combined with the fact that he has a violent and unpredictable personality, is the reason for his nickname. A number of real-life murderers from the 1960s and 1970s could potentially be the inspiration behind Mansell. There was the Oklahoma City Butcher, who murdered several young homeless Native American women in the 1970s and 1980s and was never identified. There was also Richard Lee Tingler Jr., a six-time murderer who was arrested in Dill City, Oklahoma, in 1969 after committing his crime in Ohio.

Ultimately, Mansell is a fictional character originally created by Leonard. With Raylan being introduced in the narrative, there is an overall unpredictability about how the story will unfold. Holbrook told the same outlet, “The show is known for being funny and f[expletive]ed up. (Executive Producer) Chris Provenzano told me that, early on. Those are the things they lean into the other shows don’t. Another actor friend of mine, AJ Buckley, said, ‘Is it the same team?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Well, then absolutely do it. You won’t believe what comes out of your character’s mouth.’ And it’s true. It’s like Martin McDonagh and Seven Psychopaths. It’s elevated, where it’s also saying something and it’s telling a funny story. It’s really great.

Read More: Justified: City Primeval: Is Boyd Holbrook Related to Hal Holbrook?