Show 101: Justified
PREMIERES: Wednesday, February 9 at 10pm on FX
THE PREMISE: Based on the short story "Fire in the Hole" by Elmore Leonard, Justified follow U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), a rugged dispenser of Kentucky Justice who looks really, really good in a Stetson. After botching things up in Miami, Raylan is relocated to his old hometown in Kentucky, where we reconnects with old friends and family, old enemies, and old girlfriends (including Natalie Zea). One of those enemies is Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), a Bible-quoting cult leader with a penchant for rocket launchers and associating with skinheads.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Olyphant is very dreamy on-screen, and Justified's hick-country setting is like no other on television. There's no shortage of tough guys, realistic shootouts, and Bourbon drinking, so expect a viewing of Justified to put some hair on your chest. The snappy dialogue is also top-notch (and admittedly slightly cheesy at times), and feels like it could have been written by wordsmith Leonard himself. Even the country bumpkins say the darndest things. The show is worth watching for Boyd alone—he's one of television's most interesting characters.
WHY YOU MIGHT HATE IT: Justified doesn't operate in a typical real-world setting; in Leonard's universe, guns are drawn willy-nilly and things take place the cowboy way. It also falls somewhere between action series and crime drama, creating its own flavor that may be too different for some. Also, Ava Crowder (a very pretty Joelle Carter) is annoying.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: At the end of Season 1, a lot of threads were left hanging after a blistering shootout between the newly minted team of Raylan and Boyd (who may or may not be reformed), meth-peddling Miami thugs, and Bo Crowder, Boyd's dad. Bo was dropped by the Miami thugs, and Boyd took off solo to chase them down. Raylan and his father's relationship hit a new low, as Papa Givens sold his son out to meth-runners, thus ensuring several uncomfortable Thanksgiving dinners in the future. With much of Raylan's personal business taken care of, the road is wide open for Season 2. One more awesome thing: Joining the cast this season as Raylan's nemesis is the excellent Jeremy Davies (Lost's Daniel Faraday).
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