Justified: Kentucky Framed Givens

Justified S03E8: "Watching the Detectives"

Well, that didn't take long, did it? Shortly after being pushed to the brink last week, Detroit mobster Robert Quarles concocted a pretty nifty plan to smear Raylan all over the wall, and it almost worked. "Watching the Detectives" illustrated how Justified excels at character moves and countermoves by digging a hole so deep for Raylan that he couldn't even throw his hat out of it.

"Watching the Detectives" reminded me a lot of the fantastic Season 2 episode "Save My Love," a cost-cutting bottle episode that took place almost exclusively in the courthouse. That hour was a master class in tension-building, knowing glances, and crafty thinking as Raylan helped Winona out of a bind after she snatched cash from the evidence room. A similar thing happened last night, with Raylan navigating the hallways of the courtroom to save his own hide instead of picking up the pieces of someone who made a stupid decision. But the stakes were much, much higher.

This time Raylan was the focus of not one, but TWO investigations. Quarles doesn't play around, and that was more than evident when he put one in Gary's chest and left him for dead on Winona's doorstep. Considering Gary's history with Raylan's recent squeeze Winona and that little thing of Gary hiring hitpeople to kill Raylan, it was a good move on Quarles' part to shift the balance back to even. And the idea to use the bullet that Raylan dropped on Wynn Duffy as the murder vessel was genius!

Coming from the other direction, the FBI chased Raylan on suspicion of him being a dirty cop, courtesy of Sammy's misinformation to the Feds. And with Raylan's track record of reckless marshaling, his "friendship" with Boyd Crowder, and his knack for pissing off half of the state, it was a pretty thorough frame job by Quarles. I found myself wondering how in the heck Raylan was going to get out of this pickle.

The answer was "with a little help from his friends," as it turned out. You don't mess with the marshals, and you definitely don't poke around their turf. Art and Tim may have their differences with Raylan, but as long as Raylan has that star in his wallet, they're going to be total dicks to anyone—even the FBI—who calls one of their own a dirty murderer. Watching the three of them not back down in the face of barks from the FBI and local law enforcement was damn entertaining, and Raylan couldn't have had two better guys to stand side-by-side with him at high noon. LOVE LOVE Tim to death. Someone get that guy his own show.

I was also happy to see Winona back. I know she's not everyone's favorite character and several of you wish a painful death on her (which could happen, since Natalie Zea has landed a role on a new pilot), but I think she deserved one last shot to win us over. And in putting her ass on the line by grabbing the planted gun and handing it off to Raylan to help him out, I think she did that. I just wonder if her parting words, "This time seriously, don't come find me," were as final as they sounded.

Boyd had his own frame job to deal with, as Quarles and Sheriff Napier looked to take out Boyd's man, Shelby, from the race by attacking the source of his funding: Boyd. A fake car-bombing and one pissed-off sheriff later, Boyd was cuffed and paraded into county jail in front of news cameras as Napier killed two birds with one stone by adding good PR to getting rid of Boyd. But we all know slippery Boyd won't stay in jail for too long. I've got to hand it to Quarles. He's got a lotta guts going after both Raylan and Boyd. Desperate men take desperate measures, and no one is more desperate than Quarles. But desperate men don't always think through their plans ahead of time, and now Quarles has a loose cannon in Tanner that might become a nuisance.

While these pieces of the game board tussled with each other, Limehouse creeped closer and closer to the ruckus with the intention of taking out the depleted winner and having all the turf for himself. And he was being extra sneaky by placing himself in cahoots with both Boyd and Quarles. His time of being an accessory or bystander is coming to a close, and when someone heads up to Nobles Holler, blood will spill.

"Watching the Detectives" put the screws on Raylan in this season of back-and-forth between him and his new enemies. But with each move made, the margin of error decreases and the danger increases. So far, Season 3 has all the thrills of a 12-round heavyweight boxing match and a four-way street fight.



Postcards From Harlan County

– I know the bullet that Raylan threw at Duffy was used against Raylan in framing him for murder, but I hope that doesn't keep Raylan from doing similarly cool shit in the future. Because like that cop said, it was the coolest thing ever. And watching Raylan explain what he did to the cops was hilarious!

– There was some fantastic dialogue in this episode: Duffy's threat to Raylan about painting the walls a different color, a Mythbusters reference, Tim talking about Victoria's Secret models, and great back-and-forth between the marshals and the cops and FBI. This show would even be great to watch with your eyes closed.

– What is Raylan going to do with that gun?

– Quarles, kindly remember the number-one rule of drug dealing: "Don't get high on your own supply!"


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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One of my favorite episodes so far this season, for one specific reason: The Dialogue.



I laughed so hard at times my stomach hurt. Tim's banter with Raylan ( and Tim in general) is one of my favorite parts on the show. I also loved how the Lexington detective completely got a kick out of the fact that Raylan 'dropped' a bullet on Duffy. His reaction was fantastic. Also must note the scene between Duffy and Raylan towards the end where the camera closes in tight on their faces and Duffy says "Deputy, are you accusing me of being a fake blond?" That entire conversation was genius and skillfully written.

Even some of the scenes that were not specifically vital to the storyline were great, like when Detective Dempsey strolls into Quarles' house and they have a little introduction while Quarles' stuffs his face with leftover pasta.



HATS OFF to Graham Yost for a spectacularly penned episode!!!
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This was an amazing episode! I especially loved Tim and Art in this one. Anyone else missing Rachel? More Marshals office stuff please!
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I liked most of the episode. Quarles' plan was pretty cool and it certainly made for a lot of tension. It was fun seeing multiple problems being thrown at Raylan. There was a lot of good dialogue -- Tim is always a good source of hilarity and awesomeness... "I'm not playing... I'm an idiot. You can ask anybody."



The only problem I had with the episode was the FBI angle. It felt a little beyond stupid for the fed (played by the great Tobolowsky) to basically interrogate Raylan -- a U.S. Marshall, no less -- with that little evidence. A little comment from a wiretap and a look at a little of Raylan's violent history has the fed huffing and puffing about Raylan being dirty? Ehhh. It'd have been smarter and more realistic if he did more of an investigation before that. I guess you could kind of explain it off as the fed jumping the gun a bit because he was angry at Raylan, but I didn't buy that here.
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I didn't care for this episode, it felt like people reacting stupidly to situations which is what network TV is for. When your main character is merely a pinball to circumstance, things have gotten out of control on the writing end of things. The only characters I think that were any good this one were Winona and Tim, so you called that right. But none of the cops notices the fresh scratches all over the trunk lock on Raylan's car? The FBI randomly make a move on Raylan without building a case at exactly the right time which also tips their hand on listening to the Detroit mob in Kentucky? The local PD guy just assumes the stuck door is stuck and doesn't have a guy on the other side holding it closed? (I was just glad they didn't have yet another stupid over-the-top murder there.) And Wynn Duffy growing a huge pair was just silliness, the guy knows he's not being backed by the winning team and that he couldn't take Raylan in a fight.



I really hope that isn't what season 4 will look like.
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Is it such a strange thought from the FBI that Raylan is bend looking in from the outside. All Boyds competition has been removed by Raylan they shared girlfriends (judging by next week preview new developments happening there ), Raylans father works for Boyd. Boyd saving Raylans life.
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Awesome episode. Did anybody else pick up 'The Wire' vibes when Winn Duffy said "In a way, Gary.", when Gary asked if he was going home. Like when Slim Charles said something similar to Andre the corner store guy.



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So glad they (appear to have) ended the framing Raylan story. That whole thing was making me squirm. I didn't dislike Winona once. Thought her character was just as strong as any other and refreshing to see a strong female lead not being an annoying one (Lori and Andrea from Walking Dead anyone?)
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I liked this episode, but then again I didn't. Is it just me or was everyone acting really weird? Raylan, Winona, Quarles, Limehouse, especially that semi-bald FBI guy, he really threw the energy out of wack. Something was off about the characters and storytelling but I couldn't quite place it.



The FBI's investigation into Raylan was probably the weakest ploy. So they get tipped off that Raylan's a dirty cop. Why confront the accused Marshal without all the evidence? Its like they kinda just jumped to conclusions. This episode also shouldve had some kind of active climax, something to put off the FBI and the Police detectives. The ending just felt hollow.



The dialogue was fantastic as usual. Even Win Duffy got to throw some verbal weight around, his confrontation with Raylan was one of the episode's highlights. I love love love this show.



Oh, and I LOVE LOVE Tim too. The guy's a genius. "Cause I'm an idiot. Seriously, you can ask anybody." Lol.
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As to why they didn't bring their evidence...



Recall the previous episode: the head FBI guy was dodging questions about how they knew Raylan was looking into that guy. The Marshalls asked which is it: is the FBI protecting the guy or investigating him themselves... and he refused to answer.



Going there with the tape would open up a can of worms for him... WHATEVER his reasons / connections are.
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Well, the people in the surveillance van were acting like kids on Christmas... that they just cracked the corruption scandle of the decade. Though, you'd think law enforcement would be skeptical about anything they catch on surveillance... that the mob would have an idea about which rooms/phones have bugs.



And as Quarles said, say it somewhere you know they're listening.



Hmm, they've been abnormally careful to not say ANYTHING incriminating in this room / on this phone... until now. SO IT MUST BE TRUE.





As for the boss FBI guy, he's either in the mob's pocket or just an idiot. My guess: their pocket.
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it was also nice to see the hat back. i misssed it the last couple of episodes. its what sets him apart from the other bad ass marshalls.
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I have to agree with Mate below, this episode's police-work was shoddy at best. Justified has done this before, showing the Marshals as the only competent police force around. The problem is that this time it wasn't just for comedic relief, it held a lot of serious weight in the grand scheme of things. I understand that storytelling is a lot like chess and that it requires setting things up. However, just like chess, characters can't/shouldn't be used in ways they can't/shouldn't be used.



Quarles is no where near the main bad guy here. I see Boyd handling Quarles while Raylan deals with Limehouse. Quarles is slowly backing himself into a corner and he will have to cling to Limehouse to stand any chance of escaping as Limehouse runs things in the holler.



Nevertheless, the fact that I am being so nit-picky only speaks to the quality of Justified as a whole. This season and show just keeps upping the ante.



As for the postcards...

-I don't think Raylan will be deterred in any way from being himself. It may have been dumb throwing that bullet at Duffy, but it was cool as hell as its benefits will conquer its risks in the end.

-This show has, hands down, the best natural dialogue on television, period.

-I think the gun will come into play somehow. There is a reason they didn't show its fate yet.

-Biggie. My man.



Nice review, Tim!
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I read that the Victoria's Secret monologue and the cop saying "the coolest thing ever" were all improv. How awesome is that? This show is sooo good, I can't find anything else to say. I'm glad to see Winona being cool again. I never disliked her like I disliked Lori of The Walking Dead. Oh, and I shivered in delight when I watched the Raylan/Wynn scene. Perfection.
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Winona needs to start shooting guns again. There's nothing more bad@ss than a b!tch with a gun. Lol.
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Then I'd be her no.1 fan. :P
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Best show on television. Nuff said.
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I actually didn't like this episode as a whole. I liked the Raylan, TIm and Art show, and Raylan's explanations of things which was fun. And the detective was right, that was pretty freaking cool.



But the thing that bothered me was the "setup". It was, well, stupid, I am not sure how Quarles thought that would work. Or anyone watching for that matter. First you have the interview with Quarles and Duffy which was a little unbelievable. All the detectives have to do is run them through the database and see who these guys are. So what would make them believe these two people; a rookie officer, first day on the job could tell that they were lying. Not just because we as viewers know who they are. But the "Golly gee detective Raylan just is an angry guy I don't know why he doesn't like me" Really? what detective with any experience is going to buy that?



The FBI was equally as absurd. First you have them getting this recording on what seems to be an illegal wire tap. Because the Agent didn't want to reveal his source. But you have the well known and documented history of Raylan and Boyd. Raylan shot him for crying out loud. Boyd has punched him. And the other number of things that have put them at odds. What twit would think that he and Boyd would be in on it together. I get it that they aren't from Harlan but any quick interviews with any number of people from the Trooper to well any of Boyd's underlings could tell you that they aren't working together. Does Raylan cut him some slack. Sure, but that is more because Boyd is relatively harmless in comparison to the others.



I wasn't really concerned for Raylan, because as the story progressed his alibis he accrued would have beat the suspicion. The bartender, Tim knowing where Gary actually was etc. And for Quarles to drop the body off at the house was silly, as well as the gun. If anything that pointed at Winona not Raylan. And practically screamed set up. What cop that just killed a man outside of his ex's house (with no sounds of a gun shot being reported) is going to stash the gun in the fridge, not 20 feet from the body. That was sloppy.



If anything this episode showed was that the Marshall's seem to be the only competent law enforcement agency in the state. The piling on of the charges for Raylan at the same convenient time didn't give a hint to anyone. That was sloppy of Quarles, he rushed. Because it was so precarious. All the FBI had to do was ask who are these detectives and what is their issue with Raylan. Then it would go a little like this. Well he is suspected of murder, we interviewed a couple guys and a well we think he is good for it. Which guys? A man by the name of Quarles and Duffy. Oh crap, those guys are bad dudes that have issue with Raylan. And then they realize this is all a set up.



This just reemphasized to me that Quarles isn't the criminal we initially thought him to be. The big bad this year is Limehouse, he is the only one that is thinking about the "game" like mags did.



And TIm is right in quoting the late Notorious B.I.G from Ten Crack Commandments I think it is rule four in that you "Never get high on your own supply". Quarles is on a downward spiral. Which could be good, because that plus the drugs will make him more unstable and more dangerous. So instead of Raylan just arresting him. I think it might end in a good old fashion shoot out. Which is always good.



The episode was OK. But the sheer sloppiness and the incompetence of the detectives and the FBI dweeb kind of bothered me. i am not sure why it was written that way.
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I don't think the detectives were incompetent. They never actually said they believed Quarles and/or Wynn. One of em at the end even told Raylan that he doesn't think he's actually guilty for this.



As per the process, they just brought Wynn and Quarles in, took their statements, but because they didn't actually have anything on either of em, let em go. I don't think the detectives really believed either Quarles or Wynn much.
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I got that more after watching it through a second time. However I still think if they would have ran Quarles and Wynn through a check they would have realized what was going on faster. But I still believe that the setup was sloppy and too precarious for any of the characters or the viewers to think it would have sunk Raylan. Now I am trying to figure out if that was intentional in order to show us that Limehouse and not Quarles is the big bad of the season.



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Thats exactly what i was thinking, it was sloppy. if anything, if the FBI believed Raylan was dirty, well, build a case against him first. Don't actually CONFRONT the guy because now you've just tipped him off. Do your research, do a little wiretapping, try to catch him in the act if it involves your case.



It was a weak set up. But the character interactions made up for it. So bloody brilliant.
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Never get high on your own supply is a quote from Scarface. Biggie took it from there and used it in his song.
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That little conversation between Raylan and Wynn may have been the best written/acted part of the whole season so far. Those 2 need more screen time together.
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It also brought something to light: Wynn was a total bad-a** last season. THE Alpha male. The scary monster under the bed. The guy that wasn't even listening to his boss in that office because he was so angry.



And this season he's been completely submissive to Quarles.



It was nice to see the old Wynn resurface again.
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I thought the same thing. Wynn is scared S**tless of Quarles. then again Quarles has some strange hobbies with tied up men.(wonder what happened to him)

I think Wynn is gonna do a runner very soon. A runner that's not gonna end well.
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That scene and many others in this episode had me laughing harder than I expected for this show. The dialogue between the Marshals screwing around with the FBI and LPD had me in stitches the entire time.
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Great episode as usual, but what's up with the terrible carbombing effect? This show has, as far as I know, never used effects for blowing something up. If they did the effects where good enough for me not to think about it, but why now?
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Aside from the church, I also remember another bombing or explosion some time. I don't remember the second one exactly, but I do remember that neither were particularly good. This car explosion wasn't good either. As much as I hate green-screens and bad animation, I also understand it comes with the "cable" territory.
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As I recall from the church explosion and the carbombing, both happen with people being extremely close to the point of origin. I guess they didn't want it to look like stunt men were there or just dummies standing in around a real explosion.
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just re-watched season 1 over the weekend. The church bombing in the pilot was also pretty bad.
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Agreed. Even though I loved the pilot, it made me nervous at the time that the show would cut to many corners going forward. Thankfully, they haven't needed a large number of CGI explosions to make a great show.
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