I'm a little late coming to this party, but so glad I finally found it. I'm now all caught up on Seasons 1 and 2 and cannot wait for January to get here so I can see a Season 3.
What a surprise this show is! What looks on first blush to be yet another crime procedural is anything but. Steeped in Southern tradition that goes back to the Hatfields and the McCoys, here we have clans like the Bennett and the Givens clans fussin' and fightin' ... often not knowing why, only that they do. And all the while, all the characters ooze with Southern charm.
But these are not charming Southerners. These are hillbilly criminals who feel as Justified as the law man who helps the US Marshall Service try and keep the lid on his home town. These hillbillies have a right to make shine and grow weed (and all the peripheral businesses that go along with it), and no one, including the Federals, will tell them any different.
This show is dramatic, intense ... but it's also amazingly funny when appropriate. And that is the Southern way ... to deal with adversity with a healthy does of humor. From the Chief Deputy all the way down to the kids ... there is a 'colorful' way of 'jawin'' with the opposing side of any fight (and fighting is all they know how to do) that is as entertaining to watch as the next shoot-out or explosion which is certain to come.
Kudos to the show for top notch casting of all roles (supporting and guest stars), writing, acting locations, music ... all lending to crate 'Harlan County' using primarily California locations. Timothy Olyphant is just perfect, as smooth as a shot of fine Kentucky bourbon. His slow, calm, witty charming demeanor juxtapose against his intense stare, keen survival instincts, and his faster than lightening ability to outdraw anyone. He's the best law man since Marshall Dillon! Also, kudos to Walton Goggins for embodying the best 'frenemy' on television. Talented, talented guy. And Season 2 is graced with the incomparable Margo Martindale who steals every scene she's in. Emmys, please, for this show and for Olyphant, Goggins, and of course, Martindale rightly received hers.