While catching up on Kyle Chandler's Emmy competition in the Best Actor category (before the 2011 Emmys), I came across this episode which was Timothy Olyphant's Emmy submission episode. I had never even heard of Olyphant or Justified.
First of all, after watching this episode, I could see why Olyphant garnered an Emmy nomination in the Best Drama, Lead Actor category. And second of all, I really liked the show and wanted to know more.
Without knowing the characters, the background, all the stories that led up to this episode ... I could still tell that Olyphant's Raylan Givens was the heart of the show. I could tell the show was extremely well written, well cast, and well acted. It was a show about relationships ... between cops and bad guys ... between families and enemies (often within the same family). The story was steeped in the local culture of Harlan County Kentucky. It was dramatic and funny, intense and quick-witted.
I absolutely loved the lead character, Deputy Marshall Givens, superbly played by Olyphant. Loved the twisted relationship between Raylan and his father, Arlo. The strained and fragile truce between the Bennett and Givens clans that had been broken with the shooting of Helen. The sorrow of the loss and the vengeful intent of both Raylan (for wantng an arrest) and Arlo (for wanting revenge) in catching Dickie Bennett.
And what more can I say about Margo Martindale's Mags Bennett? Martindale is the only actor whose work I was familiar with. However, I would have never guessed she could or would play such a crafty, strong, and on the wrong side of the law matriarch as she played in this role. She played it to unbelievable perfection.
After checking out this one episode, I later went back and watched all of seasons 1 and 2. I am now a bona fide Justified fan. And now that my favorite show, Friday Night Lights is no longer on the air, I will be rooting for Justified and its cast for awards in 2012. See what checking out the competition can do?