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The episodes are well written and entertaining, but not predictable which is a refreshing change. Timothy Olyphant is amazing in this role! He fits the character perfectly! He's exactly right as the smooth, charismatic US Marshall. He's also proud, loyal, and has a keen sense of morality all packaged up in troubled bundle.
I'm recommending this show to all of my friends!
This has one of the strongest casts on television. Many of the recurring actors were written for only a few episodes. Then, they created such dynamic characters, they have been brought back time and again. Walton Goggins and Tim Olyphant (as well as their supporting cast) are sincerely underrated as actors. They carry every scene they are in and when they are together, it is impossible to turn away.
There is a wit and humor to this show. It keeps you on the edge of your seat with suspense and then will zing a one-liner at you. I've never laughed and cringed so much in my life.
I am so glad this was renewed for a fourth season and it is the only show I care about watching.
If you are going to check it out, make sure you watch whatever season you pick from the beginning. Season one had many stand alone episodes. However, season two and season three involved complex plots that slowly burned into sensational finales. If you try to jump into the middle you may not enjoy it because of the subtle complexities in the plots.
Please check it out because it is one of the best dramas on television with a sensational cast.
Timothy Olyphant truly fits the role and expertly portrays Raylen Givins, a US Marshal with a flare for the attitude and historical respect expected (and required) of the position reminiscent of a Texas Ranger.
His Marshal authenticity and brand of justice leads him back to his hometown where he endears old friends and confronts new enemies while sidestepping questions of his dubious past and kin.
The story is fun and believable except for some legal proceedings regarding a recently widowed woman, but otherwise delivers very well and provides for good previews.
Lastly, I discovered that this show is based off a novel by Elmore Leonard. Leonard is the talent behind such movies as "Get Shorty" and "Be Cool," among others, that I revere as favorites. I was pleased to see that a show with his name in the credits is also praiseworthy.
Coming back, sixth season started with a bang, and never took its eyes off the prize. Finding at least two worthy foes, who were as charismatic as Raylan .. it's difficult to find anything wrong with this line of thinking. But anyway, in the finale, show skipped a couple of years, to show a time that was simpler (I presume) and they DID leave Harlan alive, and then it ended with simple line. I know, I should have been shedding tears, to see my most beloved show end, and end at such emotional note .. but I somehow tilted towards smiles, that stretched from ear to ear. How clichéd I would sound to say that I wasn't sad that it was over, but rather glad that It happened .. but there .. I said it, I meant it and am here to represent it (while clichés are open and puns are intended). I wish I could have time to analyze each and every episode. I wish that I could repeat every crisp dialog to remind myself of those good times. I wish I could discuss the score, the cinematography, the acting, the spontaneity of plot and tons of other things .. but I can't. All I want to say is ..THANK YOU, to the creators of this wonderful show and every person involved, and now that I have watched Justified, I know I won't be able to enjoy anything else that easily. My sense of morality is even more screwed up after watching this piece of art, but I am better for it. I will re-watch justified till cows come home and I will keep thinking how on earth this marvelous show was created, sustained and concluded, maintaining a level of entertainment that I never find even in the best of show and movies. This just goes to show that something as simple as nice story telling can go a long way. If you haven't watched Justified yet, then please go ahead and give it a try. If it proves to be your cup of tea, you will have the experience of a lifetime watching a simple yet elegant TV show.
There is not enough room here to say all I'd wish to about this whole series. I wish I could. It took me places I had never expected.
That said, I was not prepared for the entrance of Jonathan Tucker as Boon. Sinister and creepy, yes, but I was blown away by the way Mr. Tucker carried this character through these episodes. He had me feeling sorry for Boon and wondering if this person could be redeemed. He had me outraged at his sheer callousness. Undoubtedly there was great direction too, but we don't get to see that.
I'm going to miss my favorite series terribly, but I'm definitely going to catch up on Mr. Tucker's prior work and watch for him in the future.
THANK YOU to the entire cast and crew for an unforgettable experience.
Set in Lexington,Kentucky and based on Elmore Leonard's short story Fire In The Hole,Justified tells the story of Raylan Givens(Timothy Olyphany),a Deputy U.S Marshall from Miami,Florida who is a 19th century Western-style Lawman who uses old school tactics of the law. After getting in trouble Raylan is transferred to his home town in the Lexington,Kentucky section of Harlan County. While in Harlan Raylan has to deal with childhood friend turned criminal in Boyd Crowder(Walton Googins)and other dangerous criminals and individuals.
Justified is a brilliant and entertaining Television series that for 6 seasons and 78 episodes wonderfully mixed together genre elements of Crime Drama,Action,Western and Humor giving TV viewers one of the best Crime Dramas of it's kind and a great show that has a style all of it's own. Right from the first episode Justified is an terrific show from the moment you watch it and when you see the series it pulls you into a journey that is violent and dangerous,wild and offbeat and at times can be over the top and exciting showing us a crazy world where everything is unpredictable and you don't what's going to happen or when. With Justified there is the good,the bad and the ugly with U.S Marshalls,crime families,police and outlaws in a violent place where money,guns and drugs are in the air where blood and violence is aplenty. You are in Elmore Leonard's world of Pulp entertainment and you will be in for a ride. The Action on Justified is incredible,fast and fierce with many gunfights and Western-style stand offs where there is great build-up and a intense conclusion. The dialog on Justified is outstanding and clever with great wit that truly adds to the show. The dialog makes the characters come alive and feel fresh. Although serious and dramatic Justified has a humorous and fun tone because there some moments that are just wacky and insane and the characters never take themselves too seriously and as a viewer you laugh at times. What also makes the show what it is the various villains in each season such as Boyd Crowder(Season 1),Mags Bennett and The Bennett Clan(Season 2),Robert Quarles(Season 3),Daryl Crowe Jr. and the Crowe Family(Season 5)and the final villain in the series Avery Markham(Season 6). Each of those villains that are on the show fascinating and will grab your attention. While Justified is a Crime Drama the biggest influence on Justified is the Western genre whether it's the characters attitudes,the style or gunfights the Western style is on full display on the hills of Harlan County,Kentucky. The main character Raylan Givens is a great character and classic invention from Elmore Leonard because Givens is an old school lawman in the truest sense using old law tactics from the old West in the 19th century getting into Western style gunfights and drawing his gun on criminals and taking them down with one shot telling people it was Justified. Raylan is also an old school Cowboy with the white hat,belt buckle and Cowboy boots making him a 19th Century man in a 21 first century land. A lawman can't be without an outlaw and the outlaw comes in the form of Boyd Crowder who is a top criminal in Harlan County who will do anything to be on top as an outlaw and rule with an iron hand whether he's taking out his rivals or avoiding the cops he will do anything to make money at all costs. The main focus on Justified is the long and on going relationship between Raylan and Boyd who were once childhood friends now rivals who are on opposite sides of the law. The scenes and back and forth banter between Raylan and Boyd are some of the best scenes in the entire show giving the two characters an emotional depth that is amazing. The ending in the final episode of Justified is fantastic,powerful and brings the show full circle not only for the show but for the characters Raylan and Boyd which is unforgettable. An outstanding conclusion.
The casts in all 6 seasons were sensational with excellent performances from Timothy Olyphant(Raylan Givens),Walton Googins(Boyd Crowder),Nick Searcy(Art Mullen),Joelle Carter(Ava Crowder),Natalie Zea(Winona Hawkins),Jacob Pitts(Tim Gutterson),Erica Tazal(Rachal Brooks),Jere Burns(Wynn Duffy),Margo Martindale(Mags Bennett),Sam Elliot(Avery Markham),Neal McDonough(Robert Quarles),Mary Steenburgan(Katherine Hale),Michael Rapaport(Daryl Crowe Jr.),Mykelti Williamson(Limehouse),Jeremy Davis(Dickie Bennett),Damon Herrimann(Dewey Crowe),Kaitlyn Dever(Loretta McCready),Jeff Fahey(Zachariah),Garret Dillahunt(Ty Walker),Jonathan Tucker(Boon),Raymond J. Barry(Arlo Givens),Alicia Witt(Wendy Crowe),Amy Smart(Allison),Patton Oswalt(Constable Bob),M.C Gainey(Bo Crowder)and more.
The direction on the show is terrific,stunning and adds to the show with the camera always moving with great angles and a relentless pace. Wonderful direction.
The theme song by Gangstagrass(Long Hard Times To Come)is great,light and matches the tone of the show. The score by Steve Porcaro is good,memorable and goes with the Action and style of the series.
In final word,if you love Elmore Leonard,Timothy Olyphant,Walton Googins,Crime Dramas or Television in general,I highly suggest you see Justified,an excellent,unforgettable and entertaining Television series that you will watch again and again. Highly Recommended. 10/10.
At some point midway through the 2nd season I mentioned to my wife that while we had a few shows we watched regularly, I found that I was looking forward to Justified each week a bit more then all the rest. She agreed. Justified had, without us even knowing it, become our favorite show. The show mastered the art of building tension through the season. Even episodes that might be considered "slow" were just trains gaining momentum before the eventual train-wreck.
Going back to that 2nd season, I honestly think that season was 1 of the finest seasons of any TV show I have ever seen. The characters built that season lasted through the entire series, even the side characters lasted. it is a rare thing in TV to see characters built the way this show could.
Please, if you haven't seen this show do so now. It really is 1 of the finest to come out in recent years.
The lead character, Raylon Givins, played so smoothly by Timothy Olyphant, knows most of the people he is working with, and going after, as part of his job as a U.S. Marshall. Raylon is from Harlan and he prosecutes his job with vigor, barely keeping his toes on the right side of the law. Raylon knew; played ball with; and most importantly, dug coal with many of the bad guys he was later to apprehend - and in many cases kill.
There is a lot of the typical Western in Justified, from Raylon's cowboy hat - his signature look - to the six-guns that many of the bad guys carry (in holsters naturally). Raylon carries a Glock - clearly the most reliable semiautomatic ever made. And naturally he is the quickest draw in the West ... er the East . . . of Kentucky that is.
The other main characters (and there are so many) are terrific - especially Walter Goggons - who plays Boyd Crowder and Joelle Carter - who plays Boyd's sister-in-law and on and off lover, Ava Crowder. This show has won a number of Emmy's and other awards, but not nearly as many as it should have.
Boyd Crowder is one of the most memorable bad guys since Ian McShane as Swearingen in Deadwood. But where Swearingen was pretty much totally evil (in a compassionate way), Boyd is always on top of things- even when he is shot and/or in prison. Boyd is the ultimate survivor and the smartest bad guy since Hannibal Lechter. You will find yourself rooting for Boyd throughout the series.
Walter Goggins has been around since 1990 and has had many parts, but this is his signature role.
Each of the seasons has a particular flow and storyline - all of them with very rich characters (some so low-life you cannot believe it.) Cindy and I have been dreading seeing the 78 episodes fly by. If you get into it, you will be hooked as we were.
Unlike the 90+ episodes of Sons of Anarchy which eventually got a little stale (hung on too long), Justified stayed crisp, interesting and engrossing until the end. The last season is terrific, tying up a number of loose ends, but in a way which leaves things open for sequels - or maybe a movie. I'm hoping for a season 7 in a couple of years.
Hope you check it out. There is huge competition for your viewing hours with so many great shows. I am glad Cindy and I have stuck with the heroes and miscreants of Easter Ky to the end.
But the actual series is a killer, the characters grow on you, and what I find even more special is that it follows the good and the bad through out the show, I completely love the Boyd crowder character, a real stand up crook, and a very good bad guy, and was very surprised to find out he was the transsexual woman in sons of anarachy! If thats not acting i don't know what is! Needs to be more of this show! On more TVs! I'm like the only one who knows it over here.....
I confess that when Timothy Olyphant looks at the camera with those wonderful, melting eyes strange things seem to happen to my knees but the fact that he can act makes all the difference. I love that Raylan Givens doesn't shout and blast everything in sight. In one of my favourite episodes in Season 1 he diffuses a hostage situation with fried chicken and bourbon. He tries to keep his gun in its holster but if he pulls it, then you'll wish he hadn't.
I love that with the less bad or more thinking criminals he will sit with them afterwards so that they aren't alone when they die. He has a passion for ice cream, justice and his ex-wife Winona. She loves him but finds living with the idea that he might not come home every night very difficult.
Their relationship is intriguing. Ava's relationship with Boyd is also intriguing, especially if you saw the pilot and remember what she thought of him at the time.
This is a very good, very special series and to anyone only starting in the middle of Season 3 I have some pieces of advice; obtain copies of Season 1 and 2 so you understand all the events of the past (Aunt Helen's murder is especially important), concentrate when you watch an episode (a tiny minute or two on screen in one episode can be the key to understanding the action three episodes later) and engage your brain (this is thinking people's television).
I won't bore you with a synopsis of the story lines, or what characters do what, you can read that in any other review or IMDBs description. Not every episode is perfect - there were a few from Season 1 and 2 that I thought didn't really add too much to the whole series, but the thing of it is, each show has some little scene or scenes that contribute to the plot line that carries on. As other reviewers have noted, you also need to pay attention. Get distracted for a couple of lines, and you might miss an important plot twist. This is a THINKING person's show.
Some might describe the characters as caricatures or stereotypes, but they're really not - while they may portray 'simple country folk', their characterizations and motivations are, for the most part, quite complex. Boyd Crowder specifically is a great TV character. While violent, sociopathic behavior is second nature to him, he's also quite erudite, and perhaps the most knowledgeable character on the show, if not the best educated. Walton Goggins deserves an Emmy, without a doubt.
Timothy Olyphant's Raylen Givens is a combination of Eastwood's Dirty Harry and Garner's Jim Rockford. Not afraid to shoot, and tenacious as a terrier, he also has a bit of a blind spot for pretty girls, sad stories, and impossible situations. He's not perfect, by any means, and he knows it. Raylen and Boyd are the best good guy-bad guy team on TV. Their shared background and, at times, overlapping interests, make the interplay between their characters the high points of each episode.
The other cast members shine from episode to episode. The good part is that not all characters show up in every episode - thus allowing for a widely spread story line that lets actors move in and out as required. A special nod to Nick Searcy as the ever-suffering Chief Deputy Art Mullin, and bad boys Dewie Crowe and Dickie Bennett, and Jere Burns as Wynn Duffy, who appears to have bounced from USA Network's "Burn Notice" to "Justified" without having to change his character.
Like any really good show, the writing makes or breaks the whole thing. "Justified" is that rare combination of action, emotion, and humor that might just capture you. But don't start in the middle of a season - go from the beginning.
Whoever put the scripts together is not creating black and white characters even when they do very evil things and the life that created those characters is typically investigated.
There is distinct image of southern atmosphere that is presented here that also makes the series unique.
The acting is superb and I thinks that is because the dialog is superb and makes sense.
I have thoroughly enjoyed watching this series. To those that are starting to watch it and find it slow, I suggest that they watch a few episodes to get acclimated with the atmosphere.
Really cannot wait for season 5 with the climax of season 4 leaving a wonderfully poised situation. Just hope that Netflix can get this to air asap as inexplicably Channel 5 have dropped it!
Watching it now with a bit more objectivity, I found season four still really good in many respects, and even the last two seasons well-crafted. But my original assessment stands and here's why: In its heyday (seasons 1-3) what made Justified delightful was the southern gothic western/romantic fantasy that it presented. At its heart were the figures of Raylan (the gunslinger lawman) and Boyd (the outlaw), and their antagonistic bromance, as well as the respective love stories of Raylan and Winona, and Boyd and Ava.
Of course both Raylan and Boyd are archetypes - fantasy figures of a totally unrealistic sort. So from the outset it was clear Justified was serving up an entertaining romantic western-fantasy story, though spiced up with black humor and set in a modern, edgy version of the south. The first three seasons ended with Boyd and Raylan being thrown into some set of circumstances where they had to fight their way out together, with Raylan always having to admit some grudging sense of obligation to Boyd.
It was also kept very clear that the only real difference between the two was that Raylan had a badge. Both had gangster fathers, and Raylan was (arguably) more violent and angry than Boyd. In fact, Boyd, for all his own crimes, was always a more sympathetic character than Raylan. Boyd was the more honest of the two, and didn't lie to himself or others about the kind of person he was. Raylan, on the other hand, was devoid of self-awareness, or at least was in permanent, angry denial of his true nature. Where Boyd was honorable, Raylan was backstabbing, never hesitating to use deceit to get his way and always using "the law" as a pretext for acting out his grudges.
But this was all okay, so long as the stories being told maintained that interesting tension between good and evil in both Raylan and Boyd, and never let either one get too much of the upper hand. And Raylan's less admirable qualities were balanced by his affection for Winona. At least until season four, when Winona abruptly leaves him for no apparent reason (if I recall correctly, the actress who played her suddenly left the show, which would explain her being written out in a way that didn't seem to jive with the direction they'd been developing up till then).
This was the beginning of the end for Raylan as a sympathetic character, and it's a shame it happened, because following this, he becomes a philanderer, going through a string of Winona-lookalikes, a deadbeat dad, refusing to even to visit his baby daughter, and increasingly just an obnoxious, self-righteous dick: constantly harping on the evil deeds of the criminals he goes after without ever perceiving his own. The callous way he manipulates Ava in season 5 is particularly egregious. By the end of that season, Raylan has lost all his charm and you really just kind of hate him, which seems like a weird move on the part of the showrunners.
But the real nail in the coffin was the treatment of Ava in season five, and in particular, the fact that they split Boyd and Ava apart. That's what actually made me angry at the time, as the love story of Boyd and Ava was hands down my favorite thing about the show. And it's not just that they broke them up, but that they did it in the ugliest, most cynical way possible. But this reflects a general tendency of the show, detectable already in season four: that it took a darker turn. There were still laughs and funny characters, but also more violence, and violence of an increasingly brutal sort - especially against women.
Season five sees a lot of this, and it starts to leave a nasty taste in your mouth. There was violence in the first three seasons of course, but it was more of the classic western shoot-out sort. In season five you see attempted rape and men beating women black and blue. So the whole show took a rather cynical, ugly turn. And it's hard to comprehend why they'd do this, unless maybe the showrunners felt they needed to up the ante on the sex and violence to counter slipping ratings or something like that. But it changed the tone of the show, and not for the better. Justified wasn't fun anymore.
And when they brutalized Ava in prison for a whole season, only have have her buy her freedom back by betraying the man she'd been about to marry - that was the nail in the coffin for me. It was like the showrunners decided to take a giant crap in their fans' cornflakes - determined to spoil everything for everyone. So by the end of the series, all that had been built up in the first three seasons was demolished: all your favorite characters were either dead, imprisoned, or miserable. All the love stories had fallen apart.
It was like the writers were determined to show us that life is crap and all dreams must die in the end. Which might be fine, if the show had been billed from the start as dark, gritty realism. But it started out as a fun, clever but goofy neo-western lark about a handsome marshall who gets to go around shooting whoever he likes and a clever, beguiling hillbilly outlaw who builds a criminal empire. So what the heck? Justified was great for a while, and always really in good in some ways. But it's a shame it ended on such a downer.