Fugitive searches, countless arrest warrants and shootouts between criminal organizations?
That’s just a day in the life of the United States Marshals of Lexington, Kentucky on the hit FX television series, “Justified.” Starring Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. marshal Raylan Givens, “Justified” follows Raylan as he enforces the law by his own standards.
With his cool demeanor and wisecracking attitude, Raylan is different from the stereotypical cop. Constantly in the line of danger, much to the dismay of his bosses, Raylan’s (usually) successful approach to tackling suspects resembles that of 19th century deputies from the days of the Old West.
Premiering in 2010 and in its fourth season, “Justified’ has received high critical acclaim, including seven Primetime Emmy Award nominations with two wins; this comes as no shock.
Set in the rural, poor coal-mining town of Harlan, it is the array of unique characters that help bring the show its fire.
On the good side of the law, you have Raylan’s no-nonsense boss Chief Deputy Mullen (Nick Searcy), sarcastic partner Deputy Marshal Tim Gutterson (Jacob Pitts) and headstrong Deputy Marshal Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel).
Like Raylan, these characters are just as witty and tough. Then again, you have to be when you are in conflict with such groups as the Crowder Clan, a criminal organization led by the smart, sly and cunning Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins).
Childhood friends who took paths on opposite sides of the law, Raylan and Boyd constantly catch themselves in battles with one another, be it personally or through their respective allies, including another childhood friend of Raylan’s and current sweetheart of Boyd, the sweet but tough Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter).
As compelling as the characters are, it is the storyline that keeps audiences tuning in every week.
With the rise of such notorious villains as Crowder family enemy Mags Bennett (Margo Martindale) and the Detroit mafia connected Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough) in previous seasons, season four focuses on a different adversary — the mystery of Drew Thompson.
After Arlo Givens (Raymond J. Barry), Raylan’s criminal father, murders a man in prison, it becomes known that the parachuting death of a man 30 years ago was somehow related to him.
Raylan discovered that Thompson, who was wanted in a sealed federal witness warrant around this time and thought to be dead, had survived, not being the parachuted man. The discovery of a diplomatic pouch at Arlo’s old home shows his connection with the Thompson case and leads to a fascinating story line of the Marshals tracking down Thompson.
Of course, like any good work of television, there are other storylines too. Upon hearing that he is still alive, Detroit mobsters want to get a hold of Thompson as well. From witnessing a murder to being suspected in stealing high amounts of cocaine, the mobsters want Thompson in their hands before the Marshals.
Detroit’s Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) enlists the help of Boyd in finding Thompson, pitting Raylan and Boyd against each other once again.
It is a work of art when Olyphant and Goggins share the screen together. The two play off of each other so well, as their charismatic personalities mix with the right amount of chemistry.
It’s also interesting to note that Olyphant came into this field after taking acting classes at UC Irvine to fulfill graduating requirements for USC. It’s amazing how many people are related to Anteaters.
New characters such as Billy St. Cyr (Joseph Mazzelo), a Harlan preacher who helped former drug users become sober while endangering Boyd’s drug business at the same time, were exciting to see. They showed more of the community of Harlan outside of the circles of the U.S. Marshals and crime organizations.
At home, Raylan has his own issues, dating a married woman unbeknownst to his knowledge as well as taking side jobs. For one, he transported a fugitive without the officer knowing. Such a plot move was excellent in showing just how far Raylan will go to serve justice, whether it be OK or not.
Featuring charismatic actors engaging together with incredible chemistry, suspenseful stories that keep the audience engaged, few flaws and action that accurately portrays what Marshals went through on a daily basis, “Justified” is definitely a show to not be missed.
Recommended: The action is fantastic. Raylan and Boyd alone bring so much to the show with their personalities.
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