We live in an age where it’s hard not to find a great TV show to watch, as whether it’s live, or on demand there’s plenty to keep us occupied. Though you may not enjoy all that the various networks have to offer, there is a vast selection of high quality shows that you’re bound to find a handful of series you like. In this edition of Fanboy Recommended I’ll be talking about one of my personal favourite shows over the last few years: Justified. Going into it’s Final Season come January, this great show will be sorely missed. But we can enjoy the five (and soon to be six) seasons time and time again.
The main character in Justified is Raylan Givens, a Deputy U.S. Marshal who is transferred to his home state of Kentucky after shooting a Miami gun thug. Portrayed by Deadwood’s Timothy Olyphant, Givens proves to be a hard as nails lawman, who isn’t afraid to push the law to it’s limits. Though Olyphant may have been a part of the o so forgettable Hitman film from 2007, that in no way means that he’s a bad actor. In fact his performance in Hitman was possibly the best thing about the film. Either way, he proves his worth as an actor in Justified like never before, with his Clint Eastwoodesque accent, and cowboy stance giving the powerful presence that the series needs.
The attitude of Raylan also helps make him a likeable character, with the way he interacts with certain characters allowing for some very entertaining moments. In addition to this, the character also shows some diversity, with his tone being very different depending on the character he’s interacting with. Raylan has also shown a lot of emotion throughout the five seasons of Justified, as between his splintered relationship with his father Arlo (Raymond J. Barry) and his complicated relationship with his ex-wife Winona (Natalie Zea) he has shown that despite his tough guy persona, he is still human.
Throughout the five seasons of Justified Raylan and the U.S. Marshals service have faced many bad guys, with most seasons sporting a specific villain who’s agenda ties each episode into the main narrative. There has however been one particular criminal that has been a thorn in Raylan’s side from the first season, and that’s Boyd Crowder. Having grown up with Raylan, Boyd has taken many different paths over the course of the series, starting off as a white supremacist, turning into a holy man, and eventually becoming a drug dealer. It is however the acting of Walton Goggins that makes this character so memorable, as much like Olyphant, he gives strong, deliberate performances.
The other villains to feature over the course of Justified have been Boyd’s father Bo (M.C. Gainey), Mags Bennett (Margo Martindale) and her sons Dickie (Jeremy Davies), Doyle (Joseph Lyle Taylor) and Coover (Brad William Henke), Robert Quarles (Neal P. McDonough), and Darryl Crowe Jr. (Michael Rapaport) and his brother Danny (A.J. Buckley). The most noticeable amongst these was Robert Quarles, with Walking Tall and Captain America: First Avenger actor Neal P. McDonough giving a cold, calculated performance. His character also has so much depth compared to the rest, feeling the only real threat to Raylan in a one on one situation.
Though Raylan is the main character in Justified, his job as a Deputy U.S. Marshal is also a key feature, with the U.S. Marshals service itself being a major addition to the series. Though I wouldn’t ever class myself an expert on how the U.S. Marshals service is run, from what I’ve personally read, the events of Justified are relatively spot on. Yes Rayland probably wouldn’t get away with half the shit he causes in real life, and yes they may have went a little over the top, exaggerating certain aspects, but their main duties seem to be shown pretty well throughout the show (please comment if you know otherwise).
One thing that I’ve particularly loved about the U.S. Marshals service being involved in Justified, has been the diverseness this has added to the accompanying cast, with there being plenty of different personalities for Raylan to play off of. There has however been one character that has stood above the rest when it comes to Raylan’s fellow Marshals, and that’s his boss, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Art Mullen (Nick Searcy). Giving somewhat comic relief at times, Art proves a wonderful mentor to Raylan, with his discretion towards Raylan’s actions allowing for some grey areas. The two characters also work perfectly off one another, giving an almost father and son like vibe, with Olyphant and Searcy’s performances reflecting this.
In a Nutshell
But why should you pick Justified over all the other great TV series that are on the box? There are many valid reasons why you should give this unique crime series a try, with the ones mentioned in this article being the reasons I personally continue to watch. It’s constant freshness also makes it a worthy addition to your collection, as were many series draw out a storyline over several seasons, Justified gives us something new each season. If this article has compelled you to give this great show a try, there are many places you can do so, as bar being able to purchase the previous seasons on DVD, Netflix and other on demand services also stream the show.