Saturday, 28 November 2015

TV29: Justified

Timothy Olyphant stars as Raylon Givens, a U.S. Marshall who grew up in Harlan County, Kentucky and ends up back there after he shoots a mob hitman while stationed in Miami (he has a bit of an Old West style - even wearing the hat to prove it). Now stationed in Lexington, whose jurisdiction includes Harlan, Givens needs to deal with the bizarre criminal underworld in the Appalachian Mountains where he grew up, including a father (Arlo, played by Raymond J. Barry) for whom no love is lost and former schoolmates like Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). Then there’s his ex-wife, Winona Hawkins (Natalie Zea) and Givens’ very patient but often frustrated boss, Art Mullen (Nick Searcy), who have to put up with a man who does things his own way, regardless of the rules.

Justified, created by Graham Yost, is a Southern Gothic show, which has a unique appeal of its own, and this show is very well-made, with excellent cinematography, clever writing (the dialogue is often exceptional) and some very fine acting all around, with Goggins and Searcy standing out. But it’s Olyphant’s sensitive pitch-perfect performance as the flawed but sympathetic protagonist that makes me come back season after season (I’ve watched the first four seasons out of six; the show ran from 2010 - 2015). 

Justified is dark and violent television, so I don’t recommend it to everyone, but it’s certainly one of the better police shows I have seen. A solid ***+. My mug is up.

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