With just the first disc of season 1 down, I already love everything about JUSTIFIED. I’m big on characters of a show being well written, believable and memorable (hence my initial qualms regarding ARROW), but JUSTIFIED delivers in a big way.
A brief breakdown of the first five episodes within…
The story framework is brought to us by the author ELMORE LEONARD, who has written many stories adapted to other famous Hollywood flicks such as 3:10 TO YUMA, GET SHORTY, and JACKIE BROWN. And according to Leonard, this is one of his favorite adaptations of his works.
For those unfamiliar with the premise, TIMOTHY OLYPHANT stars as Raylan Givens who is a U.S. Marshall under fire for his “shoot the bad guy” approach to justice. He is transferred from the Miami office back to his hometown in Kentucky where he swore to himself he would never return. Once there he meets back up with some old friends, old flames and the criminal of a father he had left behind.
Once in Kentucky, he immediately gets thrust into a feud between his old buddy Boyd Crowder (played by WALTON GOGGINS from THE SHIELD), his brother and his brother’s wife Ava (JOELLE CARTER). Ava had just shot and killed her husband for being an abusive drunk, so Raylan shows up to investigate and protect her from Boyd and his gang of white supremacists. Raylan ends up shooting Boyd in the chest but doesn’t quite kill him.
Side note: TIMOTHY OLYPHANT, WALTON GOGGINS and JOELLE CARTER are all terrific in their roles. While a couple of the guest stars were awkward in the first couple episodes, the issue seemed to quickly disappear by the fourth and fifth.
The next few episodes send Raylan on several assignments so we get a feel of what sort of guy he actually is. While he lives for justice and is clearly one of the good guys, he is also clearly a product of his environment and poor family dynamic after the death of his mother and his father living a life of crime. It seems as if the rebellion from his family drove him to be a Marshall, but also gave him an interesting brand of personal justice.
His dual-sided character is probably summed up best in a great scene from the first episode where Raylan talks to his ex-wife for the first time in years:
“Raylan, you do a good job of hiding it. And I suppose most folks don’t see it… but honestly, you’re the angriest man I have ever known.”
The first ‘great’ episode was the fourth one (Long in the Tooth) where he is on assignment to re-capture an old target of his who was involved with the drug cartels in South America. He had escaped at the time and was living the straight-and-narrow as a dentist in a poor part of Los Angeles. When Raylan shows up, he packs up with his assistant and runs to the US/Mexico border with Raylan in hot pursuit.
In the fifth episode, we are introduced to his father and aunt/stepmother (whom for the family’s sake, I’m hoping was the mother’s sister…) who Raylan clearly harbors a great deal of dislike for.
On to disc two. As a rating, I would give the first five episodes a 3.8/5 collectively. Not in a bad way or anything, but it’s pretty clear that a great show was finding its footing in the first few episodes.