OK, so that's a ridiculous title, but bear with me! Two weeks ago I was in the Ohio/Kentucky area for a family reunion, and part of the trip involved visiting Kentucky because Morgan here is a huge fan of the show 'Justified'. I asked if he'd be willing to guest write a little something for you all, because I've never seen the show but I hear that it's good. If you already watch the show then you should leave a comment telling us your favorite part or character! If you don't watch it yet, then get ready to hear about how fantastic it is!
'Justified' follows the story of Raylan Givens, a US Marshal who, after justifiably taking the law into his own hands to the displeasure of his superior, is sent back to his hometown of Harlan, Kentucky as a form of "lay low" punishment for his vigilante-esque actions. Once home, he's welcomed by the local law enforcement and quickly settles in to rounding up the local flavor.
Through the first season, we see Raylan struggle with being back in the home that he deliberately left; reasons include an ex wife, a hated father, and a general round of ignorance. The persona of Raylan has a strong sense of right and wrong, and knows what he should do, but also constantly struggles with his own anger and his desire to pretty much kill everyone who does something wrong. His own safety, and the safety of others, tends to override the law. All the same, he's not above calm conversation! In the first episode we see him talk down a dim-witted shotgun wielder, and later in the show he warns an offender that one more step means getting shot. He's a bit of an anti hero that you don't feel badly about rooting for.
The counter point to Raylan is Boyd Crowder, an army vet and white supremacist who, after the first episode, will become your favorite character. Once the show finds its groove, the dynamic between Raylan and Boyd takes center stage in a fascinating exchange of law versus criminal. While Raylan aims to uphold justice, even if that means a shooting spree, Boyd is a criminal who manages to do good in the name of God.
A large draw of 'Justified' is the fact that it's set in Kentucky. It wouldn't be nearly as appealing if it were a cop show in a city such as New York or Los Angeles. In a large city setting a lot of the dynamic, story, and characters would have to rely on cell phones, street signs, and an overload of modern life in general. Since Raylan is in his home town, he relies on life-long knowledge of the area, as well as rapport with people he's known since he was a child. They don't necessarily like him, but they know him, so they are ocassionally willing to help. Shows set in the city are cliche personality wise, not just cop type roles, but also the citizens. You know what you'll get to an extent in the South, but it's a different avenue; one not seen nearly as frequently. The variety is appreciated amidst the usual sea of gritty dark streets.
The feel of the show is mostly drama, but there's a generous serving of comedy as well. It's not the normal comedy you'd think, but the special kind that springs from dire situations. They happen to run rampant in 'Justified'. It's more serious comedy though, adult comedy if you will, which is to be expected from an FX aired TV MA show. The best part is that it doesn't take the normal route of most scripted shows. For instance, you might be able to predict what will happen in a season, but you won't be able to predict how you get there. The routes and the paths to the destination, no matter what it might be, are very random and new. The writers have specifically stated that they are 100% willing to change direction at the drop of a hat, which makes it more realistic than other shows because that's how life is. If they have an idea that they think works better, they'll adandon whatever they were going to do and just run with it.
Season four just wrapped in April of this year, and season five is due to air in January or February of 2014. Now is a great time to dive in if you're searching for a lesser traveled cop/sheriff/law what-have-you show. Oh, and it stars Timothy "The Elephant" Olyphant, so that should be a big draw for most people.
So what do you think? Will you be adding 'Justified' to your TV roster anytime soon?
*Header image source