Justified (TV series)
|Based on||"Fire in the Hole"
by Elmore Leonard
|Developed by||Graham Yost|
|Opening theme||"Long Hard Times to Come" by Gangstagrass|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||65 (List of episodes)|
|Production company(s)||Sony Pictures Television
Rooney McP Productions
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Original run||March 16, 2010– present|
Justified is an American television drama series developed by Graham Yost. It is based on Elmore Leonard's novels Pronto (1993) and Riding the Rap (1995), and his short story "Fire in the Hole". Timothy Olyphant portrays Raylan Givens, a tough U.S. Marshal enforcing his own brand of justice in his hometown of Harlan, Kentucky. The series is set in Lexington and in the Appalachian mountains area of eastern Kentucky, specifically in and around Harlan.
Justified premiered on March 16, 2010, on the FX network. The show was renewed for a second season, which premiered on February 9, 2011. A third season of 13 episodes was announced on March 29, 2011, and premiered January 17, 2012. A fourth season of 13 episodes was announced on March 6, 2012 and premiered January 8, 2013. The show was renewed for a fifth season, which premiered on January 7, 2014. On January 14, 2014, FX Network CEO John Landgraf confirmed that the show was renewed for a sixth season, which will be its last. The decision was made based on a decision from Graham Yost and star Timothy Olyphant.
Justified has received widespread critical acclaim throughout all five seasons, particularly for its acting, directing, art direction, and writing, as well as for Olyphant's lead performance. Justified has been nominated for seven Primetime Emmy Awards as of 2012, with two wins, for Margo Martindale's performance as Mags Bennett and Jeremy Davies' performance as Dickie Bennett.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast and characters
- 3 Production
- 4 Reception and awards
- 5 Home media releases
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is something of a 19th-century–style, Old West lawman living in modern times, whose unconventional enforcement of justice makes him a target of criminals as well as his U.S. Marshals Service bosses. As a result of his controversial but "justified" quick-draw shooting of mob hitman Tommy Bucks in Miami, Givens is reassigned from Miami to Lexington, Kentucky. The Lexington Marshals office's jurisdiction includes Harlan County, where Raylan grew up and which he thought he had escaped for good in his youth.
The story arc of season one concentrates on the crimes of the Crowder family. Raylan seeks to protect Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter) from the rest of the Crowder clan after she shoots her husband Bowman Crowder dead in retaliation for years of abuse. Her biggest threat initially comes from Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), a local criminal masquerading as a white supremacist whom Raylan shoots in a stand-off. Boyd survives the shot to the chest and claims its lack of fatality is a sign from God that he should change his ways. Raylan hesitates to believe him but Boyd is soon sent to prison, spending his time reading the Bible and preaching to convicts. The season builds towards the release of family patriarch Bo (M.C. Gainey) who wishes to re-build his family's drug trade and to settle old scores, including one with Raylan's father, Arlo (Raymond J. Barry), who has cheated him out of money. Bo's release is soon followed by Boyd's, after a technicality prevents him from being further incarcerated. While Bo works on gaining dominance over the local drug trade, Boyd collects a camp of spiritually reformed criminals whom he trains to blow up meth houses in the county to "clean up Harlan." The explosions cause a few casualties, leading Raylan and the other US Marshals to keep an eye on the team.
In the meantime, Raylan is dealing with his own personal dilemmas, including working in the same building as his ex-wife (Natalie Zea), for whom he continues to harbor feelings. His continuing visits to Harlan are peppered with small crimes and big shootings, and his success in dealing with these matters draws Bo's attention. Bo promises the niece and nephew of Gio that he will deliver Raylan to them in exchange for a large shipment of drugs. Boyd catches word of this and, with his "flock" of reformed prisoners, blows up the truck carrying the shipment, leading the niece and nephew to hold Bo accountable for the damages. This leads Bo to go to Boyd's camp and threaten to kill his own son, illustrating the harsh family relations that provide some insight as to how Boyd turned out the way he has. But instead of killing Boyd, Bo offers his son the option to abandon his group, after which Bo will leave all of them alone. Boyd walks away into the forest, where he hears gunshots, and returns to see that all of his followers have been killed. This sends him, depressed, to Raylan's door, saying he will help Raylan find Bo as long as he's allowed to be the one to kill him. A plan to deliver Raylan into Bo's clutches is foiled, but Bo has taken Ava hostage. This is the turning point that drives Boyd and Raylan to join forces for the first time, and Boyd leads him to the Crowder cabin an hour or so away. There they manage to kill Bo's guards and shoot Bo in the leg, but as he runs outside a truck pulls in with Gio's niece and nephew, and they attack the house with machine guns. Bo is killed, while Boyd, Ava, and Raylan are trapped; the niece and nephew demand Raylan be turned over to them.
After Boyd attempts to pass himself off as Raylan, Raylan tells him and Ava to leave out the back way, and he walks forward, hands in the air. As the niece and nephew step out to shoot him, Boyd shoots the nephew and the niece runs away. Boyd wants to go after her but Raylan stops him, saying it's against the law. However, Boyd absconds with Raylan's car, while neither using or facing violence. This signifies the beginning of a somewhat-friendship between the two characters that will continue throughout the series.
Season two deals primarily with the criminal dealings of the Bennett clan. Family matriarch Mags Bennett (Margo Martindale) and her three sons Dickie (Jeremy Davies), Coover (Brad William Henke), and Harlan Police Chief Doyle (Joseph Lyle Taylor) plan to expand their marijuana business into Crowder territory following Bo's death, as Boyd has proven somewhat reluctant to follow in his father's footsteps. Raylan gets involved in the struggle between the two criminal organizations, and because of a long-standing feud between the Givens and Bennett families centering around an incident between Raylan and Dickie in their youth (an incident which left the latter with a lame leg), things begin to become very complicated, with their pasts catching up with them. Meanwhile, an effort by a mining conglomerate to secure access rights to the mountain results in Raylan and Boyd becoming involved on opposite sides of the operation, and provokes a local backlash against the Bennetts after Boyd reveals Mags' secret involvement in negotiations with the conglomerate, to the detriment of her neighbors.
Season three introduces a new main villain, Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough) of Detroit. The criminal organization connected to the Frankfort mafia has exiled Quarles to Kentucky. Quarles allies himself with local enforcer Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) and begins to muscle in on the local criminals, successfully supplanting them until Raylan begins investigating. Quarles' efforts also bring him into conflict with Boyd's group resulting in the deaths of several local individuals. Simultaneously, Dickie Bennett, the lone survivor of the Bennett clan, seeks the aid of the black residents of Noble's Holler and their leader, Ellstin Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson), in recovering his inheritance. Limehouse attempts to keep his people out of the struggle between the criminal groups but becomes involved when Boyd gets the upper hand on Quarles, leading to a series of betrayals and deaths, some of which were sexual and deviant in nature.
Season four is about a mystery, left unsolved for 30 years. On January 21, 1983, a man wearing a defective parachute plummets onto a residential street in Corbin, Kentucky, dying instantly. His body is surrounded by bags full of cocaine and an ID tag for a "Waldo Truth". Raylan learns of the mystery when a vintage diplomatic bag is found hidden at Arlo's house containing only Waldo Truth's ID tag. Further investigation indicates that the parachutist died and Raylan's father Arlo hid the bag, but Raylan's father refuses to divulge any information. As the investigation continues to unfold, information is revealed that could lead to the arrest of a major mafia figure. Raylan is now living above a bar and attempting to stash extra money away to provide for his unborn child and is in a questionable relationship with the bartender, Lindsey Salazar. Boyd Crowder seeks to expand his empire with help from an old army buddy Colton "Colt" Rhodes (Ron Eldard). Boyd's efforts are complicated by the arrival of a snake-handling revival preacher named Billy St. Cyr (Joe Mazzello). Billy's success is cutting into Boyd's profits, as his users and dealers are getting hooked on faith instead of drugs. Boyd's cousin Johnny (David Meunier) grows ever more resentful of Boyd's success and plans to betray him to Wynn Duffy. Boyd's ambition has him force a deal with Duffy that involves Boyd in chasing down leads in the same parachutist mystery, eventually bringing Boyd to an unexpected crossroads that threatens his personal or professional destruction.
On March 28, 2013, FX renewed Justified for a fifth season, which premiered on January 7, 2014. The fifth season features the gator-farming Crowe crime family, led by Darryl Crowe, Jr., played by Michael Rapaport. Also, Jere Burns, who recurred throughout the first four seasons as Wynn Duffy, was made a series regular.
On January 14, 2014, it was announced that Justified was renewed for a sixth season, which is the final season based on a decision by executive producer Graham Yost and lead actor Timothy Olyphant.
Cast and characters
- Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens
- Nick Searcy as Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Art Mullen
- Joelle Carter as Ava Crowder
- Jacob Pitts as Deputy U.S. Marshal Tim Gutterson
- Erica Tazel as Deputy U.S. Marshal Rachel Brooks
- Natalie Zea as Winona Hawkins (regular seasons 1–3, recurring season 4–present)
- Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder (recurring season 1, regular season 2–present)
- Jere Burns as Wynn Duffy (recurring seasons 1–4, regular season 5–present)
- David Meunier as Johnny Crowder (season 1–5)
- Raymond J. Barry as Arlo Givens (seasons 1–4)
- Rick Gomez as Assistant U.S. Attorney David Vasquez (season 1, 3–present)
- M.C. Gainey as Bo Crowder (season 1)
- Brent Sexton as Sheriff Hunter Mosley (seasons 1, 4)
- Damon Herriman as Dewey Crowe (seasons 1–3, 5)
- Linda Gehringer as Helen Givens (seasons 1–3)
- William Ragsdale as Gary Hawkins (seasons 1–3)
- Kevin Rankin as Derek "Devil" Lennox (seasons 1–3)
- Steven Flynn as Emmitt Arnett (seasons 1–3)
- Stephen Root as Judge Mike Reardon (seasons 1–3, 5)
- Kaitlyn Dever as Loretta McCready (seasons 2–3, 5)
- Jim Beaver as Sheriff Shelby Parlow/Drew Thompson (seasons 2–4)
- Abby Miller as Ellen May (seasons 2–4)
- Jeremy Davies as Dickie Bennett (seasons 2–3, 5)
- Margo Martindale as Mags Bennett (season 2)
- Joseph Lyle Taylor as Doyle Bennett (season 2)
- Brad William Henke as Coover Bennett (season 2)
- Peter Murnik as State Trooper Tom Bergen (seasons 2–3)
- James LeGros as Wade Messer (seasons 2–3, 5)
- William Gregory Lee as Sheriff Nick Mooney (seasons 2–5)
- Mykelti Williamson as Ellstin Limehouse (seasons 3–4)
- Neal McDonough as Robert Quarles (season 3)
- David Andrews as Sheriff Tillman Napier (seasons 3–4)
- Brendan McCarthy as Tanner Dodd (season 3)
- Demetrius Grosse as Errol (season 3)
- William Mapother as Delroy Baker (season 3)
- Todd Stashwick as Ash Murphy (season 3)
- Stephen Tobolowsky as Agent Jeremy Barkley (seasons 3–4)
- Max Perlich as Sammy Tonin (seasons 3–5)
- Jenn Lyon as Lindsey Salazar (seasons 3–4)
- Jesse Luken as Jimmy Tolan (seasons 3–5)
- Adam Arkin as Theo Tonin (seasons 3, 5)
- Ron Eldard as Colton Rhodes (season 4)
- Joe Mazzello as Billy St. Cyr (season 4)
- Gerald McRaney as Josiah Cairn (season 4)
- Lindsay Pulsipher as Cassie St. Cyr (season 4)
- Patton Oswalt as Constable Bob Sweeney (season 4)
- Sam Anderson as Lee Paxton (seasons 4–5)
- Mike O'Malley as Nick "Nicky" Augustine (season 4)
- Robert Baker as Randall Kusik (season 4)
- Brian Howe as Arnold (season 4)
- Chris Chalk as Jody Adair (season 4)
- John Kapelos as Ethan Picker (seasons 4–5)
- Michael Rapaport as Darryl Crowe, Jr. (season 5)
- A.J. Buckley as Danny Crowe (season 5)
- Alicia Witt as Wendy Crowe (season 5)
- Edi Gathegi as Jean Baptiste (season 5)
- Jacob Lofland as Kendal Crowe (season 5)
- Amy Smart as Alison Brander (season 5)
- Don McManus as Billy Geist (season 5)
- Karolina Wydra as Mara Paxton (season 5)
- Danielle Panabaker as Penny Cole (season 5)
- Mary Steenburgen as Katherine Hale (season 5-present)
While the pilot was shot in Pittsburgh and suburban Kittanning, Pennsylvania and Washington, Pennsylvania, the subsequent 38 episodes were shot in California. The small town of Green Valley, California often doubles for Harlan, Kentucky. In the pilot, Pittsburgh's David L. Lawrence Convention Center appears on film as the small town "airport" and the construction of the new Consol Energy Center serves as the "new courthouse".
The series began filming using the EPIC camera, manufactured by Red Digital Cinema Camera Company, with the third season. Director of photography Francis Kenny, said "We persuaded Sony Entertainment that by shooting with Epic cameras production would be increased tenfold and it would look spectacular." After filming the first two episodes of the season, Kenny said, "Episode one of season three is now complete and our dreams have come true. The show looks better than ever and the producers are now true believers of the Red System."
Graham Yost developed the series for television based on the character U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, from Elmore Leonard's novels Pronto and Riding the Rap and his short story "Fire in the Hole". Both Yost and Leonard are credited as executive producers on the project. Yost is also the series head writer and showrunner. Other executive producers for the series include Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly, and Michael Dinner. Dinner also directed the series pilot, the second episode of the first season, and the second season finale.
The show's theme song, "Long Hard Times to Come", was performed by the New York City–based Gangstagrass and produced by Rench, and features rapper T.O.N.E-z, Matt Check on banjo, Gerald Menke on resonator guitar, and Jason Cade on fiddle. The song was nominated for a 2010 Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.
Reception and awards
The series has received critical acclaim. The pilot episode that aired on March 16, 2010 was watched by 4.2 million viewers and was the highest debut show for FX since The Shield. On the review aggregator website Metacritic, the first season scored 81/100, the second season scored 91/100, the third season scored 89/100, the fourth season scored 90/100, and the fifth season scored 84/100, all indicating "universal acclaim." The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives every season at least a 94% "fresh" rating.
Author Elmore Leonard ranked Justified as one of the best adaptations of his work, which includes Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, 3:10 to Yuma and Out of Sight. Leonard also praised the casting of Olyphant as Raylan, describing the actor as “the kind of guy I saw when I wrote his lines."
For the first season, the series received very positive reviews. TV Guide critic Matt Roush praised the show, particularly the acting of Olyphant, stating: "The show is grounded in Olyphant's low-key but high-impact star-making performance, the work of a confident and cunning leading man who's always good company." Chicago Tribune critic Maureen Ryan also praised the series, writing: "The shaggily delightful dialogue, the deft pacing, the authentic sense of place, the rock-solid supporting cast and the feeling that you are in the hands of writers, actors and directors who really know what they're doing—all of these are worthy reasons to watch Justified." Mike Hale of The New York Times praised the shows "modest virtues", but was critical of the first season's pace and characterisation, writing: “Justified can feel so low-key that even the crisis points drift past without making much of an impression... It feels as if the attention that should have gone to the storytelling all went to the atmosphere and the repartee."
The second season saw critical acclaim. Robert Bianco of USA Today praised Margo Martindale's performance, stating: "Like the show itself, Margo Martindale's performance is smart, chilling, amusing, convincing and unfailingly entertaining. And like the show, you really don't want to miss it.". Slant Magazine critic Scott Von Doviak praised Olyphant's performance and the writing for this season, observing: "Justified's rich vein of gallows humor, convincing sense of place, and twisty hillbilly-noir narratives are all selling points, but it's Olyphant's devilish grin that seals the deal."
The third season saw critical acclaim. Robert Bianco of USA Today praised this season, writing: "As you'd hope from a show based on Elmore Leonard's work, the plots snap, the dialogue crackles and—to press on with the point—the characters pop."
Verne Gay of Newsday said of the third season, "Lean, laconic, precise and as carefully word-crafted as any series on TV, there's pretty much nothing here to suggest that the third season won't be as good as the second -- or better."
However, Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker was critical of the third season, writing: "Extended storytelling has its own conventions and clichés, all of which appeared in Season 3... it echoed every cable drama, in the worst way."
The fourth season saw critical acclaim. Tom Gliatto of People Weekly praised this season, writing: "What gives the show its kick is the gleefully childish lack of repentance shown by most of these rascals—countered by Olyphant's coolly amused control." Verne Gay of Newsday praised this season also, writing: "Character—as the old saying goes—is a long-standing habit, and their habits remain very much intact. The same could be said of Justified.", and Chuck Bowen of Slant Magazine praised this season, writing: "Justified is the strongest, liveliest, and most tonally accurate adaptation of the writer's work to date, and the latest season bracingly suggests that isn't likely to change anytime soon."
Justified received a 2010 Peabody Award. The series has received seven Primetime Emmy Award nominations. For the first season, the series received a single nomination, for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music. For the second season, it received four acting nominations for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards—Timothy Olyphant for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Walton Goggins for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, Margo Martindale for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, and Jeremy Davies for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, with Martindale winning. For the third season, it received two nominations for the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards, with Jeremy Davies winning for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, and a nomination for Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series.
Home media releases
The DVD and Blu-ray sets were released in region 1 on January 18, 2011 for season one, January 3, 2012 for season two, December 31, 2012 for season three, and December 17, 2013 for season four.
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