It’s hard to deny the appeal of “Justified’s” Raylan Givens. Played brilliantly by Emmy nominee Timothy Olyphant, the character’s quick wit and quick draw has made him a welcome addition to FX’s slate of original series. Tonight “Justified” returns for its fourth season and for fans of quality TV it’s not a moment too soon.
Based on Elmore Leonard’s novel “Fire In The Hole,” the series focuses on U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens who to put it nicely has always had a problem playing well with others. With his trademark Stetson cap and “sparkling” personality, Givens is ready to do battle with any villain that thinks they can go toe-to-toe with this no-nonsense cowboy.
Over the show’s three seasons that’s meant feuds with everyone from local two-bit criminals to displaced criminal masterminds, each played by a perfectly casted guest star (that has for two years in a row won an Emmy for their role). This year however “Justified” is doing away with the “big bad” approach and going back to basics where Givens will face threats from all comers including a snake charming preacher (“The Pacific’s” Joe Mazzello) and his sister (“True Blood’s” Lindsay Pulsipher), Jere Burns’ villainous Wynn Duffy and of course his own demons.
The central storyline of this season revolves around a 30 year mystery that of involves Raylan’s deadbeat dad Arlo (Raymond Barry), who continually finds ways to get under his son’s skin. Yet that fractured relationship is nowhere near as confusing as the one shared by Raylan and the complicated criminal Boyd Crowder.
Played by Walton Goggins (“The Shield”), the character of Boyd has evolved into something truly special. In fact this unique version of “The Odd Couple” has provided some of the show’s best moments as while the pair aren’t friends, they has a special understanding that has led to them pairing up from time to time. This year though Boyd and Raylan will each have a new ally to start the season that will keep them from crossing paths as much in the early episodes. Boyd will get help from a old military friend (“E.R.’s” Ron Eldard) as he battles to save his drug empire and Raylan will align with a local constable played by the always entertaining Patton Oswalt.
Regardless of what formula executive producer Graham Yost and his team decide to use you can bet they have every angle mapped out. After all it’s extremely rare to produce a show that is so well-received and at the same time so distinctive. As The San Francisco’s Gate’s David Wiegand pointed out in today’s review the drama is a truly a one of a kind series.
“Most tellingly, "Justified" has defied the tradition in TV that when one network has a great show that everyone is talking about, other networks tend to come up with imitations. That hasn't happened with ‘Justified,’ perhaps because its quality is inimitable.”
Call it whatever you want, but make sure you are in the conversation because this is one of TV’s hidden gems that you don’t truly realize how much you enjoy it until you are suddenly watching the end credits role.
“Justified” returns tonight on FX.
So what’s your take New York? Are you a "Justified" fan? Hit the comments and let us know.
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