The third season of FX’s “Justified” continued tonight with “Harlan Roulette,” mixing equal parts humor and backwoods mayhem.
U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) was almost a supporting character in tonight’s episode, and that’s okay when you consider the strength of the Kentucky lowlifes who routinely pass through this great series.
And the emphasis on bad guys is perfectly in keeping with the work of Elmore Leonard, the crime fiction author upon whose work “Justified” is based.
Tonight’s episode featured Pruitt Taylor Vince as a cold-blooded pawn shop owner who is cornering the market on painkiller Oxycontin in Harlan County, Kentucky. He’s working for Quarles (Neil McDonough), the unflappable Detroit mobster who’s come to Kentucky to set up shop.
Besides Vince, who is funny and vicious, and McDonough, who is cool enough to smile when Raylan is taking his picture, the episode features not only Walton Goggins as everybody’s favorite, Boyd Crowder, Raylan’s longtime friend and frenemy, but Mykelti Williamson as Limehouse, a cold-blooded homegrown crime boss.
“Justified” continues to have a strong, strong season. The show is sharp and funny and appallingly violent at times. Raylan and Boyd are great antagonists and protagonists and the show’s bad guys — from meth heads and Oxy addicts to guys like Quarles, who alternates between talking on the phone with his kid and showing off the gun literally up his sleeve — are the best on TV.