I’m hard pressed to name a series that I enjoy more than Graham Yost’s “Justified.”
The series, which returned for a fourth season on FX, recounts the adventures of Raylan Givens, a U.S. marshal assigned to mid-Kentucky, the place of his birth and his longtime home. As he deals with all manner of fugitives, thieves and drug dealers, Givens (Timothy Olyphant) is forced to acknowledge not only with his criminal father, Arlo (Raymond J. Barry), but his longtime frenemy, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins).
The show is badass, funny and full of backwoods low-life characters for Raylan to wryly bring to justice.
Because the show is based on the works of writer Elmore Leonard, there are plenty of oddball characters on both sides of the law.
As the show returned tonight, with the episode “Hole in the Wall,” Raylan finds himself trying to make a little money on the side – he and ex-wife Winona are expecting a baby – by working for an attractive bail bondswoman.
Meanwhile, Boyd has been running the drug business in Harlan, Kentucky, and is dismayed to find that his OxyContin sales have dropped significantly. One of his dealers tells him it’s because so many local residents have been redeemed through the works of a traveling evangelist.
And meanwhile, we’re introduced to Constable Bob, played by comedian and writer Patton Oswalt, who meets up with Raylan when petty thieves break into Arlo’s house. Raylan has hired Bob to keep an eye on the place while Arlo is in jail for attempted murder.
And meanwhile meanwhile, Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), Raylan’s sometime girlfriend, is still running the local whorehouse and continues to be as badass as Raylan and Boyd.
Constable Bob comes in handy when Raylan’s car gets stolen, and an old buddy of Boyd’s, played by Ron Eldard, shows up unexpectedly.
“Justified” is so quick, so funny and so brutal. It’s unlike anything else on TV right now.
After three good to great seasons with memorable bad guys, “Justified” seems to be playing the long game this season, introducing some winning characters, bringing back others and peppering clues to a 30-year-old mystery throughout the witty, sharp stories. I’ll be watching.