Television Review: "Justified": Season Premiere

3/21/2010 Posted by Admin

Television Review

"Justified": Season Premiere

By our guest blogger, Sanela Djokovic

U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens doesn’t like to consider himself an angry man, but its all that collected and focused anger under Given’s Stetson that makes FX’s latest drama, “Justified,” another compelling, complex and stimulating series for the cable network. “Justified,” described as a “21st century western” and “modern-day ’Deadwood,’" is made up of the same gritty and provocative grain as “The Shield,” “Rescue Me” and “Damages,” but is unlike any show on television, combing the still intensity of old westerns, meticulous character development and an all-encompassing cast.

Deputy Givens (Timothy Olyphant, pictured above) is a man of conviction, which often trickles down to his holster. His unorthodox and aggressive approach to his job finally lands him in trouble with his bosses at his Miami base, who relocate him to his hometown-- Harlan County, Kentucky. And, his first order of business is taking down his old friend turned Neo-Nazi town terrorist, Boyd Crowder (Walter Goggins).

Based on the Elmore Leonard novels "Pronto" and "Riding the Rap," and the short story "Fire in the Hole" (also the name of the pilot episode), “Justified” features as badass of a good-guy protagonist as we’ve seen in a while. And Timothy Olyphant ( whose notable TV appearances include “Deadwood,” “Samantha Who?” and “Damages; notable film roles include “The Girl Next Door,” “Stop-Loss” and most recently “The Crazies”) brings the threatening presence, the cool exterior, the speech, the voice, the looks and the depth that make it impossible to root for the trigger-happy--strike that--passionate Givens. It’s a role tailor-made for Olyphant, who always has had magnetism on the screen, big or small, and this may be the kind of role that could permanently attach his name to his familiar face.

The meat of the pilot episode, however, came from Olyphant’s scenes against Walter Groggins (“The Shield"), who plays Crowder, Givens' target and the childhood friend who dug coal with him. Groggins gets down and dirty better than ever, and the exchanged between the old friends turned enemies are so dynamic and engaging you can hardly blink. It's like a showdown of the minds, and a window into their minds for us, as they rediscover and reexamine one another, tapping into each other’s motives and weaknesses.

In the end, you know its going to be more than reflections, but action too. At one point, Crowder wants to know whether the man across the dinner table would shoot him and asks the Deputy, “What are you packin?"  With effortless authority, Givens answers:“You’ll pay to find that out.” There you know its only going to get messier. There you know its only going to get better.

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  1. One Source Talent said...

    Thanks for the review. Sounds really interesting. I really like Timothy as well, he is a great actor that comes with that mystery about him. Seems like he is perfect for this show. Can't wait to check it out.