JUSTIFIED(formerly titled LAWMAN) premiered on the FX network last night at ten o’clock. It’s based on a story by Elmore Leonard and stars Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens, a U.S. Marshal that hearkens back to one of those types in the old west. He wears a Stetson, cowboy boots, and a side arm on his hip that he’s quite fast with on the draw when needed.
When the show opens, he’s working in Miami and going to see a man he’d given twenty-four hours to leave town or he’d shoot him. The man is having lunch and seems unconvinced. They chat a bit, chummily, as Givens counts down the last couple of minutes. When he’s drawn upon, Givens shoots and kills the fellow.
That little bit of action starts up a storm and gets Givens transferred out of Miami, sent back to Harlan County in Kentucky, his old stomping grounds. He’d grown up there and worked in the coal mines as a young man before leaving at nineteen.
There, one of his first assignments pits him against an old friend, Boyd Crowder, from his coal mining days, a man who’d saved his life during an accident. He’d joined the army, fought in the Persian Gulf, and returned to get involved with white supremacy groups. A black church had been destroyed with a “bazooka-like” weapon and the shooter had shouted “Fire in the Hole!” as he let the rocket go, a favorite phrase his old friend Boyd had shouted in the mines before explosives were set off.
At the same time, Boyd’s brother has been shot to death by his wife, Ava, an old crush of Givens from high school where she was a cheerleader. Givens knows Boyd blew up the church and at some point will want Ava.
That’s his in and as said earlier they butt heads.
I liked this show and it shows promise. They’ve set up a number of situations that could lead to interesting plot developments. Givens’ ex-wife is the court reporter. Ava wants to start things up with him. Boyd is still there to be pursued. His father is a career criminal with which he doesn’t seem to have a good relationship and hasn’t seen since he’s been back in town.
There’s a nice, diverse cast backing Olyphant here. Nick Searcy stars as Chief Deputy Art Mullen of the U.S.M.S. in Lexington. Jacob Pitts and Erica Tazel play fellow deputies Tim Gutterson and Rachel Brooks. Joelle Carter is Ava and Natalie Zea is Givens’ ex-wife Winona. Boyd Crowder is played by Walton Goggins.
Leonard is one of the executive producers and one thinks he will help keep a steady hand.
Based on the pilot, this one looks promising. I’m giving it an A.
Below is a trailer: