Justified has joined the very short list of television programs I actually go out of my way to watch. I just waded through the entire first season, after having seen the second season as it aired on FX earlier this year. There is a lot there to love, including:
1. The writing. I’ve spent significant time in rural Southern and Midwestern areas, and the writers of this program Get It. I’m particularly fond of the lines tossed to the everyday dumb-ass criminals on the show — they talk and think like many a drug-addled small-timer I talked to back in my cop-reporting days — but almost all of the characters have subtleties to them that can be attributed not just to their acting, but to the writing.
2. Timothy Olyphant. I can’t think of anyone who is so good at emoting controlled rage. In watching both ‘Justified’ and ‘Deadwood,’ you always wonder when that powder keg is going to go off inside of that apparently decent man.
3. Margo Martindale. She shows up in the second season as Mags Bennett, a savvy longtime rural pot grower and moonshiner. Her character is completely believable as she tries to control the various ambitions and idiocies of her three accomplice sons while working a few fresh scams of her own.
4. Walton Goggins. He was a regular in The Shield and he got a lot of acclaim for that. As the savvy Boyd Crowder in Justified, he is always trying to work an angle that involves blowing things up and making a lot of money. Goggins is the best actor playing the most interesting character in this entire show.
5. Harlan County, Ky. The show makes it a character all of its own, with ways and people you can’t really understand unless you are from there.
FX streams full episodes of Justified. If you haven’t seen it, check it out.