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Justified



FX looks to hit the jackpot with another of their original series with Justified.  Justified premiered this past Tuesday and the initial numbers look very promising.  The Elmore Leonard adaptation premiered, racking up 4.2 million viewers.  That number made history as it is basic cable’s highest-rated original series debut since, ironically, The Shield.  The story is set around Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens, played by Timothy Olyphant.  He is a modern-day cowboy with his Stetson and cowboy boots with his gun on his hip.

The whole premise of the show is that his killings are “justified”.  Olyphant only draws his weapon to kill and no other time.  It evokes the old western movies that lean on values like honesty, straightforwardness, and putting the law first.  The story quickly picked up at the end of his Miami stint in the US Marshal’s office.  After killing a thug and being reprimanded, he was shipped back to his hometown, as a sort of punishment.  This is even after he vowed never to return back to Kentucky.

The background of the original character was first thought up by Elmore Leonard, the great crime novelist.  While the series is young and the storylines will be given to us in future episodes, there are only so many things that are evil in Kentucky.  Already in the first episode, Givens had a showdown with an old enemy who was part of a neo-Nazi group.  At first, it was like I was watching The Shield when Walton Goggins appeared as the bad guy, Boyd Crowder.  I’m not that thrilled with this particular casting but I never watched The Shield so I don’t know if he was good or bad in that show.  He was shot but lived through it, and one can be sure that he will return for later episodes.

One can definitely be sure that the story will evolve between Givens and his old flame Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter) who he is still into.  Givens’ father Arlo, played by Raymond Barry, will also give rise to daddy-issues that have never been resolved.  Sure, Kentuckians might not like the way that their state is portrayed as dump hicks who still go around killing black people.  But at the same time, it is that very simplicity that is the basis of each FX series.  There’s no reason to complicate things, and why change a recipe that has worked in the past?  White supremacists might still be prevalent and so leave it to the writers to create a twisted web of back stories.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the first episode.  Given’s man of few words non-nonsense attitude was refreshing.  Everyone loves a good western, movie or show.  I have a feeling that the line of the show will be “it was justified”.  We all love revenge and taking matters into your own hands and the show will surely play off that very fact.  New episodes of the show air each Tuesday at 10 pm on FX, so be sure to tune in.

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