Justified: Welcome to Harlan County

Justified: The Complete First Season (Sony)

My vote for the best new series of 2010 opens as an adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s short story “Fire in the Hole,” starring Timothy Olyphant as a U.S. Marshall with a frontier approach to justice (the film opens with him giving a drug lord a day to get out of town and pushing the meeting into a shoot-out—the other guy draws first so the shooting is “justified”), and then uses it as the source to extend and expand the character’s story.

Timothy Olyphant: Cowboy justice in the modern world

Olyphant’s Raylan Givens is the cowboy of a lawman who gets demoted from his Miami posting and sent back to Kentucky, the home he thought he’d escaped once and for all, in the fall-out of cowboy justice. His new boss (Nick Searcy, a sharp leader with a laid-back manner) isn’t exactly thrilled with his arrival—Raylan’s daddy (Raymond J. Barry) is a local hood and his old buddy Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins of The Shield fame), a former coal miner turned explosive expert and gun runner, is currently masterminding a reign of terror in town (no wonder he left home)—but he has a wary affection for Raylan. Even when he ends up blowing a major case by dating the chief witness, the adorable, honey-smoked local beauty (and widow of a crime family figure) Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter). Just to complicate matters, Raylan’s ex-wife Winona (Natalie Zea) works for the D.A.

Continue reading “Justified: Welcome to Harlan County”