Justified Information

Justified is an American television drama series developed by Graham Yost. It is based on Elmore Leonard's novels Pronto and Riding the Rap and his short story "Fire in the Hole". Its main character is Raylan Givens, a deputy U.S. Marshal. Timothy Olyphant portrays Givens, a tough federal lawman, enforcing his own brand of (at times extralegal) justice in his Kentucky hometown. The series is set in the city of Lexington, Kentucky, and the hill country of eastern Kentucky, specifically in and around Harlan.

Justified premiered on March 16, 2010, on the FX network. The show was renewed for a second season, which premiered on February 9, 2011. A third season of 13 episodes was announced on March 29, 2011, and premiered January 17, 2012. A fourth season of 13 episodes was announced on March 6, 2012 and premiered January 8, 2013.

Justified has received widespread critical acclaim, particularly for its acting, directing, art direction, and writing, as well as for Olyphant's lead performance. Justified has been nominated for seven Primetime Emmy Awards as of 2012, with two wins, for Margo Martindale's performance as Mags Bennett and Jeremy Davies' performance as Dickie Bennett.


Main article: List of Justified episodes
Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is something of a 19th century"style lawman in modern times, whose unconventional enforcement of justice makes him a target of criminals and his U.S. Marshals Service bosses alike. As a result of his controversial but "justified", quick-draw shooting of a mob hit-man in Miami, Givens is re-assigned from Miami to Kentucky. The Lexington, Kentucky Marshals office's jurisdiction includes Harlan County (a hopelessly impoverished, backwoods coal-mining community in southeastern Kentucky), which Raylan hates, and thought he had escaped for good, in his youth.

Season 1

The story arc of season one concentrates on the crimes of the Crowder family. Raylan seeks to protect Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter) from the rest of the Crowder clan when she shoots her husband Bowman Crowder dead in retaliation for years of abuse. Her biggest threat initially comes from Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), a local white supremacist who Raylan shoots in a stand-off. The season builds towards the release of family patriarch Bo (M.C. Gainey) who wishes to re-build his family's drug trade and to settle old scores, including one with Raylan's father, Arlo (Raymond J. Barry), who has cheated him out of money. A recovering Boyd, however, claims a spiritual rebirth and creates a recovery group and tries to deal with his family's criminal past.

Season 2

Season two deals primarily with the criminal dealings of the Bennett clan. Family matriarch Mags Bennett (Margo Martindale) and her three sons Dickie (Jeremy Davies), Coover (Brad William Henke), and Doyle (Joseph Lyle Taylor) plan to expand their marijuana business into Crowder territory following Bo's death, as Boyd is reluctant to follow in his father's footsteps. Raylan gets involved in the struggle between the two criminal organizations and because of a long-standing feud between the Givens and Bennett families. Meanwhile, an effort by a mining conglomerate to secure access rights to the mountain gets Raylan and Boyd involved on opposite sides of the operation and provokes local backlash against the Bennetts.

Season 3

Season three introduces a new main villain, Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough) of Detroit. The criminal organization connected to the Frankfort mafia has exiled Quarles to Kentucky. Quarles allies himself with local enforcer Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) and begins to muscle in on the local criminals, successfully supplanting them until Raylan begins investigating. Quarles' efforts also bring him into conflict with Boyd's group resulting in the deaths of several local individuals. Simultaneously, Dickie Bennett, the lone survivor of the Bennett clan, seeks the aid of the black residents of Noble's Holler and their leader, Ellstin Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson), in recovering his inheritance. Limehouse attempts to keep his people out of the struggle between the criminal groups but becomes involved when Boyd gets the upper hand on Quarles, leading to a series of betrayals and deaths.

Season 4

Season four is about a 30-year-old unsolved mystery. On January 21, 1983, a man wearing a defective parachute plummets onto a residential street in Harlan County, dying instantly. His body is surrounded by bags full of cocaine and ID for a "Drew Thompson". Raylan learns of the mystery when a vintage diplomatic bag is found hidden at Arlo's house containing only an ID for a "Waldo Truth." Further investigation indicates that the parachutist died, but Raylan's father refuses to divulge any information. As the investigation continues to unfold, information is revealed that could lead to the arrest of a major mafia figure. Raylan is now living above a bar and attempting to stash extra money away to provide for his unborn child and is in a questionable relationship with the bartender, Lindsey Salazar. Meanwhile, Boyd Crowder seeks to expand his empire with help from an old army buddy Colton Rhodes (Ron Eldard). However, his efforts are complicated by the arrival of a snake-handling revival preacher named Billy St. Cyr (Joe Mazzello). Billy's success is cutting into Boyd's profits, as his users and dealers are getting hooked on faith. At the same time, his cousin Johnny (David Meunier) grows ever more resentful of Boyd's success and plans to betray him to Wynn Duffy. Meanwhile, Boyd's ambition has him force a deal with Duffy that involves Boyd in chasing down leads in the same parachutist mystery, eventually bringing Boyd to an unexpected crossroads that threatens his personal or professional destruction.


Main cast

  • Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens
  • Nick Searcy as Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Art Mullen
  • Joelle Carter as Ava Crowder
  • Jacob Pitts as Deputy U.S. Marshal Tim Gutterson
  • Erica Tazel as Deputy U.S. Marshal Rachel Brooks
  • Natalie Zea as Winona Hawkins (regular seasons 1"3, recurring season 4)
  • Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder (recurring season 1, regular season 2"present)

Recurring cast



The working title for the series was Lawman. The first episode was referred to as the "Fire in the Hole pilot" during shooting and retains this as the name of the episode itself.


While the pilot was shot in Pittsburgh and suburban Kittanning, Pennsylvania and Washington, Pennsylvania, the subsequent 38 episodes were shot in California. The small town of Green Valley, California often doubles for Harlan, Kentucky. In the pilot, Pittsburgh's David L. Lawrence Convention Center appears on film as the small town "airport" and the construction of the new Consol Energy Center serves as the "new courthouse".

The series began filming using the EPIC camera, manufactured by Red Digital Cinema Camera Company, with the third season. Director of photography Francis Kenny, said "We persuaded Sony Entertainment that by shooting with Epic cameras production would be increased tenfold and it would look spectacular." After filming the first two episodes of the season, Kenny said, "Episode one of season three is now complete and our dreams have come true. The show looks better than ever and the producers are now true believers of the Red System."


Graham Yost developed the series for television based on the character U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, from Elmore Leonard's novels Pronto and Riding the Rap and his short story "Fire in the Hole". Both Yost and Leonard are credited as executive producers on the project. Yost is also the series head writer and showrunner. Other executive producers for the series include Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly, and Michael Dinner. Dinner also directed the series pilot, the second episode of the first season, and the second season finale.

Theme song

The show's theme song, "Long Hard Times to Come", was performed by the New York City"based Gangstagrass and produced by Rench, and features rapper T.O.N.E-z, Matt Check on banjo, Gerald Menke on resonator guitar, and Jason Cade on fiddle. The song was nominated for a 2010 Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.

Reception and awards

The series has been highly acclaimed by critics. The pilot episode that aired on March 16, 2010 was watched by 4.2 million viewers and was the highest debut show for FX since The Shield. On the review aggregator website Metacritic, the first season scored 81/100, the second season scored 91/100, the third season scored 89/100, and the fourth season scored 90/100, all indicating "universal acclaim".

For the first season, the series received very positive reviews. TV Guide critic Matt Roush praised the show, particularly the acting of Olyphant, stating: "The show is grounded in Olyphant's low-key but high-impact star-making performance, the work of a confident and cunning leading man who's always good company." Chicago Tribune critic Maureen Ryan also praised the series, writing: "The shaggily delightful dialogue, the deft pacing, the authentic sense of place, the rock-solid supporting cast and the feeling that you are in the hands of writers, actors and directors who really know what they're doing"?all of these are worthy reasons to watch Justified."

The second season saw critical acclaim. Robert Bianco of USA Today praised Margo Martindale's performance, stating: "Like the show itself, Margo Martindale's performance is smart, chilling, amusing, convincing and unfailingly entertaining. And like the show, you really don't want to miss it.". Slant Magazine critic Scott Von Doviak praised Olyphant's performance and the writing for this season, observing: "Justified's rich vein of gallows humor, convincing sense of place, and twisty hillbilly-noir narratives are all selling points, but it's Olyphant's devilish grin that seals the deal."

The third season saw critical acclaim. Robert Bianco of USA Today praised this season, writing: "As you'd hope from a show based on Elmore Leonard's work, the plots snap, the dialogue crackles and"?to press on with the point"?the characters pop."

The fourth season saw critical acclaim. Tom Gliatto of People Weekly praised this season, writing: "What gives the show its kick is the gleefully childish lack of repentance shown by most of these rascals--countered by Olyphant's coolly amused control." Verne Gay of Newsday praised this season also, writing: "Character--as the old saying goes--is a long-standing habit, and their habits remain very much intact. The same could be could be said of Justified.", and Chuck Bowen of Slant Magazine praised this season, writing: "Justified is the strongest, liveliest, and most tonally accurate adaptation of the writer's work to date, and the latest season bracingly suggests that isn't likely to change anytime soon."

Justified received a 2010 Peabody Award. The series has received seven Primetime Emmy Award nominations. For the first season, the series received a single nomination, for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music. For the second season, it received four acting nominations for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards"?Timothy Olyphant for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Walton Goggins for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, Margo Martindale for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, and Jeremy Davies for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, with Martindale winning. For the third season, it received two nominations for the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards, with Jeremy Davies winning for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, and a nomination for Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series.

Author Elmore Leonard ranks Justified as one of the best adaptations of his work, which includes Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, 3:10 to Yuma and Out of Sight. Leonard also praised the casting of Olyphant as Raylan, describing the actor as "the kind of guy I saw when I wrote his lines."

Home media releases

The DVD and Blu-ray sets were released in region 1 on January 18, 2011 for season one, January 3, 2012 for season two, and December 31, 2012 for season three.

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