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Justified (TV series)


Justified (TV series)

Based on "Fire in the Hole" 
by Elmore Leonard
Developed by Graham Yost
Opening theme "Long Hard Times to Come" by Gangstagrass
Composer(s) Steve Porcaro
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 65 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Cinematography Francis Kenny
Running time
  • 38–45 minutes
  • 52 minutes (pilot)[2]
Production company(s) Sony Pictures Television
Rooney McP Productions
Timberman-Beverly Productions
Nemo Films
Bluebush Productions
FX Productions
Distributor Sony Pictures Television
Original channel FX
Original run March 16, 2010 (2010-03-16) – present
External links

Justified is an American television drama series developed by Graham Yost. It is based on Elmore Leonard's novels Pronto (1993) and Riding the Rap (1995), and his short story "Fire in the Hole".[3] Timothy Olyphant portrays Raylan Givens, a tough U.S. Marshal enforcing his own brand of justice in his hometown of Harlan, Kentucky.[3] The series is set in Lexington and in the Appalachian mountains area of eastern Kentucky, specifically in and around Harlan.[4]

Justified premiered on March 16, 2010, on the FX network.[3][5] The show was renewed for a second season, which premiered on February 9, 2011.[6] A third season of 13 episodes was announced on March 29, 2011,[7] and premiered January 17, 2012. A fourth season of 13 episodes was announced on March 6, 2012 and premiered January 8, 2013.[8] The show was renewed for a fifth season, which premiered on January 7, 2014.[9] On January 14, 2014, the series was renewed for a sixth and final season,[10] to premiere on January 20, 2015.[11]

Justified has received widespread critical acclaim throughout all five seasons, particularly for its acting, directing, art direction, and writing, as well as for Olyphant and Goggins' performances. 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.[12]


Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is something of a 19th-century–style, Old West lawman living in modern times, whose unconventional enforcement of justice makes him a target of criminals as well as his U.S. Marshals Service bosses. As a result of his controversial but "justified" quick-draw shooting of mob hitman Tommy Bucks in Miami, Givens is reassigned from Miami to Lexington, Kentucky. The Lexington Marshals office's jurisdiction includes Harlan County, where Raylan grew up and which he 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 after 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 criminal masquerading as a white supremacist whom Raylan shoots in a stand-off. Boyd survives the shot to the chest and claims its lack of fatality is a sign from God that he should change his ways. Raylan hesitates to believe him but Boyd is soon sent to prison, spending his time reading the Bible and preaching to convicts. 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. Bo's release is soon followed by Boyd's, after a technicality prevents him from being further incarcerated. While Bo works on gaining dominance over the local drug trade, Boyd collects a camp of spiritually reformed criminals whom he trains to blow up meth houses in the county to "clean up Harlan." The explosions cause a few casualties, leading Raylan and the other US Marshals to keep an eye on the team.

In the meantime, Raylan is dealing with his own personal dilemmas, including working in the same building as his ex-wife (Natalie Zea), for whom he continues to harbor feelings. His continuing visits to Harlan are peppered with small crimes and big shootings, and his success in dealing with these matters draws Bo's attention. Bo promises the niece and nephew of Gio that he will deliver Raylan to them in exchange for a large shipment of drugs. Boyd catches word of this and, with his "flock" of reformed prisoners, blows up the truck carrying the shipment, leading the niece and nephew to hold Bo accountable for the damages. This leads Bo to go to Boyd's camp and threaten to kill his own son, illustrating the harsh family relations that provide some insight as to how Boyd turned out the way he has. But instead of killing Boyd, Bo offers his son the option to abandon his group, after which Bo will leave all of them alone. Boyd walks away into the forest, where he hears gunshots, and returns to see that all of his followers have been killed. This sends him, depressed, to Raylan's door, saying he will help Raylan find Bo as long as he's allowed to be the one to kill him. An earlier plan, involving Arlo shooting Raylan, to deliver Raylan into Bo's clutches, then handed over to Gio, is foiled, but Bo has taken Ava hostage. This is the turning point that drives Boyd and Raylan to join forces for the first time, and Boyd leads him to the Crowder cabin an hour or so away. There, Raylan manages to kill one of Bo's henchmen. As Raylan and Bo are walking to the cabin, Boyd appears ready to shoot and kill Bo. Before he gets the chance, Bo is shot and killed by a sniper who then starts shooting at Raylan and Boyd who take cover in the cabin. They discover that they are surrounded by Gio's niece and nephew plus two other gunmen, they then attack the cabin with machine guns. Boyd, Ava, and Raylan are trapped; the niece and nephew demand Raylan be turned over to them.

After Boyd attempts to pass himself off as Raylan, and Raylan kills two of the gunmen, Raylan tells him and Ava to leave out the back way, and he walks forward, hands in the air. As the niece steps out from behind her car the nephew attempts to shoot Raylan, Boyd shoots the nephew and the niece drives away. Boyd wants to go after her but Raylan stops him, saying it's against the law. However, Boyd absconds in Bo's car, while neither using or facing violence. This signifies the beginning of a somewhat-friendship between the two characters that will continue throughout the series.

Season 2

Season two deals primarily with the criminal dealings of the Bennett clan. Family matriarch Mags Bennett (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, some of which were sexual and deviant in nature.

Season 4

Season four is about a mystery, left unsolved for 30 years. On January 21, 1983, a man wearing a defective parachute plummets onto a residential street in Corbin, Kentucky, dying instantly. His body is surrounded by bags full of cocaine and an ID tag for a "Waldo Truth". Raylan learns of the mystery when a vintage diplomatic bag is found hidden at Arlo's house containing only Waldo Truth's ID tag. Further investigation indicates that the parachutist died and Raylan's father Arlo hid the bag, 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. Boyd Crowder seeks to expand his empire with help from an old army buddy Colton "Colt" Rhodes (Ron Eldard). Boyd's 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 instead of drugs. Boyd's cousin Johnny (David Meunier) grows ever more resentful of Boyd's success and plans to betray him to Wynn Duffy. 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.

Season 5

On March 28, 2013, FX renewed Justified for a fifth season,[13] which premiered on January 7, 2014.[9] The fifth season features the gator-farming Crowe crime family,[14] led by Darryl Crowe, Jr., played by Michael Rapaport.[15] Also, Jere Burns, who recurred throughout the first four seasons as Wynn Duffy, was made a series regular.[16]

Season 6

On January 14, 2014, it was announced that Justified was renewed for a sixth season, which is the final season based on a decision by executive producer Graham Yost and lead actor Timothy Olyphant.[10] The season will premiere on January 20, 2015,[11] with Sam Elliott, Garret Dillahunt and Jeff Fahey joining the cast in recurring roles.[17][18]

Cast and characters

Main cast

Recurring cast



The working title for the series was Lawman.[19] 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.[1][20]


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".[1]

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."[21]


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".[3] 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.[22] The song was nominated for a 2010 Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.[23]

Reception and awards

The series has received critical acclaim. 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.[24] On the review aggregator website Metacritic, the first season scored 81/100,[25] the second season scored 91/100,[26] the third season scored 89/100,[27] the fourth season scored 90/100,[28] and the fifth season scored 84/100,[29] all indicating "universal acclaim." The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives every season at least a 94% "fresh" rating.[30]

Author Elmore Leonard ranked 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."[31]

Season 1

For the first season, the series received very positive reviews.[25] 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."[25] 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."[32] Mike Hale of The New York Times praised the shows "modest virtues", but was critical of the first season's pace and characterisation, writing: “Justified can feel so low-key that even the crisis points drift past without making much of an impression... It feels as if the attention that should have gone to the storytelling all went to the atmosphere and the repartee."[33]

Season 2

The second season saw critical acclaim.[26] 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.".[34] 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."[35]

Season 3

The third season saw critical acclaim.[27] 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."[36]

Verne Gay of Newsday said of the third season, "Lean, laconic, precise and as carefully word-crafted as any series on TV, there's pretty much nothing here to suggest that the third season won't be as good as the second -- or better."[37]

However, Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker was critical of the third season, writing: "Extended storytelling has its own conventions and clichés, all of which appeared in Season 3... it echoed every cable drama, in the worst way."[38]

Season 4

The fourth season saw critical acclaim.[28] 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."[28] 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 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."[39]

Season 5

The fifth season has received critical acclaim from television critics, and has a Metacritic rating of 84 out of 100 based on 14 reviews.[40]


Justified received a 2010 Peabody Award.[41] 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.[12]

Home media releases

The DVD and Blu-ray sets were released in region 1 on January 18, 2011 for season one,[42] January 3, 2012 for season two,[43] December 31, 2012 for season three,[44] December 17, 2013 for season four,[45] and December 2, 2014 for season five.[46]


  1. ^ a b c d Owen, Rob (March 15, 2010). Justified' another worthy FX offering"'".  
  2. ^ Justified' - Full Episodes - Hulu"'".  
  3. ^ a b c d Zogbi, Marina (December 1, 2009). Justified' on FX Premiering in March"'".  
  4. ^ "Justified Official Website".  
  5. ^ Poniewozik, James (December 1, 2009). "FX's Former Lawman Gets Justified".  
  6. ^ Fienberg, Daniel (May 3, 2010). "FX renews 'Justified' for Season Two".  
  7. ^ Gorman, Bill. "FX's Critically Acclaimed Hit Drama 'Justified' Gets Third Season Pick Up (Press Release)".  
  8. ^ Greg, Braxton (March 6, 2012). Justified' renewed by FX for fourth season"'".  
  9. ^ a b Mitovich, Matt Webb (November 5, 2013). "' 'RevivalAli G, FXX's The Americans and Archer, Justified"Winter Premiere Plan Set for FX's . TVLine. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Ausiello, Michael (January 14, 2014). "It's Official: Justified Sets End Date, Season 6 Will Be Show's Swan Song". TVLine. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Bierly, Mandi (November 21, 2014). "FX sets premiere dates for 'Justified' and more". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 22, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Justified". Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  13. ^ Hibberd, James (March 28, 2013). Justified' gets fifth season, 'Fargo' greenlit by FX"'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 28, 2013. 
  14. ^ Ausiello, Michael (September 17, 2013). and More!"HIMYM, Parenthood, TVD, Nikita, Justified, SVU, Castle, Rookie Blue"Ask Ausiello: . TVLine. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  15. ^ Ausiello, Michael (September 28, 2013). Exclusive: Michael Rapaport Joins Season 5 Cast... as the New Big Bad?"Justified". TVLine. Retrieved September 29, 2013. 
  16. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 18, 2013). "Jere Burns Upped On ‘Justified’, Michael Rispoli, Ruth Negga, Danielle Nicolet In Arcs". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  17. ^ Noonan, Kevin (September 19, 2014). "Sam Elliott and Garret Dillahunt Join ‘Justified’". Variety. Retrieved September 20, 2014. 
  18. ^ Modell, Josh (November 5, 2014). "Jeff Fahey joins the final season of Justified". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 17, 2014. 
  19. ^ Seidman, Robert (March 14, 2010). Already a Lock To Be Renewed"Justified"FX's Original Series . TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 17, 2010. 
  20. ^ Owen, Rob (April 6, 2009). "TV Notes: FX 'Fire in the Hole' pilot on hold". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  21. ^ Marchant, Beth (October 20, 2011). """Francis Kenny, ASC: "Shooting Justified on Epics Will Increase Production Tenfold. Studio Daily. Retrieved March 6, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Justified Episode Guide". Justified series. FX Networks. Retrieved May 23, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Gangstagrass nominated for Emmy". Bluegrass Today. July 23, 2010. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  24. ^ Seidman, Robert (March 27, 2010). Justified" Scores Second-Highest Series Premiere Ever for FX""". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  25. ^ a b c "Justified: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  26. ^ a b "Justified: Season 2". Metacritic. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  27. ^ a b "Justified: Season 3". Metacritic. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  28. ^ a b c "Justified: Season 4". Metacritic. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Justified: Season 5". Metacritic. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Justified". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  31. ^ Harrison, Stacey (January 17, 2012). "Elmore Leonard talks about the return of "Justified" and his new Raylan Givens novel". Channel Guide Magazine. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  32. ^ Ryan, Maureen (March 15, 2010). "Timothy Olyphant and 'Justified' are just terrific". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  33. ^ Hale, Mike (March 15, 2010). "Lawman Returns to Kentucky, Facing Bad Guys and Skeletons". The New York Times. Retrieved July 13, 2013. 
  34. ^ Bianco, Robert (February 9, 2011). "Critic's Corner Wednesday: 'Justified' returns in fine form". USA Today. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  35. ^ Von Doviak, Scott (February 2, 2011). "Justified: Season Two". Slant Magazine. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  36. ^ Bianco, Robert (January 16, 2012). "'"Critic's Corner Tuesday: 'Justified. USA Today. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  37. ^ Gay, Verne (January 16, 2012). Justified' gets better and badder"'". Newsday. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  38. ^ Nussbaum, Emily (January 21, 2013). "Trigger-Happy". The New Yorker. Retrieved July 13, 2013. 
  39. ^ Gay, Verne (January 4, 2013). Justified' review: Cool cop returns"'". Newsday. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  40. ^ "Justified : Season 5". Metacritic. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  41. ^ "Peabody Award Winners 2010: NPR, PBS, CNN, C-SPAN, 'Good Wife,' HBO And More Win Prestigious Awards". The Huffington Post. March 31, 2011. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  42. ^ Lambert, David (December 7, 2010).  '​ on DVD and Blu-ray Gets One Week Closer!"The Complete 1st Season"Justified -  '​. Retrieved December 9, 2010. 
  43. ^ Lambert, David (October 24, 2011).  '​ DVD, Blu-ray"The Complete 2nd Season"Justified - Release Date and Extras Announced for  '​. Retrieved October 25, 2010. 
  44. ^ Lambert (October 25, 2012). "'"Justified - Date, Cost, Art, Extras for DVDs and Blu-rays of 'The Complete 3rd Season. Retrieved October 26, 2013. 
  45. ^ Lambert (October 28, 2013). "Justified - Official Sony Press Release for 'The Complete 4th Season' on DVD, Blu". Retrieved December 17, 2013. 
  46. ^ Lambert, David (October 21, 2014). "Justified - Sony's Press Release for 'The Complete 5th Season' on DVD, Blu-ray". Retrieved October 22, 2014. 

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