Oline H. Cogdill

Justified, now on the FX channel, showcases Elmore Leonard in a way that no other TV show has.


Justified is the story of Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant, Deadwood). With his Stetson and Kentucky drawl, it’s easy to dismiss Raylan. That would be wrong. He’s a complicated character who is a crack shot. Raylan has been reassigned to Kentucky, where he grew up, after a shooting incident in Miami. He expected the Marshal service to save him from his coal mining hometown of Harlan, Kentucky. Instead, Harlan is now his punishment.

We’re sure to hear more about Raylan’s past, especially when his career criminal father Arlo (Raymond Barry, Cold Case, Training Day) comes on board. Raylan also has an old friend and former coal miner who’s now a bank robber, a ex-wife and assorted other friends and relations from his old days.

Justified is based on Leonard’s 2001 novella Fire in the Hole. While Justified has a strong western element—conjuring visions of Gunsmoke and the Wild West—it also works as a look at the angst of small towns, at policing a community where you know everyone and coming to terms with who you are. The plots are also darned involving and the acting first-class. As someone who grew up near Paducah, Kentucky., the accents are dead-on. Justified does justice to Elmore Leonard. I, for one, am hoping for a long run with Raylan and crew.

Justified airs at 10 p.m. EST Tuesdays on the FX Channel. Or watch premiere episode and clips online at fxnetworks.com .