The sixth and final season of “Justified” started a few weeks ago on Fox. That made me wonder: Is it just me or did the show never get the recognition it deserved? Why “Justified” is the most underrated show on TV and why you need to watch it.
Although “Justified” has a big critical success and a strong fanbase the show might be the most underrated TV series right now. The main actors never won an Emmy award and on social networks people talk more about the deaths on “Game of Thrones” than about this great show. In my opinion “Justified” should at least be seen on the same level as “Breaking Bad” or “Mad Men”, here are the reasons why:
It’s Your Modern Day Western
Justified tells the story of gun slinging United States Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens, played by Timothy Olyphant (“Deadwood”, “Hitman”), who got transferred to his small home town in Kentucky. There he has to deal with rednecks and the local crime scene that has developed. Although Raylan wears a cowboy hat that may remind you of an old Clint Eastwood movie his character has to deal more with modern day problems like hate crimes and drugs. For people who have never overcome the cancelation of “Deadwood” the series is a suitable sequel because it’s a perfect mixture of a classic western and modern problems. You can call it a hommage to westerns for a new generation of viewers.
Timothy Olyphant Rocks As Raylan Givens In Every Sense Of The Word
The show’s (anti-)hero, Raylan Givens, is the dark, strong, vulnerable type like every character of “The Wire”. What gives him more depth is the fact that he is perfectly aware that he is damaged. He is a man who recognizes that he is a screw-up and is willing to live with that reality. He wants to be a hero who sometimes is on the edge of becoming an anti-hero. The show’s basic tension is whether he can persuade the criminals he has to arrest of not forcing him to shoot them. His morals are very clear but his reasoning and intentions aren’t which keeps the show exciting. I guess in the end we will see if he crosses over this edge. Until then he keeps being Raylan Givens, not taking himself too seriously and joking around, even with his enemies.
The Supporting Cast Is Perfect
Boyd Crowder, played by Walton Goggins, is Justified’s first and final villain. His development is remarkable. In season one he start’s off as a small-time criminal who is basically a preaching white nazi and grews up into this likable and unstoppable force. He doesn’t have this overt lack of moral like Walter White in “Breaking Bad”, he is literally a question mark. You can never tell who he really is what makes him endlessy fascinating.
Other villains like Mags Bennet (Margo Martindale), Bo Crowder (M.C. Gainey) or Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough) have their own motivations but stay interesting the same way. The series manages to support you with not one-dimensional characters like Skylar in “Breaking Bad”. It presents you cast members such as Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) and Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter) who are providing television much needed strong female characters.
“If you meet an asshole in the morning, you met an asshole. If you meet an asshole all day, you’re the asshole.” (Raylan Givens)
I think the character development and the interactions between Boyd, Raylan and Art are some of the best dialogues on TV at the moment. A lot of TV shows are afraid of jokes but not “Justified”. Humor defines and builds the characters of the show. The way a person jokes is many times a good indicator of their morals and the way they interact with other people. (It also gives those explosions of violence a lot more impact.)
The chemistry between Raylan and Boyd is the most important aspect of the show. Both Olyphant and Goggins have mastered the persona of their roles and have created a funny and unique rivalry that is consistently growing.
Every Season A New Format
A lot of television dramas have a high concept that they follow through each season like “Dexter”. Dexter always is the serial killer who only kills bad people and who never gets caught. Sometimes these shows become boring after a few seasons because they never change their method. “Justified” is the very reverse of this concept. In season one Raylan had to encounter Boyd Crowder, season two changed the format by bringing in the next villain Mags Bennett. The third season shows the most brutal antagonist Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough) . Just one theme stays the same: In the second season “Justified” already shows you guns as the primary obsession of the show which reflects America’s primary obsession with guns as well. It always gives you that feeling that everybody in the show has a gun although nobody probably should. Raylan’s quote “I shot people I like more for less.” describes it best.
Because “Justified” is constantly shaking things up and the format changes every season this way you never get sick of it and you want it to run forever. Which it will not because this season is the final season. Now you’re already caught up in it? Oh, too bad, because it was your fault that it got canceled! Nah, just joking. “Justified” leaves from season one to six a milestone to the golden age of television dramas. Thank you for every episode!
“This is one of them classic stories where the hero gets his man and then he rides off into the sunset.” (Raylan Givens)