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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Justified goes to Bulletville to end season

   Thirteen episodes was not nearly enough for FX's Justified this season.  It just went off the air Tuesday night with the finale episode "Bulletville", an apt name, and I miss it already.  Set in Harlan and Lexington, Kentucky, local for most of you readers if you came across me on the Lexington page.  It's based on the short story "Fire in the Hole" by writer Elmore Leonard (Be Cool, Jackie Brown), who also worked on the series.  It has already been picked up for a second thirteen episode season, but sadly, it will be some time before the next new episodes start airing.

     The show stars the smooth, quietly threatening Timothy Olyphant (Damages, Deadwood) as Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens.  A native of Harlan, Raylan was forced to return there after he killed a drug kingpin in Miami who wouldn't leave town.  It isn't clear on the show, but Harlan is about three hours south of Kentucky.  It doesn't seem that way because characters go back and forth so often.  But that aside, the show is almost flawless.

     The best plots of the season involved three men that were unfortunately not main characters: Raylan's father, Arlo (Raymond J. Barry), a deadbeat that Raylan has little to do with, but who is mixed up with Bo Crowder; Raylan's best friend of a sort, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins, The Shield) who found God after almost being killed by Raylan; and Boyd's father Bo (M.C. Gainey, Lost, Happy Town), the local kingpin who killed Boyd's flock and may have been dead at the end of this season.  If the producers are smart, Bo will survive, and all three will be upgraded next year, because the father / son / friend dynamics are superb.  I wasn't sure if Boyd's transformation was legit until the season finale, but it was played beautifully.

     Of course, there are love interests, too.  Natalie Zea (Dirty Sexy Money, Hung) plays Winona, Raylan's ex, who has now left her husband and hopes to get back with Raylan.  That is complicated by the fact that Raylan has been sleeping with Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), the widow of Boyd's brother, and a witness in the cast against Boyd.  Their involvement is why Body was released from prison midway through the season, and it's impacted Raylan's personal and professional life.  At this point, I like Raylan with both women, and don't have a preference for who he ends up with.  Both bring different things to the table, and both actresses are as exceptional as the rest of the cast.

     If you missed to first season, be sure to catch the inevitable re-runs before season two.

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