Justified—Season 1

justified season 1 dvd cover
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Great cast and strong story

Sometimes the primary story drags


Kentucky welcomes you

U.S. Marshal Ryland Givens (Timothy Olymphant) sometimes thinks shooting first and asking question later is the way to go.  When he guns down a suspect in Miami, Ryland finds himself shipped back home to Lexington, Kentucky where he discovers going home might be harder than he even believed.  Dealing with his ex-wife (Natalie Zea), his former love (Joelle Carter), and his criminal father (Raymond J. Barry), Ryland discovers that taking down Bo Crowder (M.C. Gainey) and his son Boyd (Walton Goggins) might be his new obsession.


One of the weirdest buddy teams on TV

Justified—Season 1 premiered on FX on March 16, 2010.  The detective-lawman TV series was based on Elmore Leonard’s short story “Fire in the Hole” (2002) along with the books Pronto (1993) and Riding the Rap (1995).  The series was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.

I didn’t catch wind of Justified until after the first season had aired.  There was some buzz about the series and I had liked Olyphant in Deadwood.  I waited until the series was over until diving into Justified—Season 1 and now I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the show.


Hanging with Boyd could mean hanging for Boyd

The story for Justified sometimes takes a slow-burn approach.  A lot of stuff happens in the first episode, but then there is a slow building to the end of the season.  The series doesn’t rely a lot on cliffhanger endings and sometimes feels more like a traditional detective-action series in that sense.  There also isn’t a lot of crime-solving or mysteries involved in the series.  It mostly seems to be a character piece.

With a character piece, you need good characters and this is where Justified excels.  Olyphant is great as Ryland and that is key to liking the series.  He has both a moral code, but also an Old West feel to him (though he seems to have a lot of control of it past the first episode).  One of the key factors to the series is Walton Goggins who is downplayed for the first part of the series but takes a key role in the second half.  Goggins always adds character to a series or movie and it is great to see him in another great role (he’s really the wild card of the series).  I will say bot Joelle Carter and Natalie Zea as the love interests need to be developed more and I hope that the series does that in the second season.


Y’all come back now, y’hear?

The show has a great production quality, but due to the rather traditional storytelling, it sometimes feels like a typical police drama.  The acting and story elevate the show above looking average, but I do like that it has a type almost noir look at points.

Justified is a fun series and definitely worth checking out.  The series feels original and isn’t entirely predictable.  You aren’t always sure on how the episode is going to pan out.  Watch Justified—Season 1…and if you do you might have to pound out six more seasons.

Justified—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:


“Fire in the Hole”

1.1       Fire in the Hole Airdate:  03/16/10

When Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) guns down a suspect who draws on him in a hotel in Miami, he finds himself shipped home to the office in Lexington, Kentucky.  Now as an agent for Art Mullen (Nick Searcy), Raylan finds his first assignment is to hunt down a former coworker named Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) who has joined a militant Neo-Nazi group bent on robbing banks, but also finds himself drawn both to Boyd’s widowed sister-in-law Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter) and his ex-wife Winona (Natalie Zea).  When Boyd’s mission puts him at odds with Raylan, a showdown is coming.



1.2       Riverbrook Airdate:  03/23/10

Raylan finds his shooting of Boyd has raised more problems and put Boyd on a different direction in life.  When Raylan is ordered to bring in an escaped bank robber named Douglas Cooper (Chris Ellis), Raylan finds himself tracking Cooper’s ex-wife Shirley (Kristin Bauer) and her cousin Dupree (Johnny Sneed) who both have plans for Cooper’s missing money.



1.3       Fixer Airdate:  03/30/10

Raylan is put in contact with an informant named Arnold Pinter (David Eigenberg) who frequently helps the police track down wanted men.  A man named Travis Travers (Greg Cromer) teams with Pinter’s bounty hunter Curtis Mims (Page Kennedy), and Pinter becomes a target.  Now, Pinter is a prisoner of Travers, and it is up to Raylan to track him down.


“Long in the Tooth”

1.4       Long in the Tooth Airdate:  04/06/10

Raylan learns that an old “friend” has resurfaced in Los Angeles as a dentist.  Raylan travels to LA to bring in Roland Pike (Alan Ruck) as Pike goes on the run with his receptionist…unfortunately, the mob is also gunning for Pike and Raylan could get caught in the crossfire.


“The Lord of War and Thunder”

1.5       The Lord of War and Thunder Airdate:  04/13/10

Raylan is called back into his father’s life by his aunt and step-mother Helen (Linda Gehringer) when his father Arlo (Raymond J. Barry) is jailed for beating up a tenant Stan Perkins (Eddie Jemison).  As Raylan tries to stake out a woman hiding a fugitive, he discovers himself pulled into a case of stolen drugs by his father.


“The Collector”

1.6       The Collection Airdate:  04/20/10

Raylan decides to go to Boyd in jail about anything his father might be into and deals with his wife asking to investigate her husband.  The Marshals move in on Owen Carnes (Peter Jason) accused of stealing money…but find themselves working against his wife Caryn (Katherine LaNasa), the horse trainer Greg (Brett Cullen), and an art dealer David (Tony Hale) when another art dealer named Karl Hanselman (Robert Picardo) finds that Owen’s Hitler paintings are fake.


“Blind Spot”

1.7       Blind Spot Airdate:  04/27/10

An attack on Ava at her home has Rylan looking for the assassins with Sheriff Hunter Mosley (Brent Sexton).  With Boyd’s help, Rylan learns the truth behind the attack…but finds it might be too late.  Boyd is questioned as a snitch in prison and finds his father Bo (M.C. Gainey) could be his savior.



1.8       Blowback Airdate:  05/04/10

Ava learns Bo’s been released from prison and could mean trouble for her.  Rylan learns that the investigation by David Vasquez (Rick Gomez) into his shooting of Boyd could be more involved than he first believed.  Winona has a home visit from Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) and realizes the dealings of her husband Gary Hawkins (William Ragsdale) could be turning dangerous.  A hostage situation at the office has Rylan trying to stop a murder.  Raylan’s relationship with Ava could have an unexpected consequence with Boyd.



1.9       Hatless Airdate:  05/11/10

Rylan’s on vacation and immediately loses his prized hat in a bar fight.  In addition to this, Wynn Duffy is putting the pressure on Gary for his boss’s money…and Rylan finds himself caught right in the middle.



1.10     Hammer Airdate:  05/18/10

Rylan is assigned to watch a judge named Mike “The Hammer” Reardon (Stephen Root) when he starts receiving threats on his life.  Boyd finds his attempts to find religion runs into a roadblock when he targets relatives making meth.



1.11     Veterans Airdate:  05/25/10

Boyd’s blowing up of the meth lab has killed an informant and put him in the crosshairs of Ryland and the U.S. Marshals.  Rylan questions if Boyd is working for his father again and learns that his own father and Ava have information on Bo’s drug operations.


“Fathers and Sons”

1.12     Fathers and Sons Airdate:  06/01/10

Arlo has come to Rylan and the U.S. Marshals with an offer to turn on Bo.  Ava finds Bo is inserting himself back into her life but also finds Rylan might have a new romantic interest.  As Arlo makes his move with Bo for the U.S. Marshals, Boyd makes his stand against his father’s booming drug business.



1.13     Bulletville Airdate:  06/08/10

Boyd’s destruction of his father’s drug manufacturing chemicals has brought he and his father to war and Bo’s Miami contacts to Kentucky to settle the problem.  While Rylan deals with his turncoat father, Ava becomes a target of Bo…and bait for a trap for Rylan.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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