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Review: FX's 'Justified'

3/16/2010 3:44 AM Eastern

FX’s new drama series Justified continues the long line of gritty, strong character-driven original drama series that the network has become known for.
Based on an Elmore Leonard-penned short story, Justified stars Timothy Olyphant (Deadwood) as U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, a no-nonsense lawman who takes no prisoners, as witnessed in the first four minutes of the pilot.

FX's JustifiedHaving tracked down a wanted criminal to a posh
Miami outdoor club, Givens takes a page out of the
1960s gun-slinging Westerns genre by giving the relaxing
offender one minute to walk out of town or get carried
out in a body bag. The scene quickly ramps up the
raw drama that permeates the one-hour pilot as the
lawbreaker ponders whether to call Givens’ bluff.

After his superiors deem his tactics too aggressive
for Miami, Givens is shipped back to his hometown in
Kentucky and tasked to track down former childhood
friend Boyd Crowder — played very effectively by The
Shield’s Walton Goggins — who has turned to a life of
crime.
The series successfully portrays life in a small Midwest
town as the quiet but unshakable Givens rattles
the trees and ruffles the feathers of a few local, smalltime
criminals to find and capture Boyd, his ex-coaldigging
partner turned church-burning, bank-robbing
felon.
His Kentucky ties also catch up with Givens as he
runs into a former friend in Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter)
who recently killed her abusive husband — who happened
to be Boyd’s brother. Ava’s rekindled feelings for
Givens contrasts with her fear of Boyd, whose desire
to avenge his brother’s death puts him on a collision
course with Givens.
In a rare moment of vulnerability, Givens also meets
up with his ex-wife (Natalie Zea) who, toward the end
of the pilot, delivers one of the best and most revealing
lines in describing the complicated Raylan’s demeanor
and sets the table for what looks to measure up as a likable
and entertaining ride for viewers.

Justified premieres March 16 at 10 p.m. on FX.

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