If it’s Tuesday, you know I’m waiting with baited breath, my remote control firmly in hand, waiting for ten o’clock to roll around. Why, you ask? Pshaw, as if I actually need to tell you. But since there may be a few uninitiated among you, I’ll spill it: Tuesday is Justified night!
That’s right. FX’s cable show featuring Timothy Olyphant as US Marshall Raylan Givens.
Need I say more?
Really? Okay, how’s this? Raylan’s a smart, clever, smooth talking lawman with an itchy trigger finger, and a penchant for bringing bad guys to justice. And he’s hot. Like double-barreled smoking hot. A tough, slightly grizzled and somewhat jaded southern boy on the outside, he’s vulnerable and deeply wounded on the inside by his dysfunctional upbringing by his career criminal father. In other words, he’s deliciously complex, equal parts calm and collected and volatile powder keg.
Ah, now you’re feeling me. I knew you’d come around.
I love this show and it’s not just because of Mr. Olyphant’s good looks or troubled past (and present). The writing is amazing. Each season’s story arc is gripping and surprising, taking twists and turns you never saw coming. The dialogue is funny and quirky, but simultaneously real. And the characters that inhabit Lexington, Kentucky and the hollers in and around Harlan County are hilarious, sad, ingenious, and diabolical.
This is especially true of Raylan’s main nemesis, Boyd Crowder, played by Walden Goggins. These two are perfectly matched, each as smart and charming as the other. Raised in the same town by criminal fathers involved in everything from drug dealing, murder, and theft, Boyd followed in his daddy’s footsteps while Rayland veered toward the straight and narrow. But that description doesn’t adequately capture how much these two mirror each other. Though Raylan’s fundamentally good, he’s constantly walking the line between following the Marshall Service’s rules and going too far with an escaped criminal. For example, even though he’s not supposed to, this season he’s been moonlighting, doing odd jobs for bounty hunters and the like to raise money for his soon-to-be born child. When his day job gets in the way, he has no choice but to stow his yappy detainee in his trunk while he takes care of business. Boyd on the other hand, has tried to go straight, but his criminal impulses take over, drawing him back to the only real life he knows. Though he’s not a craven criminal. There’s goodness in him as evidenced by how deeply he loves his former sister-in-law, Ava (who also happens to be Raylan’s ex.).
To me, these guys are the ideal romance hero and villain. More than great looking, they’re multi-layered, and they keep us guessing, longing to see what they’ll do next.
So how about you? Have you seen Justified? Do you love it as much as I do? If so, are you equally chagrined by Raylan’s new, longer, and decidedly scraggily hair cut? [Please, producers. If you’re reading this, cut it. I beg you.] Or are there other lawmen who float your boat? Please share because if you’re anything like me, you can never have enough dreamy constables.