So, over the holiday weekend I finished up the second season of a little television show called "Justified". This show is the story of a United States Federal Marshal by the name of Raylan Givens. The character of Givens comes from the mind of Elmore Leonard and has appeared in a couple of novels "Pronto" and "Riding the Rap" and a short story called "Fire in the Hole". I have not read any of these particular stories but the other Leonard novels I have read in the past have always been interesting. The man knows how to tell a crime story or detective novel. I will write more about him in another post.
The show is set in Lexington, Kentucky and around the town of Harlan. I can only imagine that the town of Harlan is not as bad in real life as it is in the show. Though you never can tell with hillbilly folk. The basic premise of the show is a pretty simple one. There are crimes and criminals in and around the Lexington area and Raylan Givens does what he can to stop those crimes. Now, sometimes the measures that he takes are a little bit outside the lines of the law. When the show first started Raylan was being sent back to Lexington because of a shooting in Miami that may have been a little over exuberant.
I think what makes the show even better for me is that Raylan grew up in Kentucky in Harlan and most of the people who are still in the area are actually criminals including his estranged father and several people that he grew up with. His ex-wife is also there and so that adds some relationship drama. But, not so much that it takes away from the gun play because there is lots and lots of gun play. Raylan is played by Timothy Olyphant and if you have ever seen the HBO show "Deadwood" you know exactly how good he is at gun play and smoldering sensuality. He brings something for the ladies and the fellas. If you haven't seen "Deadwood" and you like westerns and good television get yourself a copy of the series and watch it. But it does have some rough language. So that is something to be ready for it is not a family show.
Back to "Justified". I think what makes this show work for me is that while it is set in modern times it is also much like the classic westerns that I grew up with. There are bad people and sometimes it takes a person willing to work outside the lines of the law to stop those bad people. That is a gross over simplification of the show but the willingness of the Raylan to step over the line when there is something important at stake is something that has a long historical tradition in books and film. I also like the he isn't a John Wayne hero. I enjoy John Wayne movies and I enjoy that archetype but I like it when my hero maybe drinks a little to much and is perhaps a poor fist fighter. The is the case for sure with Raylan. He just is not a fighter. Oh he can get his pistol out and fire it on target but when it comes to a fist fight you better get someone else to do that job.
So if you are looking for something fun to watch that has some action and some decent storytelling and some good dialogue this is a show for you. I believe season 1 is out on DVD and Netflix will have it for sure. Check it out. I do not think you will be disappointed.