Thursday, March 18, 2010

Justified on FX (Tuesdays, 10 pm EST)

Just watched the premiere of this new show on the cable network FX called Justified. And I enjoyed it. The network describes the premise as such: U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is a modern day 19th century-style lawman, enforcing his brand of justice in a way that puts a target on his back with criminals and places him at odds with his bosses in the Marshal service. That conflict results in a reassignment for Givens to the U.S. District covering the town where he grew up. He is an anachronism - a tough, soft spoken gentleman who finds his quarry fascinating, but never gives an inch. Dig under his placid skin and you'll find an angry man who grew up hard in rural Kentucky, with an outlaw father, who knows a lot more about who he doesn't want to be than who he really is. Timonthy Olyphant is perfect as Givens. You may remember him from the HBO western, Deadwood, as Sheriff Bullock. While Givens is just as forceful and take charge, he is also a little more friendlier. But he still will drop the bad guys without hesitation. The opening scene has Givens in a tense confrontation with a slimeball at a ritzy hotel having lunch. Givens says the guy has 2 minutes to leave town before things get messy. It's a situation that is just brimming with hostility and drama. I won't give away what happens though. Trust me, it gets your attention. Then Givens arrives back in his hometown to help with the US Marshal office there and immediately is thrown into a case involving his high school flame Ava and his ex buddy Boyd ( a wild eyed Walton Goggins, who was Shane from FX's other cop show The Shield). Boyd is running a white separarist group who is into blowing buildings up and making money from drug gangsters. When Givens rolls back into town, the former buddies meet and greet like all old friends do, but then things get violent. Givens stares down one of Boyd's lackeys who comes to fetch Ava (a beguiling Noelle Carter) who just recently shot and killed her abusive husband, who also happens to be Boyd's brother. Givens, who has a shotgun drawn on him by the guy just calmly says "Think you can rack in a load before I put a hole in you?". Tough guy talk in the Dirty Harry mold. Justified is not all about action though. In fact there are only 3 action scenes in the premiere episode but one involves a trio of US Marshals surrounded by the bad guys in a wild shootout in the streets. And then there is the climatic showdown between Givins and Boyd at the end. But Justified mixes the action with drama very well and Olyphant gives a commanding, centered performance. I intend to add Justified to my list of shows to watch and judging by the first episode, I'm in for an entertaining time.

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