I love cowboys. Always have, always will. I grew up on cowboy fiction and it makes me very picky about what I deem readable and watchable. Never got into Deadwood, and therefore approached Justified with some trepidation.
Honestly, it took to the finale of season one (which they really nailed) for me to develop an appreciation of the world and the characters. A man’s story set in backwoods Kentucky is kinda out of my normal entertainment fodder – even if he wears a bad-ass stetson.
Come season 2, the female characters began to acquire some greater depth with particularly riveting performances from Margo Martindale as Mags Bennett and Kaitlyn Dever as Loretta McCready.
Interestingly though, the relationship between Ralan and Boyd, lawman and criminal, is more tender, complicated and interesting than any of the male-female relationships in the show and both Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins are quite brilliant in their roles.
I’ve grown to love the portrayal of the changing rules between the kin of Harlan and their enemies. What do you do for family? When do you kill for them? When do you die for them? When do you give them up for a better deal? I’m guessing the Elmore Leonard’s novels (which the series is based on) are what bring that depth of social commenary to play. I’m certainly tempted to buy the books.
Really looking forward to season 3 and more of Ralan’s laconic, smart dialogue – probably some of the finest dialogue on recent TV. Ralan’s fraught relationship with his father Arlo is also a running story line which thoroughly explores how loyalty can still exist when love has long gone.
All in all … thumbs up Justified, just please keep working on your female characters. Neither Ava nor Winona get a chance to be much other than the companion.