It’s taken me a considerable amount of time to get on board with Raylan Givens and crew. I liked some of the characters and dynamics but as a whole, I found the first season of this US Marshall drama somewhat lacking. I understand the nature of a procedural and I understand the nature of serialized storytelling but when they are intertwined in such a strong manner, it makes for interesting though sometimes difficult viewing. It’s something of an oddity and whilst serialized procedurals aren’t new to television, with the Bones being one of the biggest users of this, it’s when you have stronger character arcs being blocked by someone not leaving a room until they get a box of chicken that makes for troublesome viewing. As a whole, the police procedural aspects of Justified are more than accomplished, it’s simply that Justified occasionally delivers more than a standard procedural and it affects the larger story.
The positives of Justified easily outweigh the negatives though; Timothy Olyphant goes above and beyond once again showing us all how to wear a 10 gallon hat with perfection. The man knows how to pull off the look, and the episode “Hatless” definitely shone a light onto the type of man Raylan Givens is. When he’s not working for the department, he’s keeping his head held high – by totally beating up some guys in a bar for stealing his hat. His relationships with his ex-wife and Ava Crowder were savoury and thankfully not over-done. We understand his Raylan’s feeling towards the people, but don’t need to know anymore.
The absolutely highlight of season 1 of Justified, though, is the character arc of Boyd Crowder (played wonderfully by Walton Goggins). The man who teaches the word of the Lord in such a twisted way is nothing short of spectacular. In particular, his chemistry with Raylan is effulgent, every scene together they make the words jump off the screen and seeing their loving bond develop even though they hate each other is really what made Justified noteworthy for me. The way the finale threw things at Boyd makes me eager to see where this little old story about Kentucky and its Marshall’s is going to go. Assuming the writers don’t get distracted by more police work.