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Justified – Rating: A-

Submitted by on March 23, 2010 – 9:10 AMNo Comment
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Timothy Olyphant in "Justified" - © FX

Crime dramas are a dime a dozen these days and sadly they are almost all roughly the same. That is, except for the newest one to hit the airwaves, FX’s Justified.

Timothy Olyphant stars as Raylan Givens, a deputy U.S. Marshal that has to get out of Dodge (in this case, Miami) only to return to a more literal Dodge (Harlan, Kentucky). This throwback to the old west fits right in Kentucky which is exactly why he left his hometown of Harlan when he was nineteen. He’s not too fond of returning to his backwoods roots, but due to the scene he made in a crowded Miami restaurant he has little choice (gunned down a bad guy he told to leave town; he told the guy he shoots to kill).

In Miami, Raylan is a different sort of lawman; he wears boots and a cowboy as well as his gun in a hip holster. In Kentucky he fits right in. Now that he is back, he will be faced with upholding the law in his old stomping grounds and often against some of the very people he use to work and play with.

The show could not have come from a better mind for crime drama than novelist Elmore Leonard. In his 84 years he has been responsible for some of the greatest crime shows, both comedy and drama, including Get Shorty, 3:10 to Yuma, Be Cool, and Out of Sight. Now those talents are being lent to one of the greatest crime shows to hit television in years.

Olyphant (Deadwood, Live Free or Die Hard) is brilliant as the lead character. His easy going style lends complete authenticity to his old fashioned lawman’s style. Raylan is the type of guy you respect for his conviction, admire for doing the work he does, and appreciate for making the hard decisions.

Since returning to Harlan, Raylan has run into an old friend, Ava Crowder, that shot her husband (that use to beat her severely). Her now-departed husband is the brother of one of Raylan’s old coal mine working buddies, Boyd Crowder, who is also the leader of a local white supremacist group and local bank robber. Raylan (who only shoots to kill and was once a gun instructor) has a show down with Boyd and only wounds him.

The smart bet will be to tune in next Tuesday at 10pm (on FX) to see why.

Beer: Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from the Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. – this is not a beer you want to chug, but rather one you sip and savor like good bourbon. Aged for 6 weeks in decanted bourbon barrels helps give this beer vanilla and oak-like flavors. At 7-9%ABV Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale does not have the kick of its namesake, but a few too many will make for one heck of a headache in the morning.