Tonight was the final episode of Justified, a show that ran for six seasons on FX, chronicling the struggle between the good guys and the bad guys living in Harlan County, Kentucky. Admittedly I didn’t take an interest until January of 2013 when on the sage advice of several friends I finally got the first season on DVD. Thus began a three-season marathon that finished up approximately one week before Season Four began. So no, I’m not a fan from Day One. I AM however a YUUUGE fan of stars Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins, and Natalie Zea, and the roles they played all served as yet another commendation in their jacket for acting.
Along the way I also became big fans of Nick Searcy, Jacob Pitts, Erica Tazel, Joelle Carter, and many others who made guest appearances. Neal McDonough from Season Three was without a doubt my favorite and the most sick and vicious of all the villains, while Sam Elliott brought a cool, calm bad guy vibe to this final run of episodes. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up the fact that Mary Steenburgen was a smoldering femme fatale these last two seasons who may or may not have been playing both sides. Point is, she looked HOT while doing it. As elegant as she was sexy, I’m gonna miss that devilish smile of hers.
Olyphant’s turn as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens was the kind of stuff you just don’t get on television anymore: the calm, cool, collected lawman who once he set his mind to getting someone they were as good as in cuffs from the word go. From the very first episode he had one foot out of his personal Hell in Kentucky, and the other foot straddling the fine line of the law. His character was flawed, and often conflicted about what was the proper course of action. And who can forget his quickness on the draw anytime someone was foolish enough to pull on him, right?
With Justified, FX once again delivered an absolute winner of a show that can proudly stand alongside The Shield and Sons of Anarchy as some of the best television of the last decade. The back-and-forth dialogue between Olyphant and Goggins as perennial protagonist Boyd Crowder was truly on another level, year after year. I’m not sure there will ever be a modern day western as good as this again, but at least we have this to re-live over and over, like I intend to.