Why it’s Justified to Watch “Justified”


A Review of FX’s “Justified” by Tiffany A. White

Happy 2014!!

When I watch certain TV shows, I can’t stop thinking about how much I enjoy their particular characters… mainly due to the relationships between the good and the evil—whatever those particular relationships might be, as they are different in each instance. It’s very normal for someone to adore the hero of a story, but when viewers connect with the “big bad” as well, we know we have something powerful on our hands.

Like Justified

First, let’s talk a little about the show.

Everyone has heard of a justified shooting, right? Well, justified shootings are Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens’ (Timothy Olyphant) forte. Despite being a loose cannon himself, Raylan appears quite normal when compared to his Kentucky kin. Entangled with really BAD criminals, Harlan County relies on Raylan, as does the Marshal Service, his ex-wife, his ex-girlfriend, and his con-ex-best friend, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins).

Need a reason to tune in? Boyd Crowder is definitely one of the best antagonists on television.

Need another reason to watch? Timothy Olyphant. Enough said.

Now let’s talk about the characters.

First of all, all of the show’s characters are flawed—majorly flawed.

Raylan can’t stay out of trouble. With his boss; with his ex-wife; with his ex-girlfriend; with Boyd; with the bad guys in town and those crossing through; with anybody. Raylan is always in some kind of trouble. He chose to walk away from the dirty dealings of his daddy and join the Marshals, but that doesn’t mean he’s still not plagued with Givens trouble. And when push really comes to shove, even though he’s a lawman, I wouldn’t put it past Raylan to do whatever is necessary to take care of the problem. That’s one reason why we love him so much.

Then there’s Boyd. Boyd, Boyd. What hasn’t he done? He has robbed banks; he has been involved with the narcotics trade; he has destroyed his competition with rocket launchers (“Fire in the Hole”); and he has led a white supremacy group. But he’s really not all bad—promise. He does want to be good; he believes in the Bible and he always helps his good friend (US Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens) when he comes calling. But why do we really love Boyd? It’s all about the hair…

How about the women? We can’t forget about good ole Ava. Ava, like Raylan and Boyd, calls Harlan her home. She was married to Boyd’s brother, but she shot him dead with a shotgun while he was eating dinner. He abused her, don’t worry. Not long after first meeting Ava on screen, she aims her shotgun at Boyd while he was eating dinner at her table—but Raylan got to his gun first, shooting Boyd in the chest. She fell head over heels for Raylan, but that didn’t work out. So now she and Boyd are hot and heavy. Yes, even though she has a sordid past with both Boyd and his family. And they make an adorable couple. Really.

I could keep going, talking even more about other characters, but the list would be too long.

When I think of the good guy versus the bad guy on television, I immediately think of FX’s Justified. While Raylan is the hero of this story, the series would not be the same without his childhood friend and current foe, Boyd. I can’t actually think of another duo on TV that is as well developed as these two characters—and this, without a doubt, is the byproduct of the wonderful writings of Elmore Leonard.

Unfortunately, the two don’t share too many on-screen scenes together, but when they do it is absolute perfection. The dialogue is fantastic and the tension is magic, and I root just as much for Boyd as I do for Raylan. As a matter of fact, Boyd was only a recurring character the first season; but because the audiences responded the way that they did to him, he was added to the show as a permanent character in season two.

Now in season five, I love both Raylan and Boyd as much as I did the first season. If not more. And I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble these two find themselves in this year.


Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2013 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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