Timothy Olyphant has emerged from the shadows, and he is a force to be reckoned with. Who would have guessed that the guy who played the bad guy in “Live Free or Die Hard” would be capable of such charm, style, and scene-stealing panache? If you don’t believe me, you need to check out FX’s new honey, “Justified.” Judging from the first episode, you won’t be disappointed.
Olyphant stars as Raylan Givens, a U.S. Marshal who is transferred from Miami to his hometown of Harlan, Kentucky after his old-school brand of justice (he gives a suspect 24 hours to get out of town or else he’ll kill him on the spot) lands him in trouble with the boys upstairs. The show follows Givens as he deals with the hick perpetrators who inhabit Harlan and reckons with the ghosts of his long-forgotten past.
The show, which is based on an Elmore Leonard story, isn’t exactly hard-hitting drama, but it is great fun. The tension between Givens and Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), his childhood-friend-cum-neo-Nazi-vigilante, makes for some hearty laughs and crackling suspense. Joelle Carter steams up the screen as Boyd’s brother’s widow, Ava Crowder, and the surrounding ensemble of rednecks and smart alecks fills in the gaps.
Part crime thriller, part old-time western, all spot-on, don’t-leave-your-seat television, “Justified” may be the one to watch this season.
“Justified” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.