Airing on the FX network, Justified is an hour-long drama that has received critical acclaim for both the strength of its acting and the power of its storytelling. Based on the short story, "Fire in the Hole," by Elmore Leonard, the show follows US Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens as he is transferred from Miami, Florida to Harlan County, Kentucky, the place of his birth. He reluctantly returns to perform his duty as a law enforcement officer battling rampant drug trafficking, child molesters and violent white supremacists. Justified takes place primarily in Harlan County, an impoverished area of Kentucky where coal mining is one of the few legitimate means of earning a living. Many of the residents have turned to less than legal means, and sawed-off shotguns and methamphetamine labs abound. Raylan Givens maintains his cool, patrolling the county with a laconic, laid-back attitude and wearing his signature cowboy hat, a throwback to an earlier era of gunslingers and frontier justice. Despite his easygoing nature, he gets caught up in many moral dilemmas, and he struggles to find his place in this new environment. He tries unsuccessfully to distance himself from his Harlan County roots, represented by his father Arlo, an unsavory character very much involved in the local crime scene himself. Coming to terms with his background, Raylan is forced to face many things that he wished to avoid and thought he had left behind him.
An ongoing conflict between Raylan and his childhood friend Boyd Crowder is a compelling source of tension throughout the show. Boyd is an active criminal and part of an established crime family in the area. Early in the series, he has an apparent change of heart, and his character's development goes through some surprising twists and turns. Boyd's magnetic personality and his complex relationship with Raylan raise questions about whether or not he can be trusted and whether he can be redeemed in the end.
Raylan also becomes involved in some tricky romantic entanglements, going back and forth between his ex-wife and a new love interest, who is herself involved with the criminal underbelly. These relationships lead to conflicts of interest, deceit and betrayal, adding another level of moral quandaries and dilemmas for the main character to resolve as the series progresses.
The ratings for Justified have been strong, and it has recently been picked up for its fourth season on FX.
Watch Full Episodes of Justified
Justified Full Episode Guide
A visit from his daughter distracts Raylan from his hunt for a dangerous fugitive at large.
Raylan investigates a murder that is causing conflict in Markham's camp.
Ava makes a bold decision. Raylan turns to an old friend. Duffy investigates Ava's release.
Raylan seeks vengeance upon the people who are forcing Harlan's most valuable real estate to be sold.
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From seemingly out of nowhere, FX has gone from "that channel that plays all the action movies that I didn't see in theaters" to "that channel with all the awesome shows." With two strong dramas ("Sons of Anarchy" and "Justified") on the air, a string of great dramas that sadly got cancelled ("Terriers," we barely knew ye) and a slew of really terrific comedies, FX is on the rise. So, even though "Sons of Anarchy" will be done for now, and you'll have to wait until summer for the sublime "Louie" and "Wilfred," there's plenty to be excited out in the winter of 2012.