Showing posts with label Raylan Givens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Raylan Givens. Show all posts

23 August 2023


First off, we have to posit that Justified is one of the best series ever.  Period, full stop.  I won’t hear any argument.  I’m a big fan of Bosch, Happy Valley is amazing, I love Unforgotten and Shetland, but Justified is king.

Here’s what you do.  Go on YouTube, search for “Raylan Givens vs. Fletcher ‘The Ice Pick’ Nix,” and treat yourself to what comes.  Just the one scene.

There are, of course, other scenes as fully flavorable, but this has the essentials.

Raylan makes his appearance in Dutch Leonard’s 1993 novel, Pronto, and then in Riding the Rap, in 1995.  The immediate jumping-off point for Justified is the 2001 short story, “Fire in the Hole.”  Dutch revisited the character in 2012, with Raylan, his last published title.

I think it’s common knowledge in the Justified fanbase that the writers’ room – headed by exec producer Graham Yost – had a mantra, What would Dutch do?  In any situation where they’d written themselves into a corner, or they weren’t entirely confident of a story development, they went back to the baseline: How would Dutch Leonard himself handle it?  They usually got it right.

Much has been made of the casting.  Timothy Olyphant and Walt Goggins, and astonishing support, Nick Searcy and Mikelti Williamson, Kaitlyn Dever and Joelle Carter, the Crowes and the Bennetts.  I’d happily list each one.  Not to mention the guest heavies - my stars and whiskers!  The incomparable Margo Martindale; Neal McDonough, no Band of Brothers, here; Sam Elliott and Mary Steenburgen.  Villains all, who get their just desserts. 

Timothy Olyphant and Graham Yost closed the book with Season Six.  FX, the network, wasn’t entirely happy about it.  (Justified was their highest-rated show.)  But hold the phone.  The sequel, Justified: City Primeval, just premiered a limited run in July, and Tim Olyphant’s back as Raylan. 

The new series is a hybrid.  The novel, City Primeval (subtitled High Noon in Detroit), came out in 1980, and it doesn’t feature Raylan, but local cop Ray Cruz.  Raylan has been added to the mix.  This has no ill effect.  You still got the basic Elmore Leonard elements, a crooked judge, a car bombing, Albanian gangsters, a long con, and the usual mix of opportunists and low-lifes, fast-talkers and the criminally insane.  This time around, we have more of the fish-out-of-water trope, but Raylan is nothing if not resourceful, and since you were wondering, he hasn’t slowed down.  Nor does the show waste any time getting stoked. 

You might miss the hillbillies, for about thirty seconds.