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FX’s hit show, ‘Justified’ (2010), about an urban cowboy and U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, is getting a fourth season. It was announced Tuesday, March 6th, 2012, to the delight of its rather large fanbase.
‘Justified’, based on the short story and novels by Elmore Leonard, tells the tale of Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant): a handsome Deputy U.S. Marshal with impeccable style, a distinctive (borderline memetic) off-white cowboy hat, and unbelievable quick draw skills. However, an incident in Miami involving a public shooting gets Raylan reassigned to Lexington, Kentucky, a spitting distance from his hometown of Harlan.
Raylan has a great dislike for Harlan, because over the years it has become a breeding ground for drugs, prostitution, and all other manners of crime. But he is forced to return after one of his childhood friends, Boyd Crowder (Walt Goggins), is accused of bombing a church. Raylan uses his smarts to track Boyd down, and they have a good old-fashioned standoff in the kitchen of Boyd’s stepsister, Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), who had recently killed Boyd’s brother for abusing her. Raylan shoots Boyd in the chest, but Boyd lives and is hospitalized before heading to jail.
Season one sets up the main cast and establishes the surrounding areas in Raylan’s world, which includes Lexington, Harlan, and a few other towns. Raylan’s boss is Chief Deputy Art Mullen (Nick Searchy), a sarcastic, tough, but ultimately fair authority figure. He and Raylan constantly bicker, but Art recognizes Raylan’s unparalleled ability to catch criminals and keep innocent bystanders from getting killed when things go south. Raylan also recognizes that while Art always gives him a hard time, he is someone Raylan can trust when things get rough.
Raylan also becomes involved with Ava Crowder for a while, who had been nursing a crush on him before he left to be a U.S. Marshal, but things don’t last long, as Raylan’s ex-wife Winona Hawkins (Natalie Zea) saunters back into the picture. Winona is married to a real estate businessman named Gary Hawkins (Williams Ragsdale), whom Raylan is not a fan of at all. Raylan and Winona are both still in love with each other, but his job continues to keep them separate for much of the first season and ultimately in the third one as well.
Harlan is also the home of Raylan’s estranged father, Arlo Givens (Raymond J. Barry), and his aunt Helen Givens (Linda Gehringer). Raylan disowned his father years prior due to the physical abuse he and his deceased mother suffered at Arlo’s hands, but Arlo’s hot temper gets him embroiled in criminal activities throughout seasons one, two, and three, forcing Raylan to have to pick sides between the law and family, more than once.
The main conflict of the show comes from several villainous characters: Bo Crowder (M.C. Gainey), Boyd Crowder’s father and local crime boss in Harlan during season one, Mags Bennett (Margo Martindale), an ambitious drug lord, and her family, Coover and Dickie Bennett, and Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough), a former Detroit mobster who comes to Harlan looking to take over, in season three. Other sources of drama stem from the inhabitants of Harlan, who have little work and no prospects to make a living, so many turn to a life of crime.
The show has been critically acclaimed and showcases excellent dialogue, shocking twists, interesting characters, and rousing action scenes. The ratings have steadily grown since its premiere in 2010, and it continues to pull in more with each season. Fans are eager to see it return next season for 13 hour-long episodes.