I was going to mention in my appreciation for Community how I like having the feeling that Dan Harmon and his writers are always making sure they’re one step ahead of the viewer. One hopes that this is always the case for a show but sometimes you get the feeling writers are flailing as they’re dragged towards a season finale. Having a sense of confidence in your show is especially great when the stories get as complex and ambitious as those of Community at its wildest or the detailed history of rural Kentucky bloodlines in Justified. And confidence is really a two-way street on a show when the writers have actors like Margo Martindale, Jeremy Davies and Timothy Olyphant to work with.
The relationship between Raylan, Dickie and Mags Bennett throughout the season added tremendously to the weird faux-authentic Kentucky vibe the show is abe to pull off despite filming in LA. What Justified does is bring the world of Elmore Leonard to life. Leonard’s world is rooted in its locale and is one where the miles of bad road in a character’s past is in every line of dialog they speak and after hanging out with them for five minutes you feel like you know them all personally. Justified does right (where so many other adaptations have gone wrong) by trusting in the Leonard-speak and staying true to soaking in the atmosphere.
You’ll find a good number of behind the scenes folks in common between Justified, Karen Sisco and Out of Sight - which, along with Jackie Brown and maybe Hombre and 3:10 to Yuma, comprise all of the great Elmore Leonard-done-right movies. And season two even got Leonard himself in for a story credit on one mid-season episode. As a long time fan of his books, after so many botched adaptation attempts, it feels so damn good to be able to watch it being done right weeks in a row.
So Justified ended up being my most satisfying television experience this year. It started off strong and the performance Margo Martindale gives in the season finale made it one of the most memorable scenes of the year - in television or film. Speaking of which, Boyd Crowder. It must be mentioned that Justified’s finest trick might be taking an already memorable Leonard character in Rayland’s childhood friend turned neo-Nazi, Boyd Crowder, and with the help of the always underrated Walton Goggins turned him into a fascinating anti-hero who has practically stolen the show from Raylan. With season three just weeks away, I am the unashamed drooling fanboy.