Justified – Season 1
Justified is a bit hard to describe without immediately giving away the plot. Timothy Olyphant shines as Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens who gets sent back to his birth area in Kentucky after having gunned down a drug cartel killer in Miami. He may have been in his rights (“he drew his gun first!”) but for the public opinion it’s not all too great to have a triggerhappy cop running around. Luckily redneck Kentucky has less problems with that.
At his new destination Raylan comes into contact with plenty of old familiars, many who have chosen to gather at the opposite side of the law. With the first episode the tone immediately gets set, shooting people doesn’t seem as a big issue in the show, but where you quickly think you’ll get a standard cop show in which each episode has a different new “mystery” to solve besides a thin red line that runs across the season, you gladly and gradually realise Justified isn’t your typical run-of-the-mill show.
This first season is based on the short story “Fire in the Hole” by crime writer Elmore Leonard and just like in The Wire we get one story with plenty of subplots that influence the main both in short as well as long term. Indeed, just about everything that happens has consequences, whether they be big or small.
As such it takes a small bit of getting used to (the slow pace doesn’t really help) but once you get the hang of it, you really don’t want to miss anything. This first season almost manages to reach the top of its genre but barely misses it as you don’t have full background on all the characters from the start and the entire season only contains 13 episodes. However, it certainly tastes for more and last but not least we also want to note that next to Timothy Olyphant also Walton Goggins (Shane from The Shield) shines as the quite wacko criminal who at one moment plays the bad guy to suddenly help Olyphant. Shane Vendrell suddenly became a hilbilly!
We’ve got a bit of mixed feelings regarding the image and sound. The latter is quite ok, but the images drops the ball at times and is plagued here and there by compression errors, namely posterization and grain, and this mostly on the first disc which contains 5 episodes instead of 4 which is the case on the other two discs.
Qua extras we get some audio commentary tracks, What would Elmore Do, The Story of Justified, Meet the Characters, Shooting for Kentucky, Meet the Marshalls, videoclip “Long Hard Time to Come”, and a short preview on season 2. It sounds like a lot but truth be said that they’re not all that interesting.