Justified: Pilot   Rewatch 
June 25, 2014 11:05 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Meet Raylan Givens, a US Deputy Marshall whose gunslinging ways get him reassigned to the last place he wants to go - home to Harlan County, Kentucky.

Available for streaming on Amazon Prime.

In this episode we meet the primary characters we'll follow throughout- Raylan, Boyd, and Ava. I think it is interesting that we meet each through an act of violence that they think is justified - Boyd's reasons are clearly wrong, but I'm not sure Raylan or Ava were clearly in the right. This is a theme that carries through the entire series - just how far can you go and still be justified?

We also meet some of the major secondary characters - Art, Rachel, and Tim at the Marshall's office, Winona (Raylan's ex-wife), and loser white supremacists Devil and Dewey Crowe (star of my favorite recurring joke in the series, Dewey Doesn't Know How To Turn Off A Car).

I'm going to shoot to time discussion on this rewatch to end just as the final season starts. Not sure what that date will be, but we're probably looking at posts two to three times a week to get through five seasons in time. Season 5 is not available on Amazon Prime yet, but should be by the time we get to it.
posted by InfidelZombie (15 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I was really not expecting to like this show as much as I do. I am a bit pissed off that Canadian Netflix hasn't gotten around to re-upping this one since season 2.
posted by Hoopo at 11:36 AM on June 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I just finished season 5. This show really captured me and had some amazing character arcs (Boyd)
posted by tnecniv at 1:35 PM on June 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins totally own their respective characters. I can't imagine anyone coming even close to portraying Raylan and Boyd the way those two do. So much of my delight in the show is just from getting to hang out with these two. I find that the show doesn't have the long arc big picture type of feel that is so compelling with most of the other shows I enjoy. This feels more to me like what I think of as the television I grew up with, only done excellently.

Also, the show is a vast improvement on Leonard's books featuring Raylan, and it feels weird to say that, but there it is.
posted by MoonOrb at 1:57 PM on June 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

I am so in love with Justified and I've had the good fortune of watching every episode when it originally aired. I will start rewatching -- thank you @InfidelZombie for starting this.

It is supposedly a "modern western." Man, I love the (so-called) villains. Especially Boyd. I should hate him but I only want him to succeed so he can keep talking that talk.

The Judge ("that squirrely guy" from Office Space) is one of my favorite minor characters. What a versatile character actor he is.
posted by hush at 2:02 PM on June 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Stephen Root, who plays the judge, also has a great recurring role in the 2nd and 3rd seasons of Boardwalk Empire.
posted by MoonOrb at 3:43 PM on June 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

This was a good call, I'm settling in for a rewatch now! Also, Stephen Root needs his own FPP.

Note to FX: I would totally watch The Dewey Crowe Showe.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:21 PM on June 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

I just finished the first four seasons over the last couple of months and I'm not sure I'm ready to rewatch them so soon, but I'll definitely be reading these threads. The show was a bit of a hard sell for me because it's definitely not my usual genre, but it ended up straddling the line of "engaging vs. doesn't require a lot of concentration" perfectly. Within a few episodes I was an addict.

(If you want to have your mind blown, Walton Goggins also played a trans woman on Sons of Anarchy.)
posted by desjardins at 8:57 AM on June 26, 2014 [4 favorites]

One thing I like about this show is that all the villains (at least in the first season) are white people. Maybe I'd be offended if I were a rural Kentuckian, but at least we don't have the bullshit Arab terrorist or Asian druglord or Black thug plotline again.
posted by desjardins at 9:01 AM on June 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Awwwww yissssssss.

I definitely wasn't expecting to like this show, but my roommates started watching it and I started so I could catch up to where they were and follow along. It took me about three weeks to watch the first four seasons - and this was in the midst of moving and starting a new job. I then promptly got all my friends hooked. (Hi desjardins!)

The way I always pitch it is this: if you'd told me before I started watching this show that my favourite character would be an evangelical born-again white supremacist arsonist, I would've asked you what you were smoking. That's how good the character development is on this show.

Plus, Raylan is just so damn pretty.
posted by Phire at 9:03 AM on June 26, 2014 [4 favorites]

Two important things about this show:

1. Raylan is one of those Elmore Leonard characters that got stronger and better evolved thanks to the television interpretation. I read Pronto when it first came out and it was good, but Raylan didn't catch me completely until the show. From what I remember, Leonard was really involved with the casting and direction of the show from the get go and it shows. Apparently show runner Graham Yost had WWED (What Would Elmore Do?) bracelets made for the writing staff to remind them of the proper voice and Leonard contributed heavily for the second season.

2. Sweet dear lord, this is one of the few television shows that have folks with a southern accent that don't sound like horrific fake monstrosities. With the exception of the most recent season's addition of Darryl Crowe, all of the actors have been really good at getting the right amount of twang without sounding like they are extras on HeeHaw. I know Goggins is from Alabama, so he doesn't have to work very hard but Olyphant has nailed the sound of someone who grew up in the hills, traveled elsewhere and came home. His accent is broader sometimes than it needs to be, and there are moments where you realize that Raylan's turning on the hick to get the right reaction.

Honestly, the entire show could be centered around Boyd and Raylan drinking a Coke and talking about baseball and I'd watch it just because the accents are just that good.

The fact that the characters are awesome and the writing is stunning only makes it even better.
posted by teleri025 at 11:57 AM on June 26, 2014 [8 favorites]

Does someone have a Raylan Body Count website? If y'all are rewatching, you should keep track and see how high it goes.
posted by desjardins at 1:45 PM on June 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Agreed on the accents, teleri025. Darryl Crowe was the worst. He just chewed on every single syllable way too hard. The crux of the accent he was going for is actually to speak like you can't be bothered to enunciate. Alicia Witt does a fairly awesome Southern accent, though, particularly for a WASP from Worcester.

Anyway, getting back to season 1, Natalie Zea's is also fantastic. She nails the particular cadence of a middle-to-upper class woman from a redneck heavy zone. Anyone who's spent time in a place like, say, Nashville or Louisville, will recognize that accent immediately.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:03 PM on June 27, 2014

Rewatch for others, but First Watch for me.

A friend of mine was a big fan of this. I had started up the pilot episode many months ago, but was just not in the mood for it, so didn't make it much past the initial introduction of Boyd. Yesterday I finished the episode and LOVED it.

All of the characters seem three dimensional. Ava knows her way around men's egos. I love how she is intelligent and knew before Raylan that Boyd was not interested in killing her and instead wanted to, you know... Demure yet intelligent. Yes.

And I love how the Marshalls team members are equally competent - they know how to do their jobs. There was no panic when guns were firing all around them. It was get down to business, shield behind a vehicle, and send someone to sneak up behind the shooters. Is Rachel the token black woman? Well, she certainly will give you a look if you try to tell her she is. I'm only one episode in, but she reminds me of the early episodes of Dexter and Debra Morgan - tough as nails, and smart, too.

It could be so superficial and stereotypical, but in this first episode we see it isn't as simple as white supremacists blowing up a black church. There are other factors at play, bubbling under the surface. In the church when Boyd and Raylan were talking, Boyd got a little Jesus-crazy-eyes talking his spiel about mud people. Did he play a character in another show where he was David Koresh? I can totally buy that. He could definitely talk some folks into a frenzy, all while having his own agenda.

I am eager to see what happens next.
posted by jillithd at 7:32 AM on February 18, 2016

I kept seeing this mentioned enough times that I figured I'd finally give it a shot.

It's a little weird, 13 years later, how much it looks like *TV* compared to how it'd probably be shot if it were made now. It's most stark in the opening scenes. A lot of closeups that I think now would be played wider (for instance).

And then there's what strikes me as a big required suspension of disbelief: the level of outright out-in-the-open violent confrontation with the cops this crew is willing to instigate for such little potential gain (and in a world in which the cops seem to be universally or even generally upright, well-meaning citizens -- that's the other big suspension of disbelief, but that's the regular TV one). But I'm guessing either that gets filed down later, or that's the whole conceit: modern day, but people act like it's the outlaw west? I mean, that's what the hat (and the promo poster) suggests.

In any case I think I'll keep watching. The pilot gains a bunch of extra emotional energy in its last few minutes when we finally hear from the ex-wife (will she be the emotional core of the show? or a secondary one after the brother-like antagonist?). And I want to find out if they manage to have Timothy Olyphant say "just ice" in every episode! (even though it feels like a pun the writer was just telling themselves, that might have slid by unnoticed if not for the subtitles).
posted by nobody at 9:30 PM on October 19, 2023

Dropping a (non-spoiler) note here after nearing the end of the first season.

If this pilot looked a little more like standard network TV than I might have expected, a couple episodes from now everything -- the writing, the acting from all but the main characters -- drops all the way down to the worst of made-for-basic-cable schlock. But then a couple episodes after that it starts becoming a properly recommendable show! Especially as it finally starts picking up all the threads this pilot was weaving.

Had I watched this when it first aired, I would have stopped for sure after episode three.
posted by nobody at 7:07 PM on October 25, 2023

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