Justified: The Complete First Season

Justified: The Complete First Season
Relentlessly charming and eminently badass, Timothy Olyphant (Deadwood, The Crazies) has added another iconic lawman to his resume. As U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, Olyphant headlines an excellent cast in this smart, funny adaptation of Elmore Leonard's short story, Fire in the Hole. Following a slightly questionable shooting at a restaurant, Raylan is transferred back to his hometown of Harlan, KY. There, he's swiftly embroiled in the violent drama of half-crazed neo-nazis and the drug-slinging hillbilly mafia. His childhood crush, Ava Crowder, has just shot her abusive husband and the dead man's brother (Raylan's oldest friend, Boyd Crowder) has fired a rocket launcher into an African church. That's a lot of slippery plot to deal with in the opening minutes of a show, and the writing team and cast manage to keep the often-extreme threads sensible and grounded while expanding upon the sly wit and subtle humour of Leonard's modern western crime drama for the entire season. Although there's always forward momentum, with a larger story concerning a big city drug cartel, Justified is about existing in the world these characters inhabit. It's the surprising and suspicious personal journey of Boyd Crowder, fuelled by Walton Goggins' (Predators) committed performance and his relationship to Raylan, and Raylan's relationships with Ava, his ex-wife Winona and her husband, his fellow Marshals and his own crime-steeped family that's the show's lifeblood. The character of Raylan is a perfect fit for Olyphant, allowing him to exercise his ample charm in conjunction with his knack for portraying no-nonsense peacekeepers. Elmore Leonard's keen sense of dialogue cadence is carefully emulated – something show-runner Graham Yost emphasizes obsessing over in the commentary tracks and special features. He, director Michael Dinner, Leonard researcher Greg Sutter and actor Nick Searcy contribute thoughts to the pilot, and Yost returns with more writing-specific anecdotes for "Blowback" and "Bulletville." Olyphant, actress Natalie Zea (who plays Raylan's ex-wife) and writer David Andrew provide entertaining, candid commentary for strong mid-season episode "Hatless." Most of the production features are on the second disc, with "What Would Elmore Do?" and "The Story of Justified" getting the most time, with Leonard himself, in addition to the standard cast and crew interviews. Also included: features on location, the duties of the actual Marshal service, a music video for the theme song and a few words about the direction of season two. (Sony)