Justified may have been the title of a TV series but Raylan Givens played by the awesome Timothy Olyphant, was the show’s heart and soul. He was also a man of little words so I shall be quick and to the point…
Raylan was born to a loving mother who died when he was still a boy. He grew up and as soon as he was old enough he got himself out of the dark and dirty coal mines of Kentucky. To the distain of his criminal and hate-filled father, Arlo played by Raymond J. Barry, Raylan became a U.S. Marshall and worked mainly in Florida until he got into trouble and was sent back to his home town. It was back in Harlan where Raylan came face to with his ex-girlfriend Ava Crowder played by Joelle Carter and old friend/resident bad guy Boyd Crowder played by the amazing Walton Goggins. Raylan and Boyd grew up working in the mine together but now found themselves on opposite sides of the law.
Throughout 6 seasons Raylan Givens had a number a foes which added up to a larger then normal body count not making his boss, Art played by Nick Searcy very happy but Raylan always got the job done. (The one thing I have to interject here it that as a character Raylan, with that hat and cunning smile, was one guy who I would have trusted with my own real life, when he said he would help and protect you he did! For that reason alone I will always love him.) Each new season brought new headaches and enemies, all willing to have their chance to take him down. There were the Bennetts lead by Mags played by Margo Martindale, who always had a drink waiting for you. There were her sons Doyle and Coover (Joseph Lyle Taylor and Brad William Henke) and of course Dickie played by Jeremy Davies who spent most of his screen time in jail and a niece Loretta McCready played by Kaitlyn Dever, who wanted nothing to do with her crazy, murderous kin. When the Bennetts were all but wiped out enter the family Crowe. First we met Dewey played by Damon Herriman, who just wanted to be like Boyd and would follow him around like a lost puppy. A couple of season prior to the final we met the rest of his family, oldest brother Daryl played by Michael Rapaport who came from Florida to make same fast cash bringing with him brothers Danny (A.J. Buckley) and Kendal (Jacob Lofland) and sister/lawyer Wendy (Alicia Witt). We round out the bad guy cast of characters with Ellstin Limehouse played by Mykelti Williamson, Wynn Duffy played by Jere Burns who seemed to have 9 lives and most recently Ty Walker played by fellow Deadwood Alum Garret Dillahunt and Avery Markham played by the always wonderful Sam Elliott of course there were countless others including some good guys but it was Ava and Boyd who were there from beginning to end that kept Raylan in Harlan and on their heels.
In the end I need to thank Graham Yost for bringing the late Elmore Leonard’s story and characters to life. In six seasons viewers went through a lot with the crew and cast(s) and like a giant rollercoaster at an amusement park I do not want to get off but it was a great ride and I will never forget my time spent in Harlan County, Kentucky.