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He Said, She Said Review Site

Justified: Season 4

What She said:


I have said it before and I will say it again--Raylan Givens is the coolest fella out there. Sure, he's socially awkward, is an absentee future-father, and lives for the job. But he also knows how to rock a cowboy hat, turn the tables on a bad guy, and pull a pistol faster than nearly anyone out there. One other downside, I guess, is that he's fictitious.

In Season 4 of Justified, we join U.S. Marshal Givens and crew as they investigate the case of the long-missing fugitive Drew Thompson. Thompson is a target of the Detroit mob, and apprehending him would enable officials to really stick it to the mob. But things are not that easy because no one seems to have a clue who and where Drew Thompson is. Actually, I shouldn't say no one, because Raylan's now jailed father and one or two others seem to know. However, they're not too keen to share the knowledge.

Justified: Season 4

Raylan and the U.S. Marshals are not the only ones looking for Thompson, and so it truly is a race against both time and their foes. Wynn Duffy, acting for Detroit, and ultimately the slimy Boyd Crowder are also on the trail. For Boyd, helping Duffy and the Detroiters is a power move. He's once again looking to expand his empire, and it would be nice to have someone like Duffy in his back pocket. Boyd is also interested in hawking drugs for the Detroit mob.

Things are unfortunately not all coming up daisies for Boyd and girlfriend/fiance Eva. He faces betrayal from one of his own, as Cousin Johnny was grown dangerously jealous. He also has a popular traveling preacher to contend with, who is spreading the good word and deeply affecting Boyd's business pool. Finally, Boyd repeatedly finds himself in sticky situations due to the recruitment of an old military pal, Colton "Colt" Rhodes. Boyd is very loyal to Colt, and it's nice to have a former member of military police as his right hand man. However, Colt is a hothead who is in a lot of trouble due to his dependence on drugs. This all makes Colt less than reliable, and this really comes in to play when he fails to complete the simple task of killing Ellen May, a prostitute that works for the Crowders and who witnessed a murder committed by Eva.

Raylan, his boss Art Mullen, and co-workers Tim and Rachel have their hands full in Season 4. And for Raylan, the clock is ticking before his ex-wife Winona gives birth to his child.

Justified: Season 4

Season 4 jumps right into the Drew Thompson storyline, and that sort of threw me for a loop. Early on, I found the story a little difficult to follow, but very quickly put the pieces together and enjoyed watching the storyline unfold. The main- and sub-plots of Season 4 were fascinating, and the writing continued to be tight and well done. As with the previous seasons of this show, the dialogue was sharp and funny. Justified manages to remain both dark and wickedly humorous. Some of my favorite interactions are those that take place between Raylan and Art, Boyd and Raylan, and Wynn and, well, just about anyone.

This show has done a really good job of creating deep characters that have a lot of personality. There are no shallow or thinly sketched out characters here. Everyone is very well developed, and that helps to create a show that is engaging and continues to evolve in a positive way. I like to believe that these actors really are just like their personas on TV. I think this is because they do such a good job of embracing their characters and turning into them in front of the camera. It really is a joy to watch.

Justified has no qualms about killing off characters, and in Season 4 we do see a few major ones kick the bucket. It's likely that this series has an unrealistically high body count. But boy is it exciting to watch Raylan and Co. rack them up. This really is a solid show that ranks among the finest on television in recent years. Season 4 was another stunning entry in the series.

Thumbs up

What He said:

Justified: Season 4

Every television show has subplots, especially if it’s an hour-long drama. It’s vital to their existence. The story cannot be about the same issue or villain every episode. Such a show would not last very long. Where Justified differs from other shows though is how they interweave their subplots into the larger storyline. It’s really awesome to watch. In other shows, a main character will be dealing with an issue that has nothing to do with the main storyline. In this show, there are multiple subplots, which initially can come off as confusing, but a few episodes into each season you start to see that they are all connected in some way, shape, or form. They don’t present a subplot just for the sake of having one – they generally serve a purpose in this show, which is refreshing.

Detroit. That’s all you have to remember about this season. All the major subplots revolve around Detroit.
Last season we were introduced to Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough). Quarles was a member of the Tonin Crime Family in Detroit. He was sent to collect a debt from one of the members of the Dixie Mafia named Emmitt Arnett. Arnett didn’t have the money, so Quarles killed him, and attempted to take over his territory. Wynn Duffy (also Dixie Mafia) worked for Arnett and by default ended up working with Quarles.

Justified: Season 4

With Quarles out of the picture this season, Duffy (Jere Burns) plans to make a move to work directly with Detroit. He wants to be their distributer (of drugs) in Kentucky. The problem is that Theo Tonin, head of mob back in Detroit, doesn’t know him and won’t simply hand his business over to him. He (Adan Arkin) is willing to give Duffy a chance to prove himself though.

You see, an even and person from the past is about to pop up for the first time in decades. Theo Tonin was shot in the eye by a guy named Drew Thompson. Drew Thompson used to be an employee of his, witnessed him killing a government informant, and shot him in the eye when he was stealing some of Tonin’s drug supply. Thompson faked his own death. He jumped from a plane, with the drugs and some money, and landed in Harlan about 30 or so years ago in the past. Thompson sold the drugs to Arlo (Raylan’s dad) and Bo Crowder (Boyd’s dad) in exchange for some money and a new identity. He’s been living in Harlan, and the surrounding area, since then. Bo is dead, so Arlo is the only one who knows Thompson’s identity. Arlo (Raymond Barry) is in prison and Duffy sends one of his men, who is also in prison, after Arlo in an attempt to get the information about who Drew Thompson is pretending to be and if he’s still in Kentucky. Tonin also eventually sends his own men down to Kentucky to try and force Thompson out of hiding.

Of course, Boyd (Walton Goggins) wants in on this. He knows that Duffy is trying to get in good with Detroit and makes a play himself. Theo Tonin offers both men a few hundred thousand dollars for Drew Thompson. Boyd also asks Duffy to be partners at one point, so they are working both with and against each other. They are covering all their bases. If they can improve their respective criminal empires by pairing up, that’s great, but they’ll also turn on each other on a dime if that proves to be the better option. It makes for some very entertaining scenes. Both Boyd and Duffy are scene stealers, so together they are just fantastic.

Justified: Season 4

Boyd’s cousin Johnny (David Meunier), who works for him, is also secretly planning on taking Boyd out and partnering up with Duffy. Johnny is jealous of Boyd and has resented him for some time. He is envious of his relationship with Ava (Joelle Carter) and also blames Boyd for getting shot; even though it was technically Boyd’s father who did it. He got caught up in the drama between father and son when he was playing both sides again back in season one.
There’s also a subplot revolving around a local preacher, a prostitute, Ava, Boyd, and one of Boyd’s new helpers – a guy named Colt (Ron Eldard). Colt is an old army buddy of Boyd’s who came to town for a visit and stayed to do some work for Boyd. He’s a trained military man and is deadly set of skills lend themselves to criminal activity quite nicely. He is involved in both this side story, which actually ends up being loosely connected to the Detroit one, and the Detroit one itself when he’s tasked with tracking down Drew Thompson.

So, do you see what I mean when I was talking about how everything comes full circle? There’s a lot going on, and early on it can come off as confusing at times, but if you hang in there and pay attention, most of the stories this season revolve around Detroit and the hunt for Drew Thompson.

You might have noticed, but I haven’t even mentioned Raylan (Timothy Olyphant), the main character, yet. That’s because there’s just so much going on this season with the villains alone.  Raylan still butts heads with Art (Nick Searcy), has a weird relationship with his ex-wife and soon-to-be baby mama, and has a funny love/hate relationship with his coworkers. They think he’s allowed to get away with more than they are, but honestly between the fact Art is always punishing Raylan, and the fact that Tim (Jacob Pitts) and Rachel (Erica Tazel) do just as many things off-the-record as he does, I always found the claim a little…well wrong.  I do like that Tim and Rachel’s roles have been expanded this year.
Highlights of this season include several different characters and stories.

Justified: Season 4

The addition of Colt is interesting. He shows up out of the blue, basically just to visit Boyd, and reluctantly joins Boyd’s gang. In a matter of weeks, if not days, he becomes Boyd’s number one enforcer. He’s very good at what he does, but one of his mistakes leads to a lingering issue that plays a role the rest of the year. He’s supposed to kill a prostitute named Ellen May (Abby Miller) because she saw something and they’re afraid she’ll talk. She escapes and takes refuge I the house of Sheriff Shelby Parlow (Jim Beaver), who used to work for Boyd, but is trying to turn over a new leaf. The cat and mouse game between him , even if Colt doesn’t realize Ellen May is hiding out with Shelby most of the season, is tense and intriguing. The Ellen May character has been on the show for several seasons, but the expanded role worked out well. You actually end up really pitying her after seeing some of the things she goes through. Colt is also a heroin addict, so there’s an added layer of stress to everything he does.

There’s also a semi-recurring character that pops up part way through the season. Nicky Augustine (Mike O’Malley) is one of Theo Tonin’s men and wreaks havoc with Boyd and Duffy when he does. Like Theo, he’s willing to reward whoever delivers Thompson, but also pushes the two men around and plays them against one another. Betrayal and double-crosses are sort of the themes this season.

Oh, and I would be doing Patton Oswalt a huge disservice if I didn't mention Constable Bob. What an entertaining little character - and I mean that both literally and figuratively. You see, Bob's not a police officer, he's a constable. But that doesn't stop him from doing his duty. This guy has a major swagger, despite the fact he really has no business having one.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This review was written for your reading pleasure on January 10, 2015.

Justified: Season 4