Saturday, May 15, 2010


There was never a question about it.  If there was going to be a Television Series that credited Elmore Leonard as Executive Producer, I was going to watch that Television Series.  In the (inconceivable) case that it turned out to be awful, I would probably watch it anyway way too long, before grudgingly admitting it wasn't up to his masterful standards.

Justified isn't awful.  A nearly perfect combination of writing, dialog, casting and sense of place, it features the kind of interesting and colorful characters you would expect from Mr. Leonard, along with stories that move and dance and swirl gracefully amid dense layers of texture and sensation.

Timothy Olyphant OWNS the Raylan Givens character, playing it straight as a man barely if at all troubled by his own inability to temper his behavior to fit the requirements of his job or even the expectations of his community.  His frequently rueful recognition that what he is going to do (or has just done) will have negative consequences does not result in any consideration that another path was ever even possible - for him, it simply was not.  In deference to post modern story telling, nothing is black and white in Justified's world.  People are complex, motivations are chaotic, loyalties are murky and people don't always do what you expect them to.  The way people react to ever - shifting realities, sometimes in extraordinary ways, while remaining the banal creatures who love and hate and eat and fight, who cannot escape either their own history nor the events in their life that become their history has long been the staple that informs Leonard's novels with their richness and memorability.

Hell, even the theme song is like nothing I've ever heard before.  It's actually blend of bluegrass and rap they unsurprisingly call "Gangstagrass" and it sounds kind of like what you'd get if Leadbelly covered Rage Against the Machine.

Do yourself a favor.  Put your expectations in your pocket and check it out...


  1. I think I heard Leonard (Or "Len," as I like to call him.) talking about this on NPR a few wks./couple months ago.

    (Well, I heard him talking about a tee vee show he'd created, I'll assume it was this one. And see? Two months ago, as typed.)

  2. I love this show. Particularly the snitch that sets up his office in the local restaurant, right out in the open.