Let’s take a moment to mourn the end of Justified, FX’s critically acclaimed neo-crime western that used Elmore Leonard’s Fire in the Hole as a jumping off point and became one of the most entertaining hours on TV. It went out like it began, with guns blazing and pitch perfect, crackling dialogue. Long running storylines were brought to a close, and the twisted triangle relationship between U.S. Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), Boyd Crowder (the incomparable Walton Goggins) and Eva Crowder (Joelle Carter) was finally resolved.
The sixth and final season of Justified picked up where season five left off. Boyd in a partnership with the mysterious Katherine Hale (the timeless Mary Steenburgen) and career criminal Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns), and Eva released from prison and working for Raylan as a CI. Raylan’s singular purpose throughout the series swan song is to bring down Boyd for good — dead or alive — and then relocate to Florida so he can help raise his daughter with ex-wife Winona (Natalie Zea).
Sam Elliott is on board as Avery Markham, a badass drug dealer. He swoops into Harlan County buying up land he plans to convert into pot fields and reap the benefit of the pending legalization of marijuana in Kentucky. He brings with him a trio of ex-black ops soldiers to act as enforcers. They’re played by Garret Dillahunt, Scott Grimes, and scene-stealer Duke Davis Roberts. Jeff Fahey also has a significant role as Ava’s wily uncle, and Jonathan Tucker appears late in the game as a gun slinging psycho who just may be Raylan’s match.
The writers also found a way to weave in fan favorites from seasons past, providing opportunities fore Patton Oswalt, the extremely talented Kaitlyn Dever, Mykelti Williamson and Rick Gomez to appear on the series a few more times.
The casting in Justified was always one of the show’s strengths. From series regulars like Nick Searcy, Jacob Pitts and Erica Tazel, to guest stars like Mike O’Malley (season 4), Alan Tudyk (season 5) and Carla Gugino (reprising her Karen Sisco character in season 3), any actor that had a role on Justified was guaranteed a part they could sink their teeth into. And who can forget Margo Martindale’s Emmy Award winning turn in season 2 as Mags Bennett and Jeremy Davies as her dimwitted son, Dickie?
Season 6 allowed Joelle Carter the opportunity to really shine. Ava is trapped between her freedom — represented by Raylan — and the man she loves, Boyd. Throughout the season, she works every angle she can to keep out of jail, yet stay with Boyd. At the same time, she lives in fear of Boyd and what he’ll do if he discovers she’s a rat. Carter bobs and weaves between Ava’s emotional shifts and is flat out magnificent. You hear that Emmy voters?
The epilogue at the end of Justified’s finale was actually quiet and emotional for a show that was heavy on bravado. One might even say it was sentimental. That’s just fine. The final moments were a nice send off for the main characters and proved that at the heart of all the big talk and wisecracks there was a lot of humanity to the fantastic creations of series creator Graham Yost and his crew. Rest in Peace, Justified.
Justified: The Complete Final Season is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.