In the deep, dark hills - Justified returns for Season 4

Sarah Posted by Sarah at January 8, 2013 16:26:41 January 8, 2013 16:26:41

Justified Season 4 preview

Over the holidays I tried to explain Justified to my parents and the best I could come up with was “a buddy cop show with a trigger happy, emotionally damaged Marshal and a neo-Nazi white supremacist”. Ah Justified, how I love thee. There’s nothing else like you—the weirdest bromance and bizarrely deep friendship—on television.

Season 4 of Justified starts tonight after the finale for season 3 left Raylan Givens hanging in a pretty tough spot. His on-again/off-again situation with ex-wife Winona was officially off for the last time, and though she’ll be having his kid, Winona won’t be propping up the remains of Raylan’s emotions anymore. The bigger sucker punch by far, though, was Raylan’s revelation that his dad, Arlo, shot State Trooper Tom because he saw a cop in a cowboy hat and didn’t particularly care if it was Raylan or not. Season 3 ended on an emotional downbeat, and now it’s time to see how Raylan claws his way back up from the abyss.

Season 4 will be without some favorite characters as Dickie Bennett and Dewey Crowe have both been ruled out for this run, but showrunner Graham Yost let it slip that they’re planning on six seasons to complete Raylan’s arc and that Dickie and Dewey will likely come back later on. I’m a little bummed that Justified has a sell-by date, because I love it so much, but then, my biggest problem with 99% of what’s on TV is that shows too often overstay their welcome, so I appreciate the plotting that goes into knowing when your story is complete. But six seasons—that means we’re halfway through.

Though we have no Dickie or his lunatic hair (which actor Jeremy Davies cuts himself to achieve that signature “doing meth down in the holler” look) or the hapless Dewey, season 4 does have a few new face in store. The big one is comedian Patton Oswalt (who is actually a good actor too -- see also Young Adult, Big Fan) as a local cop who knew Raylan back in high school. His character’s bio includes “tells the same football story over and over again”. The idea of someone hero-worshipping Raylan, especially the potential that has in Oswalt’s hands, is a winner. We’ll also being seeing more of Lindsey the Sexy Bartender.

And I’m hoping we get more of Deputies Brooks and Gutterson. Brooks (Erica Tazel) has great spiky energy with Raylan that I always crave more of. She so clearly wants Raylan to be the jumped up redneck she’s been struggling against her whole career (at the very least), and the look on her face every time he defies her expectations is funny. But Brooks got shortchanged in season 3, as it was Gutterson who emerged as Raylan’s frequent ride-along deputy. Cool in his own right, Gutterson has turned into Raylan’s most interesting co-worker. His wit is so dry even the bone-dry Raylan has to double-take every time he thinks Gutterson has made a joke, just to be sure. “More Gutterson” became a steady refrain by the end of season 3.

But let’s not kid ourselves. Justified, for all that it’s about Raylan Givens, is really Boyd Crowder’s show. Season 4 is teasing Boyd’s return to “preaching” and so far, he looks like the only Big Bad in the landscape, though Ron Eldard has joined up to play a former military friend (enemy? With Boyd, isn’t it kind of the same?) of Boyd’s. The last couple of seasons have seen Raylan and Boyd working together quite a bit to take down other bad guys—albeit, for entirely different reasons—so it would be nice to deal with them once again returned to their own sides of the line and fighting each other just as much as they flirt. Season 4 of Justified promises to be everything we love about the show, plus Patton Oswalt.

Raylan’s body count so far: I tallied it up and I’ve got the grand total at 15, with 3 wounded (Boyd and Arlo from season 1 and the “black hat” Nix from the season 3 opener has officially been ruled a wounding—this is what I do with my spare time), plus 1 “disarming” (Quarles in season 3). In the wake of the gun violence in 2012, though, I wonder if Justified won’t change gears with all the shootings.

Attached -- photos from the Justified premiere on Saturday.

Kevin Winter /Getty

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