After a compelling performance as a smalltime sheriff on HBO’sDeadwood, a show that was criminally underwatched, Timothy Olyphant is once again donning spurs and a cowboy hat, this time as Deputy U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens on FX’sJustified.The entire show is based on one short story by crime writer Elmore Leonard, who worked as a creative consultant and producer for the show until his death last year. For those not aware, Leonard is the last in a long line of “guy’s writers,” a direct descendent of Hemingway in style and thought (here, incidentally, isThe Wirecreator David Simon’s moving tribute to Leonard). This guy delivers the goods like no other, andJustifiedis just one final proof of that. The show is witty and dark and, in its southern backwater setting, atmospheric.The show also features one of television’s best rivalries, as Olyphant’s sheriff squares off against his nemesis, articulate manipulator Boyd Crowder, played to perfection by Walton Goggins. Both men are intelligent and single-minded, and both are willing to do questionable things in pursuit of their goals, but one has a badge and the other is an ex-white supremacist.
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