Justified Returns with One Fierce Family Feud

This Wednesday at 10/9c, when FX’s Justified launches its second season, it should come as no surprise that the new episodes hit the bulls-eye in a way that would make the drama’s sharpshooter protagonist proud.

When last we tuned into the Southern-fried drama born of short stories by Elmore Leonard, U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (played by Timothy Olyphant) received a somewhat unexpected assist from arch-enemy Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) in bringing down a band of drug runners.

Season 2 picks up just moments later, with Raylan debating Boyd’s fate. Shortly thereafter, we get caught up on Raylan’s complicated love life, and then get introduced to Mags Bennett (Million Dollar Baby‘s Margo Martindale), a prickly matriarch poised to be this season’s big bad.

Jeremy Davies (Lost), Brad William Henke (Lost, again) and Joseph Lyle Taylor (100 Centre Street) round out the pot-peddling Bennett brood, which we quickly learn has a history of bad blood with Raylan’s own kin.

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Surveying the Bennett storyline, Justified executive producer Graham Yost says, “We had been kicking around from the beginning of the first season the notion of feud culture in Kentucky. We never ended up getting into it [in Season 1], so we thought, let that be the spine of this season.”

Specifically influencing the character of Mags was a story the writing team came across during a trip to Kentucky’s actual Harlan County. “One of the stories we heard about was this woman, Mags Bailey, who had been a legendary criminal matriarch,” Yost shares. “[She] did things like pay for her kids to go to law school so that her family would have lawyers. And that intrigued us.”

In turn, Martindale found herself champing at the bit to take on this big, bad momma. “I’ll be 60 this summer, so it’s great to be able to be a villain at my age,” the actress says.

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Another theme for Season 2 is the notion of second chances. “Raylan and [ex-wife] Winona (Natalie Zea) have a second chance, so what are they going to do with that?” Yost poses. “Raylan, to a degree, has a second chance with the marshal service — can he do his job without pulling his gun? And Boyd also has a second chance.”

Indeed, the character of Boyd Crowder was a very short-lived one in Leonard’s novels. Yet Yost says the Justified decision to keep him among the living was not the creative choice that most ruffled Leonard’s feathers.

“Elmore was far more concerned about [Raylan's] hat,” Yost reports with a laugh. “I mean, we had this back-and-forth about different hats and what kind of hat he should wear. Finally, Elmore said, ‘OK. You do what you want.'”

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Are you a Season 1 Justified fan psyched about the show’s return? Or are you a new viewer curious to check out one of TV’s finest dramas?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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14 Comments
  1. Znachki says:

    Finally! Huge fan of this show. Raylan’s got the most famous and powerful TV hat since Benton Fraser!

  2. Bethany says:

    Yes, yes, yes!! Love this show and cannot wait to see lots of shots of Timothy sans his blouse!

  3. Juliab says:

    I have been waiting for this show to return. I’m happy Graham Yost decided to keep the Boyd Crowder character played by Walton Goggin around. I cann’t imagine this show without him.

  4. Erin says:

    My husband watched the first season and I just caught the reruns on FX in the last month or so. We are hooked and cannot wait for tonight’s episode. :)

  5. Peggy says:

    I bought the show on Blu-ray on an impulse buy and after the pilot I was hooked. I watched the whole first season in one weekend. I am really happy that Season 2 is here!!

  6. Erica says:

    So excited for the new episode tonight. I have been counting the days until the return. Also I love Margo Martindale can’t wait to see her on the show.

  7. Rebecca says:

    I am sooooo excited for Justified to return tonight. I love everything about this show, especially Timothy Olyphant, who is perfect as Raylan.

  8. Allison N says:

    Ahhh I am so excited for Tonight!

  9. JoeJoe says:

    To bad they can’t put Raylan against Vic from “The Shield” and the boys from “Sons of Anarchy” for one hell of a cross over event.

  10. Robin says:

    Yes—Raylan is back …he better have his hat!!!!

  11. Lily says:

    Immense fan of Timothy Olyphant and of this show. I loved the first season and got so many people hooked on it. Looking forward to tonight in a big way. =)

  12. Candy says:

    Saw last season and same as other posts, I was hooked the first thing. Tim Olyphant was great as the sheriff in DEADWOOD and he gets to be a sort of cowboy again. He played a role in DAMAGES too and am glad to see he has a starring role on this sharp show. Love his hat and his mischievous smile. I remember seeing Margo Martindale playing a role in DEXTER and loved her on that.

    The young girl in this season premiere reminds me of the lead characher in the movie WINTER’S BONE. This should be another great season.

  13. Kelly says:

    Oh yea !! Justified delivered as I knew it would. I only wish Walton goggins was in it a bit more. He plays his character as well and As intense as he played Shane on the sheild. I can’t wait for next week

  14. Grigori Rasputin says:

    I enjoyed Season 1 and have been enjoying Season two, of which I just finished watching the fourth episode. One thing I have noticed, and do not like, is how the episodes are getting progressively (regressively?) shorter. There was a big jump from Season2 Episode1 of several minutes. It has been something like a minute or two, give or take, that the episodes grow shorter with each passing week. At this rate, by the time we reach the season finale, it will be thirty minutes or less of actual show time.

    What gives?

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