Justified's Illicit Romance Comes Under Fire

Justified‘s sharp-shooting U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (played by Timothy Olyphant) seldom needs a second shot to get the job done, yet that’s precisely what he’s now in the midst of — a second shot at romance — with his (ahem) married ex-wife Winona Hawkins. But will this reunion stick?

“So far, so good!” is how Natalie Zea sizes up the exes’ illicit romance. Still, she knows that the couple will have a tough row to hoe as they contend with Winona’s combative hubby (William Ragsdale), the raised eyebrows of those in the know (wait ’til you see Mullen’s reaction!), and the issues that split up her and Raylan in the first place, years ago.

“I think it’s the combination [of the two strong-willed personalities] that’s going to be the biggest hurdle,” says Zea. “A lot of the same demons will get dredged up eventually, as we realize that there was a reason this didn’t work in the first place.”

What is working is Justified‘s palpably Southern feel and style of storytelling, a vibe all too absent from network TV.

Assaying how the FX series has struck a chord with its fans, Zea says, “There are a lot of people out there who can identify with it. Not so much the murder and such… but there’s something very familiar and attainable with these people and the setting.

“So many shows take place on one or the other coast, and we never get to take a look at the people in between,” the actress adds. “So that definitely helps.”

Justified fans, what about the show has you transfixed and tuning in every Wednesday at 10/9c? And when it comes to Raylan’s love life, are you Team Winona or Team Ava?

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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  1. Rebecca says:

    This show is awesome. Timothy Olyphant is so very effortlessly cool and perfect in this role. And he and Natalie Zea have good chemistry together. I’m so excited that Justified is back!

  2. Erica says:

    Justified is a great show and Timothy Olyphant is just fantastic in the role. My favorite thing by far is the effortless humor that show manages. It’s really funny and clever without really trying and I love that in show. So glad that the show is back.

  3. Jason says:

    More Ava, please.

  4. Phoebe Raven says:

    I love how they work with diegetic sound instead of cheesy, manipulative scores. Makes the emotions stick out even more, in a visceral, raw way.
    Timothy Olyphant is just fantastic as Raylan Givens. It’s almost like he was born to wear a cowboy hat (see Deadwood).
    That said, I am definitely Team Ava.
    Winona was stupid enough to let Raylan get away once, so let another woman have a shot and do better!

  5. Brian says:

    Ugh, that sucks. To hell with Winona, Raylan. Ava’s clearly the way to go.

  6. JL says:

    Sorry guys, But I’m on team Boyd! :D

  7. Jackie says:

    Team Boyd.

  8. niannah says:

    Team Boyd here too. :D

  9. jax1341 says:

    Team AVA all the way!

  10. Giselle says:

    I love Justified.
    Timothy Olyphant is perfect as Raylan Givens.
    I don’t like Winona. She’s boring.
    Team Ava !!!

  11. tatiana says:

    Team AVA!!!

  12. mgb says:

    Timothy Olyphant is perfect in everything he’s in, including Justified. I’m not on team Winona or Eva. I vote for multiple random hook-ups so we can revel in the wonder that is Raylan.

  13. Valerie says:

    Honestly, I liked Raylan and Ava a whole lot more. And I thought the way he just dumped her and started sleeping with his ex-wife was beyond tacky. And to be blunt, there’s just something about Winona that completely rubs me the wrong way, and I like Raylan a lot less when he’s around her.

    I’m Team Ava! But, she just might deserve someone better then Raylan.

  14. Angie says:

    I loved Raylan & Ava, but… and I know this will come off sounding a little mean…
    Ava strikes me as the queen of the holler, ya know? All the hillbillies have a thing for her. While Winona is a little higher class. So if Raylan can get her, I say why not?!

  15. Alex says:

    Definitely Team Boyd. It’s obvious that he’s the one Raylan has the most amazing chemistry with!

  16. linstro says:

    Raylan and Boyd fan!
    I love everything about this show!

  17. Diva says:

    Team Winona. Ava is the woman who is waiting for her knight in shining armor to come in and save her from her oh-so-ordinary life. She practically said as much in S1. Ugh. I have no patience for women like that.

  18. JL says:

    I want to be BEST FRIENDS with all of my fellow Team Boyd folks!

    That’s my two-cents, but here’s an extra penny: if I wasn’t Team boyd, I’d be team Winona. No-nonsense woman ftw! I’m tired of princesses waiting for their Prince Charming to save them.

  19. shelly says:

    Wondering why so much press about and from the actress who plays Winona and none that I have seen from the actress who plays Ava? I think that Raylan and Ava offer so much more in story possibilities. And Ava looks right at home with that shotgun in her hands. Anyway, I wish that they would get back on that track. Winona and her husband are more supporting characters that could add some humor.

    • lipsticksocialism says:

      I think it’s because Natalie Zea was in Dirty Sexy Money, so they assume people know her more maybe? Or maybe because the show is on Team Winona?

      I’m definitely Team Winona! So much to explore with their past <3

  20. Juliab says:

    I don’t care who Raylan ends up with. I’m just happy the show is back, and like was mentioned I like the humor as well.

  21. Nic says:


  22. Katie says:

    Hopping on the Team Ava wagon!

  23. Dusty says:

    Definitely Team Winona. Ava just drags Raylan down into her messes. Or Team-Sleep-With-Someone-New. Just not Ava.

  24. dylan says:

    definitely team ava! i don’t get why people are saying that ava is one of those women who acts like a princess waiting to be rescued, as i recall, she rescued herself pretty damn well by shooting her abusive husband and not being intimidated by his family who were threatening her any chance they got. i know it may have seemed that way because raylan always wanted to keep her safe, but she wasn’t asking to be rescued. she has sass and tenacity and doesn’t back down in a fight, she’s a lot like raylan in many ways. she’s just a far more interesting character, with a lot more possibilities than winona. it kinda feels like winona’s just bored with her marriage, and only became interested in raylan again when she figured there was something between him and ava. a case of ‘i don’t want to be married to him, but i also don’t want anyone else to have him’. i struggle to find anything likable in her character.

    • Erica says:

      Thank you I couldn’t have said it better myself Ava is a strong woman who doesn’t take any crap from anyone including Raylan.

  25. mcshame says:

    Raylan’s scenes with Winona are Dullsville. He and Ava have that snap!crackle!pop! that is so much fun to watch. TEAM AVA!

  26. kim says:

    Team Winona all the way!

  27. Mel says:

    I am definitely a Raylan/Winona fan. Ava is a cool character, but is definitely a better match with Boyd not Raylan.

  28. Spikenalabama says:

    Ugh, Ava? Really? Can’t stand that character. I don’t necessarily want Raylan with Winona either but I just don’t like Ava.

  29. Bella says:

    Team Winona. And I think last night’s episode where she asked about his day and he told her the ugliness of it all, she told him she could handle that part, she couldn’t handle the silence. I think that goes a long way towards telling us what at least part of the problem with their marriage was. And it’s a common one for people in law enforcement. They don’t want to take the ugliness they see home with them, yet their spouses feel shut out.

  30. Lady K says:

    Team AVA!

    I LOVED Justified last season and good not wait for it to return this season! However, I am beginning to seriously rethink watching the show because of the Raylan-Winona storyline. I believe it is dragging down the entire show. Personally, I cannot STAND Winona. To me, she is one of those women who stands in the corner and screams and waits to get rescued, and I hate women like that! Raylan saves people all day long…he doesn’t need to go home and save someone else! As a matter of fact, he needs someone who can save him and if anyone can do that, it is Ava! She saved herself from her bad home situation, she saved herself from the various kidnapping attempts and Boyd’s dad revenge. Seriously Team Ava all the way!

  31. Jeri says:

    Ava and Winona are both hot. It’s already been announced that Boyd gets with Ava this year so I think the PTB are officially blessing the Winona/Raylon union and that’s why we’re not hearing from Ava.

    Didn’t know about the email problem – now i’m concerned.

  32. Crittle says:

    Ava always struck me as clingy/needy. I felt that Raylan was with her because 1. He was bored and 2. She was a damsel in distress. She was nothing more than a booty call to him, he didn’t seem particularly interested beyond that. But Winona he actually wants her. I could do without either of them, but I think with Winona this time around, they series is going to explore who Raylan is and his background. Winana and Ava both have the personality of dishwater

  33. Ashley says:

    Ava is beyond desperate. Winona and Raylan have amazing chemistry, and their connection, based on the ending scene from Tuesday, is both unwavering and effortless. It’s a much more mature relationship than the one he carried out with Ava.

  34. ode says:

    I like to see Raylan with Ava. Please go back and clear up the last conversation Raylan and Ava had after she found out Raylan slept with Winona. Ava with Raylan will bring out more of Raylan character as a US Marshall and just being a man in general. Bring Ava back in his life, they don’t have to get married a relationship with Ava sometimes up and sometimes down. AVA………………..

  35. Pibbs says:

    Definately Team Ava. Hoping to see some sparks fly soon.

  36. Lee says:

    The acting by all is nothing short of wonderful. Dicky, I find, is actually the best actor on the show. I take absolutely nothing away from the rest of the actors…they are all fantastic. Love this show every Wed. night. Hope it goes on for many more seasons….

  37. ABC says:

    Team Ava AND Boyd. I know, it’s a total pipedream to have a threesome in the main cast but I don’t even care. <3 Raylan should have both of those awesome people.

  38. hanaé says:

    Timothy is so cute and i find he desserves the most beautiful actress of the show, indoubtedly Natalie ZEA !!!!!!