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What Alec's Watching: Season 2 episodes 'Justify' FX series

There are only a few actors who can make any film or movie watchable just by their mere presence. Timothy Olyphant is definitely one of those actors.

During his 15-year career, Olyphant has been involved in one of the consensus best shows ever in Deadwood. He’s single-handedly turned a mediocre teenage movie (The Girl Next Door) into a worthy heir apparent to Risky Business. And now he’s clearly having a blast in the role of a lifetime as Raylan Givens on FX’s Justified.

Adapted from an Elmore Leonard novel, Justified is now three episodes into a commendable second season. In season one, U.S. Marshall Givens was reassigned from Miami to his Appalachian hometown of Harlan, Kentucky, as punishment for … well, for behaving like an Elmore Leonard character.

Givens is the latest in a series of fictional law enforcement officials who shoots first, second, third and then doesn’t even bother to ask questions later. Unfortunately, that comes along with a large amount of paperwork to fill out.

So now he patrols his old stomping ground as a walking anachronism: wearing a cowboy hat (and completely pulling the look off) and speaking in a clipped Southern accent.

Viewers and critics alike voiced some frustration with the show’s procedural-like nature of the first season. Instead of focusing on one overarching storyline, show runner Graham Yost addressed the big picture plot in the beginning and end of the season and filled the middle with self-contained episodes.

Season two follows a similar format, but it seems like the season-long storyline may get more play in every episode. This big picture involves the Bennett family’s total control of the marijuana trade in Harlan. Matriarch Mrs. Bennett is played by the utterly horrifying Margo Martindale (who you should recognize as the dying secretary from Dexter). Her three sons are played with wonderful hick-itude by Jeremy Davies (Daniel Faraday on Lost), Brad William Henke (The Chicago Code) and Joseph Lyle Taylor.

Givens will presumably have to confront the most powerful family in his hometown, while keeping close tabs on old partner-turned-nemesis Boyd Crowder (Walter Goggins from The Shield)

The second season of Justified still isn’t perfect. Givens arrives to thwart bad guys at the last possible moment far too often, and the first episode ties up loose ends from the first season far too quickly. But few shows provide as many visceral thrills.

It combines the kill-the-bad-guys porn of Dexter with the unstoppable-always-right-hero porn of 24. And I absolutely mean that as high praise.

—Alec Bojalad is a junior studying journalism. If you want to discuss Raylan Givens’ hat with him, send him an e-mail at

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