Over Christmas we watched season three of Justified which was a lot of fun. It continues to rattle by with snappy dialogue and great characters, of whom Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens is often the least interesting. The calm centre around which the madness whirls.
This season Walton Goggins’ Boyd Crowder and Jere Burns’ Wynn Duffy were joined by Neal McDonough’s Robert Quarles, a glowing, blue-eyed baby-face whose perfect, smooth suits encase him like bespoke armour. Last season Duffy was a ruthless psycho and it was interesting seeing him out-psycho’d by his self-appointed new boss, Quarles, whose name, to these English ears at least, is always pronounced as Quarrels. He was a lot of horrible fun, reminding me a bit of Kelsey Grammer’s most dangerous moments as mayor Tom Kane in Boss. A flawed and increasingly desperate man struggling to maintain his smile despite the pressure from every direction.
The biggest flaw with Justified, so far, is the lack of strong women. Season two had Margo Martindale’s magnificent matriarch Mags Bennett, but she’s almost the sole exception. Ava Crowder is fierce when allowed a chance by the dominant men (and the scriptwriters) but she still feels like “the girlfriend” who must ask permission from the men before doing anything. Deputy Marshal Rachel Brooks so rarely appears there’s not much chance for her to have a lasting effect. And Raylan’s wife Winona, who seemed strong and determined in season one, is increasingly wet, used only to emphasise that her husband is Married To The Job Despite Being Sensitive Really.
Anyway, we’re still enjoying the series and are only half-way through. More in 2019!