'Justified' returns for an action-packed third season

'Justified' brings more feuds and shoot-outs to its new season, premiering tonight

Prashant Gupta/FX/AP
Walton Goggins portrays Boyd Crowder in a scene from 'Justified.'
Prashant Gupta/HONS/FX/AP
'Justified' main character Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) will continue to face challenges from local criminals despite his desire to focus on his family.

Returning for a third explosive season, FX’s razor-sharp series JUSTIFIED is back with more gunfights, brawls, and rampant crime in Harlan, Kentucky.  Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) may be a U.S. Marshal, but his life is cursed to be a crime-magnet. No matter what the situation or how many guns might be involved, Raylan walks straight in and astoundingly usually walks right back out.  But in the second season finale, Raylan’s good luck ran out and he took a bullet in a shoot-out with Mags Bennett’s (Margo Martindale) crew.  Also in that bloody finale, Raylan was not the only unlucky one as Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter) was shot point-blank by Mags’ son Dickie (Jeremy Davies), and Raylan’s aunt Helen (Linda Gehringer) was caught in the cross-fire as well.  Crime is a bit incestuous with the Bennetts, Crowders, Givens and other clans looking to preserve their way of life — their god-given right to pursue the almighty dollar by any means necessary.

JUSTIFIED is not just a series about U.S. Marshals pursuing federal fugitives or protecting federal witnesses.  It is about the Kentucky feuds dating back to the beginning of U.S. history.  Walking the fine-line between upholding the law that his federal badge affords and rooting out the evil infesting Harlan County, Raylan tends to shoot first and ask questions later.  In his defense, if he doesn’t, he’ll be the one six-feet under — as no one talks without taking a bullet first.

As the third season opens, Raylan is on desk-duty recuperating, and a very disgruntled Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) reminds Raylan that he failed to honor his promise to hand over Dickie Bennett, the man who brazenly shot Ava — Boyd’s girl; and Boyd aims to settle the score.  But life never stands still while the feuds are erupting; new in town is a hired-hand who specializes in quick draw with a pistol and an ice pick.  Also arriving to fill the void left behind by Mags’ suicide last season, the northern crime bosses have sent their best man to set up a new operation to keep the pipeline of pills flowing between Miami and Chicago.   In no time, the new crime boss Quarles (fantastically portrayed by Neal McDonough) positions himself to face off with Boyd Crowder for control over crime in Harlan County.  One line that Quarles says echoes throughout the season is, “Know me now?”  He only looks like a squeaky clean business man in a suit; but one should never turn their back on a snake in a suit.

Throw into the mix, Dickie Bennett whose mission in life is to reclaim his family’s fortune and preserve the family criminal enterprise, Boyd Crowder who has a similar mission with the one caveat that he wants Dickie’s head on a platter, and the usual suspects of Boyd’s errant kinsmen of Devil (Kevin Rankin), Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman), and Johnny Crowder (David Meunier) and there is only one thing for certain:  all hell is about to break loose.

With the news of Winona’s pregnancy at the end of last season, Raylan’s got a lot on his mind.  The last thing he needs to do is mediate or squash another blood-feud brewing to a boiling point.  But with everyone sniffing around for Mags Bennett’s fortune and hoping to secure Harlan County as the base of their criminal enterprise, Raylan’s desire to sit back and start a family is going to back-burnered.

Tiffany Vogt blogs at The TV Addict.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.