A blog about movies and filmmaking.


In television on March 23, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Let me tell you about a new show that I just watched – seriously, I finished the pilot, went to the bathroom and am now writing this – from the great cable network FX, called JUSTIFIED. It stars Timothy Olyphant as U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens, a man who could very well be the descendent of Sheriff Seth Bullock; and might very well have watched one too many John Wayne or Clint Eastwood movies in his time. He’s bold and fearless, even with a shotgun straight in his face. And we see that he’s got the gunslinging skills to back it up.

JUSTIFIED, developed and written by Graham Yost – who has also worked on some other television projects, including the now running THE PACIFIC (the sort of sister series to 2001’s BAND OF BROTHERS, which Yost also worked on) and he wrote the movies SPEED, BROKEN ARROW and HARD RAIN. Which, if you’re not getting the connection; all kind of relate to a main character (some kind of cop or law enforcement) standing up to one or more bad guys – almost, stupidly and illogically so.  Then there’s the other part of the creative/writerly side of this project, that it’s based on a short story by Elmore Leonard (cleverly titled, the same as the pilot episode, “Fire in the Hole”).

Leonard, who writes novels that just seem scream to be adapted into movies or TV shows, has a style and a rhythm that is just captivating – and it’s in full effect here. If you look at other filmed versions of his stories; from GET SHORTY to 3:10 TO YUMA (either the newer one, or hell the older one too), all the way down to JACKIE BROWN and OUT OF SIGHT, you can also tell just what kind of characters this show will be populated with.

And that’s the brilliance, there are actors in this show both (vaguely) known (Nick Searcy – EAGLE EYE and RUNAWAY JURY; Walton Goggins – THE SHIELD and the upcoming PREDATORS) and unknown (Joelle Carter – HIGH FIDELITY; Damon Herriman) that the moment you see them, you know who they are – in the show. And it’s the main protagonist, Givens, that is really the blank slate; that all we know is he’s only pulling his weapon if it’s to shoot someone.

You’ll notice I’ve not really talked about the pilot, specifically – and even the trailer posted below is a teaser – and that’s intentional. I want you walking into this with your eyes and ears open and not having any idea where it’s going to go. Believe me, you will be rewarded. So, if the show can keep up that end of the deal; brilliant characters, fascinating ways to have your lead pulling his gun and standing in harm’s way, well, then they just might have created a show that lives up to THE SHIELD, DEADWOOD and all the other great shows that are also a part of this pedigree.

I know I’ll be watching.

  1. Sold, sir. I shall aquire a copy through entirely legitimate means

    • Oh and did I forget to mention that right now you can download the first episode for free off iTunes?! (Well, at least in the states, don’t know about the rest of the world…But, that could be one “legitimate means” to check out. 🙂

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