Justified the Complete Third Season
Based on a character created by
Elmore Leonard, whose work has previously formed the basis for films
such as Jackie Brown and Get Shorty, Justified
tells the story of Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), a Deputy U.S
Marshal who has been reassigned from Miami to his hometown in Kentucky
due to his shooting of a hit-man in Miami. Whilst contending with
readjusting to small town life, Raylan must also face off against
Moonshine runners, evil crime matriarchs and the twisted white
supremacist Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins).
Season 3 sees Detroit mafia enforcer
Quarles (Neal McDonough) arriving in Harlan County, initially to collect
a debt but soon becoming a major player in the county’s crime scene.
Meanwhile Boyd is trying to squeeze the location of a large sum of money
hidden by Mags Bennet out of her surviving son Dickie, willingly
allowing himself to be thrown into prison in order to get the
Raylan is still recovering from the
events of last season and may be starting to find himself behind the
8-ball, both physically and in regards to his relationship with Winona
(Natalie Zea). Each episode usually presents its own self contained
dilemma for Raylan to overcome, ensuring that the rusty lawman is
constantly being plunged into the deep end.
Wisely deciding against re-exploring
the themes presented in the brilliant second season, which featured The
Bennet Clan as the primary antagonists, Justified has gone in a
slightly different direction this time around, eschewing the down home
politics of Harlan County and shifting the focus to that of the
interloper Quarls and his attempts to infiltrate its underbelly.
This allows for some fresh
perspective on characters who have become series institutions over the
last two seasons, although Quarls never quite hits the shockingly cruel
levels Mags did. A lot of the subtext of the show focuses on the
dichotomy between the smooth talking, slickly dressed Quarls and the
simple country folk who rule with an iron fist; the character himself is
almost a cartoonish depiction of big city villainy, complete with a
pistol hidden up his sleeve.
The casting is brilliantly inspired,
with special mention going to the commanding performances by Olyphant
and Goggins. This season explores the fallibility of Givens’ tough guy
schtick, showing a more human side to an already well rounded character,
and allows for more maneuverability within the storylines of each
episode. And Boyd? Well, Boyd plays the part of an irritating thorn in
Raylan’s side, as per usual, leading to some deliciously tense scenes
between the pair.
It shouldn’t really have to be said
but if you’re unfamiliar with the show, season 1 is the place to start;
diving into this release will only serve to leave you with more
questions than answers, as the arching storyline incorporates many
elements from previous seasons.
The Gun Fighter
The Devil You Know
Thick As Mud
When The Guns Come Out
The man Behind The Curtain
Watching The Detectives
Guy Walks Into A Bar
The image quality is
fairly impressive for DVD, with clean colours and a crisp, detailed
picture. The audio is also up to standard. With no noticeable
compression or banding, this is an all around competent transfer.
Season 3 comes with a nice selection of additional features, including
incisive commentary on 9 episodes, three deleted scenes, a lengthy
“making of” and a handful of behind-the-scenes featurettes. Overall
there’s enough more than enough here for you to sink your teeth into.
List of Features:
Commentary on selected episodes (The Gunfighter, Cut Ties,
Harlan Roulette and Thick As Mud)
Deleted Scenes (1:05)
Crossing The Line: Making Season 3 (17:50)
Commentary on selected episodes (When The Guns Come Out
and Loose Ends)
Deleted Scenes (3:25; 0:59)
Ellsten’s Joint: Noble’s Holler Set Tour (12:19)
Commentary on selected episodes (Guy Walks Into A Bar, Coalition
Anatomy Of A Stunt (8:59)
An entertaining 13 episode ride through the seedy world of backwater
crime, Justified’s third season had the unenviable task of living
up to an absolutely superb second season. Did it, excuse the pun, do it
justice? Not quite; despite some definite highlights and tight writing
throughout, The Bennet Clan were just such a lovable set of rogues that
it’s impossible to fill their shoes.
With that being said, Justified remains top quality programming,
well on its way to being revered along with the upper echelons of
television drama such as Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire and
Stellar writing, bolstered by strong performances from the cast, ensures
that Justified maintains its position as one of the more strongly
developed programs on television today. Head on down to Harlan County
and stay a spell, you may just find that you’ll like it.