FX may find cornerstone in ‘Justified’

Posted March 15, 2010, at 5:23 p.m.
JUSTIFIED: Timothy Olyphant. CR: FX / SONY
JUSTIFIED: Timothy Olyphant. CR: FX / SONY

Longtime the basic-cable home for edgy drama, FX has had “The Shield” complete its run last season and “Nip/Tuck” just conclude, with “Rescue Me” wrapping up its last season this summer.

So far, there has been only “Damages” (and maybe “Sons of Anarchy”) to replace those critically acclaimed works. Now there’s a promising new candidate in “Justified,” which debuts at 10 tonight.

“Justified” is the story of Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (played by v). Givens is a taciturn character straight out of a Western, complete with cowboy hat. After he shoots a gun thug in Miami, his disapproving superiors in the Marshal Service ship him back to his home state of Kentucky, the one place to which he vowed never to return.

Givens’ cowboy style doesn’t win him any friends in his new office. Being home also forces him to confront some of the many skeletons in his closet.

“Justified” is adapted by executive producer Graham Yost (“Boomtown,” “Band of Brothers”) from several works by Elmore Leonard, who also serves as executive producer. Yost and his writing staff do a wonderful job of bringing the flavor of Leonard’s character-driven, often comedic works to the small screen.

Olyphant, so good in “Deadwood,” is the perfect choice as Givens, and he’s ably supported by Nick Searcy as his boss, Joelle Carter as his former girlfriend and Natalie Zea as his ex-wife.

Just in time, FX has found another winning drama in “Justified.”

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