JUSTIFIED (Foxtel)

 

SURELY there’s just one reason US deputy marshall Raylan Givens is called the coolest cop on TV – Timothy Olyphant’s swagger.

The American actor who some will know better as the sheriff in Deadwood was apparently a top-ranked swimmer and he certainly moves like an athlete.

With the hat, the gun and yes, the swagger, Givens is a cool-exteriored, simmering hotbed of anger underneath an old-style lawman who you don’t want to try and outdraw at high noon.

“If I draw my firearm, I shoot to kill,” he warns one want-to-be gun slinger.

I rate Justified, however, not only for Olyhant’s critically aclaimed performance, but also because it’s dramatic, sharply written, well-acted all round and simply fascinating. Part of that fascination is the backdrop for this tale – the backwoods, hills and coal mines of Kentucky (athough it’s not filmed there).

Justified, based on an Elmore Leonard short story Fire in the Hole, centres on Raylan Givens who outdraws a mob hit man in Miami after giving him 24 hours to get out of town. A bit of an embarrasment to his bosses, and the target now of the Mob, Givens is sent to Lexington, Kentucky. That’s bad because not only does his ex-wife live there but Lexington has jurisdiction over Harlan County. Improverished hick-town Harlan is the last place Raylan wants to be; he grew up there and his rascal of a criminal father still lives there with Raylan’s Aunt Helen.

In SEASON ONE, out on DVD and Blu-Ray, the big bad is the Crowder family, including Raylan’s sometime friend Boyd (an intriguing character) who likes to blow things up.

SEASON TWO, also out on DVD and Blu-Ray, centres on the marijuana growing Bennett family, led by matriarch Mags.

SEASON 3, which is yet to be released on DVD here, has a new big bad in Robert Quarles who’s trying to take over local criminal operations.

Justified has been renewed for SEASON FOUR also.

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HOT GUY ALERT: Olyphant is very, very masculine and so very, very cool. And then there’s that thing about his swagger…enough said.

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