That’s some damn show. I won’t drop any spoilers. Suffice it to say that in the last four episodes everything seemed to be going to hell and I was incensed at the trajectory I saw for the plot. But by the conclusion I was satisfied that there wasn’t a better possible ending. I’ll take a while to digest the whole story. There’s a lot there. Criminals and cops and their girls. But at the end Raylin and Boyd together are the motor that runs the show. They are like the two poles of a magnet. Opposite and linked. And then there’s Ava. Who’s responsible for that disaster? And then there’s just the sheer scope of the mayhem. By the end of the show the killing becomes like a steady rain. I seriously wondered if the last episode would close on nothing left of the cast but body bags in the morgue.
Justified is a very well-made crime drama. The main characters are interesting and in some ways sympathetic. The run of the show is neither too short nor too long to provide a solid entertainment experience. The story runs its course and the potential of the situation like the coal in one of the Harlan County mines is extracted and exhausted.
In a crime story that has both, it’s sometimes difficult to strike the correct balance between drama and comedy. In my opinion Justified manages that balance unusually well. With the large and shifting parade of criminals and lawmen, victims and friends, there were many colorful characters that provided ample opportunities for laughs. But often that laughter was tinged with disgust at the ignorance, greed or stupidity that was the source. And the laughs were often at the expense of the lawmen too. Trying to outsmart idiots sometimes ended up poorly. And Raylin consistently had troubles with his love life. Too often it intersected with his work. And when that happened, his boss Art would call out, “Raylin, would you come in my office and close the door?”
Critiquing entertainment is far from an exact science. Objectivity is not even a theoretical consideration. Why I like Justified so much probably has more to do with me than with the show. And if your tastes are at all different from mine then we could completely disagree on the quality of this TV show. With all of that said, I highly recommend Justified to anyone who likes well written and acted drama with a healthy dose of ironic humor thrown in for leavening. Everything about the show is well done and enjoyable. And probably best of all it has the correct balance. There is a beginning, middle and end. At the end, it was enough. Anymore extracted from these characters will need to be a different chapter in a different place and with a different flavor. Harlan County, Kentucky has been successfully mined and the treasure collected and sold to the consumers. Amen.