wed 24/04/2024

Justified, Series 4, 5USA | reviews, news & interviews

Justified, Series 4, 5USA

Justified, Series 4, 5USA

Quietly brilliant US drama returns for a fourth series of suspense and black humour

Another fine mess for Constable Bob (Patton Oswalt, centre) as the fourth series of 'Justified' gets underway

US drama is a funny thing. Given the obsession certain parts of the press have with the stuff, there are some shows whose names you will be familiar with regardless of whether you’ve ever seen an episode.

But while your social media feed has been working itself up into a frenzy over Game of Thrones, and counting down the days until Breaking Bad is back on, there is one show that has been quietly brilliant throughout that you probably haven’t heard of.

As its fourth season gets underway on this side of the Atlantic, Justified has only gotten better since the last time theartsdesk checked in. With its razor-sharp dialogue and morally ambiguous characters you end up rooting for in spite of yourself, and its season-long mysteries that unfold at just the right pace, the show strikes the perfect balance between encouraging viewers to tune in every week and not frustrating them by ignoring the obvious. This time around, an old diplomatic bag containing a driving licence in the name of Waldo Truth was stashed in a hole in the wall of deputy US Marshall Raylan Givens’s (Timothy Olyphant) childhood home. Doesn’t sound all that intriguing? By the end of the first hour, somebody has already died for it.

Timothy Olyphant and Natalie Zea in JustifiedDumped again by pregnant ex-wife Winona (Natalie Zea, pictured right with Olyphant) at the end of the previous season due to his commitment to the job and seemingly non-existent sense of safety, Raylan is now shacked up with the woman who owns the bar he is living above and earning money on the side tracking down fugitives for an ex-flame who is now working in bail bonds. When Raylan gets a call from local lawman Constable Bob Sweeney (Patton Oswalt) to alert him to a break-in at the house, he’s got a fugitive in the boot.

In any other hands, the shenanigans that ensue when the youthful breakers and enterers return (I told you that bag was important) would descend into farce. Instead, skilful direction keeps things light while maintaining a sense of jeopardy, aided by Oswalt’s magnificent comic turn as the hapless Constable Bob.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to refer to Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) as the series’ antagonist. Times are tough for the sometime friend, sometime nemesis of Raylan Givens as the head of a criminal enterprise, with oxycontin sales dropping off - apparently thanks to the influence of friendly local preacher/snake charmer Pastor Billy St Cyr (Joe Mazzello, perhaps best known for handling reptiles of a different kind as a 10-year-old in Jurassic Park). Partner Ava (Joelle Carter), who despite her backseat role in this episode remains one of the best characters on television, isn’t faring much better managing the prostitution side of the business. New "heavy" Colton Rhodes (Ron Eldard), an old buddy of Boyd’s who has just returned from the military, shows his violent side early on in a scene which showcases the black humour of Justified perfectly.

Watch the trailer for Season 4 of Justified below

Skilful direction keeps things light while maintaining a sense of jeopardy


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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