Binge Watchin’ TV Review: Justified

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Welcome to Binge Watchin,’ where we take a look at some of the best TV shows available on streaming or disc that have a great catalogue of seasons to jump into and get sucked into the beautiful bliss of binge watching! From crime, action, comedy, drama, animation, etc., we’ll be evaluating an assortment of shows that will hopefully serve as a gateway to your next binge experience.


Number of Seasons: 6 (78 episodes)

Where to watch: Amazon Instant, HBO GO, Blu-Ray/DVD

What’s the show about?

Based on the character created by Elmore Leonard, JUSTIFIED follows U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens as he is reassigned to his hometown of Harlan County, Kentucky following the shooting of a criminal in Miami.  Upon his return, Raylan encounters old friends and family like local bank robber Boyd Crowder, his ex-wife Winona, and former flame Ava Crowder.  Raylan negotiates the criminal underbelly of Harlan while also trying to keep his itchy trigger finger in check.

Why should I watch it?

Fans of SONS OF ANARCHY should automatically be fans of the superior JUSTIFIED which blends outlaw culture with a police procedural with the same tone and biting dialogue you would expect from any of Elmore Leonard's works like GET SHORTY, OUT OF SIGHT, and RUM PUNCH.  JUSTIFIED is a perfect blend of violence, humor, and action while also giving us a cast of memorable characters led by the great Timothy Olyphant who echoes his role of Seth Bullock from HBO's short-lived DEADWOOD.

But, what really makes JUSTIFIED special is the criminals.  You never once think these are anything less than bad guys with each season giving us new foes for Raylan Givens in the form of the Crowder clan, led by the great Walton Goggins, the mountain dwelling Bennet clan led by THE AMERICANS' Margo Martindale, the Frankfort Mafia, the Detroit Mafia, and the Crowe family.  But, the crux of the show really is the love/hate relationship between childhood friends Raylan and Boyd who ended up on either sides of the law.  There is a very INFERNAL AFFAIRS/THE DEPARTED vibe from these two which will keep fans biting their nails until the series finale a couple of months from now.

But, JUSTIFIED also is able to balance the disparate parts of Raylan's life including his coworkers at the U.S. Marshal's office, his strained romantic relationships, and his family roots that go deep into the underworld of Harlan's criminal history.  Every character feels three dimensional whether it be a major role or a one episode villain.  None of these stories feel like a waste of time and you will find the 13 episode seasons never feel like enough time with these characters.

Airing on FX, JUSTIFIED does feature it's fair share of sex and violence which is pretty comparable to anything you would see on SONS OF ANARCHY or AMC's BREAKING BAD, but JUSTIFIED does have a much better sense of humor than either of those shows and tends to wrap up season-long story arcs in a much tidier manner than SONS OF ANARCHY ever did.  Despite each season having a main antagonist and the episodes being fairly serial in nature, JUSTIFIED is not a hard series to get into, especially if you binge watch it.

Best season:

It would have to be a tie between the first and second seasons which showcased the two best bad guys on the series: Boyd Crowder and Mags Bennett.  Despite Boyd being "killed" in the pilot episode, as he did in Elmore Leonard's short story the series is based on, the showrunners made the wise choice to bring him back and keep him at odds with Raylan for the entire six season run.

Final thoughts:

JUSTIFIED never garnered the trophies or accolades it deserved with Timothy Olyphant's great and subtle performance going unrecognized by most.  Still, this is the closest we may get to seeing a modern day western TV series but one chock full of gun play and dialogue that would make Quentin Tarantino proud.  You owe it to yourself to binge watch this series now and catch up before the series finale hits FX this April.


About the Author

5925 Articles Published

Alex Maidy has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.