Third-episode verdict: Justified

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 2

In the US: Tuesdays, 10pm, FX
In the UK: Starts this month on Five USA

We’re three episodes into Justifed, so time to pass a verdict. Based on one of Ellmore Leonard’s short stories, Justified sees US Marshall Timothy Olyphant return home to his native Kentucky, where he has to face not just criminals but a variety of old memories.

Now, the first episode was really good, filled with sparkly dialogue, intriguing characters and a decent plot to boot. And, of course, Timothy Olyphant is just outstanding. Okay, just about every Southern/Kentucky stereotype possible gets trawled out, but it’s done reasonably subtly (and for all I know that’s exactly what it’s like there).

Trouble is, the next two episodes have been pretty dull. They’ve been "dumb Southern criminal of the week" shows, with Olyphant slow-talking his way through a variety of situations, while his equally slow-talking Southern fellow officers rush out the guns whenever possible. The spark of the dialogue and the zing of the characters have gone, and the plotting has also disappeared in some creek somewhere.

It’s still not bad. It’s still well written and thoughtful, with the characters all served well and nothing dumb and CSI: Miami-ish happening anywhere. It’s just not very interesting any more. You can watch it. If you like The Mentalist, you’ll love this. I’m just not feeling the love as much, so I’m probably going to drop it from my viewing – which is a shame given the quality of the first episode.

Carusometer rating: 2
Rob’s prediction: Give the plummeting ratings, I reckon this is going to last a season at most, but it might be survive longer if it’s given a chance to find its feet.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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