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Justified: The Complete Third Season - Review

Justified: The Complete Third Season

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

ENTERING its third season, Justified had a huge task ahead in matching, let alone surpassing, the outstanding achievement of its sophomore run.

Yet while not quite managing to surpass, season three of the Timothy Olyphant headed ensemble drama remained an outstanding achievement in its own right.

Not only did it introduce yet another memorable central adversary in Neal McDonough’s dark, sleazy Robert Quarles, it continued to take its recurring characters in interesting new directions, while piling on memorable action sequences and first-rate dialogue.

On this occasion, Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens (Olyphant) found himself struggling to hold down his relationship while trying to get to grips with multiple criminal forces warring for control of his county.

As ever, arch-enemy Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) continued to be a tricky presence, making further moves back into the underworld he’d strove so hard to escape from in the second run, while Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies in his Emmy®-winning role) added an extra element of danger despite spending the first part of the season behind bars.

Into this already incendiary mix arrived a new mystery man named “Limehouse” (Mykelti Williamson), a lethal mob enforcer (McDonough) newly arrived from the Motor City and in a final shocking showdown, his own father (played with usual seething conviction by Raymond J Barry).

Slow-burning at times, while the multiple story elements gradually came together, the series nevertheless delivered several memorable showdowns as well as a couple of surprises, with the various manouevrings of its central players contributing to several great twists and turns.

Olyphant remained an enigmatic central presence, even when his usually cool demeanour became exposed and placed under intense pressure, while Goggins remained his usual tricksy self and one of television’s great anti-heroes.

Williamson and McDonough were great additions too, with the latter especially enjoying one cracking showdown with Olyphant in a bar that positively boiled with tension.

But everything about Justified is a pleasure, from the writing to the direction right down to the performances, which never miss their mark.

Three seasons in and Justified comfortably remains one of the finest shows on television, making the release of his latest box set another essential.

Certificate: 15
Episodes: 13
UK DVD Release: February 25, 2013