The new FX series is a modern-day Western about a federal marshal in Florida who is sent to work in his home state of Kentucky after he shoots a man to death and the authorities believe the shooting wasn't necessarily justified.
The show is based on a short story by Elmore Leonard who also executive produces. Developed by Graham Yost, the Emmy-winning producer of From Earth to the Moon, and directed by Michael Dinner, the Emmy-winner from The Wonder Years, this show is an interesting look into the minds and lives of southern, backwoods criminals.
Timothy Olyphant stars as Raylan Givens. Givens is a sharpshooter. He has guns in multiple holsters on his body and he's not afraid to whip them out and fire at any bad guy. He's tall. He's rugged, and he likes to wear a white hat and drive a Lincoln town car.
He's quick on the draw, which has helped to save his and a lot of people's lives. It's also gotten him in trouble on more than one occasion. The first time is in Miami. At least in
that case, the bad guy didn't live to fight another day.
However, once Raylan arrived in Lexington, he immediately crossed paths with an old friend of his named Boyd Crowder, played by the amazing Walton Goggins (The Shield). Crowder is a redneck, country boy who grew up to be a rocket-launching, white supremacist. Boyd's wife, Ava Crowder, eventually has enough of Boyd's abusive ways and tries to get away from him, but Boyd holds her hostage, and Raylan has to shoot Boyd in order to free her.
For most of the criminals whom Raylan shoots, that's enough to stop them permanently, but not Boyd. Boyd survives the shooting and his return further complicates Raylan's life in
ways that even he couldn't foresee. Raylan takes it upon himself to protect Ava, while she in the meantimes falls in love with the dashing lawman.
Raylan also feels the need to protect his ex-wife, Winona Givens who is now a court reporter in Lexington. Raylan's eye also has to keep a look out for his own father, Arlo Givens who himself has been in and out of prison. Raylan certainly isn't a chip off the old block.
But, despite getting into the compelling intricacies of Raylan's life, what the show does well is each episode basically focuses on getting into the head of different criminal and
that episode is essentially told from that criminal's point-of-view. It's not like your typical police procedural. It's not Law & Order: Lexington, or CSI: Kentucky.
Most of the time, it's just these small-time crooks and their schemes to get rich and how they'll resort to kidnapping or murder. Sometimes, big-time gangsters will get into the mix,
but mainly it's just desperate criminals trying to get away with desperate heists. Unlike with other cop shows that merely examines the villains through the eyes of cops
interrogating them. This show personalizes the criminals more, in order to better understand them.
At times, the show can be too black and white where the criminals are too clearly defined. There's not a lot of mystery to the stories. You know who the bad guys are immediately.
There's no surprise. But, in a sea of TV shows that are built on twists and turns, it's nice to have a program that's powerful enough to just be straight forward and sail on the strength of its characters, specifically its villainous characters.
Five Stars out of Five Rated TVMA for strong language and violence Running Time: 1 hr. Airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.