Justified: Season 1, Episode 13

Bulletville (8 Jun. 2010)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Crime | Drama
8.9
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Ratings: 8.9/10 from 600 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 1 critic

Bo gets revenge on Boyd for blowing up his ephedrine shipment, asks Arlo to help him kill Raylan at the request of the Miami cartel, and kidnaps Ava for bait and insurance against Raylan.

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Title: Bulletville (08 Jun 2010)

Bulletville (08 Jun 2010) on IMDb 8.9/10

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Bo gets revenge on Boyd for blowing up his ephedrine shipment, asks Arlo to help him kill Raylan at the request of the Miami cartel, and kidnaps Ava for bait and insurance against Raylan.

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8 June 2010 (USA)  »

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Quotes

Raylan Givens: You didn't happen to bring your rocket launcher, did you?
Boyd Crowder: I didn't think to pack one.
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Connections

Featured in Justified: The Moonshine War (2011) See more »

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You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive
Written by Darrell Scott
Performed by Brad Paisley
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User Reviews

Season 1: Rises above the genre thanks to dialogue, tone and performances
21 September 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

When I started reading reviews of this show, for some reason I took the idea away that it was a drama series to be put next to your Wire's or your Deadwood's – a show perhaps with a great deal going on and a lot of complexity in the characters. As a result I mentally put it to one side and thought "I'll get to that at some point" as I wasn't really looking for another heavy drama at this point. Part of me getting that impression was because the show was so universally praised as if it was something new or groundbreaking and it gave me the idea that it is when in fact it isn't.

Justified, at its core, is a case-per-week police procedural with a notable lead character and a supporting cast of solid but not distracting characters. It has an overall narrative arch, but on any given week there will be an issue or crime that is raised and resolved within that episode. In this regard it shares a genre with other TV shows such as House, Monk, The Mentalist and so on – not compared them in terms of quality or tone, but at the base of the construct is this foundation and it is one that seems very popular at the moment. What defines the show though is not that it has the same essential idea as a lot of other shows, but that it does it well enough in sufficient regard that it stands out not only as one of the better of the genre, but also as a strong show in its own right even if not so strong that it shakes off its genre.

What marks it out as different is evident from the very first scene, and it is this tough edge that it has throughout, like the modern western that much of it suggests it is. In lesser hands this edge could have been lost and Justified could have been another glossy weekly show, but the tone and such keeps this at bay. I'm not sure how much of the show comes from the pen of Leonard, but his ear for hardboiled dialogue seems to have made it because the characters all have colour and flaws and enough complexity to keep things interesting. Likewise the show is not all about special effects, gloss and high production values – for sure it looks good but ultimately the production matches the rather simple, down-to-earth view of its lead character.

Speaking of which, Givens is a massive part of the show being as enjoyable as it is. Like many lead characters in this genre, he has presence and a reason to be the focal point, but I prefer that he is tough rather than mean (House) or comic (Monk). Givens doesn't always have the most complex writing behind him in the weekly script but he is delivered as a complex character and, most importantly, a flawed one. Olyphant works really well with this and produces a very likable and charismatic character that it is hard not to find cool whether he is in the midst of action, cutting a dashing figure in silhouette or doing something stupid despite knowing better. He is never given Deadwood level material to work with but the good thing about him is that he makes you think he is. Support is good throughout and, although there are Southern caricatures in there, they are rarely just comedy stereotypes – even if they happen to fit them. I've yet to work Goggins' character out, but he brings commitment to the role and his presence is a positive one even if his religious awakening doesn't always work narratively.

Overall Justified may have the hallmarks of genre television but it rises above it thanks to good writing, good dialogue, a tough tone and a really engaging and enjoyable performance from Olyphant. Not Deadwood, not The Wire, but just a really good enjoyable drama that knows what it has going for it and plays to those strengths.


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