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Justified’ Off To A Gripping Start

I was so glad to see Raylan Givens again. The tall, rangy, sexy, deputy U.S. Marshall played so truly by Timothy Olyphant in FX’s “Justified” inhabits the menacing hills and hollers of rural Kentucky like he was born there, which he was.

“Justified,” thank goodness, is back for its second season, although, as Mae West once observed, goodness has nothing to do with it. The show opens with a patented Raylan Givens shootout (frequent, unavoidable and, hence, justified) which began at the end of last season and was put on pause for several months. Several bad guys lie dead, and we glimpse the volatile and wily Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), as he sets out to avenge the death of the daddy he hated, dropping his recently acquired Christian veneer. We meet Raylan’s new partner, the quiet and unruffled Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) as the two of them try to arrest a pedophile who messed with the wrong 14-year-old girl (not that there’s a right one).

The biggest treat in the second season is a new family of villains, the Bennetts, headed by the thoroughly scary matriarch Mags. As played by the veteran actress Margo Martindale, Mags is a low-key, motherly, moonshine-making (her “shine” tastes like apple pie) pot grower with the steel (and probably the desire) to poison the father of the 14-year-old and watch him die. She tells him in a soothing voice that it’ll be over soon and not to worry, all the ingredients are “natural, from the mountains.”

At one point, two federal agents accuse Raylan of stealing several thousand dollars. His eyebrows go up, and he slowly drawls, as if talking to children, “Just because I’ve shot one or two people doesn’t mean I’m a thief.” Quite right. In his own bloody, philandering way, he’s an honorable man.

“Justified” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.

What do you think? Are you a “Justified” fan? Did you like this episode?

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