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Justified's fifth season premieres Tuesday, January 7 at 9pm on FX.

Justified, Season 5: TV review

In its fifth season, Justified leverages its strong stable of characters to launch a new set of stories.

Written by
Jessica Johnson

A major joy of Justified as it gets older is watching it sit back and celebrate the large ensemble of colorful characters it's built up over the years. While the fifth season of the series introduces some interesting new adversaries for Marshall Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and criminal Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), several familiar faces reappear, adding to the rich atmosphere of Harlan, Kentucky.

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While the fourth season of Justified was a bit sloppier than its predecessors, it left behind plenty of scraps to start off the new year. Raylan takes a trip down to his former jurisdiction in Florida to help Deputy Sutter (David Koechner) find the man responsible for shooting an off-duty Coast Guard officer. It just so happens that the shooter is affiliated with the Crowe family, led by Darryl Crowe Jr. (Michael Rapaport). Daryl is also the cousin of the dim Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman), one of Raylan's favorite Harlan ex-cons. While in Florida, Art (Nick Searcy) encourages him to visit his baby daughter, and Sutter talks his ear off about the challenge of balancing the job with fatherhood, something that Raylan's having some trouble with.

Over in Boyd's neck of the woods, he has his hands full. In addition to doing what he can to get Ava (Joelle Carter) out of prison, he and Duffy (Jere Burns) have run into problems with their Detroit dope connection that send them on precarious trip up north to sort things out. And this upheaval in the criminal world could lead to Art discovering Raylan's part in last season's execution of Detroit kingpin Nicky Augustine (Mike O'Malley).

Justified's delight in focusing on the criminal element of the show does mean that we see far less of Deputy Marshalls Tim (Jacob Pitts) and Rachel (Erica Tazel) then we should. It's hard to fault the show, as no one does bad guys the way Justified does. The small taste we're given of Rapaport's Darryl and his Florida crew promises much mayhem, as they make their way up to Kentucky to seize their share of Dewey's fortunes. And Boyd's desperation to free Ava will lead him down into dark territory that's sure to reveal new depths in his character.

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