Reasons To Be Excited About The New 'Justified' Limited Series

Like bourbon, the original show tasted like a warm summer day, and we want another shot, dammit.
Reasons To Be Excited About The New 'Justified' Limited Series

If your dogs started going crazy for no reason earlier this week, that was probably my fault. When I heard that a Justified sequel was in the works, the high-pitched squeal of joy that came out of me could probably be heard by animals around the world and drill holes into diamonds. Now, if you don’t know about Justified, then I feel bad for you for having to hear that you wasted your life from a guy who once spent an embarrassing amount of time coming up with 50 synonyms for “penis” for a movie article.

The original Justified ran from 2010 to 2015 on FX and from 2015 until forever in my head. It told the story of Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, the most composed angriest man alive with an Old West approach to law enforcement. It’s now considered one of the best shows of the 21st century because of how much it did with such a simple premise.

Justified was a love letter to classic westerns (hell, one of the final action scenes on the show was a high-noon stand-off between a literal white hat and a black hat) that simultaneously subverted the genre by finding genuine, touching humanity in the most unlikely places. Without giving anything away, you can easily make a diehard Justified fan tear up on the spot by hitting them with a “We dug coal together.”


If you want some context for that, go watch Justified and then get excited for its upcoming sequel, Justified: City Primeval. According to official synopses, the limited series will be set eight years after the show’s finale and follow Raylan hunting down the crazed Clement Mansell in Detroit because apparently, the guy thought that they wouldn’t look for someone called the “Oklahoma Wildman” north of the Mason–Dixon line? How will Raylan deal with such a crafty, cunning character?! You can try to look for an answer to that in the source material. Like the original show, the sequel will be taking inspiration from the writings of Elmore Leonard … just not the ones starring Raylan. The sequel is based on the novel City Primeval, which actually follows homicide detective Raymond Cruz. And that already is reason enough to have hope for the show.

Although Justified wouldn’t exist without Elmore Leonard’s stories featuring Marshal Givens—most notably “Fire in the Hole”—it’d be a stretch to call it an adaptation of them. The show took a chop shop approach to Leonard’s writing, ripping out pages from his novels and stories and rearranging/rewriting them to their liking. Which the author explicitly asked them to do because he recognized that writing books and TV shows are two entirely different games. It’s why Walton Goggins’ Boyd Crowder—one of the greatest TV villains ever, with his headlight teeth and a vocabulary that’d make a thesaurus commit suicide out of a sense of inadequacy—wasn’t killed off in the first episode. He only exists because the show’s writers didn’t stick religiously to Leonard’s works, and it looks like they’re once again doing that for City Primeval so … Freaking hooray?


But is there enough to Raylan’s story to warrant a sequel? Oh, definitely. The series ended with him maturing a lot and replacing his anger with stubbornness, but he didn’t exactly get a fairy tale ending where he rode off into the sunset on a winged unicorn that urinated Pappy Van Winkle. And that already gives you so many options for the sequel. Will Raylan rediscover his anger during his hunt for Mansell, or will the show play up their opposite natures, pitting an ex-hothead who found inner peace against a guy literally nicknamed the “Wildman”? I don’t know, but I’m eager to find out.

Lastly, I want to leave you with a quote from the series that has absolutely nothing to do with City Primeval or the point of this article, but it has been living rent-free in my head for years, and I want to share that gift with you:

Words to live by.

Follow Cezary on Twitter.

Top Image: FX

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