Justified is a series that's been inexplicably off the radar of award shows and the eyeballs of a mass audience even as it grew tremendously in sophistication and quality since first airing on FX in March of 2010.
From Harlan County criminals like Ava to Lexington marshals like Rachel (Erica Tazel), the women on Justified are just as messy, complicated, and ultimately tough as the gun-slinging male leads. And we wouldn't want them any other way.
The lovely thing about "Justified" is that it delivers all the shaggy charm of a diverting character piece even as a supple, strongly structured story gives the whole affair an unmistakable energy and direction.
So many shows have trouble wrapping information the audience needs in dialogue that is actually a pleasure to listen to, but Justified makes it look easy. Many conversations this season went down like a nice Kentucky bourbon.
"Justified" makes the case that even people who make bad choices are worth spending time with -- if they have a code, if they have some kind of loyalty to the place they're from, if they have decent manners, damn it.
Justified is a rare treat, a show with subtle humor, humanity and flawed heroes and antiheroes that feel like real people. Coming off a phenomenal second season, it would have been easy for the show to drop the ball.