"Justified," FX, Wednesdays at 10 p.m.
Some of the best acting on TV today is on this show about a renegade lawman in the US Marshall's service who has been forced back to his Lexington, Kentucky home after some questionable, but "Justified" shootings. The hunky Timothy Olyphant infuses Marshal Raylan Givens with down-home irony and sex appeal. He is immediately caught up in the war for control of the underground economy of Harlan county where Marge Bennett, played sublimely by Margo Martindale, is the current crime boss. She is challenged by the evil but courtly Boyd Crowder, so knowingly portrayed by Walton Goggins that you find yourself rooting for whatever evil Boyd is up to. No slouch as an actor himself, Olyphant is nearly marginalized by the intensity of Martindale's and Goggins's performances.
There are no weak spots in this cast. Olyphant is there for the girls. For the guys there is lovely Natalie Zea as Raylan's ex-wife and Joelle Carter as the sexy and lethal Ava Crowder, Raylan's ex-girlfriend who was married to and shot Boyd's brother dead and is now involved with Boyd. Based on a short story by Elmore Leonard, the dialogue is hard-boiled with a southern twang. (My wife Warren who wrote the book "Mountain Voices" about the people of the North Carolina mountains verifies the authenticity.)
Timothy Olyphant "Raylan Givens"
Margo Martindale "Marge Bennett"
Walton Goggins "Boyd Crowder"
Natalie Zea "Winona Hawkins"
Joelle Carter "Ava Crowder"