For every Elmore Leonard adaptation which has soared ("Get Shorty," "Out of Sight"), there's one that sank like the Titanic ("Be Cool," "Karen Sisco"). FX's new series, "Justified," based on Leonard's character U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, who was featured in two books and one short story, falls triumphantly in the former category, making this noir western one of the most promising new hours TV has to offer.
In the show, which debuted Tuesday night, Timothy Olyphant stars as Givens, a Marshal whose particular brand of justice gets him reassigned to the hometown in rural Kentucky he loathes. While there are undeniable shades of his "Deadwood" character, Marshall Seth Bullock, Olyphant commands the screen with a quiet authority. Place your bets, kids, Olyphant is our early favorite for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe nod.
Each yin must have a yang and Givens finds his in Boyd Crowder, an old coal mining buddy. Played by Walton Goggins, formerly of "The Shield," Crowder is the man Givens might have been if he'd gone Vader instead of Luke.
Speaking proudly of the show's dedication to uphold the excellence of Leonard's writing, Goggins explained the "WWED" (What Would Elmore Do?) bracelets show creator Graham Yost gave his writing staff became a sentiment that permeated the set. "I think [audiences] will really appreciate the humor, the writing and the stylistic kind of dialogue ongoing interpretation of Elmore Leonard…that kind of banter," Goggins says of the show which he describes as "the Coen Brothers meets 'The Shield.'"
If that doesn't inspire you to set your DVR, what will?