In the aftermath of the deadly showdown that freed Harlan County from the Crowder family crime reign, U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens must now take on even greater criminal forces looking to seize power - including hellbent nemesis Boyd Crowder and the arrival of brutal, new adversary Mags Bennett (Emmy® Winner Margo Martindale). Filled with treacherous twists at every turn... the second season of "Justified" proves "spectacularly entertaining" (TV Guide) and has established itself as a show for the ages.
The sophomore season of Graham (The Pacific) Yost's hardboiled neo-Western series Justified is a worthy companion piece to its stellar first season, and at times even surpasses its predecessor thanks to some terrific performances. Timothy Olyphant returns as author and executive producer Elmore Leonard's taciturn Marshal Raylan Givens, albeit with less of an itchy trigger finger than in the first season, in part because of a rekindled romance with his ex-wife (Natalie Zea). Walton Goggins's Boyd Crowder is also back on the scene and enjoying a tenuous truce with Givens, as well as his own love interest in his ex-sister-in-law, Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter). Peace, of a sort, has also come to Harlan County with the dispersal of Crowder's drug-dealing family at the end of season one, but the vacuum is soon filled by an even more diabolical threat: the Bennetts, a vicious clan led by matriarch Mags (an Emmy-winning turn by Margo Martindale), who rules their own marijuana business through intimidation and outright murder. The growing conflict between Givens and the Bennetts is exacerbated by the arrival of a mining concern speculating the region for possible use; their appearance drives a wedge between Givens and Boyd, whose loose-cannon tendencies once again come to the forefront. Season two continues the fine balancing act between richly detailed characterizations and visceral violence established in the debut season by the show's cast and creative team, as well as its assimilation of Leonard's trademark dialogue and plotting. Acting and direction also remain top-notch, with the returning players adding new layers to their roles, while Martindale and Jeremy Davies as her malevolent son offer two of the most memorable villains in recent memory. The three-disc DVD presentation of Justified's second season is highlighted by a pair of making-of featurettes that delve into the production design and major themes of the season, with plentiful contributions from cast and crew. Brief collections of outtakes and deleted scenes round out the set. --Paul Gaita