Out of all of the programs currently on television Justified might be the most consistent. It of course took a while to find its footing (as most shows do) as it went back and forth between a procedural and serialized format for its first season, and it also has a clear standout season in the Margo Martindale-filled second season. However, for the majority of Justified’s run the show has remained on the level between greatness and mediocrity. This remains true of the show’s fifth season despite receiving aversion from some fans and critics.
The fifth season of Justified follows what happens when Harlan County nuisance Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman) grabs the attention of his much more dangerous cousins from Florida. With a new problem in town, Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) seems to be on another collision course with trouble. The series continues to be run by Graham Yost with Michael Dinner and Adam Arkin leading the directing team.
Justified has always been a show that has relied on dialogue, setting and the best gallery of rogues since Batman. In the case of this season, all of this still work well except in the case of the later. Michael Rapaport as Darryl Crowe is introduced as the new big bad for the season, and he is easily Justified’s worst villain yet. There is nothing remotely interesting about Rapaport’s performance and his accent can be quite bad. It also doesn’t help that there is nothing unique about him as a villain and is easily the least imposing one that the show has featured so far. Despite this, there is some good to come out of Darryl Crowe being the main villain of the season. First, it allows more screen time for Damon Herriman as Dewey Crowe, who has always been a fan favorite on the show. Second, Darryl brings along his sister Wendy (played by Alicia Witt) who ends up becoming one of the most interesting characters that the show has had yet. Wendy is presented as someone who does the legal work for her family of criminals, but she has a lot of secrets in store. Her presence is enough to make the Crow clan vs. Raylan battle that the season follows interesting.
Unfortunately, the side stories this season don’t work quite as well. Ava’s time in prison rarely holds your interest and seems completely different from everything else going on in the show. Even watching Walton Goggins doing awesome things as Boyd gets a bit tiresome this season as his plotline just makes the show seem like its trying to stall any character development for him until the final season. All that being said these two plotlines work well in setting up the final season. The season finale makes sure you know where the final season is going and I can’t wait for it to get started.
Season five of Justified is nothing special as it falls somewhere in the middle of the ranking of the show’s seasons. The things Justified does well are still being done well.