Top 5 Shows to Watch If You Like “Justified”
Justified, based on a short story by crime author Elmore Leonard, is a modern Western starring Timothy Olyphant as U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens and Walton Goggins as his quick-witted foe Boyd Crowder. Our Top 5 list of recommendations features other recent TV Westerns with complicated relationships, stylish crime dramas and some of the best dialogue on television.
If you’re a Justified fan, there’s a good chance you’ve already watched HBO’s incredible Western Deadwood, but if not, this is the most obvious choice for your next binge. Running for three seasons and recently receiving the follow-up movie treatment, the acclaimed drama also stars Olyphant as yet another complex lawman. Here he plays Seth Bullock, the reluctant sheriff of Deadwood, which starts out as a lawless camp and evolves into a thriving town over the course of the narrative. Much like Raylan, Bullock simmers with barely concealed rage and isn’t necessarily above getting his hands a bit dirty, and his complicated relationship with the complex, foul-mouthed saloon owner Al Swearengen (Ian McShane), one of TV’s greatest antagonists (we’re hesitant to call him a villain), will appeal to Justified fans who enjoyed the dynamic between Raylan and Boyd. Also like Justified, the series featured some of the best dialogue on TV, and you’ll likely even recognize a number of faces, as Jim Beaver, Garret Dillahunt, W. Earl Brown, Gerald McRaney, and Brent Sexton, among others, appeared on both shows.
2. Get Shorty
Justified was based on a short story by notable crime author Elmore Leonard, and Get Shorty (which was also adapted into a movie in the ’90s) is another adaptation of his work, though a loose one: it only borrows the framework of a gangster attempting to produce a movie. The darkly comedic show, which has aired three seasons thus far, stars Chris O’Dowd as Miles Daly, hired muscle for a crime ring out of Nevada who attempts to find a new career path and launders money through a Hollywood film. It’s got many of the same elements that make Justified great: spurts of violence bookended by one-liners and bungled crime, eccentric characters that feel alive, and lurking danger. Plus, it also has Ray Romano’s wild hair. The series has largely flown under the radar on pay cable channel Epix, but it’s time to rectify that.
Criminal and lawman intersect in the great Cinemax action drama Banshee, which stars Antony Starr (The Boys) as an ex-con who assumes the identity of Lucas Hood, the new sheriff of the small town of Banshee, Pennsylvania, after the real lawman dies in a bar fight the night before he’s sworn in. Co-created by Johnathan Tropper and David Schickler, the pulpy drama is known for featuring some of television’s best action and fight sequences as Hood walks the line between criminal and cop, doling out his own special brand of justice. The narrative is often driven by an antagonistic relationship between Hood and the local crime boss, Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen), who was raised in the local Amish community and who frequently butts heads with the local Native American population. But Banshee is not just a thrilling crime drama; with excellent supporting performances from Ivana Milicevic, Hoon Lee, Frankie Faison, Trieste Kelly Dunn, and Matt Servitto, to name a few, Banshee also has plenty of emotional weight to throw around.
4. The Shield
Created by Shawn Ryan and co-starring Walton Goggins, The Shield paved the way for Justified and many of FX’s other great shows to thrive. The series ran for seven seasons and followed the corrupt members of the LAPD’s Strike Team, led by Michael Chiklis’ Detective Vic Mackey, as they disregarded the law to suit their needs, either for personal gain or because they had to crack a few skulls to rid the streets of criminals. The show frequently asked us what exactly we were willing to accept from the men and women who are supposed to keep us safe, and featured one of the best series finales of all time.
5. Perpetual Grace, LTD
Sure, everyone loved Raylan and Boyd, but the morally gray misfits who populated Harlan County were also key to Justified‘s ongoing success, and Epix’s off-kilter Perpetual Grace, LTD takes memorable supporting characters and dials up their eccentricities to another level, and even does so with the help of Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman) himself. Created by Steven Conrad (Patriot), the neo-noir stars Jimmi Simpson as a former firefighter who finds himself embroiled in a plot to scam a corrupt pastor (Ben Kingsley) and his wife (Jacki Weaver) as part of his quest to make amends for his past. Things quickly don’t go according to plan… and will have you hitting the button for the next episode just as quickly.