The FX series Justified depicts a complicated version of the south not seen in similar shows. The characters are both sides of the law are both simple and sophisticated, God fearing but willing to be pragmatic to stay alive.
Other southern archetypes will be familiar to media watchers. The show’s first season focused, in part, on a God-fearing antagonist (Walter Goggins) and his racist pals.
Star Timothy Olyphant, who plays U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on the long-running show, says the series is just telling it like it is. He shared his views on Justified and rural America with Rolling Stone magazine on the occasion of the show’s fifth season debut.
Lots of the stuff we’ve got going on is going on. There’s crime and shit-kickers and backward-ass white trash. I hate to tell you, but racism is alive and well in a lot of parts of the world. I’m guilty of when I first read this five years ago, I remember asking myself, “God, is this going to feel dated?” But between that and shooting the pilot, I realized there is nothing dated about this at all. That was right at the height of Congressmen accusing each other of being racist; people were talking about a “Black president.” Racism was a big topic then. We were outside Pittsburgh and people would tell me that the Klan was alive and well in those parts. I don’t know if we’ve tackled that issue as of late, but I know when we started, it was big.