“Justified: City Primeval” continues classic saga

“Justified” was a crime drama that ran on FX between 2010 and 2015. It centered around the adventures of U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens, as he tried to bring law and order to the rough hills of his native state of Kentucky. His home there is the site of conflict between mobsters from all over the country, from Miami, Florida to Detroit, Michigan.

In its new sequel, “Justified: City Primeval,” the audience gets to see some of the background of the crime in Detroit. I found it interesting how the show portrayed the Detroit police as unnecessarily rough, doing things like beating suspects, while the Kentucky police in the original series seemed more trigger-happy and quick to draw their guns.

The show also has a great villain. Clement Mansell, played by Boyd Holbrook, is a cocky, Oklahoma killer who comes under Raylan’s radar when he murders a judge. From there, we see him rob and kill several other victims, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. He eventually runs afoul of the Albanian mob after robbing the boss’s son, and causes them to go on a rampage looking for him. With every victim he kills, Mansell believes more and more that he is untouchable. However, he eventually meets his match when he tries to break into a District Attorney’s house, only to find Raylan waiting for him. What made him such a great villain was the fact that he was seemingly a combination of two of the worst villains from the original series, with the cockiness of Dickie Bennett and the danger of Robert Quarles. He is also extremely sadistic, causing a great deal of unnecessary suffering for his victims. This makes him comparable to Game of Thrones villains such as Ramsay Bolton, who got joy out of making others suffer; and repeatedly escaped attempts on his life to the point where he believed that he was invincible.

One of the more interesting plot decisions was the choice to not have Raylan shoot anyone until the season finale. In the original series, Raylan shot someone within the first five minutes of the pilot episode. This is a great creative decision, as it portrays the hero showing restraint and only using lethal force when needed, while the villains torture and kill simply because they feel like it.
However, the show also had its slow moments. While it was interesting to see how Raylan took care of his daughter while trying to catch criminals, the show also focused a great deal on the backstories of some of the more minor characters. It was somewhat fascinating to see how all of the characters ended up how they did in the stories, but it did seem to drag on at some points, and some of the information presented in these parts was irrelevant to the overall story.

The story also ends on a cliffhanger when Boyd Crowder, one of the villains from the original series, escapes from prison. This happens after Raylan announces his intention to retire, and so he must come out of retirement in order to catch his old nemesis. The entire time, I was hoping that there would be a greater connection to the original series, and my wish was finally granted in the last episode. We got to see some of the other marshals from the original series as well, such as Dan Grant and Greg Sutter, and it helped complete the season finale.

Overall, while the show had some moments where it felt like nothing was happening and it often takes a while for the action to get going, I found it generally enjoyable and would recommend it to anyone who likes watching drama or crime shows.