U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is back in action for a limited-run series follow-up to Justified.
The long wait is almost over: Justified: City Primeval, an eight-part limited-run series that continues the story of lawman Raylan Givens, premieres with two back-to-back episodes Tuesday, July 18 on FX. Each episode will be available for streaming on Hulu the day after it airs on FX.
Timothy Olyphant is back in action as Raylan, the role he played to perfection for six seasons in Justified, the 2010-15 series that introduced viewers to the maverick U.S. Marshal created by author Elmore Leonard. And yes, rest assured, he’s wearing a Stetson again.
What’s it all about? According to the official synopsis: “Having left the hollers of Kentucky 15 years ago, Raylan Givens now lives in Miami, a walking anachronism balancing his life as a U.S. Marshal and part-time father of a 15-year-old girl [played by Olyphant’s real-life daughter, Vivian Olyphant]. His hair is grayer, his hat is dirtier, and the road in front of him is suddenly a lot shorter than the road behind. A chance encounter on a desolate Florida highway sends him to Detroit. There he crosses paths with Clement Mansell [Boyd Holbrook], aka The Oklahoma Wildman, a violent, sociopathic desperado who’s already slipped through the fingers of Detroit’s finest once and aims to do so again. Mansell’s lawyer, formidable Motor City native Carolyn Wilder [Aunjanue Ellis], has every intention of representing her client, even as she finds herself caught in between cop and criminal, with her own game afoot as well. These three characters set out on a collision course in classic Elmore Leonard fashion, to see who makes it out of the City Primeval alive.”
Early reviews sound promising. Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: “The relief of FX’s eight-part Justified: City Primeval is that not only does it not besmirch the near-perfect conclusion of the original, but it carves out new and distinctive terrain for Givens and a fresh, sometimes spectacular supporting cast of characters. If showrunners Dave Andron and Michael Dinner haven’t equaled Justified season two — nothing could — they’ve given a welcome reminder of how remarkable Olyphant is in this role and considered, thoughtfully if not extensively, how this character functions in a contemporary landscape.”
Robert Brian Taylor of Collider concurs: “[W]hile you may occasionally find yourself wistful for Harlan during City Primeval, the new show offers up a batch of new cops and crooks that are compelling and colorful enough to carry on the Justified name. And, of course, there's Olyphant at the center, not missing a beat as he slides back into the role as smoothly as Raylan draws his pistol from his holster. It’s clear some years have gone by since the original show ended, and not just thanks to Raylan’s now graying hair and salt-and-pepper goatee. Yellowstone, today’s most popular TV neo-Western, gets name-dropped in the first episode, and there are a lot more F-bombs sprinkled into the dialogue than what FX would allow back in the day. Yet watching Raylan back on the job feels like reuniting with an old friend. Once he’s staring down some criminals, with a glint in his eye and hands on his hips as if wryly amused by the whole ordeal, it can feel like no time has passed at all.”
And we may not have seen the last of Raylan Givens. At last spring’s ATV Festival in Austin, where the new series was previewed, Timothy Olyphant was asked the inevitable question: Would he be willing to don the Stetson again for another reboot?
“I’d show up,” Olyphant told the Austin audience. “I had a good time. Every time we’ve done this I’ve had a good time.”
“If he shows up,” added executive producer Sarah Timberman, “I show up. We all show up.”
Here is the official trailer for Justified: City Primeval.