Timothy Olyphant, left, returns to fighting crime and personal woes in the FX drama. (Prashant Gupta / FX)
The fifth season of “Justified” starts out with a couple of road trips, one to Florida, one to Detroit. And neither of them turns out well.
Oh, sure, Deputy Marshal Raylan Givins (Timothy Olyphant) gets his man — doesn’t he always? But along the way he stirs up the swamp rat Crowe clan, specifically Darryl Crowe Jr. (Michael Rapaport), a vicious cousin of ongoing Kentucky knucklehead loser Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman). And Darryl starts considering a move north from the Everglades.
Meanwhile Givins’ longtime frenemy Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) has to visit Detroit to track down a drug source. Guess what? Detroit is a dangerous place.
Of course, both Raylan and Boyd have personal problems to deal with as well. Raylan’s former wife, Winona (Natalie Zea), has just delivered their daughter, but given his own disastrous childhood, he’s not sure if he should visit. And Boyd’s girlfriend, Ava (Joelle Carter), is nervously awaiting trial while he tries to spring her loose.
All of which sets the stage for another arc of one of the best shows on TV. Based on a character and short story by the late Elmore Leonard, “Justified” continues to mix wit, gunplay and colorful characters to fine effect. As always, the show thrives on small details that add color, so of course Boyd ends up eating with two Canadian gangsters who sing the praises of Tim Hortons.
“Justified” takes an interesting place in the scheme of anti-hero shows. It certainly has one in Boyd, who somehow manages to be both likable and thoroughly villainous. But Raylan, despite his tendency to shoot people, is something of an old-fashioned hero, complete with white cowboy hat. Here’s to the simple but effective balance, and to the complications that threaten to topple it.
10 p.m. Tuesday