YMMV / Justified

Beware of spoilers! Only spoilers from the current season are whited out.

  • Adaptation Displacement:
    • Of both the novels featuring Raylan and of the poorly received adaptation of Leonard's novel "Pronto", which featured the Raylan Givens character.
    • The pilot episode, "Fire in the Hole," takes both its name and plot from a short story from Leonard's When the Women Come Out to Dance. Printings post-Justified are now retitled Fire in the Hole and feature a big sticker letting you know that, yes, Raylan shows up in a story here.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Is Boyd reformed? Or was it all a scam? Is it still a scam or did he actually reform in the middle of it? Or did he actually reform first and then lose his way? We could keep going...
  • Awesome Music: "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive", which is used at the end of all but one of the season finales. The version that plays at the end of Season 5 deserves a special mention.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: When Roscoe delivers a profanity-laced exposition on King Lear in the middle of a standoff in "Wrong Roads".
  • Broken Base: The show's fanbase has quickly broken into those who watch it for Raylan/Olyphant and those who watch it for Boyd/Goggins. In particular, there are those Olyphant fans who hate how Goggins has stolen the spotlight from Olyphant and want him gone from the series.
  • Cargo Ship: It might be prudent to say that both people in the show and those who watch it ship Raylan and his hat. But hell, who wouldn't?
  • Complete Monster: Fletcher "The Icepick" Nix from the season 3 premier "The Gunfighter" is a Psycho for Hire, wannabe gunfighter, and federal fugitive in the employ of Dixie Mafia boss Emmett Arnett. Arnett sends him to rob Delmar Coates, a very wealthy man. Nix proceeds to order a pizza to Coates' address. He then takes Coates and the pizza guy hostage, and robs Coates of his expensive watch collection. He then declares that he doesn't want to leave any witnesses, but that he'll give Coates a chance. He places a gun on the table between them, and has the pizza guy count down from ten. On "zero" they are both to go for the gun. Only thing is, Nix has an icepick under the table in his other hand. He impales Coates' hand when he tries to go for the gun, then kills him, then kills the pizza guy. He justifies this on the basis that they've seen his face, but as he admits, he could just wear a mask, but doesn't like to, as he's "too pretty". When Nix is prevented from meeting up with Arnett, rather than flee with the several hundred thousand dollars worth of watches he now has on his person, Nix kidnaps protagonist Raylan Givens's ex-wife Winona, and makes Raylan play his game, intending to kill them both the same way he did Coates and the pizza guy.
  • Crazy Awesome: According to Art:
    Art: First thing we're gonna do is we're gonna acknowledge that this guy is awesome.
    Rachel: What?
    Art: I mean, he shoots Theo Tonin, fakes his own death in spectacular fashion, pushes a guy out of an airplane while he's flying it, parachutes into Harlan county with enough coke and cash to jumpstart the economy of small country, and then he has the balls to get a job in law enforcement, not once, but two times! He spends a couple days riding around with you while you're looking for him, and now he's run off with a hooker half his age. That's some badass shit.
    Raylan: It's pretty badass.
    Art: Yes, it is. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You wanna let those guys be the ones, or are we gonna be the ones to take that badass?
    • Season 6 gives us Avery Markham, an eerily cool and collected crime lord who smiles and lights up a joint in front of Raylan Givens and is sleeping with fellow Big Bad Catherine Hale, determined to marry her even after he finds out she's been plotting to have him killed. The fact that he is played western hero, Sam Elliot doesn't hurt either.
    • Katherine Hale, for that matter. Almost playfully devious and murderous, her idea of a lunch date with Ava Crowder is to snort a few lines of highly pure cocaine on a silver platter before ripping off a jewelry store for fun. And she regularly dances toe to toe with bona fide bad guys like Wynn Duffy, Boyd Crowder, and Avery Markham.
    • Robert Quarles was basically as dangerous as he was because of his insanity and (later) Oxycontin addiction.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: A US Marshal playing a very real, potentially lethal game of Russian Roulette with a criminal? Not funny, potentially a troubling sign that he's approaching He Who Fights Monsters territory. A US Marshal playing Russian Roulette with a usual cool and controlled criminal who is screaming "JESUS CHRIST! YOU'RE A COP!" at the top of his lungs? Hilarious.
  • Evil Is Cool: Boyd Crowder, Avery Markham.
  • Designated Hero: Some of Raylan's actions can be...questionable, particularly in the later seasons. A few especially notable moments include:
    • Threatening to "beat the shit" out of a teenager who works at a batting cage for telling him to wear a helmet which is a rule.
    • Running a guy over - twice. While that was somewhat Justified, since the guy was pulling a gun (twice), Raylan then threatens to deny him medical treatment. Then, while the guy's in the hospital, Raylan sneaks into his room, sits on his broken leg and takes away his morphine. Then when a nurse comes in and the guy starts trying to tell her what Raylan's doing to him, Raylan pumps him full of morphine so he can't talk.
    • Turning a blind eye to the mob assassination of Nicky Augustine.
    • Persuading Judge Reardom to try Kendal as an adult for a crime he didn't commit, simply to drive a wedge between Wendy and Daryl.
    • Brutalizing Dewey Crowe at least once a season, as well as ignoring Dewey's restraining order in season 6.
  • Ear Worm: The title music. Which was nominated for an Emmy to boot.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: There are plenty, due to the snarky writing and fun character actors the show often gets.
    • Boyd Crowder started out this way. Now he shares the lead billing.
    • Rachel and Tim, Raylan's fellow marshals, have their own devoted followers.
    • Wynn Duffy was so popular that he avoided death twice and was made a regular for season 5.
    • Ethan Picker has gained some popularity.
    • One-shot character Elias Marcos was very fun, due to Alan Tudyk's intense, terrifying performance. Many fans wanted to see more of him.
    • Jean Baptiste was popular with fans, especially after he threatens Danny Crowe for bullying Kendal. Unfortunately, he's killed off immediately after, due to Edi Gathegi not enjoying his time on the show..
  • Genius Bonus: Anyone with a decent knowledge of anatomy would realize immediately that Dewey Crowe did not actually have his kidneys removed - the incisions are on the front of his abdomen while a real kidney extraction incision would be on his side.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Early on in Season 4, Billy St. Cyr dies after a rattlesnake abruptly turns on him and bites him. About a year later, the same thing happens to Jamie Coots, who was also a snake-handling pastor.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Raymond J. Barry also has a deeply troubled relationship with his son in The 100...because he's mostly a stand-up guy while his son is evil.
    • In Arrow Neal McDonough makes a wisecrack when another villain gets their hand cut off.
  • Ho Yay / Foe Yay: Raylan and Boyd "dug coal" together.
    Raylan: There's nothing like the bond between two men when they work a deep shaft together.
    • Walton Goggins supposes that Boyd is pretty much gonna sleep with every girl that Raylan has slept with.
    • All of the courtroom scene in Save My Love. All of it.
    Raylan: I like the suit.
    • The invoking mentioned on the main page may be a subtle Take That! at the shippers, though, because Raylan immediately rolls his eyes and walks away with an annoyed expression.
    • During their confrontation in Watching the Detectives Wynn Duffy threatens to ride Raylan "like a circus pony". Ugh.
    • In "Measures," Boyd subdues Quarles and orders him to be stripped naked and chained to a bed. Ooooookay...
    • In "Coalition," Quarles opens his robe in front of Jimmy while humming a tune. Jimmy is not amused.
    • In "Restitution", Daryl sarcastically invites Tim to cuddle with him. Later, Boyd offers to teach Tim to shoot with his hands handcuffed behind his back.
    • In season 6, Raylan admits that he will miss bickering with Boyd when he leaves Harlan County. Boyd asks Rayland if he's going to kiss him.
      • In the same scene, Boyd shouts the line "Damn, Raylan, you in love with my balls!" There is a lot of talk about male genitals in that scene.
    • Every few minutes on the show, some character says a line that just screams gay subtext.
    Art: Asshole first, girlfriend later.
  • Iron Woobie: Boyd Crowder. See "Bulletville".
  • Jerkass Woobie: Kendal Crowe. He might be a smart-mouthed brat, but it's painful to watch the Crowes expose him to age-inappropriate vices, Danny bully him, and Raylan use him as a pawn to anger Daryl.
    • Ava in season 5. Even though Ava exploited women in the sex trade, abused Ellen May, and tried to have Ellen May killed, it's painful to watch Ava endure violence, humiliation, and framing in prison.
  • Jumped the Shark: One could make a pretty good case for the Season 4 finale. Raylan goes farther over the line than he's ever gone before, and Season 5 proves that the show simply can't deal with it. Most of the season is spent dealing with the fallout from the finale, and trying desperately to sweep its events under the table, suborning other characters, including the nominal Big Bad to that cause. Season 6 has since struggled to deal with the problems that Season 5 caused, meaning that many, if not all, of the show's current issues can be traced back to that Season 4 finale.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: In the series finale, the supposed death of Raylan. If he'd killed Boyd it could have held some tension, but there's no way he would end up gunned down by a nobody like Boon just after he'd finally proven himself a better man than both Boyd and his father.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Boyd is arguably a downplayed example. He's an expert Manipulative Bastard. He comes up with great plans, and can alter them on the fly, surviving everything the rest of the criminal world can throw at him. Yet despite that, he never really wins out, and most of his energies are directed at just staying afloat.
    • Ellstin Limehouse is a straight example. Over the course of Seasons 3 & 4 he outmaneuvers Boyd, Quarles, Raylan, Augustine, and every other player in the area, dodges prosecution, and comes out looking like the good guy.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Bo Crowder passes with flying colors, first when he gets Johnny to beat the crap out of Boyd and executes his entire band of merry ex-cons, and later when he shoots Johnny for working with Boyd behind his back. Arlo doesn't quite win father of the year either, agreeing to sell out his son to the cartel.
    • Mags Bennett crosses it by the end of the first episode of season two when she poisons a man at his own kitchen table in punishment for bringing in the police.
    • Boyd and Ava arguably get theirs when they arrange to have Ellen May murdered.
    • Mob hitman Fletcher Nix goes from cool to asshole in ten seconds flat, when he cheats his way to victory in the "fair duel" he promised one of his victims, then kills a witness after promising to let him go—completely unncessesarily, as the police instantly recognise his very distinctive MO.
    • Robert Quarles crosses the line when he's outed as a kidnapper and Serial Killer of male prostitutes.
    • Daryl Crowe Jr. manipulating his teenage nephew into taking the fall for shooting Art.
    • Boyd Crowder. Although he murders many people over the course of the series, it could be argued that they were all criminals who deserved it in some way. In Season 6 the deaths of Dewey Crowe and Boyd's loyal lieutenant Carl both come out of the blue and leave a nasty taste in the mouth but the totally unnecessary, and petulant, killing of Hagen, the innocent citizen Boyd kidnaps so he can be driven around, really crosses the line.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Maggs, fueling our nightmares with poisoned moonshine and mutilated hands by way of ball peen hammer.
    • Limehouse's slaughterhouse, where he can be found slicing up hog carcasses and the limbs of evil blond men as he intimidates his foes.
    • Quarles, who brutally killed two drug dealers in "Measures" and regularly tortures male hustlers.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Due to the sharp writing of even the most minor characters, there are a few.
    • Fletcher Nix the Ice Pick, a hitman for the Dixie Mafia and dark counterpart to Raylan. With his slow speech, sadistic games, nifty hat and terrifyingly cool demeanour, many want him back.
    • Sarno, another Dixie Mafia hitman, who has the virtue of being played by treasured character actor Michael Ironside. He's badass, very affable and practical.
    • The hilariously trashy Truth family, a group of redneck criminals who are an appealing mix of Too Dumb to Live and The Family That Slays Together.
    • Other one scene wonders tend to crop up again until they become recurring characters. Wynn Duffy, Shelby Parlow, Dewey Crowe and Ellen May were all somewhat minor characters that might have stayed that way, except for the impact they made in their first appearances.
    • It looks as though Detroit mobster Elias Marcos will also be added to the list, courtesy of a brief, but terrifying performance from Alan Tudyk.
    • The Wiz, a wacky safe-cracker played by Jake Busey. Only around for a few minutes, before he's blown to smithereens.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: In season 2, Ava's role was reduced and she hooked up with Boyd allowing her to lose some of the ire she drew. Of course, now all of that is being directed at Winona...
  • Stoic Woobie: Raylan Givens, most of the time.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Ava, although many would agree that she's been rescued since season 2.
    • Winona, for being very whiny, hypocritical at times, and for putting Raylan under unnecessary stress due to her idiotic actions (the money incident from season 2 stands out).
    • Danny Crowe, for being a Fat Idiot, a Dirty Coward, a Jerkass to just about everyone, a bully to Kendal and Dewey, and a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Coover Bennett back in season 2. Add on how he abruptly killed Jean-Baptiste because he couldn't stand up to him, and you've got who is arguably the most hated character in season 5.
    • Boon, who comes out of nowhere in the last few episodes of the series as a new henchman for Avery Markham, replacing the far more interesting Tigerhawk trio who were just killed off and just being a vile guy with none of what made them fun to watch.
  • Seasonal Rot: As with any show, there will be disputes as to if and when this happened. If internet reviews are anything to go by though, Season 5, with its numerous bridge droppings, uneven pacing, unclear villains, and tendency towards forgetting that Raylan possesses actual human emotions, has some problems. Reviews of Season 6 have been quite positive, however. It's probably notable that Elmore Leonard passed away shortly before production began on Season 5, leaving the crew unable to consult with him.
    • Ava's prison storyline is particularly disliked for being dull, drama-free despite the show's best efforts, tonally inconsistent with the rest of the show, and for taking too much time from other storylines. The fact that it isolated one of the main characters from the rest of the show didn't help, either.
  • Spiritual Successor: Amazon's Sneaky Pete, which features Graham Yost as showrunner, a lot of overlap in writers and directors, a similar decaying rural setting for Elmore Leonard-esque crime stories and a few Justified alums in the cast, most prominently Margo Martindale and Jacob Pitts.
  • Squick: In season 5, we learn than Teri/"Candy" has a bed trick involving Pop Rocks you-know-where.
    • Grube's decomposing corpse in "Fugitive Number One" was a nauseating sight.
  • Star Trek Movie Curse: The show suffers this to some extent: Seasons 2, 4 and 6 are considered all time great seasons of television. Season 1 has all the signs of a series in the process of finding its voice, season 3, although widely beloved, was seen as a step down from the superlative second, and season 5 is almost universally considered the worst the show ever had.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: In "Weight", Danny Crowe ends up stabbing himself in the chin because he tripped down a hole while sprinting towards Raylan with a knife in hand.
  • Tear Jerker: The beginning of "Reckoning" when Raylan walks into his former home where Aunt Helen's body lay and the end scene where he is unable to kill Dicky because of what she taught him as a child.
    Raylan: (hushed voice) Goddamn you, Dicky.
    • Let's not forget that Arlo Givens' last words to his son were "kiss my ass." Raylan has done an excellent job of hiding how torn up he is over the fact that even in death, Arlo was still a rotten piece of shit and wouldn't show him anything resembling affection.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Jean-Baptiste, Daryl Crowe's cool and collected Haitian right-hand man. He's given a neat persona, a couple of good scenes, and is then randomly bridge-dropped by Danny Crowe, a far less interesting character. Apparently the actor wanted out, but there had to be a better way to handle it.
  • Too Cool to Live: Rosco, gun toting, D.E.A. headbutting, Shakespeare quoting henchman of Hotrod.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Even creator Graham Yost has acknowledged that it's unlikely they'll have another season as great as season 2, let alone another villain as great as Mags Bennett.
  • What An Idiot: When under pressure, Ava makes incredibly bad decisions. During her stint in prison, Ava juggled too many balls and would have ended up dead or stuck with a long sentence had Albert not recanted.
    • In season 6, Ava tried to trick Limehouse into giving her a car with a false promise of money. Ava planned to use the car to flee Harlan County (without any false identification, money, or plan), which would have brought down the wrath of Boyd, Limehouse, and the Marshals had she succeeded. Raylan called her out on her childish lack of planning.
    • Then, in "Trust", desperation drives her to shoot Boyd and flee with $10 million that Boyd stole from Markham, triggering an FBI manhunt and guaranteeing that she will spend decades in jail if caught. The epilogue reveals she did get away...but it came at the cost of having to give the millions to Wynn Duffy, so in the end, one could argue if it was All for Nothing.
    • Dewey Crowe lives and breathes this trope. Every season, Dewey's hare-brained schemes and poor judgment get him into trouble.