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Series / Justified

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"You'll never leave Harlan alive..."

On this lonely road, trying to make it home
Doing it by my lonesome, pissed off, who wants some?
I see them long hard times to come
Gangstagrass, Long Hard Times To Come

Justified is a 2010 FX Network series which ran six seasons; a modern western, based upon the character of Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens, a recurring character in the works of pulp fiction writer Elmore Leonard. The series primarily adapts the short story "Fire in the Hole", along with elements of Pronto and Riding The Rap.

The series stars Timothy Olyphant (Deadwood, Damages), as Deputy United States Marshal Raylan Givens, a Cowboy Cop in pretty much every sense of the phrase. In the pilot episode, Marshal Givens gives an ultimatum to a Miami gun runner he was investigating for a savage murder: leave town in twenty-four hours or be killed. A broad daylight western-style showdown — where the gun runner pulls his weapon first and makes Raylan's shooting "justified" — quickly follows and leaves Givens in deep trouble with his superiors over the publicity said shooting receives in the media.

To "reward" Raylan for stopping the arms dealer, the Marshal is reassigned to Lexington, Kentucky. Now back in his native Harlan County, the place where he grew up, Raylan must deal with his duties as Marshal (protecting witnesses, tracking fugitives, and arresting bad guys) while dealing with his ex-wife, his estranged criminal of a father, and the dysfunctional and criminal Crowder family, including former coal mining buddy Boyd Crowder (played by The Shield star Walton Goggins), and Boyd's sister-in-law turned girlfriend Ava. That's without mentioning the murderous Bennett clan (headed by the charming but evil Mags Bennett), the alligator-poaching, sugar-smuggling Crowes, and the various agents of the Dixie Mafia and the Detroit Mob.

The series is a mixture of stand-alone episodes and Story Arc; most notably being Raylan's attempt to reconcile with his adulterous ex-wife Winona, Boyd's attempt at redemption after nearly being killed at Raylan's hands (and the subsequent love triangle between him, Raylan, and Ava), the scheming between Boyd and Raylan's respective fathers (both part of the leadership caste of Harlan's criminal underworld), the attempts by a Miami drug cartel to get revenge on Raylan for killing the gun-runner from the pilot, the machinations of the Bennett clan (a group of pot sellers in a long-standing feud with the Givens family) who are trying to exploit the fact that a mining company seeks to set up shop in Harlan, and the attempts by the "Dixie Mafia", the Detroit Mob, and the Crowes to expand their criminal operations into Harlan County.

The series has gotten much acclaim for its successful emulation of the writing style of Elmore Leonard, unlike some previous attempts to adapt his works for TV and movies.

Also, the hat. Good lord, the hat.

Not to be confused with the tropes.

Olyphant returned in 2023 in a limited sequel series, Justified: City Primeval, an adaptation of the Leonard novel City Primeval.

See also Harlan County U.S.A., a 1976 documentary about a strike in the Real Life Harlan County.

Justified contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Limehouse' meat cleaver, which he uses to chop off Quarles' left arm in "Slaughterhouse".
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Both Raylan and Boyd have abusive fathers, though they go about it in different ways.
    • Tim half-jokingly states that he regrets that his father died while he was in basic training, since it robbed him of his chance to come back and shoot him.
    • Mags takes a ballpeen hammer to her son Coover's hand when he displeases her.
    • Quarles' father pimped him out as a child to get money for heroin.
  • Accomplice by Inaction: To Hunter Mosley, the whole Crowder family.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In "Save My Love," Judge Reardon has a red Swingline stapler on his desk.
    • In an otherwise serious conversation with Winona, Raylan points to a ancient photograph of Wild-West era Marshalls hanging over his desk:
    Raylan: You see these old timers right here? Well I don't think a week goes by I don't look at them and wonder... Should I grow a moustache?
    • Ethan Picker is of Greek ancestry like his actor John Kapelos.
    • William Mapother's character Delroy was raised in a 'commune'...much like his character on Lost.
    • Mickey Jones' charatcer Hot-Rod mentions having been a musician. Jones is a musician who has played with the likes of Bob Dylan.
    • Producer Allusion: In "Hole in the Wall" Constable Bob gets to Stab The Hostage. Executive producer Graham Yost was the screenwriter for Speed
  • Affably Evil:
    • Mags Bennett. At her introduction she seems the personification of southern hospitality, inviting Raylan into their gathering and treating him like an old friend. It's only later that we learn their families have been feuding for years and she's a dangerous drug lord.
    • Doyle doesn't come across as particularly evil compared to his brothers. He is a dirty cop to start with, but after the death of Coover, he just wants to protect his family.
    • Depending on the episode, Limehouse is either this or just an Anti-Hero (though by the end of Season 3, he swings towards the latter).
    • first. He's polite, charming, and it's clear he is a loving father, who also happens to work for the Detroit Mafia and enjoy torturing male prostitutes to death. As things get worse… the affability starts to crack.
  • Alliterative Family: The Crowe brothers are named Daryl, Dilly, Danny, and...Kendall. This doubles as foreshadowing, as we later learn that Kendall is a nephew, not a brother.
  • Amateur Sleuth: When two drug dealers under his protection are murdered, Boyd cannot call the police, so he investigates their deaths himself. He tries to be methodical about it and considers the forensics of the scene. Luckily for him, there was a witness who can identify the killer.
  • Amicable Exes: Raylan and Winona at the end of the series. Although she's remarried, they have a good relationship and co-parent their daughter.
  • Amoral Attorney: Wendy Crowe initially represents herself as an attorney, although she's actually a paralegal despite having attended law school. She uses her legal training to assist her brothers in avoiding punishment for their many crimes.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Quarles has his arm cut off by Limehouse during the climatic battle of the season finale, and ends up bleeding on the slaughterhouse floor.
  • And That's Terrible: Boyd's apology to Ava. "For years I lusted after you, and I was far from subtle. Well, that was wrong."
  • Animal Assassin: In "Hammer", the first attempt to kill the judge involves putting a cottonmouth in his bed.
  • Anti-Hero/Anti-Villain: Trying to figure out just where Boyd stands is bound to give you a headache.
    • Mags Bennett is more clearly an Anti-Villain, though how much sympathy you have for her varies.
  • Anyone Can Die: Seriously. Although it's partially subverted in that the show never killed off a main cast member. (Word of God is Tim was meant to be killed by Boyd towards the end of the season, but it was decided that it would be too brutal and cruel to the fans.)
    • Goodbye, Bo. Should have kept a tighter leash on Boyd.
    • Goodbye, Coover. You shouldn't have let your jealousy get the better of you.
    • Goodbye, Aunt Helen. You didn't think marrying a man like Arlo would work out, did you?
    • Goodbye, Doyle. You were wrong about which bullet was coming.
    • Goodbye, Mags. You never should have killed Walt.
    • Goodbye, Devil. Try not to double-cross Boyd in your next life.
    • Goodbye, Gary. You should have left the country like Raylan told you to.
    • Goodbye, Barkley. You shouldn't have tried to shake down Augustine.
    • Goodbye, Arlo. Hope you felt preserving Drew Thompson's identity was worth sacrificing your life.
    • Goodbye, Yolo. Shouldn't have underestimated Constable Bob.
    • Goodbye, Colt. Probably should've quit before today.
    • Goodbye, Augustine. Don't underestimate Sammy.
    • Goodbye, Sammy. You shouldn't have trusted a man like Picker.
    • Goodbye, Messer. Shouldn't have ripped off Daryl.
    • Goodbye, Paxton. You should have backed down when Boyd botched the first murder attempt.
    • Goodbye, Mooney. Being a opportunist didn't pay off in the end.
    • Goodbye, Jean-Baptiste. Too bad Danny's such an idiot.
    • Goodbye, Johnny. You ought to have learned from Devil's example.
    • Goodbye, Hot-Rod. You shouldn't have gone into business with Johnny.
    • Goodbye, Danny. You should have watched where you were running.
    • Goodbye, Mr. Picker. You shouldn't have pushed Boyd. Or accepted his offer of a cigarette.
    • Goodbye, Jimmy. Your loyalty to Boyd was commendable, even if it cost you your life.
    • Goodbye, Alberto Ruiz. You just ain't that good a shot compared to Tim.
    • Goodbye, Daryl Crowe, Jr. What you did for your family, your family repaid thrice over.
    • Goodbye, Dewey Crowe. Some guys just peak too early.
    • Goodbye, Choo-Choo. It's too bad Tigerhawk was all you had.
    • Goodbye, Walker. Let's hope whatever you served Markham for that wasn't money was worth it.
    • Goodbye, Seabass. Don't try to extort two powerful criminals in your next life.
    • Goodbye, Carl. Loyalty is a tricky thing.
    • Goodbye, Mikey. Wait, no. Michael.
    • Goodbye, Katherine. You should have left the dirty work to the goons.
    • Goodbye, Zachariah. Sadly, we won't find out if the third time's the charm.
    • Goodbye, Avery Markham. For all your talk, you're just another dead carpet-bagger who didn't get it.
    • Goodbye, Boon. You really should have just let Raylan leave Harlan alive.
  • Appalachia: The story takes place in the Appalachia region of United States, with several aspects of the region playing prominent roles:
    • Most of the criminal families got their start producing and running moonshine during prohibition. Although the substances have now changed to meth and weed, many of the same tropes still apply.
    • As the main source of (legitimate) revenue in the region, coal mining plays a large part in many of the storylines. Even when coal is not directly involved, characters are very suspicious of any outsiders who may be coming in to exploit the region as the mining companies did.
  • Arc Words: "We dug coal together."
  • Archnemesis Dad: Raylan and Boyd's respective fathers qualify as well.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Winona delivers one to Raylan at the end of the series' first episode, after Raylan tells her that he's never thought of himself as an angry man.
    • Olyphant seems suited to such characters as this is the same as Bulloch in Deadwood, a very angry lawman who's good at hiding it.
      Winona: You do a good job of hiding it, and suppose most folks don't see it, but honestly, you're the angriest man I've ever known.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Episode 2:
    "Now let me get this straight; he took your gun, your badge, your car… and your hat."
  • Artistic License – Explosives: In fourth season episode "Hole in the Wall" Boyd snuffs out a burning fuse by grinding it against the ground under his boot. Fuses generally are made to burn more reliably than that. They have chemically bound oxygen in them which allows them to burn even while submerged in water, so snuffing it out like that should not work.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Raylan at one point fires a shot into the roof of a bar to get people to clear out quickly. Art and Raylan discuss how best to frame this to the shooting board, as it was against Marshal policy but they plan to argue that A) Raylan was living above the bar at the time, so he knew that there was no one in the line of fire and B) an armed and extremely unstable Quarles was in the bar, and Raylan judged that a shot was the best way to get everyone in the bar out of the line of fire quickly.
  • Artistic License – Geography: The distance between Lexington and Harlan County, a three hour drive in real life, seems to vary based on what will best serve the plot at any given time. Lampshaded by Art in season 4, when he remarks on the distance and says he doesn't understand how Raylan is down there every other day.
  • Artistic License – Law: ADA Vasquez and the Marshals arrange for Ava to be released from prison in order to serve as a confidential informant against Boyd, with the constant threat of being imprisoned again if she doesn't deliver. What nobody seems to realize is that she legitimately has no convictions or pending charges at that point so there would be no legal reason to return her to incarceration.
  • Artistic License – Military:
    • Tim presents his military ID to the doorman at the VFW lodge to gain entry. The doorman immediately acknowledges him not only as a soldier, but as a Ranger. A military ID would not indicate this.
    • Colton Rhodes:
      • He claims to have been demoted from the rank of Master Sergeant down to Sergeant for assaulting an officer, then forcibly discharged for (non-fatally) shooting said officer. The punishment in the former case is far too severe to be plausible; demoting a senior NCO at all is extremely difficult, and to be demoted by three ranks is extraordinary. In the latter case, the punishment is far too lenient; Colt would have served jail time for that.
      • When he first appears in the show, he's a relatively recently discharged soldier with shoulder-length hair. To reach that length in the time frame indicated, his hair would have had to be much longer than Army regulations permit while he was still enlisted.
      • Colton also claims that heroin use is widespread amongst soldiers in Kandahar Airfield, due to the drug's prevalence in Afghanistan. Most soldiers stationed at KAF never leave the base while in country, and would have no means of procuring heroin. Further, the living conditions on a deployment, even as comfortable as KAF, would make heroin use almost impossible to hide. Drug use is, to say the least, frowned upon in the US military. Especially in a war-zone.
      • He carries a Colt 1911, which he claims was his service weapon. The 1911 was discontinued as the standard sidearm of the US Army in 1985, and while some personnel still carry them, enlisted MP's are not among them. In a similar vein, Boyd claims the Beretta 92 he usually carries is the same one he carried in Desert Storm. While this isn't impossible, it would be extremely difficult as a soldier's weapon is very closely tracked, and would also be highly illegal.
  • Asshole Victim: Gary. He did try to get Winona murdered, after all.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • This is Wynn Duffy's reputation when he is first introduced (he's mentioned to have cut off somebody's face and sewed it to a soccer ball). It's also stated that he remains at a relatively low level in the Dixie Mafia because he's too unstable to move up. His psychopathy is very much toned down when he becomes a recurring character rather than a one-off.
    • When Quarles is introduced, he seems like a competent, high-level gangster in town to take care of business. However, we soon learn that he is incredibly unstable and has a penchant for torturing and murdering young male prostitutes.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: Outside of the Marshals Service and State Trooper Tom Bergen, essentially every law enforcement officer is corrupt and/or ineffectual.
  • Baffled by Own Biology: When Raylan meets with consummate Stupid Crook Dewey Crowe while Dewey is incarcerated in county jail, he has Dewey brought to him on the pretext of him having tuberculosis. Dewey actually buys that he has it for a while despite not knowing what it is and complains to Raylan about it.
    Raylan: You don't even know what TB is.
  • Badges and Dog Tags: Tim Gutterson served as a sniper in the Army Rangers before joining law enforcement.
  • Band of Brothers: Raylan explains that, while he and Boyd weren't exactly friends, the hard and dangerous work of coal mining creates a bond. A few times, the essence of their relationship is simply explained as "we dug coal together."
  • Bar Brawl: Raylan gets into one with a couple men who are speaking disrespectfully about women; he ends up getting his ass kicked, and his hat stolen to boot. He later approaches the same men in the same bar and apologizes and politely requests his hat back — or else they can fight again, with Raylan sober this time.
  • BFG: Boyd seems to have a certain fondness for these,
    I always say, if you're gonna be a bear, you might as well be a grizzly. But this my friends is a Ko-di-ak!
  • Bathroom Break-Out:
    • In "The Life Inside", Jamie Berglund attempts to escape from her captors by climbing out the bathroom window. Being eight months pregnant, she doesn't get far.
    • Subverted when Tim is babysitting Raylan; Raylan wants to use the bathroom at the convenience store, and mentions that he's not the "climb out the bathroom window" type when Tim hesitates. When Raylan doesn't return, Tim confirms with the clerk that the store doesn't have a bathroom — Raylan just walked out the door.
  • Batter Up!:
    • Raylan gave Dickie Bennett his signature limp with a baseball bat in their younger days. Dickie tries to return the favour in "Bloody Harlan".
    • "Lord of War And Thunder" is a chance for both Arlo and Raylan to demonstrate their skills with a baseball bat.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Dewey, of all people, manages to pull one off when he robs two criminals who previously ripped off an illegal drug shipment. When a clothing store does not have any ski-masks, he buys a cheap suit and a cowboy hat and tricks the criminals into thinking that he is 'Raylan Givens, US Marshal'.
  • Beleaguered Boss: Chief Deputy Marshal Art Mullen spends much of his time all but muttering 'What now?' as he tries to keep his deputy marshals in line and out of trouble. When a social climbing Deputy Marshal comes around hinting that it might be time for Art to retire so he can take over Art's job, Art gives an epic description of what he's dealing with:
    Art Mullen: You came here about the job, right? You need to hear about this. I got a young kid here, decorated sniper in Iraq War, Army Ranger, I don't know how many kills he had. Always lookin' to kill somebody else. Probably got PTSD. Probably an alcoholic. Not a matter if that powder keg is gonna blow but when. I got a lady marshal here. Brought in two of the top fifteen fugitives to this office, but she's always tryin' to prove herself. I thought she was gonna be the one that would take this office over when I got ready to retire, but now she's left her husband so it's gonna be fun to monitor her emotional state over the next year, see if she can keep it together. Then I got a local boy, born in Harlan county, been investigated so many times internal affairs has got him on speed dial. Father's in prison for murderin' two people, including a state trooper, and his daddy killed somebody else last night in prison and I get to be the one to tell him about it!
  • Big Bad: Bo Crowder and Gio Reyes in Season 1, Mags Bennett in Season 2, Robert Quarles in Season 3. Season 4 has Theo Tonin as an offscreen Big Bad with Nicky Augustine as his Dragon-in-Chief. Season 5 has a Big Bad Ensemble, with Daryl Crowe Jr. emerging as the Final Boss near the end. Season 6 has a Big Bad Ensemble between Katherine Hale and Avery Markham. Boyd (and now Wynn Duffy) serves as the default Big Bad whenever there isn't another option around.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Mags Bennett. She starts off seeming like a kindly but mischievous pot-seller, but turns out to be one of the most ruthless criminals in the state.
    • The nice looking friendly nurse who flirts with Raylan sells human organs on the black market and is a stone-cold killer.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Boyd is alive but back in prison for a very long stretch. Most of his family has died. Raylan manages to keep his job but he's been assigned to a new office so he causes less trouble. He lies to Boyd about Ava being dead so Boyd won't chase her down. Ava must spend the rest of her life in hiding.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: Ruthless criminality notwithstanding, Boyd and Limehouse are loyal to their communities and have some notion of honor, in contrast to Quarles or Augustine. Raylan's no saint himself.
  • Book Ends:
    • The main events in the second season starts and ends with a glass of Apple Pie.
    • Season 1, 2, 4, and 5 also end with the same piece of music, "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" by Darrell Scott. (Albeit covered by different artists each time.)
  • Boom, Headshot!:
    • How Doyle Bennett meets his end, killed by an offscreen sniper.
    • Quarles likes to shoot people in the head when he is using his sleeve gun. The gun probably is not very powerful and he is close enough to his victims to get an easy headshot.
    • FBI agent Jeremy Barkley, moments after the reveal that he's Theo Tonin's mole.
    • Boon explains to Loretta that he always aims for the head when drawing on someone else. He admits that gives him less margin for error and makes it easier for something to go wrong, but ensures a kill even if his opponent is wearing body armor. And sure enough, he manages to draw with Raylan on more or less equal terms, but he shoots through Raylan's hat, while Raylan gets him dead in the chest.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: From the start, the series has shown how Raylan would have been perfect as a U.S. Marshal in the Old West but that mentality doesn't quite work as well in the 21st century. Witness the first scene of the pilot where Raylan gives a mobster 24 hours to get out of Miami or he'll shoot him. The mobster is amused… until Raylan shows up 24 hours later.
    Miami Marshal Chief: You realize the U.S. Marshals don't just shoot people and haven't for, oh, a hundred and fifty years?
  • Bound and Gagged:
    • Quarles likes to bind and torture male hustlers. In "The Man Behind the Curtain," Sammy Tonin mentions the rentboy back in Detroit whom Quarles left in a coma, an incident that played a role in Quarles' exile to Kentucky. Several episodes show Brady gagged, nearly naked, and bound to a bed in Quarles house before Quarles presumably kills him. At the end of "Guy Walks into a Bar," Donovan is shown bound and gagged in a bathroom as a naked Quarles approaches.
    • In "For Blood or Money", Clinton leaves both the manager of his halfway house and his mother-in-law bound and gagged in the string of crimes he commits while attempting to get to his son's 12th birthday.
  • Brick Joke: Mike and Wynn Duffy are playing Scrabble; Mike plays "aplex", with the two arguing over the validity of the work. Later, when Wynn is upset about something, Mike tells him that he looks aplexed.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • Two guys are upset that they lost money betting on a MMA-style backyard fight, so they decide to extort money from the winner of that fight. They just saw the guy defeat another professional fighter and they believe that a 2-1 advantage is enough for them to intimidate a guy like that.
    • Most of the crooks Raylan ends up wounding or killing do exactly this despite Raylan's well-known reputation for putting criminals in the ground. What's darkly funny is almost every single time Raylan calmly gives them a warning that if they draw on him, he will shoot them. Check the above Anyone Can Die for a list of the fools who didn't listen and bullied the dragon anyway.
  • California Doubling: The pilot was shot in Pittsburgh (which is part of the overall Appalachian region) but the rest of the series was shot in Southern California. This is particularly evident in scenes that take place on or near a hillside. They often look brown and scrubby like L.A. area hills do, while Kentucky's hills are much greener than that.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: An utterly magnificent example of this trope as Boyd Crowder goes all Badass Preacher on Bo during church service, in a way that gets the crowd roaring their approval.
  • Canon Welding: City Primeval takes Raylan Givens and later Boyd Crowder and attaches them to the plot of another Elmore Leonard novel in which they did not appear.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': When Winona steals some money from the evidence locker and goes to the bank to test if it's real, the bank is promptly robbed. When the money is recovered, it is scanned into the Secret Service database where it raises red flags and causes an investigation.
  • The Cartel: Two separate cartels:
    • Much of the drama of the first season is driven by the Miami cartel, as Raylan shot a cartel associate and was then transferred to Kentucky. The cartel sends various hitmen to try to kill Raylan; the situation is complicated by the fact that the local sheriff is in the cartel's pocket.
    • In season five, Boyd seeks a heroine supply from an unnamed Mexican cartel after the Canadian pipeline dries up due to the collapse of the Tonin crime family.
  • Cast Herd: For the first several episodes of the fourth season, Raylan and Boyd and their respective supporting casts have independent arcs and the two men don't interact.
  • Casting Gag:
    • James LeGros interacting with Timothy Olyphant is a big one, why? James played the character of Raylan Givens years before Tim in a direct-for-TV adaptation of the novel Pronto.
    • Timothy Olyphant's former Deadwood co-stars keep finding their way onto the show as well (Ray McKinnon, Jim Beaver, W. Earl Brown, Gerald McRaney, Sean Bridgers, Pruitt Taylor Vance, Brent Sexton, Stephen Tobolowsky, and Garret Dillahunt at last count).
  • Catchphrase:
    • When Boyd says, "Fire in the hole!", you'd better start running…
    • Also, the frequently used, "This is Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens. I'm gonna need an ambulance… and a coroner."
  • Caught Up in a Robbery: In the second season, Winona goes to the bank after she has suspicions about the authenticity of a $100 bill that she finds in evidence. When she's there though, the place is robbed with Winona being hit and the robbers stealing the bill from her, too. Back at the office, Winona tells an angry Raylan how she lost the piece of evidence.
  • Celebrity Paradox: In Season Four, Raylan recommends The Big Lebowski to Rachel. Sam Elliott, who played the Narrator in that film, portrays Avery Markham in Season Six.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: In season 4, Shelby's real identity as Drew Thompson is only revealed because 30 years ago he trusted Arlo to burn the diplomatic bag with Waldo Truth's ID instead of burning it himself, as Arlo just hid it within the walls of his house, therefore instigating the whole season's plot.
  • Chained to a Bed:
    • This happens Brady, the male prostitute that falls into Quarles clutches.
    • This also happens to Quarles himself at the end of "Measures", chained up at Audrey'. However, he's given drugs and prostitutes to keep him occupied, and his chain is long enough for him to engineer an escape.
  • Character Shilling: Count the number of times people call Ava Crowder beautiful. This is not to say she isn't, though Your Mileage May Vary, but the number of times it's said during the series starts to feel like a parody after a certain point, or like Joelle Carter is married to someone in the writers' room. The reason it sticks out so much is that none of the other women in the series are treated this way, though in-universe the reason might be that Harlan county is a cesspool and there aren't many attractive women around at all, so Ava gets constant special attention. However, it's still a problem given that Ava is also the Creator's Pet, put it bluntly, Lisa from The Room was called beautiful/sexy fewer times than Ava Crowder.
  • The Charmer:
    • Raylan is really popular with women. To the point where in Season 3, Art suggests using the bartender as a witness against Quarles for threatening Raylan until Raylan tells him the bartender's a woman and Art immediately groans because he knows Raylan has slept with her.
    • Rachel says in Season 4 that she can deal with his aloofness because he get the job done and he's easy on the eyes.
    • Wendy Crowe says to the social worker that he's the most judgemental asshole she ever hope to meet, but she will allow he's easy to look at.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Walt McCready's watch, introduced in "The Moonshine War", becomes a major plot point eight episodes later.
    • Limehouse's meat cleaver in season three also served this role.
    • Subverted with Quarles' sleeve-gun; multiple characters note that if its rail mechanism were to jam, he'd lose the advantage it gives him, implying that this will eventually be his undoing; in the end, the gun wouldn't have done him any good regardless, since he gets his arm hacked off.
  • The Chessmaster:
    • Boyd becomes this after the events of season one. He stops being reckless and starts to carefully consider his actions and the resources at his disposal. Being one of the few criminals in the area with working brain cells kind of helps, but he can give a master of deceit like Mags Bennett a run for her money. If he feels that he cannot win, he changes the game to one where he has the advantage.
    • Limehouse is portrayed as one in Season 3. His community has survived for more than a century by always knowing where all the dangerous pieces are located and maneuvering around them.
  • The Chew Toy: Name one episode that has left Dewey Crowe better off than when it started.
  • Christianity is Catholic: Averted. This is the Bible Belt, and therefore Evangelical Christianity of the Pentecostal variety. Season 4 features a snake-handler. Ellen May needs Shelby to confirm that Catholicism is, in fact, a form of Christianity.
    • While getting of knowing each other, Ellen May found a Saint Christopher medal. Most of Protestantism consider interssecion of the saints a form of idolatry, but is a central dogma in Catolicism.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder:
    • The Crowders have a tendency to back stab people and each other. Johnny and Boyd hijack a truck of drug making supplies belonging to Bo and Boyd betrays Johnny soon after. When Bo finds out that Johnny betrayed him he shoots him and makes it look like Johnny went after Ava.
    • When some criminals try to betray Boyd during a robbery, he turns the tables on them and they end up blowing themselves up with a bomb meant to kill Boyd. The beautiful part is that Boyd saw it coming the second they shanghaied him into the robbery.
    • When hired by the mining company to buy up land for them, Boyd figures out why the land is valuable and makes a deal with Arlo and Mags Bennett to sell the land to the company for a small fortune.
    • The only people Boyd seems unwilling to backstab are Raylan and Ava. When he fights Raylan, he does so face to face.
    • Arlo betrays Bo Crowder to the Marshals and then turns around and betrays them to Bo. Then he betrays Raylan to Bo and gets shot in the leg for it.
    • And then to finish off Season 3, Johnny Crowder indirectly betrays Boyd to the Marshals (he holds Boyd responsible for getting him in his wheelchair) by telling Limehouse about Devil's murder. It backfires, however, when Arlo takes the blame for the murder instead.
  • Church Militant: Boyd becomes one after his near death experience, though his father murdering his fellow converts causes him to realize that he only became one to fill the void in his life after renouncing white supremacy and has since toned down his beliefs in order to avoid getting more people killed because of his fanaticism.
  • Clean Food, Poisoned Fork: Happens in the first episode of season 2, when Mags Bennett shares a jar of her "apple pie" (i.e. moonshine) with Loretta's dad and reveals that while the apple pie wasn't poisoned, one of the glasses was. In the last episode, this happens again only to Mags herself.
  • Clear My Name:
    • Raylan is accused of Gary's murder. The whole matter is dropped, however, after Lexington can't find the murder weapon, and the FBI won't reveal who told them that Raylan is a Dirty Cop.
    • Raylan again in the last season; ADA Vasquez believes that he is collaborating with Ava to steal $10 million.
  • Cold Sniper: Tim Gutterson.
    Art: Hell of a shot. Did you consider what might have happened if you missed?
    Tim: I can't carry a tune, I don't know how to shoot a basketball, and my handwriting is barely legible, but I don't miss.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Dewey Crowe seemingly has his kidneys harvested and held for ransom, Raylan suspects they haven't actually been removed; he persuades Dewey to try to urinate, which Dewey successfully does. Raylan tells him this wouldn't be possible without two kidneys.
    Dewey: So that means... I got four kidneys?
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Raylan refers to the story of their capture of the fugitive Tiny when trying to talk Ava out of staying with Boyd.
    • In season 4, upon seeing an FBI badge, Raylan and Tim question whether it's real, using the same line a fugitive's family used on them a few episodes prior.
  • Cop/Criminal Family:
    • Raylan is a U.S. Marshal, and his father Arlo is - or was - an abusive gangster who beat Raylan and his mother on top of participating in a lot of crime.
    • Rachel is also a U.S. Marshal, while her sister was a drug-addict and her brother-in-law a drug-abusing criminal.
  • Costume Copycat: In "The I of the Storm", Dewey Crowe poses as Raylan, including wearing a trademark hat, when ripping off a pair of drug dealers.
  • Courteous Canadians: Discussed; Boyd has a run-in with two Canadian mobsters who are generally polite, but also ruthless killers.
    Boyd: Oh, and here I thought all Canadians were supposed to be nice.
    Al Sura: Wrong Canadians.
  • Cowboy Cop: The premise, with a hat to match. The show manages to both reconstruct and deconstruct it. Raylan's antics obviously pay off, since he has a great clearance rate and the Marshal's Office has enough pull not to make a fuss about them, but he's often unable to judge his chances and the consequences of his actions, since he's so strict about fulfilling the trope. When he's forced to interrogate Wynn Duffy politely, he's absolutely furious, since he previously promised to kick his ass next time they meet. Or when his unusual way of intimidating crooks finally makes him a suspect in a murder case.
  • Crapsack World: Harlan County represents this big time. It's a major motivation for Raylan leaving town like he did when he was young and the motivation of several one-off characters, as far as the need to escape from the town, either professionally or through crime, drives their actions.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Constable Bob tries to be this, wearing a knife to use on someone who tries to go for his gun, and keeping a "go-bag" in his squad car that includes, among other things, an assault rifle.
  • Crocodile Tears: When Donovan threatens to shoot Quarles for killing Brady, Quarles tears up, confessing that his own father forced him into prostitution as a child. Quarles tears were probably not genuine, but rather a means of getting Donovan to let his guard down.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Constable Bob seems friendly, harmless, and his attempts to be Crazy-Prepared come across as more goofy than anything. He also endures an absolutely brutal beating at the hands of a thug, refusing to give up Raylan the entire time, before getting his knife and killing his attacker while not even being able to stand. As Raylan puts it, "People underestimate Bob at their peril".
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Raylan shows up to work with a black eye after being punched by Art; Tim asks him if he also fell in Art's shower, since that's the excuse Art gave for his bandaged hand.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: A minor character does landscaping work for elderly people who can't get outside much; he uses the opportunity to grow weed plants in their yards so he can sell it, but is shielded from liability if it's ever found. Raylan suggests that he become a legitimate gardener, because he's actually pretty good at it.
  • Dangerous Workplace: Wynn Duffy's office-trailer. Raylan has already roughed him up and threatened him there, and Donovan showed up one night with a gun, looking for Quarles.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Rachel in "For Blood or Money"; the fugitive they are chasing is her brother-in-law, and we consequently get a lot of insight into her backstory and motivations.
  • Deadpan Snarker: After a thug pulls a knife on him, Raylan pulls back his jacket and puts his hand on his pistol.
    Raylan: Shit. I forgot my knife.
  • Deal with the Devil: How Hunter Mosley becomes a Dirty Cop. The Miami Cartel offers to use their significant resources to track down the man who raped and killed Mosley's niece so he can exact his revenge; in return, he will allow them to traffic drugs through Harlan County. However, he is eventually forced into worse criminal activities, including actively assisting in the attempted murder of Raylan.
  • Death by Falling Over: Danny Crowe, who trips and falls into the grave he has been digging and is impaled on his own knife.
  • Death Seeker: When incumbent sheriff Napier sends his deputies to plant drugs in the car of his challenger Shelby, Shelby threatens to shoot it out with them and reveals that he's been diagnosed with terminal cancer and he'd just as soon die in a gunfight as slowly waste away from illness. Ultimately subverted when we later learn that he doesn't actually have cancer and was bluffing to get them to stand down.
  • Death Wail:
    • Boyd when he discovers the dead bodies of his "church".
    • Mags when Coover dies.
  • Deconstruction: Justified is, in part, an attempt to deconstruct the badass Cowboy Cop character archetype — Raylan is smooth and cool and smart and an amazing shot, but his ruthless willingness to gun down criminals and break regulations alienates him from his coworkers, who eventually come to kind of hate him. His inability to control his anger — however righteous — puts him in difficult spots on multiple occasions. Whether or not this critique is overshadowed by the scene-to-scene depiction of Raylan's effortless cool and charm is a question for each viewer, of course.
  • Decoy Convoy: In season 4, the Marshals are trying to escort Drew Thompson out of Harlan County and into federal custody. However, they are deeply outnumbered by henchmen for the Tonin Crime Family who want Thompson dead so that he can't turn State's Evidence against mob boss Theo Tonin. Every road out of town is being patrolled by heavily armed men who are not afraid to shoot at the law. The Marshals break into two teams, one a decoy convoy and the other an escort team for Thompson. The decoy convoy, using the flashy, trademark Fed SUVS, ends up in a tense, psychological battle of IEDs and Army snipers while the other team sneakily and successfully escorts Thompson onto a train hauling coal out of town.
  • Deep South: The U.S. Census Bureau considers Kentucky part of the South (though not everyone does), and Harlan displays all the usual characteristics. However, Justified gives a rather more nuanced version of the South than usual, as not everyone is a dumb-as-bricks racist redneck, and some of the more redneck characters are quite intelligent. Those characters who are dumb rednecks are usually stupid because they're drug abusers rather than because of their Southern accents.
  • Department of Child Disservices: Played with. Raylan briefly dates Loretta's case worker Alison, who has gotten Loretta into a decent foster home. However, she laments the extent to which her hands are tied by bureaucracy, and she's also been accused of planting meth at a house in order to get a child taken away from a family (which she denies, but it's left ambiguous). Raylan also weaponizes child services, threaten to take Kendall away from the Crowes unless they cooperate (for which Alison chastises him).
  • Did Not Get the Girl: In the finale, Raylan and Winona seem to get together for good. However, the final scene, set a few years later, reveals that they have since separated; they are Amicable Exes who co-parent their daughter and Winona has since remarried.
  • Didn't Think This Through: This is Raylan's response when Theo Tonin's thugs take Winona hostage to force him to bring them Drew Thompson — access to Drew is heavily controlled and there's literally no way that Raylan would be able to waltz into the office and walk out with the most notorious fugitive they've ever captured. Their response is basically "that's your problem."
  • Diegetic Switch: In "Adios" from Justified: City Primeval, Clement Mansell plays his cover of the song "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes for Marcus "Sweety" Sweeton before shooting him in the heart and burning down his tavern. The song continues to play as the scene cuts to Sweety's boyfriend Trennell washing dishes in his apartment across the street before catching sight of something in the mirror above the sink, then going to the window and seeing the flames and finally going outside.
  • Dirty Business: Season 4 reveals that several villains struggle with guilt over their villainy. For example, Boyd clearly does not enjoy goading Billy St. Cyr into picking up the poisonous snake that eventually bites him. Ava feels troubled when she arranges for Colt to kill Ellen May. Despite being a ruthless thug, Colt is extremely hesitant to shoot Ellen May and has to snort drugs to steady his nerves.
  • Dirty Cop: Harlan County is brimming with them, which can make it even more challenging for the Marshals to perform their duties:
    • Hunter Mosley, the sheriff of Harlan County in the first season is working for the drug cartel that wants Raylan dead.
    • Doyle Bennett is corrupt in all matters pertaining to his family, though he is implied to be a decent chief of police otherwise. He probably would have been worse, but Mags likes to keep a low profile and has her family stay out of criminal activity not related to their marijuana growing operations.
    • The new sheriff of Harlan County, Tillman Napier, is in Quarles' pocket. He additionally tries to get frame his competition for the office for possession of narcotics and attempted murder.
    • Nick Mooney holds the distinction of first being a corrupt cop under Doyle Bennett, then being a corrupt deputy under sheriffs Napier and Shelby.
    • Out with the old, in with the new. Harlan's third onscreen sheriff tips off a criminal of an upcoming arrest on his first day in office, and only got the position in the first place due to Boyd's shady tactics. He later distances himself from the criminal element and appears to do his best to be a good law enforcement officer, despite being a federal fugitive in league with the first sheriff.
    • Corrupt Prison Guard: The majority of prison guards we see on-screen are corrupt. Season 5 shows many of the guards in the women's county jail and state prison secretly working for criminals, bringing in drugs, sexually abusing inmates, and generally failing to uphold order.
    • Agent Jeremy Barkley of the FBI, who goes on a vendetta against Raylan believing him to be dirty. Ironically, Barkley is himself aiding the Detroit mafia.
  • Disconnected by Death: In "Adios" from Justified: City Primeval, a guy named Lonnie has been hired by "Bulldozer Burt" to recover a painting that Clement Mansell stole from him. Sweety modifies the deal so that Lonnie will kill Clement instead, but Lonnie never gets the chance because the scenario in which he's supposed to kill Clement ends up being a sting. He returns to Sweety, but Clement shows up as well. Lonnie gets a call from Burt and he takes it at Clement's urging, but then Clement shoots him in the head. On the other end, Burt comments to himself that it's time for him to go to the Bahamas.
  • Disney Villain Death: Coover when he chases Loretta to the mine shaft, leading to Raylan having to shoot him, letting him fall down the pit in Brother's Keeper.
  • Disposable Sex Worker:
    • Quarles has a history of torturing and killing male prostitutes.
    • The prostitutes at Audrey's. Their pimp Delroy has them rob a bank for him; when one of them is killed in the botched attempt, he then attempts to kill the other two that can link him to the crime. After Ava takes over Audrey's, she moves from being protective of the prostitutes to physically assaulting at least one, and attempting to have another one killed who can tie her to a murder.
  • Disqualification-Induced Victory: Despite both sides employing underhanded tactics, Shelby Parlow is narrowly defeated by Tillman Napier in the election for Sheriff. Fortunately for Shelby, Boyd made a backup plan by arranging a minor job for Tillman's estranged sister in the county clerk's office. Even though Tillman hasn't spoken to her in over a decade, it technically breaks nepotism laws and he is forced to step down.
  • Dissimile: A fantastic one by Wynn Duffy in "Collateral":
    Duffy: Raylan Givens, Boyd Crowder and Avery Markham are soon to the aligning of the planets, if those planets carried guns and hated my guts.
  • Dissonant Laughter:
    • In season three, when Duffy reports to Quarles that Raylan went after their Oxy clinic, Quarles just laughs. Duffy is quite perplexed.
    • In "Slaughterhouse," Quarles emits wheezing laughter as he lies on the slaughterhouse floor bleeding, telling Raylan that it was actually Arlo who killed the trooper.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Jackie Nevada to Raylan. They are a prime example of Strange Minds Dress Alike.
  • Distressed Damsel:
    • Ava tends towards this.
    Raylan: You do seem to have a penchant for getting abducted.
    • In "Ghosts", Winona is taken hostage. The trope is ultimately subverted in that while she's clearly terrified, she manages to assist in her own rescue by getting her hands on a pistol and shooting the guy holding a gun to her belly in the groin and chest.
  • Domestic Abuse:
    • Ava's husband. At least, until she shot him in the heart with a hunting rifle while he was eating supper.
    • Arlo beat Raylan's mother, which is another reason why Raylan despises him so.
    • According to Boyd, his father Bo beat his mother. Every time Bo beat her, he reminded her of her wedding vows to obey him.
    • The black community of Noble's Holler has always acted as a safe refuge for white women who fled their abusive husbands and boyfriends. As a side-effect, Limehouse now has a network of informants throughout the area who are grateful for the kindness they and/or their mothers were shown.
  • Don't Split Us Up:
    • In season 5, Allison tells Raylan about the angry, desperate reactions of abusive parents when she and the police take their children away.
    • In "Over the Mountain", Daryl and Danny are shocked, then furious when Raylan takes Kendal into protective custody.
  • Don't Tell Mama: Doyle pulls this on Coover and Dickie when he finds out about a particularly stupid crime they've committed. They're immediately horrified, not out of fear of upsetting their mother, but OF their mother's wrath.
  • Double Standard: A couple of times, Rachel (correctly) points out that Raylan is being treated differently than her, such as when she receives an official reprimand for going into a situation without back-up which Raylan has done many times without consequence. Art reveals that it's because he still has hope for her career (while Raylan is a lost cause), and he's actually grooming her to replace him after he retires.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Mags Bennett at the end of Season Two. Getting shot by the teenage girl she genuinely liked, and finding out that all her boys except Dickie are dead forces her to break out that special drinking jar of hers... the one laced with poison. The fact that she would be facing arrest for admitting to Walt MacReady's murder probably factored into it as well.
    • Dirty FBI Agent Barnes, who states that he has no intention of going to prison (or facing the wrath of his employers) before shooting himself.
  • Drowning My Sorrows:
    • Everyone gets a turn or two at this, though Raylan and Ava are particularly prone.
    • The first couple of episodes of season two showed Boyd do this in order to cope with life as a law abiding civilian as well as the guilt from his various past crimes.
  • Due to the Dead:
    • After Boyd kills Devil in self-defense, he insists on giving Devil's body a decent burial. He even says a prayer after Devil has been buried, much to Arlo's annoyance.
    • Averted with Delroy. After Krystal dies, Ellen May is horrified when Delroy disposes of her body in a slurry pond to cover his tracks.
    • Also averted with the Bennetts. After Mags poisons Walt, Coover and Dickie drop his body down a mine shaft instead of performing a burial.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Invoked by Art when he describes the mess that the Lexington Marshal's office has become, to another marshal angling to take over his job. In short order: Tim is a tad too eager to kill people, may have PTSD, and may be an alcoholic. Rachel is always trying to prove herself, recently engaged in a (off-camera) whirlwind marriage that ended in an even quicker divorce, which has led to her acting out, both in appearance and allowing her emotions to drive her actions. Raylan has been investigated numerous times for misconduct and his father is a career criminal who killed a state trooper and just killed another man in prison. This does not even touch on the slew of other problems the audience knows the characters have.
  • End of an Age: The end of the "glory days" of crime, old family dynasties, and the prosperous coal mining industry in Harlan County is an important theme throughout the show's run. By the end of the series, the Crowders, the Bennetts, and the Givens are all either dead, imprisoned, or have left Harlan county forever. Poor Dewey Crowe invokes this trope before Boyd executes him; his last thoughts were of the better days of Harlan county.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: As much of a Jerkass that Danny is, it's pretty surprising to see him break down sobbing after he buries his dog Chelsea.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • One second season episode has a pregnant inmate escaping from her pregnancy checkup with the help of two men hired by the baby's father. She thinks they're going to hand the baby off to the father, although it turns out that the father's plan was selling the baby and killing her. One of the two, a former EMT, was unaware of the second part, and when the other guy tries to get him to cut the baby out, he goes after his compatriot with a scalpel.
    • Theo Tonin was so angered when he learned that Quarles' father was pimping him out that he arranged for 14 year-old Quarles to kill his father.
    • Duffy is clearly disgusted with Quarles' proclivity for torturing male prostitutes. In "Slaughterhouse," Duffy admits to Raylan that he was behind the tip on Brady's murder, although YMMV as to whether it was motivated by altruism. Duffy may have merely wanted Quarles arrested.
    • In "A Murder of Crowes", The Canadians might be ruthless mobsters and heroin smugglers but they do not want to be in business with someone who uses a chainsaw to torture and kill people.
    Scott Fenton: The idea behind organized crime is that it is supposed to be organized. When people start using chainsaws, that's a sign. And it is not a good sign.
    • In "Collateral", Boyd is clearly troubled by Raylan's determination to kill him, even if it means letting Constable Bob die.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Played with. An abandoned car by the side of the road does not explode when Tim shoots the gas tank. When he throws a Molotov cocktail at the pool of gas, which leads back to the explosives loaded in the vehicle? Yeah, then it explodes.
  • Evil Counterpart:
  • Evil Cripple:
    • Dickie Bennet. He's crippled because he's evil. Raylan gave him his signature limp in self-defense when they were both teenagers.
    • Johnny Crowder, who is confined to a wheelchair after being shot in season 1. However, he slowly recovers over subsequent seasons.
  • Evil Matriarch: If Mags Bennett didn't qualify as one before, crippling her son Coover's hand with a ball peen hammer should remove all doubt.
  • Expy:
    • Some fans consider Raylan to be one of Olyphant's Deadwood character.
    • Assistant Deputy Goodall is an expy of Karen Sisco, another character from Elmore Leonard novels who got a (short-lived) TV series, and was played by the same actress, Carla Gugino. In fact, as mentioned in "Cut Ties," Goodall is her married name, with no mention of her maiden name (thus potentially making it a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo). She even has a scene using the baton that Karen Sisco used in the film.
    • Judge Reardon is a a non-racist version of Judge Bob Gibbs from the Elmore Leonard novel Maximum Bob.
  • External Combustion: Incumbent sheriff Tillman Napier is targeted by a car bomb during the run-up to the election. Turns out he set it up himself in order to frame Boyd Crowder, who supports his challenger.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • Wynn Duffy in regards to Quarles, he should have searched under his sleeves....
    • Tanner Dodd fails to spot that the step stool he is about to step on is rigged with a land mine
    • Raylan doesn't pay attention to the briefing on a new fugitive, which leads him to later share an elevator with the man without realizing it.
  • Faking the Dead:
    • Drew Thompson does this, putting his ID on another man and dropping his body from a plane to make it look like his parachute didn't open.
    • In the last episode, Raylan fakes evidence that Ava died in a car accident and shows it to Boyd, ensuring that he will stop looking for her and she can live her new life in peace.
  • False Flag Operation: Sheriff Napier orchestrates a bombing on his own car so he can blame Demolitions Expert Boyd.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Wendy Crowe reveals to Kendal that she's actually his mother, not his older sister, and his "brothers" are actually his uncles; However, Kendal also reveals that he figured it out a long time ago.
  • The Family That Slays Together: The series features several crime families, including the Crowders, Bennetts, Tonins, Reyes, Crows, and Truths.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Quarles is shown fully nude from behind; however, the context is that he's entering a bathroom to torture a young male prostitute.
    • Ellen May and the other prostitutes at Audrey's are usually in various states of undress, but they're generally drug addicts forced into the work because they have no other options.
  • Fearless Fool: Raylan really likes to get way over his head sometimes — he gets the shit beaten out of him twice in the series after he provokes fistfights (first with two grown men when he's drunk, the second time with Coover). He does it again in season 3, this time pulling a gun on Limehouse at Noble's Holler. It doesn't take a genius to figure out this can end with a dozen shotguns pointed at you. It's probably the only time in the series so far Raylan is afraid. Art expects that Raylan will eventually get himself killed because of this.
  • Feuding Families: The Bennett-Givens feud started during Prohibition when a Bennett thought a Givens had sold him out to the cops and killed him in revenge. Almost a century later, there are suspiciously few Bennetts and Givens left in Harlan County. Helen Givens and Mags Bennet, the respective matriarchs of the two families, had kept a truce going for the last fifteen years, but over the course of the second season it begins to heat up again. The renewed conflict ends with every member of each family dead except Raylan, Raylan's infant daughter, Doyle's two young unseen children, and Dickie, and the latter is in prison. In the second season's final five minutes, Raylan and Mags end the feud "as it should have ended years ago," by shaking hands over glasses of Mag’s home-made moonshine with Raylan unaware that Mags has poisoned her own glass.
  • Fingore:
    • In "Cottonmouth", Mags Bennett breaks her son Coover's fingers with a ballpeen hammer after his idiocy attracts the attention of the law.
    • Raylan confiscates a gun from a criminal; when the man scoffs that he can easily get another one, Raylan breaks his trigger finger so that even if he does, he'll be in no condition to use it.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Shelby shows Ellen May a medal of St. Christoper, who he explains is the patron saint of bachelors, travelers, sailors, and pilots.
    • The Crowe brothers are Darryl, Dilly, Danny, and Kendall; we later learn that Kendall is not actually a brother, but a nephew.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Raylan and his relationship with his crime boss father has been implied as one of the main reasons why Raylan is as tightly wound as he is.
    • Quarles' father pimped him out as a child to get money for heroin. As an adult, Quarles tortures male hustlers in a twisted attempt to process the abuse.
  • Friendly Enemy:
    • Raylan and Boyd dug coal together when they were 19. Which would make them Enemy Miners. Which would be an apt description of their situation in "Bulletville."
    • Mags and Raylan are always incredibly friendly (or failing that, respectful at least) towards each other, even at their worst. The final scene of Season Two is them sharing a drink. Raylan is unaware that Mag's has laced her own glass — and only her own glass — with poison.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal:
    • Boyd served in Desert Storm before returning to Harlan and beginning his criminal enterprise.
    • Colton Rhodes was Boyd's buddy in the army and upon his discharge he joins Boyd in his criminal activities, using his military training to great effect. He also serves as an Evil Counterpart to Tim Gutterson, who was an Army Ranger prior to joining the Marshall service.
    • Avery Markham hires Ty Walker and his crew, former special forces and Private Military Contractors. The trope is discussed by Raylan who mentions that while Walker's crew are killers who look good in fatigues, they run into issues due to their lack of criminal instincts and knowledge of the area (such as when they dispose of a body deep in the woods, but it's found almost immediately since the normally remote area is temporarily highly trafficked due to the bear hunting season).
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Quarles strips naked before torturing Donovan, whom he is holding captive in his bathroom. Also, while Boyd's prisoner at Audrey's, Quarles opens his robe to annoy Jimmy. After Jimmy leaves the trailer, Quarles wraps a chain around Minerva's neck and threatens to strangle her, while his robe is still open.
  • Gambit Pileup: Season 3 seems to be rapidly turning into one between Boyd, Quarles, and Limehouse all running their own agendas.
  • Generation Xerox: Like his father, Quarles is a drug addict and a man with no qualms about depravity.
  • Genre Roulette: Well, subgenre roulette. Season 1 is a procedural with elements of crime drama in the serialized stuff, season 2 is a tragedy, season 3 is a bit of a gangster story and season 4 is a mystery.
  • Ghost Extras: The Marshal's office is padded out with around a half-dozen marshals. Art will occasionally throw around a surname when delegating tasks. But only Raylan, Tim and Rachel get the real cases.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: In "The I of the Storm", Dewey Crowe celebrates a score by hiring two hookers and having them make out with each other as a prelude for the main event. He calls it the hottest thing he's ever seen.
  • Groin Attack:
    • When a not-that-reformed-criminal attacks Raylan with a taser, Raylan turns things around and tases him in the nuts.
    • Constable Bob attempts to subdue Jody Adair, but is met with a kick to the groin that not only puts him out of the fight temporarily, it disorients him enough that he stabs the wrong person in the foot.
  • The Gun Fighter Wannabe:
    • In season 1, Curtis Mims becomes very interested in the idea of a showdown with Raylan. He tries to practice his quick draw with Travis Travers, who shoots him while his gun is down.
    • In season 3 Fletcher likes to test himself against men known for their gun skills. He places a gun on the table, has a third party count down from 10 and the person who can grab the gun the fastest gets to shoot the other guy. Fletcher cheats.
  • Guns Akimbo: Both Raylan and Quarles end up dual wielding pistols but do not actually get to fire. They do it because they have to cover multiple people and have no one to watch their back.
    • As does Rachel in the pilot, for the same reasons.
    • In Season 4, while waiting for an assault from Detroit thugs, Constable Bob watches the door to the room he and Raylan are holed up in, wielding two pistols. He never has to fire them either.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: In the season 6 finale, Boyd attempts to pull the trigger of his Beretta 92, only to hear a click and discover it is now empty. Thing is, the Beretta's slide should have locked back upon firing the last round, a very visible indicator that the weapon is empty. Never mind why his handgun with a capacity of sixteen rounds only had about four or five in it.
  • The Gunslinger: Raylan is a Type D, Gutterson is a Type A.
    Raylan: You ever hear of The Apricot?
  • Gut Feeling / I Just Knew: The show is full of those moments, especially when it's about Boyd vs. Raylan mind games: basically the viewer just witnesses a ping-pong match of "he will know I will go there" - "he will know I will know". One particularly fine example can be seen in Season 6, episode 8. (Suffice to say, in Raylan and Ava's previous conversation Ava didn't give a slightest hint of being burned, but Raylan just knew because that's what was needed to move ther plot.)
    Rachel: What's the bad news?
    Raylan: Ava's burned.
    Rachel: What tipped it?
    Raylan: I just know.
  • Half-Arc Season: Each season thus far has established the overall arc within the first few episodes, followed by multiple case-of-the-week episodes with the pieces being moved around in the background, with the focus back on the main arc by the final episodes.
  • Hammy Villain, Serious Hero: Nearly every villain Raylan faces over the course of the series is bombastic with a flair for the dramatic. Raylan is a stoic man of few words. His opponents suffer from no such restraint:
    • Boyd Crowder (series-long antagonist) is known for his big smile and his silver tongue and will often give rousing speeches to win over the local populace convincing them that his increasingly violent crime is in their best interest. Lawman and criminals alike comment on how Boyd loves to use a ten-dollar word when a two-dollar word would do. Boyd contributes this to all the reading he did in the free time prison allotted him.
    • Mags Bennet (season 2) is also charismatic using her unassuming Southern granny charm to disarm people. That is unless you get on her bad side. Then she'll set off on a scathing rant that will embarrass you enough to want to leave town. She's also known to break out in song on occasion.
    • Wynn Duffy (series-long antagonist) prides himself on being equal parts delightfully charming and frighteningly violent. Most of what he says will make you shake your head and laugh before realizing it was actually a veiled threat. He flips between the two ends of the spectrum so fast that even the fairly unshakeable Raylan visibly can't decide whether to be amused or frightened.
    • Robert Quarles (season 3) often tells an amusing tale complete with bright perky speech and pantomime before unexpectedly murdering someone. He usually does it with an amused look on his face that doesn't quite reach his cold, dead eyes. His hamminess becomes more obvious when he spirals into addiction in the latter half of Season 3 and is reduced to a shouting mess multiple times.
    • Dewey Crowe is an idiot (series-long antagonist). A very loud idiot. But he's also just dangerous enough to cause problems if you underestimate him while you're busy laughing at his flailing and cussing.
    • Arlo, Raylan's father, is a vicious snake in the grass. But he knows that people will kill snakes if they realize they're there. So he uses over-the-top charm to make regular civilians think he's just a harmless old man. We see him tell groan-inducing dad jokes to a young nurse and tell fish stories to detainees at the county jail. But we also know that he tries to murder Raylan, his own son, more than once over the course of the series.
  • Hanging Judge: Judge Reardon, in an, erm, Justified example. He’s famous for giving extreme sentences. He privately tells Raylan the reason is due to one of his first cases on the bench, where against his better judgement he gave a man a light sentence due to sympathy; that man killed a six-year-old child shortly after, something that haunts Reardon still.
  • I Have Your Wife: In "Slaughterhouse", Quarles' taking hostage of the woman and her two sons. While he later lets the woman go, it's not by her choice. Her terror for her sons is palpable.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: Deconstructed: while Boyd becomes a born again Christian after his near death experience, the show has taken great pains to leave viewers guessing whether or not Boyd's redemption is legit or just him channeling his evil into less destructive outlets.
  • Hero of Another Story It's easy to see Eric Roberts' Deadpan Snarker flask carrying DEA agent Alex Miller in season 5 as the star of his own story with Hotrod Dunham as his Boyd Crowder.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Some for Season 2 here.
  • Hillbilly Incest: Bo Crowder Discusses this trope (among other stereotypes) and disparages it.
    Bo Crowder: I may not own a private plane or a fancy car, and when you look at me, you probably see some dumb redneck who likes to eat roadkill for breakfast and have sex with his cousins. I don't eat roadkill and I don't screw my relatives and I didn't just get off of no shortbus.
  • Hillbilly Moonshiner: Updated for the 21st century, the characters that fit this trope are now producing meth rather than alcohol. However, all the main criminal families have their roots in prohibition-era moonshine; Mags Bennett still produces her own alcohol (though as a hobby rather than a source of income).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • "Ice Pick" Fletcher from "The Gunfighter" loves to play a game with his victims. He places a gun in front of them, orders a third person to count to ten, and stabs his victim in the hand when he goes for the gun. When he tries this against Raylan, he yanks the tablecloth, Fletcher gets his icepick stuck in the table, and Raylan shoots him full of holes.
    • Danny Crowe dies because he tripped and stabbed himself in the neck with his own knife while trying to kill Raylan with it.
    • Quarles tries to frame Raylan for Gary]'s murder by planting the murder weapon in his house. However, Raylan is able to find it before the authorities do; he later takes the gun with him when confronting [[spoiler: Quarles and allows himself to be disarmed so the murder weapon is back in the hands of the murderer.
  • Honking Arriving Car: In the finale of Justified: City Primeval, "The Question," the arrival of the car carrying Raylan's ex-wife Winona and their daughter Willa is signified by three honks. As Raylan heads outside, Winona announces from the passenger's seat "She got her learner's permit!," revealing that Willa is the one driving.
  • Hookers and Blow: The local brothel has become a prime location to buy illegal drugs. When Boyd captures Quarles he chains him up in a trailer and to keep him docile he provides him with a supply of pills and two hookers to keep him company.
  • Ho Yay: In addition to the listings on the YMMV page, it's invoked in "Save My Love," after Raylan describes his trust/hate relationship with Boyd.
    Raylan: While he has tried to kill me, and I have shot him, and imprisoned him, and I wouldn't be surprised if our paths again cross in such a manner, he has had my back on two occasions: once was the last day I was in the mine, and the other not so long ago.
    Carol: My. Sounds like a love story.
  • Hypocrite: Ava. Throughout the series, Ava has struck back against abusive men, killing her abusive husband Bowman as well as Delroy. However, as a madame, she has no qualms about inflicting violence against other women. For instance, she slapped around Ellen May when she erroneously thought Ellen May betrayed her, then minimized the incident in season 4.
  • I Am Not My Father: An important theme for Raylan, he saying the line at least a couple times.
  • I Am Spartacus: Invoked:
    Miami Gun Thug: All we want is Raylan Givens!
    Raylan: I'm Raylan Givens!
    Boyd: No, I'm Raylan Givens!
    Raylan: Are you trying to be funny?
    Boyd: A little.
  • I Lied: Raylan's response to Helen after she returns the money Arlo took from the Marshals on the condition that Raylan leave Harlan and avoid the Bennetts.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison:
    • When the marshals yank a pair of suspects out of a car in "Save My Love", one of them immediately says she doesn't know anything about a bomb threat and doesn't even have a cell phone. Gutterson's response is that no one mentioned a bomb threat.
    • When Raylan is interrogating Arlo about the diplomatic bag with Waldo Truth's ID found at Arlo's house, Arlo claims to know nothing about it and advises Raylan to put it back in the wall and forget about it. Raylan points out that he never said it was in the wall.
  • I Want Them Alive!: A few times during the series.
    • In season 1, the Miami cartel wants Raylan brought in alive so they can torture him to death for killing Tommy Bucks.
    • Theo Tonin puts a price on Quarles' head dead or alive, but the alive bounty is double so his son Sammy can "talk" to Quarles about putting a gun in his face.
    • Theo also wants Drew Thompson brought in alive so he can torture him to death as retribution for Drew shooting his eye out and leaving him for dead.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Both Quarles and Nicky Augustine feel this way about Sammy Tonin, each seeing himself as better heirs to the organization. Once Sammy does inherit the organization, he runs it into the ground in a couple of months.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: As Raylan and Wynn Duffy are discussing Wynn's new role under Quarles:
    Raylan: He's got the ice-cold, remorseless, bottle-blond, shit-bag killer doing scut work.
    Duffy: Deputy, are you accusing me of being a fake blond?
  • Iconic Outfit: Boots, slim fit jeans, hip holster, designer shirts, skinny tie, blazer, and not-quite-white hat make Raylan Given's look immediately recognizable and iconic. So much so that in one episode Dewey collects the above items and attempts to impersonate Raylan. It works... until the real Raylan finds him.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Winona really should have know that any money stored in the evidence locker would have its serial numbers recorded specifically to catch anyone who might try to steal it.
    • Let's not even get started on Gary dealing with the Dixie Mafia not once, but twice. It was stupid enough to borrow money from a shady loanshark in the first place but at least he tried to work out a deal with the loanshark and it was Wynn Duffy who escalated things. However, dealing with Wynn Duffy AGAIN and trying to get him to kill the very man who saved your sorry butt the last time you got in trouble takes idiocy to a whole new level.
    • Arlo has a lifetime of criminal experience and knows all the players in the Harlan County criminal community really well. There is no excuse for him failing to realize that Dickie Bennett would recognize that it was Arlo who helped Boyd rob Dickie's big drug deal. Given the bloody history between the families he put himself and his wife in mortal danger. However, in the scene afterward, Arlo points this out, stating that he is nervous that Dickie made him. He still does not do anything about it until it is too late.
    • Boyd did a good job capturing Quarles. Unfortunately, he had a couple of Oxycontin addicts guard him, and left a nice bottle in the room. Putting him on a "chain" long enough to strangle them with — while standing.
    • Dewey Crowe is an Idiot Ball All-Star, but gets special consideration for his plot to rip off the criminals who robbed the Oxy bus by pretending to be Raylan — predictably, this allows Raylan to get involved and figure out his involvement within hours.
  • Impersonating an Officer:
    • Stupid crook Dewey Crowe decides to rob two toughs who stole a large amount of drugs from the Dixie Mafia. When the local clothing store does not have any ski masks in stock, he instead buys a suit and a cowboy hat. He then proceeds to impersonate US Marshal Raylan Givens and successfully pulls off the robbery. When Raylan finds out about it, he is quite pissed and tracks Dewey down. It does not help matters that the two toughs have also tracked Dewey down and when Raylan identifies himself, they open fire on him since they will not be fooled by the same trick twice.
    • In season four, a Detroit hitman is tasked with killing Drew Thompson but no one knows what identity Drew is currently using. The hitman disguises himself as a sheriff's deputy and goes to the houses of men who could be Drew and shoots them dead. He is exposed when he tries to arrest Boyd Crowder and Raylan is present. Raylan just spoke to the sheriff and the sheriff would have mentioned if he sent someone to arrest Boyd. Before Raylan can check in with the sheriff, the hitman panics, draws his gun and is shot dead by Raylan.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: In "For Blood or Money", Art is talking to Raylan and describes Rachel as the best marshal under his command:
    Raylan: You do know I sitting right here?
    (Art eyes Raylan up and down)
    Art: I do.
  • Inadequate Inheritor:
    • Sammy Tonin, son of Theo Tonin and heir to the Detroit Outfit. Within months of taking over, he has run his father's empire into the ground and is holed up in the top of a decrepit apartment building to avoid his enemies.
    • Quarles, as essentially Sammy's adopted brother, knows that Sammy is unfit to lead and wants to take the mantle himself; however, he is deemed inadequate in his own way due to his proclivity to torture and kill young male prostitutes.
  • The Informant:
    • Arnold Pinter, a bookie who regularly provides information to the Marshals Service. To his own benefit.
    • A running question in Season 6 is who informed on Grady Hale, the former leader of the Dixie Mafia; his widow and his former business partner, who are now in a relationship, each suspect the other. It is eventually revealed that the snitch was Wynn Duffy.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Happens constantly with Ava throughout the series.
  • Informed Ability:
    • A lot is made of Coover being a "genius" pot grower whenever he's off-screen, but on-screen he never seems to do anything with it except smoke it.
    • Tim is supposed to be a trained sniper and is frequently seen carrying and firing a scoped rifle, but he's never actually required to take a shot that would require anything more than rudimentary experience with firearms. The closest to justification is a scene in which he explains to a man inside a house with a gun that there is a specific spot good snipers can shoot in the head that are instant death called "the apricot." The criminal decides not to believe him and finds out Tim is 100% correct and hits "the apricot" dead on.
  • Insistent Terminology: Raylan always corrects someone who calls him a cop: He's a Deputy Marshal. He similarly corrects some people who call him "Marshal".note 
  • Instant Sedation:
    • Averted when Dewey is injected with a tranquilizer in prison. The tranquilizer is injected by a trained doctor directly into a blood vessel in the neck and Dewey is still able to get up an trash around the room for a while before losing consciousness.
    • Subverted again in the following episode; Raylan falls to the ground immediately after being injected and seems to be knocked out, but is either still conscious and faking or comes to pretty quick.
    • Played straight when Raylan is interrogating an injured suspect by denying him morphine, then applying pressure to his wound. When a nurse comes in, Raylan quickly releases the full dose which instantly incapacitates the suspect to the point where he can't tell the nurse what was going on.
  • Internal Affairs: After Raylan for the Miami shooting, though they quiet down after the first season. However, other agencies often serve the same narrative purpose:
    • ADA David Vasquez is assigned early on in the series to investigate some of Raylan's shootings, including that of Tommy Bucks and Boyd Crowder. Raylan is eventually cleared, and Vasquez appears throughout the series generally as an ally. However, in the final season he begins to suspect that Raylan has conspired with Ava to steal $10 million.
    • FBI agent Barkley, who is convinced that Raylan is a dirty cop in the pocket of his old friend Boyd Crowder. It later turns out that Barkley himself was dirty and on the payroll of the Detroit outfit.
    • Lexington police detectives Gerrity and Dempsey, who investigate Raylan after Quarles frames him for Gary's murder.
  • Interrogation by Vandalism: In "Hammer" Raylan questions the clerk in a smoke shop. He keeps picking and dropping bongs till the man tells him what he wants to know (he does pay for what he broke before her leaves the store).
  • Invulnerable Knuckles:
    • Averted with Delroy. After Delroy beats up Ellen May, Ava notices that his knuckles are scuffed up.
    • After punching Raylan Art shows up to work the next day with a bandaged hand, although he claims that he fell in the shower.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • "It was in the glass, not in the jar..." Mags repeats this line twice: once when she poisons Loretta's father, and once when she poisons herself.
    • When Constable Bob Sweeney says it it's played for laughs, but as Raylan later admits, "Folks underestimate Bob at
their peril".
  • Raylan holds dirty lawmen in contempt, and calls them out on various occasions. In season six when Raylan has fallen under suspicion and is taken into custody, the arresting officer's conversation with him follows many of the same talking points.
  • It's for a Book: Used by Tim when he suspects that Colton has them trapped in an Iraq style ambush; he calls Colton and presents the situation as if it's for a book that he's writing. Subverted in that they both know exactly what he's talking about.
    Colton: How about you have [the Colton character] go into a bar and pick a fight with some rangers? He sends a couple of them to the hospital?
    (Ex-Ranger) Tim: It's not a fantasy [book].
  • Jerkass: Arlo. Fucking. Givens. The show makes it perfectly clear that the reason Raylan became a marshal is due to his incredibly justified ("Roll credits!") hatred of his father. Arlo Givens spent Raylan's childhood abusing the living shit out of him and his mother both. He then continues this abusive behavior with Raylan's Aunt Helen, though Helen gives him hell right back, same as Raylan. Even after Raylan's forced return to Harlan county, Arlo continues to be verbally (and at least twice, physically) abusive to Raylan despite him being a deputy marshal. At times, it seems Arlo is going to finally do something that is not heinous, but he never does. He goes so far as to lure Raylan alone to a motel to kill him once Bo Crowder insists it's Arlo or Raylan that he'll kill, and Arlo chooses to try and kill his own son. Thankfully, Raylan gets wise to the scheme and shoots Arlo before he can kill him. Arlo's last words before he dies are a final insult to Raylan, further sealing his status as the worst jerkass possibly in the show's run.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: The Marshals have very specific jurisdiction when it comes to criminal matters and Raylan tends to stretch it or just go outside it. Usually the other law enforcement agencies are fine with it since they still get credit for closing the case but in season 3 Raylan ends up in the middle of a major FBI investigation and has to lie through his teeth to justify his actions.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Duffy and Ava, by virtue of being main cast members, both walk away free in the final episode.
    • Limehouse is also still alive and free in his last appearence.
  • Kissing Cousins: When Raylan and Tim question an escaped convict's ex-wife and her cousin, Tim immediately realizes they're sleeping together. Later when the ex-husband arrives:
    Coop: Y'all sleeping together?
    Shirley: We're cousins!
    Coop: Well, from all the lotions, condoms, and devices I saw sitting on your nightstand it's clear you're sleeping with somebody.
    Dupree: ...Well it's not like we're first cousins or anything.
  • Lame Pun Reaction:
    • In "Thick as Mud" Raylan and Rachel are pursuing a hospital nurse who is probably taking out kidneys from victims. Raylan calls him "Lawrence Nightingale". Rachel isn't amused by the slightest.
    • Raylan reacts poorly to an after-action report that says he "disarmed" Quarles (who had his are.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In season four, Raylan warns a fugitive to stop talking or he'll put him in the trunk, then follows through when the man keeps talking. In season six, Raylan comes under suspicion and is taken into custody; he tries to provide his arresting officer with information that will help solve the case and clear his name, but is given the exact same threat.
  • Last of His Kind: An interesting take in the series finale. At the end, Raylan and Boyd are the last living members of the main, Kentucky-based Givens and Crowder families. While they have children, Raylan only shares custody of Willa, as he never manages to get back with Winona; and Boyd fathered a son, but he will never know that, as Raylan helps keep that information a secret. Both children were also born and will be raised far way from Kentucky.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Carla Gugino appeared in season 3 as a character who is clearly supposed to be Karen Sisco, the Elmore Leonard character she played in a short-lived TV series — but due to licensing issues, the name is never mentioned (she's referred to as "Assistant Deputy Goodall," which is a married name).
  • Let Off by the Detective: A few times:
    • At the end of season one, Raylan allows Boyd to go after the people who killed his father.
    • Raylan eventually manages to track down Ava, but decides not to bring her in once he sees that she's raising Boyd's child. Beyond that, he tells Boyd that she has died to ensure that even if he's ever released, he won't try to find her.
  • Light Is Not Good: The fair-complexioned Quarles is a ruthless villain. Raylan once referred to him as a "big-toothed albino-looking son of a bitch." When Quarles and Duffy walked into the bar where Raylan was bouncing, the bartender said Quarles looked like an "albino deer."
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Boyd is this compared to some of the other show's villains. He and Mags maybe be roughly on the same moral level, but Boyd compared to Dickie? His Daddy Bo? Or Quarles? Boys tends to come out the lesser evil. Being a Villain Protagonist helps.
  • Literal Disarming: A running Chekhov's Gun is that villain Robert Quarles has a secret gun rail hidden in the sleeve of his jacket. Any time he extends his arm, his opponent is in danger of being shot and killed. In the season finale, Quarles extends his arm to shoot the protagonist, Raylan Givens, only to have his arm cleaved off at the shoulder by Limehouse, the butcher Quarles had threatened earlier in the scene.
  • Low-Speed Chase: "Blaze of Glory" ends on one of these, between a U.S. Marshal with a bum knee and an old man dying of emphysema. The latter has taken off his oxygen tank, both because it's slowing him down and he's entertaining death as an option, and the Marshal is trying to get it back to him.
  • Mad Bomber:
    • Boyd is an explosives expert and he really enjoys himself when he gets to blow up stuff.
    • Lemuel Becket might seem like a harmless grandfather but he sells black market rocket launchers and builds bombs for his customers. He even rigged his workshop with land mines in case one of his customers tries to rob him.
  • Man of the City: Subverted. When Black Pike starts buying up property, Mags Bennett starts making counteroffers and buying up land on her own with the stated goal of protecting the land from the mining company. However, she is actually strategically buying the land that Black Pike would need to build access roads to their mine so she can sell it to them at an exorbitant profit. She succeeds, but earns the enmity of the townsfolk she had claimed to be protecting.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Raylan meets with the wife of a fugitive who claims to be a psychic. She appears to know things she has no business knowing, correctly telling Raylan that he's going to meet a bad man at a gym and knowing which specific gym. When asked how she knew, she simply says that she has a gift and no further explanation is given.
  • Meaningful Name: "Shot All To Hell" more than lives up to its title. With five people gunned down by episode's end.
  • Missing Mom:
    • Raylan's mother is dead, and buried in the front yard of his childhood home. Her grave is next to ready-and-waiting plots and already-carved headstones for him and his father. For some reason, this used to creep him out as a child.
    • In "Slaughterhouse", Quarles tells the two boys that he never got to know his mother, since she died when he was very young.
    • Although Bo was a prominent character in the first season, Boyd's mother is almost never mentioned.
  • Mistaken for an Imposter: After Dewey Crowe dresses up as Raylan to rob some criminals in "The I of the Storm":
    Raylan: Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens. I'm gonna need you to stop right there, hands where I can see 'em.
    Cutter: I ain't falling for that shit again! *opens fire*
  • Mob War:
    • With both Dickie Bennett and Boyd Crowder trying to gain control of the criminal underground in Harlan County things quickly descend into violent conflict.
    • The Dixie Mafia has a passing interest in the area and when Quarles takes charge they move in full force. This puts them into conflict with Boyd's new gang and things quickly turn violent.
    • A minor subplot is the fall of the Detroit outfit, who have quickly declined under Sammy Tonin's leadership and whose substantial debts to the Canadians have led to open war. The war apparently ends when Picker cuts a deal with the Canadians to kill Sammy in exchange for his own life.
  • Molotov Cocktail:
    • Boyd uses one to torch a meth lab in "Hammer".
    • In "Decoy" Tim and Art use one to torch a car they suspect has a remotely controlled bomb in it.
  • Mood Whiplash: Danny Crowe goes from telling a surprisingly touching story about how he came to adopt the recently deceased Chelsea to dying in a hilariously anticlimactic way.
  • Mook Horror Show: In "Measures," Quarles goes into the house of two drug dealers under Boyd's protection to steal their drugs. He shoots one with his sleeve gun and subdues the other after a struggle. Quarles then proceeds to mercilessly punch the mook and slash his face and throat with a katana. The encounter ends with Quarles spattered with blood.
  • The Most Wanted: Despite being a lawman himself, Raylan finds himself in this position in the season 3 episode "Watching the Detectives." After the criminals he's pursuing turn the tables and make it look like Raylan murdered his ex-wife's new husband, Raylan finds himself benched by the US Marshals Office of Internal Affairs, wanted by the FBI for corruption charges, being investigated by the US District Attorney for possible unjustified shootings in the line of duty, wanted for questioning about the murder by the local police, and also targeted by the very criminals he was pursuing when this whole thing kicked off. This is all while he's trying to clear his name despite orders to stay out of it.
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • Between the hat and the accent and the long, long legs. . . I'll be in my bunk.
    • Quarles also qualifies. Neal McDonough has a brief nude scene in "Guy Walks Into a Bar," and a shirtless scene in "Coalition."
  • Multiple-Choice Past: On Justified: City Primeval, Clement Mansell and Sandy Stanton have identified the Albanian Skender Lulgjuraj as a potential mark to steal money from. In "Backstabbers," Clement tells Skender that if his mother hadn't been carried away by a tornado, they'd be having this meeting in Lawton, Oklahoma. When Sandy asks how he's never told him this, he says it was a day like any other in which his mother was slaving away, hanging wash on the line, a pot on the stove inside. Then the wind picked up and the sky turned dark and ugly. They next thing they knew, she was above the fruited plain, teams of hounds out searching for her, but never found a trace. Later on in the season, in "The Smoking Gun," he tells his attorney Carolyn Wilder the same story, except in this version, he says his mother was indisposed because this is what people do, they let you down. He waited for the man in her bed to leave, not "the first asshole from Glenn Pool to be in her bed, but he was the last." After his car disappeared down the dirt road, he took his .22 and shot his mother in the throat because the last thing he wanted her to see before he told her to close her eyes tight and pulled the trigger was her son's face. He then tells Carolyn that maybe this story is just bull and that a tornado carried her away. Given everything else seen of him in the series, though, he probably did actually kill her.
  • Mutual Kill:
    • Raylan almost convinced two criminals to drop their guns and surrender to him when they realize that only one of them will be able to make a deal for immunity and the other will go to prison for a long time. They turn on each other and before Raylan can stop them, they shoot each other. One dies instantly and the other sustains a fatal wound.
    • Rodney "Hot Rod" Dunham kills a former associate with a pencil to the neck but is in return mortally wounded by the man before he bleeds out.
  • Mythology Gag: A minor one, but Raylan acts as a father figure for Loretta after her own is killed. In the books it's mentioned that "Loretta" was one of the names Winona wanted for a girl.
  • Naked Nutter: A very serious example in Season 3, where Quarles strips down before taking a huge amount of drugs and torturing Donovan.
  • Never Bring A Knife To A Gunfight:
    • Inverted to spectacular effect in the third season finale. Quarles loses his sleeve gun — and the arm it's attached to — to Limehouse's gigantic butcher knife.
    • Discussed with knife user Danny Crowe, who's obsessed with the 21 Foot Rule. This is the theory that a combatant with a knife actually has an advantage over a combatant with a (holstered) firearm at ranges of 21 feet or less, because he can close the distance and attack before his opponent can draw, aim, and fire a gun.
    • Played for laughs when a thug pulls a knife on Raylan and he simply pulls back his jacket to reveal his gun.
      Raylan: [puts his hand on his gun] Shit. I forgot my knife.
  • Never Mess with Granny:
    • Raylan's aunt/stepmother, Helen, is regularly seen with her shotgun, and there is no doubt she'd be happy to use it.
    • Mags Bennet, the second season villain, is a grandmother, and one of the most dangerous people on the show.
    • Dewey Crowe attempts to steal gas from the car of an old woman, who initially seems sympathetic but is really just buying time to get her shotgun.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead:
    • Boyd. Despite Bo's countless evil actions in life, Boyd speaks of his late father respectfully. Also, Boyd spoke of the late Devil as a friend, even though he was forced to kill Devil in self-defense.
    • Averted with Raylan, who is just as disrespectful regarding Arlo in death as he was in life.
  • No Accounting for Taste:
    • Helen and Arlo Givens seem to hate each other, insulting each other at every opportunity. However Helen is fiercely protective of Arlo, even given his first wife was Helen's physically-abused sister. Arlo doesn't get his Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other moment until after Helen's death.
    • Unfortunately, Raylan follows RIGHT in his father's footsteps with dysfunctional relationships. Every single canon love interest, or sexual partner, Raylan has in the show is with a blonde woman who is a piping hot mess. It's possibly why he and Rachel never move past slowly burgeoning Unresolved Sexual Tension—being Raylan's partner means she's seen his disastrous relationships and decided to steer clear (although she has her own relationship issues, leaving her husband partway through the show). Raylan and Winona are the least toxic pairing throughout the show, but even that is wracked with problems, starting from divorce and progressing through infidelity and accidental pregnancy.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • Boyd is on the receiving end of one in Bulletville.
    • Raylan gets one when, drunk and angry, he starts a fight with two ill-mannered men in a bar. The bartender has to step in with a shotgun to make it stop.
  • Noodle Incident: Duffy asks Quarles where he got the track for his fancy sleeve gun. Quarles begins to relate a story ("It's funny you should ask that...") about Christmas shopping, but he's interrupted mid-sentence.
  • No-Paper Future: Dewey gets a glimpse of this when he has to raise a lot of money really fast and quickly realizes that the places he is capable of robbing don't carry much cash anymore. Even a strip club does not have much cash on hand at ten in the morning.
  • No Smoking: Generally played straight though a few instances of smoking are used for dramatic purposes. This is lampshaded by Art in "Decoy" when Tim needs a lighter or some matches and it turns out that none of the Marshals and State Troopers present smoke. Art comments that he did not expect this to happen in Kentucky of all places.
  • Nothing Up My Sleeve: Quarles has a small firearm on a track on his forearm, spring loaded to jump into his hand when needed even though he appears unarmed.
  • Not His Blood: In season 5, Chief Deputy Art Mullin is escorting Raylan's girlfriend to protective custody. Darryl Crowe, Jr., assumes that Raylan, himself, would be escorting his own girlfriend and sees this as a perfect opportunity to kill Raylan. However, instead of getting a bead on Raylan to be sure, he fires wildly sending Art and Allison scrambling. In the aftermath, they check for injuries.
    Art (Stands up from covering Allison): Oh, you're bleeding!
    Allison (Looks at her shirt and then at Art): It's not my blood....
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain
    • The series likes to show that even Stupid Crooks can be incredibly dangerous.
    • Played with in "Murder of Crowes". The Canadians are played by two well known comedians so the audience instinctively starts to think of them as comic relief. Then one realizes that the other characters treat them extremely seriously and it becomes clear that beyond some simple Canadian banter there is nothing really comedic about the two Canadian mobsters. In fact, they are serious players who have no problem having Sammy Tonin killed and who would not tolerate someone like Boyd jerking them around.
  • Oblivious to Hints: A fugitive is sitting at a restaurant; the marshals have arrived to take him into custody, but are trying to get the waitress out of the line of fire first. The manager tries several times to get her to leave the area with increasing urgency, eventually having to resort to telling her that he'll fire her on the spot if she doesn't come talk with him immediately.
  • Off on a Technicality:
    • Boyd is released from jail after Raylan enters a sexual relationship with Ava, tainting her as a witness in the shootout between the two.
    • After it's revealed that Sheriff Hunter Mosley is dirty, all the cases he was involved in need to be retried. The decision is made to just release any inmates with less than six months remaining on their sentences, freeing Bo Crowder.
    • In his backstory in Justified: City Primeval, Clement Mansell killed several drug dealers and nearly killed another, but this one managed to survive. They had him pretty much dead to rights, but his attorney, Carolyn Wilder, got him off on something called a "Federal detainer statute." Exactly how this worked is never explained in any fashion.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: When Raylan asks as an impromptu mediator between Markham and Loretta, he refers to the trope by name when he explains that bad things happen to people who refuse Markham's offer to buy their land for the second time.
  • Offing the Offspring: Arlo's tried this, twice.
  • Offstage Villainy: Wynn Duffy is occasionally mentioned to be Ax-Crazy in a cut-your-face-off kind of way, but we never actually see him do anything worse than kill someone.
  • Once a Season: Each season finale ends with a different rendition of the folk song You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive.
  • The One Who Made It Out: A major theme of the series. Many characters dream of leaving and starting a better life somewhere else, but few follow through with it:
    • Faced with either working in the coal mine for the rest of his life or becoming a criminal like his father, Raylan Givens manages to escape Harlan and become a U.S. marshal, and is understandably irked when assigned to the Kentucky office at the beginning of the series.
    • Bowman and Ava Crowder wanted to get out of Harlan and vainly hoped that as a local football star Bowman would get a college scholarship and ultimately play professionally. After Ava kills Bowman she has a chance to leave Kentucky but decides to stay. Played straight in the finale, when we learn that she successfully did leave and change her identity.
    • Mags Bennet's main motivation is providing her grandchildren with the opportunity to go to college and get away from the criminal life she and her sons are living. Even she later gives up on the latter.
      ** The difficulty of this is lampshaded in the song that plays in each season finale:
      You'll never leave Harlan alive.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Generally averted though some Made of Iron characters should take more damage.
    • Arlo gets shot in the leg in each season and takes some time to recover from each wound
    • Boyd survives being shot in the pilot episode but is in the hospital for a long time. While Raylan might not have actually wanted to kill him, he still shot for the center of mass and did not try any fancy shoulder or hand shots. Boyd is simply lucky to have survived.
    • This is played straight at the end of "Bloody Harlan" only to be then subverted in the following episode. After being shot, Raylan should be on his way to a hospital rather than walking and talking to people. However, three weeks later he is shown to be still in a lot of pain from the wound, restricted to desk duty and unable to perform his usual Quick Draw and Improbable Aiming Skills feats.
    • Completely averted with Johnny Crowder. Shot in the midsection in season 1, he spends all of seasons 2-3 confined to a wheelchair. In season 4 he can walk, but only leaning heavily on a cane. By season 5 he can finally walk unassisted, but still has a noticeable limp.
  • Organ Theft: In season 3 a group of criminals sell organs on the black market. However, they primarily harvest the organs from the recent corpses of convicts who died in prison rather than then by stealing them from living people. They have access to the prisoner's medical records and use people trained in this type of operation. The one time they operate on a live person it is a ruse to make the victim think that they took his kidneys so he steal for them. All they did was make a couple cuts and sutured them up
  • Outlaw Town: Harlan County is a Wretched Hive, but the township of Bennett is a true Outlaw Town, ruled by marijuana kingpin Mags Bennett. With her son Doyle acting as Chief of Police, and her other sons, Dickie and Coover, controlling the town's drug trade, Mags is the uncrowned Feudal Overlord of the town, using it as a front for her drug operations, which expand throughout Harlan County, Kentucky, and beyond.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Quarles initially appears as this with his big plans and the ability to turn people like Wynn Duffy and Devil to be his accomplices. However, both Raylan and Boyd quickly figure out what type of villain he is and invert the trope on him revealing him to be too Wrong Genre Savvy to understand how they are beating him.
  • Perfect Poison: The unidentified poison that Mags puts in her "special" cider glass, which kills in a few minutes or less. Even the Medical Examiner is unable to identify its presence in a man killed by it, although the corpse in question has had time to decompose.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Raylan, fearing that Winona is in danger, calls her and tells her to leave the house immediately. Winona, upset that both Raylan and Gary have been lying to her and keeping her in the dark, refuses to leave unless Raylan gives her an explanation. He instead repeatedly asks her to leave, then gives up and tells her to lock the doors and wait for him to get there. When he finally arrives (fortunately in time), he quickly explains the situation; it takes less than 10 seconds and he could have easily done it over the phone to get her out of harm's way.
  • Post-Coital Collapse: "Where's Waldo?" begins with Raylan and Lindsey collapsing in bed after a vigorous coupling and she comments that he's getting good at that and they proceed to have a Talking in Bed scene about her job. Lindsey has a Modesty Bedsheet on while the camera simply stays above Raylan waist.
  • Power of Friendship: One of the underlying arcs of the series. All of the overlapping gambits between allies and enemies alike, it all boils down to how you love your friends no matter what. Even when you shoot them.
    "Raylan and Boyd dug coal together."
  • Pregnant Hostage:
    • Jamie Berglund in "The Life Inside". When Raylan and Tim storm the hideout, he holds a gun to her belly and threatens to shoot.
    • Theo Tonin's thugs take a pregnant Winona hostage in order to force Raylan to release Drew Thompson to them.
  • Prematurely Marked Grave: One of the many abusive things Arlo Givens did to his son Raylan was to put up a grave marker with Raylan's name next to their house. When Raylan's mother died, Arlo decided to bury her in the plot next to the house and he got such a great deal on the gravestone that he decided to save money and ordered gravestones pre-made for himself and Raylan. Arlo was not deliberately malicious in this instance but he still insisted on putting up the markers to 'reserve' the spots rather than storing them in the shed or basement. So poor Raylan spent a large part of his childhood being greeted by the sight of his own gravestone every time he left his house.
  • Prisoner Performance: An episode features a band made up of inmates that is rented out to play various functions; a couple of the inmates take the opportunity to escape, and Raylan must track them down.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles:
    • Since Boyd had to be hastily written into the show, Walton Goggins didn't appear for a few episodes in the first season until his storyline could pick up. He doesn't get his Main Title credit until the opening of season 2.
    • Jere Burns (Wynn Duffy) gets promoted in Season 5.
  • Protection Racket: Bo Crowder, and later Boyd, are both run a protection racket; however, it seems to be limited to taking payoffs from the criminal element, rather than normal civilians/businesses.
  • Pulled from Your Day Off: Played for Drama. Givens is taking the day off to go house hunting with his pregnant ex-wife/girlfriend Winona when he gets a call about a problem in Harlan County. Raylan is the only one who can properly resolve it so he apologizes to Winona and leaves. Winona seems to be fine with this but it is actually the final confirmation for her that Raylan has not changed and will not prioritize her and their child over his job. Soon after she breaks off the relationship and leaves.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: Beautifully subverted in "The Life Inside" where a criminal holds a pregnant woman hostage and tells this trope to the two Marshals with guns on him. One of whom is a trained sniper who happens to be an expert in head shots. The criminal doesn't believe he can pull a headshot with a han-
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Played straight Season 2 Ep 2, and horribly subverted in Season 2 Ep 3.
  • Quick Draw:
    • Raylan combines this with Improbable Aiming Skills. Subverted at the beginning of season 3 when his injuries make it impossible for him to quickly draw his gun.
    • Quarles uses a spring-loaded sleeve gun device to quickly get his gun and shoot people before they realize what is happening.
    • In the final season Avery Markham hires Boone as an evil counterpart to Raylan, making sure he has someone of similar skill on his payroll.
  • Rape as Backstory: Quarles' father pimped him out as a child to get money for heroin. Quarles also has a history of violence against male hustlers which has strong sexual overtones.
  • Rape as Drama: Heavily implied with Quarles but not shown on screen. Several episodes in season three either show or make reference to Brady, naked and bound to a bed in Quarles' house. In "Guy Walks into a Bar," Quarles strips naked and walks into a bathroom where Donovan is bound and gagged, strongly suggesting that Quarles has sexual violence in mind. In "Slaughterhouse," Duffy tells Raylan that Quarles has a thing for young boys, again strongly suggesting that Quarles sexually abuses his captives.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Raylan delivers an amazing one to Dickie Bennett before shooting him and hauling him back to jail for breaking into Loretta's place to find Mags's money banked with Limehouse.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica:
    • This is the situation with Raylan's transfer from Miami to Lexington after shooting Tommy Bucks, as the circumstances surrounding the shooting drew a lot of negative publicity (despite the shooting itself being technically by-the-book). However, the transfer is also for his own protection, as Bucks' associates in the cartel want Raylan dead.
    • This is also the situation with Quarles; he describes his assignment from Detroit to Kentucky as an opportunity to move up in the organization, but it's eventually revealed that he was exiled for his unsavory personal life.
  • Redemption Failure: Boyd Crowder tries to go straight but circumstances keep pointing him back toward a life of crime.
  • Red Herring:
    • Quarles' wrist-gun, both its existence and the question as to whether the mechanism ever jams. It's built up as an obvious counterpoint to Raylan's quick draw ability, but Quarles gets his arm chopped off before he can do anything.
    • Danny Crowe, a Psycho Knife Nut, is obsessed with the 21 Foot Rulenote , seemingly to set up a final confrontation with Raylan. Although the situation is set up three times, the confrontations are never played out to their conclusion (the first time Danny backs down; the second time both combatants are hit by a truck before they can begin; the third time, vs. Raylan, Danny falls into a hole halfway through his attack and impales himself on his own knife).
  • Refuge in Audacity: Raylan falls into it with his stunts. Once, a bullet with his fingerprints on is found at a crime scene — he explains that the likely perpetrator could leave the bullet there, since during their previous meeting, Raylan had dropped it onto him and said that the next one would be coming a lot faster. Even the pretty hostile investigator on the case calls it the most awesome thing he ever heard.
  • Revisiting the Cold Case: Mob boss Theo Tonin killed an FBI informant but the murder could not be tied to him because the only witness, drug smuggler Drew Thompson, died when he jumped out of a plane and his parachute failed. Twenty years later, the US Marshals discover that Drew faked his own death and the dead body belonged to someone Drew killed. The Marshals reopen the case and try to track down Drew. They run into major problems since they have no photos of Drew and only a vague description based on two-decade old memories.
  • "Rise and Fall" Gangster Arc: Played with in the case of Boyd; he aspires to be the crime boss of Harlan County, but there always seems to be another criminal or obstacle in his way. By the end of the series he's imprisoned, never having made it quite to the top.
  • Road Block: Instead of the usual law enforcement roadblock, henchmen from the Tonin crime family block every road out of Harlan in an effort to stop Drew Thompson from escaping and testifying against Theo Tonin. The marshals set up a Decoy Convoy, which gets stopped, but sneak Drew out of town on a freight train (which the criminals didn't think to stop since they don't carry passengers).
  • Rousing Speech:
    • Boyd gives one against the sheriff in Quarles' employ during a town hall meeting and it's quite effective. People in Harlan have very long memories when it comes to their struggle against the coal mines and Boyd knows perfectly how to tap into that sentiment.
    • Mags gives one in a town hall meeting against Black Pike mining. It causes the town to rally behind her cause. in fact it's all a ruse to get the town to sell her their land so SHE can sell it to Black Pike for three times their original offer for it, pocketing the money for herself.
  • Russian Roulette:
    • The episode appropriately named "Harlan Roulette." Glen Fogle plays this game with one of his oxycotin-addicted flunkies, forcing him to play it in return for a single pill. The flunkie does it. Twice. And then gets so frustrated he aims the gun at Fogle and fires. It wasn't loaded after all. But the gun Fogle fires at the man is.
    • Raylan of all people plays this game with Wynn Duffy to get him to talk. Duffy is not amused.
  • Rural Gangsters: Whole series is based around this trope, with numerous crime families and criminal organizations jostling for control of Harlan County, Kentucky. Notable examples include former Harlan crime lord Bo Crowder, Bo's son and successor, Boyd, Bennett township marijuana kingpin Mags Bennett and her three sons, the alligator poaching, drug-smuggling Crowe family, and Dixie Mafia shotcaller Wynn Duffy, who operates out of a trailer in Frankfurt. These local criminals regularly ally with or fight against outside organizations, like the Miami cartel and the Detroit Mob.
  • Sadistic Choice: If you work for Limehouse and you fail him, you either risk losing the flesh in your hand, or walk away promising to never fail him again, or else....
  • Scary Black Man:
    • Limehouse might not look particularly scary but his methods and the way he talks are terrifying.
    • Invoked in an episode where one of Gary's friends, a former NFL player, offers to play this role in a business meeting to intimidate Gary's creditors into backing off. While he is big and imposing, Wynn Duffy is not impressed.
  • Scrabble Babble: Wynn Duffy and Mikey are playing Scrabble, and Mikey plays "aplex":
    Wynn: "Aplex"?
    Mikey: Yeah, 28 points. Boom!
    Wynn: I'm pretty sure "aplex" isn't a word, Mikey.
    Mikey: Of course it is. "I don't like that guy, he aplexes me."
    [Later, after Wynn gets off a phone call]
    Mikey: You OK? You look aplexed.
  • Self-Made Orphan:
    • This is Boyd's intention at the end of Season 1, but his father is killed by a sniper before he can finish the job. He then goes to hunt down the sniper on principle.
    • When Theo learned that young Quarles was being pimped out by his own father, he arranged for the father's death at the son's hands. Afterwards, Theo adopted Quarles as his own.
  • The Seven Western Plots: A marshal story set in the modern day, dealing with U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens balancing his duties as a marshal, his ex-wife, his criminal father, and criminal clans like the Crowder family and the Bennett clan.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • The subplot of Clinton Moss, Rachel's brother-in-law whom she holds responsible for the death of her sister Shaunee (Shaunee had overdosed and Clinton, driving her to the hospital, was in an accident that resulted in her death). At the beginning of an episode Clinton is on the verge of being released from a halfway house; he even has a day pass to celebrate his son's 12th birthday, planning to take him to a cowboy themed restaurant and give him a knock-off Furby. Things go wrong when his day pass is revoked for a minor infraction; he assaults the manager of the halfway house to escape, then goes on a crime spree including stealing a gun and car and wounding a former associate. The day culminates in a showdown at the restaurant, where the wounded associate is shot dead before Rachel manages to talk down Clinton; he only has time to give his traumatized son the (now shot and bloodied) Furby before being taken off, presumably to face a much harsher sentence due to his additional crimes.
    • When Winona, struggling financially, impulsively takes a bag full of money from the evidence locker. She intends to return it, but before she can one of the bills is stolen from her, triggering investigations from both the FBI and the Secret Service. This leads to a desperate plot to return the money that puts Raylan's job at risk. Before they can put it back, the marshals are sent to check the storage locker for it. They discover that it's missing — and everyone just shrugs, as nobody really expected evidence from a decades-old case to be where they thought it was, and everyone assumes that it was sent back to the bank it was originally robbed from, with no way to verify since the bank has since shut down. Raylan and Winona finally manage to return the money to the locker, where it's immediately stolen again by an elderly marshal who is last seen driving a sports car across the border to Mexico.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Quarles, contrasting heavily with the more simple dressed criminals from Harlan.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Tim.
    Tim :"Either that, or I'm having a full blown PTSD episode."
    Art: "...those happen often?"
    Tim: "Only when I'm handling firearms in public"
  • Ship Sinking:
    • Raylan/Ava, as season two has paired Ava up with Boyd while moving Raylan and Winona (his ex-wife) to the verge of reconciliation.
    • Raylan and Winona have been sunk yet again midway through Season 3, but since she's having his baby, only time will tell if it's going to stick this time.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    Art: "Are you cold standing out here?"
    Raylan: "Why?"
    Art: "Because I can't keep from staring at your nipples."
  • Shoot the Dog / Kick the Dog: Whether Ava's decision to have Colt kill Ellen May is a shoot-the-dog moment or a kick-the-dog moment is up for debate. On one hand, Ellen May had grown increasingly dangerous, shooting a john while high on drugs. While at Audrey's brothel, Ellen May also blurted out that Ava had murdered Delroy, putting Ava at risk. However, Ellen May was off drugs and on her way to honest work with a born-again relative of Boyd's, so she wasn't a threat to Ava.
  • Shoot the Hostage Taker:
    • In the episode The Life Inside, a criminal takes a pregnant woman hostage.
    Raylan: "Jess, you ever hear about a spot snipers call the apricot? It's where the brain stem meets the spine. Hit a fella there, he ain't gonna pull no trigger. It's just, lights out."
    Jess: "Oh, what, you're telling me you're that good?"
    Raylan: "Me?" *Shakes his head, gestures to Deputy Tim Gutterson, beside him.*
    Jess: "Really? Okay, this is how this is going to go down —" *Tim takes the shot, perfectly.*
    • Averted when a violent criminal being takes one of the guards transporting him hostage; despite it being a clear situation where the use of force would be justified, Raylan manages to talk the man down and end the situation peacefully. This may or may not have anything to do with the fact that the ADA investigating Raylan's shootings happens to be in the office at the time.
  • Sidetracked by the Analogy: When Raylan tells Wynn Duffy that he's going after Duffy's boss, Quarles:
    Raylan: The SS Quarles is going under. You'd best swim like hell to get clear or the whirlpool'll take you down with it.
    Duffy: I believe they disproved that on Mythbusters.
  • Signature Headgear: Series protagonist Deputy US Marshall Raylan Givens wears a distinctive white cowboy hat.
    • In the episode "Hatless", he loses the hat in a bar fight. For the rest of the episode, every character he interacts with asks about his missing headgear.
    • In the episode "The I of the Storm", Dewey Crowe impersonates Raylan by wearing a cowboy hat while robbing drug dealers under the guise of a drug raid. The dealers don't remember a name but everybody who hears their description assumes it was Raylan until he finally shows up and the witnesses can see he looks nothing like Dewey.
    • In the episode "Slaughterhouse", Raylan discovers that his father Arlo killed Trooper Tom Bergen to help notorious criminal Boyd Crowder evade arrest. Later, when Raylan is explaining what happened to Winona, he theorizes that Arlo probably didn't even know he was shooting a state trooper.
      Raylan: He just saw a man in a hat pointing a gun at Boyd.
      Winona: A man in a hat?
      [Raylan nods, stands, puts on his hat, and walks out]
  • A Simple Plan:
    • Most of the criminals we meet are convinced their plans can go off without a hitch. Boyd seems to be the only one who knows better...
    • Dewey Crowe consistently screws up simple plans, creating even more problems for himself.
  • Small Town Boredom: A lot of characters seem to suffer from this.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist:
    • Averted with Loretta, who is placed in foster care after her father's death.
    • Played with when Raylan arranges for the Crowes to lose custody of Kendal. Granted Kendal is in a terrible environment and it's a situation where social services should be stepping in, but Raylan is mostly doing it to leverage Wendy into turning on her brothers rather than any concern for Kendal's wellbeing.
    • Played straight with Noble's Holler, where battered women have sought refuge for generations in the absence of regional domestic violence centers.
  • Southern Hospitality: Raylan may shoot you, but he'll still be polite. Many residents of Harlan County operate on the same principle, most notably Mags.
  • Shadow Archetype:
    • A major theme with Raylan and Boyd: they grew up together, dug coal together, Boyd is the son Arlo wishes he had, Boyd is a criminal and Raylan is a cop.
    • Boone thinks this about Raylan and himself about being quick pistol drawers. In fact is the only one in the series who was up to the game, almost killed Raylan if he wasn't so obsessed to aim to the head instead the heart, as Raylan always did. Previous in an earlier season, Tim can do that but only because he's a excellent marksman and he already has his pistol drawn .
  • Shout-Out: The last episode of season 4 contains a shout-out to the "alas poor Yorick" scene in Shakespeare's Hamlet. Boyd and Jimmy are digging up an indigent man's remains at a graveyard. When they unearth the man's skull, Boyd reminisces about the man's unfortunate life as an alcoholic and oxycontin addict, adding that everyone will end up dead like him in the end.
  • Starting a New Life:
    • Attempted by Ellen May a couple of times, first alone and then with Shelby, who is trying to flee to Mexico to avoid both law enforcement and criminals who are after him. She eventually ends up in Witness Protection.
    • Ava finally leaves Harlan behind with hers and Boyd's son. Raylan eventually tracks her down as she's still a fugitive, but he lets her go and fakes evidence to convince Boyd that she's dead.
  • Stupid Crooks: One of the show's biggest draws is watching a hyper-competent cop dealing with amateur, dumbass criminals that sometimes reach Fargo-levels of stupidity. It contrasts greatly with people that completely avert this trope — Limehouse, the Crowders, the Bennetts (well, excepting Coover) or the Dixie Mafia. It also repeatedly illustrates that stupid crooks are still dangerous people who often inflict serious damage despite - or even because of - their inability to think things through.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: In "Decoy", Boyd correctly anticipates the majority of Raylan's moves, up to guessing that he would stage his final show-down in their old high school, due to remembering the time an astronaut flew a helicopter in to give a presentation.
  • Suck E. Cheese's: In "For Blood or Money", Clinton breaks out of his halfway house and commits a string of crimes because he has promised to take his 12 year old son to Billy the Kid Zone for his birthday. Clinton describes the place as "Chuck E. Cheese but with cowboys" and, when shown, the place does look really tacky with the staff dressed in cheesy cowboy outfits.
  • Taking Up the Mantle: It takes a while, but this is the ultimate culmination of Mags' and Loretta's storyline. Mags dies at the end of Season 2, but Loretta ultimately inherits much of her money and Season 6 shows her becoming just as strong an influence on Harlan's underworld as Mags was.
  • A Tale Told by an Idiot: Any time Dewey Crowe tries to relay what has happened in any given situation, the character he's talking to usually ends up either exasperated and asking a dozen questions to clarify what he means or staring in awe at how nonsensical his story is. Several one-off characters simply mutter a variation of "Bless your heart" (Southern for "You're an idiot") and continue on with whatever they were doing before he arrived.
  • Talkative Loon:
    • After going off his medication, Arlo storms into Noble's Holler, talking to himself in a deranged manner.
    • At the end of "Guy Walks into a Bar", Quarles is talking to himself in an agitated, disorganized manner as he snorts drugs and disrobes.
      Quarles: When people will conspire to keep you down, you will reach for the edge. They will lean the heel of their boots on your fingers and you just keep fighting, scratching and pulling. And just when you think you've reached the top of the mountain they changed the rules. So what do you do? You don't quit. You don't run. You don't stick that gun in the back of your throat. You realize that you're wrong. You're wrong in thinking that you had already won. True victory is when you crush your opponent so completely that he realizes he was wrong in opposing you from the beginning. You claw your way back into the fight. And you stand atop the mountain.
  • Talking Your Way Out: Donovan storms into Duffy's trailer and threatens to kill Quarles for murdering his friend Brady. Quarles talks down Donovan by telling him about how his father forced him into prostitution as a young man, and how Theo Tonin adopted him. Donovan lowers his gun, and a tearful Quarles embraces him as he starts crying. Unfortunately, we see Donovan bound and gagged in Quarles' bathroom at the end of the episode, suggesting that Quarles plans to torture and kill him just as he did Brady.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Mags has a "special" cider glass tainted with deadly poison, which she uses to kill in the first episode of season 2.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Boyd Crowder tries to go straight, but as he tells Ava in "Cottonmouth" when she asks why he agreed to help rob a mine: "Because it's what I do. It's who I am, Ava. As hard as I've been trying to pretend otherwise. Everybody else seems to know that but me."
  • Thicker Than Water: Boyd acknowledges that his brother was an abusive asshole, and admits Ava probably had a right to shoot him. But that was his brother, after all, and Boyd can't just let that go. He does get over it, eventually, and he and Ava start a relationship.
  • Those Wacky Neo-Nazis: Boyd's little band of misfits from the first episode.
  • Token Minority: Rachel Brooks. A twofer if you count women as a minority, which, in law enforcement, they are.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Raylan. At the beginning of the series, he's just an old-fashioned Anti-Hero, but gets gradually Flanderized into kind of a Jerk Sue. Notable moments include:
    • Threatening to "beat the shit" out of a teenager who works at a batting cage. The reason? The kid told him to wear a helmet. Which is the rule at the batting cage.
    • Running a guy over - twice. Admittedly, that was somewhat Justified, since the guy was pulling a gun (twice). Then Raylan 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.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Dewey certainly qualifies and it constantly amazes Raylan and Boyd that he is still alive.
    • The three robbers who want Boyd's help in causing a mine cave-in to cover up their robbery of the payroll also qualify since they fully intend to double cross him afterwards. They obviously didn't think things through since they didn't know what happened to other people who crossed Boyd.
    • Coover Bennett lacks the criminal smarts of his mother and brothers and makes so many blunders that his mother decides to punish him by breaking his hand with a hammer. After helping them dispose of a dead body he starts cashing in the dead man's government checks and wears a watch he took from the corpse in front of the man's daughter. He dies because of this.
    • Dickie Bennett, meanwhile, thinks it's a good idea to restart the Bennett-Givens feud over Raylan killing Coover and start a new one with Boyd Crowder for control of the Harlan County underworld at the same time. In both cases he is defying the direct orders of his mother and, not content to merely defy Mags, he also implies that he has her blessing in what he's doing. All of this is after he thought it would be a good idea to steal a shipment of oxycontin from the Dixie Mafia, and only by the grace of God and Raylan Givens was he spared the wrath of Wynn Duffy for it.
    • Gary Hawkins qualifies for hiring Wynn Duffy and the Dixie Mafia to kill Raylan. If Raylan hadn't stepped in, Duffy was going to kill Gary for being a loose end that needed tying up. Given his past experience with Duffy, Gary has absolutely no excuse for not knowing better than to have anything to do with them.
    • Emmitt Arnett is a loan shark who enacts violence on Gary for falling behind on his payments (Gary has all of his cash locked up in a piece of real estate). Arnett eventually accepts the real estate in lieu of the cash — and immediately starts falling behind on his own payments to the Detroit mafia, with deadly results.
    • Fletcher Nix apparently never considered that attempting his quick-draw trick on someone who he knows has been investigating his crime scenes might backfire.
    • Devil. He knows how brutal and cutthroat Boyd is yet still thinks it's a good idea to try and turn on him for control of crime in Harlan. Predictably, Boyd kills him. He proves himself particularly incapable by putting together a plan that consists of recruiting Boyd's own cousin and then sitting down at a kitchen table with Boyd and telling him that he's about to kill him. Even if Johnny goes along, what are the chances that Boyd doesn't just shoot them first?
    • Tanner Dodd thought it would be a good idea to rob a paranoid bomb maker and failed to check for booby traps before trying to retrieve the money.
    • Danny Crowe. Even if he hadn't accidentally killed himself, he tried to kill Raylan by sprinting towards him with a knife, while Raylan had a fully loaded pistol. He was gonna die either way.
  • The Tooth Hurts: In "Long in the Tooth", a former mob accountant turned dentist snaps when confronted by a rude client and yanks out two of his teeth without anaesthetic.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • As in the short stories, Raylan is awful fond of ice cream. To the extent that he once tracked down a fugitive, then left him to his own devices while he went next door to Baskin-Robbins. In his defense, he had gotten said fugitive's word that he'd stay put. He didn't. He's also seen eating one while driving in "Money Trap."
    • Ava describes her fried chicken as "to die for," and it's apparently her abusive husband's favorite. She cooked it for him the night she killed him.
    • We learn in "Slaughterhouse" that Errol loves Limehouse' marinated pork tongue.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • Raylan, in the first scene of the show, threatens, shoots, and kills a mobster with serene equanimity.
    • And again after his father betrays him and had planned to shoot him and hand him off to the Miami goons and has the nerve to call him "son".
      Raylan: Don't. Don't you call me that.
    • Lampshaded at the end of the first episode with Raylan's ex-wife's speech to him.
      Winona: Oh Raylan. You do a good job of hiding it, and suppose most folks don't see it, but honestly, you're the angriest man I've ever known.
      Raylan: simply looks stunned
    • Mags Bennett is also shown to be capable of this, and thanks to exceptional acting by Margo Martindale, it is terrifying.
  • Trashy Trailer Home: Naturally, a lot of the poorer or lower-class characters (most of them embroiled in the drug trade) live in trailers. Exaggerated in that trailers are also portrayed as places where people with other homes go to do dirty business; for example, the brothel Audrey's is actually a series of trailers, Quarles stays in a trailer while in Harlan (and likes to torture prostitutes in a separate trailer), and Arlo violates his house arrest by living in a trailer in his garden.
  • True Companions:
    • Boyd's gang. Boyd and Ava deeply love each other, and Boyd sees Arlo as a father figure. Arlo also sees Boyd as a son, taking the fall for killing Devil in "Slaughterhouse.''
    • Subverted with Johnny, who turns out to be a traitor at the end of "Slaughterhouse".
    • Also subverted with Boyd in season 4. Boyd bribes Ms. Gable into undermining Arlo's plea deal so that Boyd can hunt down Drew Thompson himself.
  • The Unfavorite:
    • Coover. Becomes clear in "For Blood or Money" when Mags breaks his hand with a hammer as punishment to Dickie. This is the focus of a large portion of the episode "Brother's Keeper" in which he is openly insulted by his mother in the opening scene. Then later in the episode he snaps when Dickie taunts him on this subject, and chases Loretta to the mineshaft, where he is shot by Raylan. Even after Coover's death, Mags' only concern is that she will lose Loretta.
    • Dickie becomes this to Mags after Coover's death. She feels that he betrayed the family and cuts him out of the money they are getting from the mining company. She gives him control of the marijuana business as consolation but promises control of all other criminal activities to Boyd Crowder. At the end of "Bloody Harlan" Mags finds out that Dickie is alive and under arrest but instead of trying to help him, she chooses her other sons over him even though they are dead. She kills herself to be with them again.
    • Best summed up by Mags' reaction to the news of the climax. Raylan walks into her house and tells her Doyle is dead. Mags says "Doyle?" and her disappointment is very evident.
    • Compounded the next season when Dickie looks for the money from the sale and is given a cooler with a few hundred dollars and a bundle of receipts. Mags had millions given to Loretta.
    • "Slaughterhouse" reveals that to Arlo, Raylan is the Unfavorite in comparison to Boyd, to whom Arlo is closer to than his own son.
  • Unreliable Narrator:
    • Quarles. Earlier in season three, he claimed that he was the son that Theo Tonin always wanted, in contrast to Theo's weak-willed son Sammy. However, in "Measures," Theo is willing to put a bounty on Quarles' head for pointing a gun at his "real son," suggesting that he has greater concern for Sammy. Also, Quarles claimed that Theo arranged for him to kill his father at age 14 because Theo was horrified at the sexual abuse that Quarles' father subjected him to. However, Quarles' proclivity for similar depravity — brutalizing rent boys — only earned him exile, not death. Something isn't adding up with Quarles' backstory.
    • It was probably the fact that he would do that to his own son. It might also be reasoned that while Theo is disgusted by Quarles's predilection for torturing rent boys, he's more understanding of it because he knows what he went through as a child.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension:
    • Raylan and Rachel occasionally flirt with each other in between staring matches.
    • Tim and Rachel have their moments.
    • Raylan and the Coal Mining executive in season 2.
  • Unusual Eyebrows: Wynn Duffy.
  • Unwilling Suspension: In "Bloody Harlan", Dickie hangs Raylan up by one ankle and proceeds to wale on him with a baseball bat.
  • Urban Legend:
    • Raylan is investigating a group of criminals engaged in Organ Theft and people don't take it seriously because they know that the stories of people waking up in a bathtub missing a kidney are just an urban legend. The criminals in question use much more realistic methods.
    • The story of Limehouse hiding his money under the floor of the Noble's Holler church has been told and retold so many times that it reached the status of an urban legend in Harlan County. Limehouse might actually hide money there from time to time since no one believes the story anymore.
  • U.S. Marshal: Raylan and colleagues belong to the United States Marshals Service. There's a lot of Insistent Terminology (Raylan's "Deputy US Marshal", not "Marshal", not "Officer") as well as jurisdiction friction, both with local law enforcement departments and other federal agencies. There's also a frequent discussion of what does and doesn't fall under the marshals' purview, and Raylan at least once deputizes a citizen.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: In "Hammer", the second attempt to kill the judge involves sabotaging the exhaust of his car so it leaks carbon monoxide into the cabin.
  • Verbed Title
  • Vigilante Man: Boyd.
    Art: "Maybe he's become some kind of vigilante."
    Raylan: "Maybe he's Batman."
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Dickie has been trying from the beginning to be the Big Bad but it's all for nothing when he breaks down sobbing and begging for his life when Raylan drags him out into the woods to die. Lucky for him, Raylan's conscience wouldn't let him do it. He does it again in the season finale when faced with an enraged Boyd seeking revenge for Dickie shooting Ava and begs Raylan, whom he has just been beating with a baseball bat no less, to stop him. What a bitch.
    • Robert Quarles seems to be starting one; he doesn't take it well when Boyd and then Raylan refuse his offers to work for him. When Raylan has his house seized and convinces his boss's son to cut off Quarles's money, he finally loses his cool and starts smashing things. Then he goes to Tulsa. By the end of season three, Quarles has degenerated into a pathetic, desperate man in the throes of Oxycontin withdrawal. Friendless and emotionally agitated, he screams into his cell phone at Theo Tonin. "Slaughterhouse" shows him struggling to find enough money to pacify Theo. He carjacks a mother and her two sons, using the boys as hostages in an ill-conceived gambit to get $500,000 from Limehouse. It fails spectacularly.
  • Villainous Lineage:
    • This is a major concern for both Raylan and Boyd since they both rebel against the life of crime their families have been leading for generations. Neither wants to Turn Out Like His Father. Raylan is more successful in this than Boyd.
    • In "Debts and Accounts" Raylan finds some peace because he realizes that he broke the law because he is in love with Winona and not because he is an outlaw like his father. Boyd has the opposite realization and starts to rebuild the Crowder gang. He even tells Johnny:
      Boyd: It's in your blood.
    • Mags seems to have genuine concern over this for her sons. She realizes Coover and Dickie are both irresponsible, irredeemable criminals, and Doyle is a corrupt cop, but she says she has hope to build a legitimate future for Doyle's children and, later, for Loretta.
  • Villainous Rescue:
    • In "Bloody Harlan" Raylan is saved from getting beaten up by Dickie by a very, very pissed Boyd Crowder.
    • Dickie gets saved from a couple of robbers by Limehouse.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Boyd & Raylan, clearly.
  • Vote Early, Vote Often: Rigging an election in Harlan County is a complicated process since the residents are actually quite savvy to the usual tricks and tend to be swayed by populist rhetoric.
    Boyd: "Harlan County elections ain't over till the dead have voted."
  • Weapon Specialization:
    • Boyd loves his explosives, especially rocket launchers. As far as side-arms go, he carries the Beretta 92FS he was issued in Desert Storm
    • Ava seems fond of her double barrel shotgun.
    • Quarles' only uses his sleeve gun, not carrying any other weapon.
    • Averted with Raylan; in the Tommy Bucks shoot out he carried a Sig, but uses a Glock throughout the series and seems comfortable with any modern handgun.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy:
    • Coover seems to suffer from an equivalent of this towards his mother.
    • The other Bennett brothers also suffer from this. Dickie seems to be the only one who stands up to Mags but in the end he just wants her approval and love. Doyle gets his mother's approval but this may be because he always takes her side and she in return tends to favour him and his children.
    • Doyle seems to be very similar in character to Dickie but in order to gain his mother's approval he suppresses his own feelings and urges. He wants Raylan dead as much as Dickie but will not follow up on it since his mother wants to keep peace.
    • The season 3 finale touches that with Raylan Givens himself. It's hammered home when Arlo confesses to killing a "man in the hat" (a state trooper, but he didn't know that) to protect Boyd.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: In season two there is a group targeting the mining company. Their lawsuit against the company is not going well so they decide to kill the company executive in charge and the judge.
  • The Western: A modern version.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: Subverted: Boyd gets this a lot from his minion, when he renounced white supremacy (a philosophy he used solely to recruit his underlings). When called out on it, Boyd admits that he's not going back as far as outgrowing such atrocious behavior and just wants to be a straight-forward head of a crime syndicate like his dad.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Restitution", the season 5 finale, sets up the stage for the final season by completely flipping the script for the endgame.
    • For Raylan: Art approved his transfer back to Florida, with the paper trail required done.
    • For Ava: Raylan gets her out of prison in exchange for being The Stool Pigeon on Boyd.
    • For Boyd: Katherine Hale and Wynn Duffy rope him back into the game, wanting him to rob banks.
    • And most importantly, we already know the arc for season 6: The hunt for Boyd Crowder has officially begun.
  • Wham Line: One for the character. In the pilot episode, Raylan is talking with his ex-wife about the shooting in Miami that landed him in Harlan County, pointing out that it was justified and that he feels no remorse, but that he's upset that it landed him in this mess, and the fact that people think it makes him seem mean.
    Winona: Oh Raylan. Well, you do a good job of hiding it, and I suppose most folks don't see it, but honestly, you're the angriest man I have ever known.
    • Raylan is left shocked and speechless.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • After Raylan and Art rescue Donovan from captivity in Quarles' hotel room, we never hear about him again. Did he ever tell law enforcement about Quarles torturing him and holding him captive? Was he too afraid to talk to law enforcement? Where did he go? We never find out.
    • Quarles tells Gary that he has two children. When his family tries to reach him on his cell phone, we see a photo of Quarles' wife with two children. However, Quarles only ever talks about his son. Where is the daughter?
    • At the end of Season 3, we don't find out what happens to Quarles or his family, overlapping with Uncertain Doom. Quarles was last seen getting his arm cut off and this has led most people to assume that he bled to death. However, Word of God said that Quarles is actually alive and in prison, though for what is never made clear. His drug offences? The numerous gangland murders he committed? His rape, torture, and murder of male prostitutes?
  • White Sheep:
    • Repeatedly subverted; Johnny Crowder, Doyle Bennett, and Wendy Crowe are all initially implied to be the only non-criminal members of their respective families before it's revealed they're in just as deep.
    • Also subverted with Henry Crowder. Although he never appears in the series, Sheriff Hunter Mosley refers to him as being viewed as "the one good Crowder," right up until he kidnapped, raped, and murdered Mosley's 10 year-old niece.
    • Subverted yet again, as Mags and Doyle Bennett both insist that Doyle, who is also police chief, is not involved in the family business of growing and selling weed. Doyle puts on a legitimate front but in reality, he's corrupt and working to further his family's interests.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: When Boyd has captured Quarles to turn him in to the Detroit outfit, Duffy suggests just killing him — although the bounty would be lower dead than alive, it would eliminate any risk of Quarles escaping.
  • The "Why Wait?" Combatant: Raylan is generally this, helped by being a Quick Draw. The specific example that provides the page quote happens in Season 3, when Quarles threatens Raylan after finding out that he's not dirty and he's been looking into Quarles's past via the FBI. He tells him that he'll kill him one day, to which Raylan shoots at the ceiling and replies "Why wait?" They don't end up fighting because Lindsey the bartender pulls a gun on both of them and tells them she won't have it in her bar.
  • Wife-Basher Basher: Limehouse's holler is known as a place battered women can go seeking refuge, and Limehouse is not gentle with the abusers who come looking for their wives.
  • Worthy Opponent: How Art views Drew Thompson:
    Art: First thing we're going to do is we're going to acknowledge that this guy's awesome!
    Rachel: What?
    Art: Well, 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 a small country, and then he has the balls to get a job in law enforcement not once, but two times! He spends a couple of days riding around with you while you're looking for him, and now he's run off with a hooker that's half his age! That's some badass shit.
    Raylan: ...It's pretty badass.
    • Also how Boyd Crowder feels about Raylan.
  • Wretched Hive: Harlan County is deeply corrupt, culturally backwards, and economically depressed. Criminal families like the Crowders and the Crowes bribe their way out of trouble and dominate the political process, the Dixie Mafia and Detroit Mob both have interests and agents in the region, and the police are essentially powerless. That's without even touching on the Outlaw Town of Bennett which is ruled by the eponymous Bennett clan with a total disregard for everyone else. Notably, Raylan himself is intensely aware of all of this, more or less hates the place and has not an ounce of nostalgia for the area where he grew up. He spends most of the series angling for a way out.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: If Raylan crippled Dickie in high school, yet was born in 1970 as his future gravestone indicates, then it cannot have been twenty years ago, unless Raylan was twenty-one in high school.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Most criminals in the show act like they are in a typical crime drama, confident that law enforcement won't do anything out of line for fear of legal reprisal, and regard Raylan Givens as an idiot in a cowboy hat who acts like he's in a western. They learn the hard way that Raylan is exactly the type of ice cold gunslinger they thought he was pretending to be, who isn't above breaking every rule there is to get what he wants.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • Three criminals try to pull this on Boyd after they force him to help them rob the mine payroll and blow the mine up as a diversion. They get blown up instead.
    • Arnett hadn't been making enough money on his properties for the Detroit mob so they send Quarles to Kentucky. Quarles gets Arnett's assistant to give Raylan information about Arnett's meeting with Fletcher. When subsequently Fletcher does not show up, Quarles shoots Arnett since he is no longer useful to mob. He then proceeds to shoot the assistant as well since he has no further need for her. This all happens in less than a minute and the suddenness and brutality of it cowed Wynn Duffy into submission.
    • Nicky Augustine kills dirty FBI agent Barkley when Barkley reveals that he can no longer provide information regarding the hunt for Drew Thompson since the FBI lost the case to the Marshals.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me:
    • Mags tells this to Loretta when she shows up at her house to kill her. She ends up getting shot in the leg.]]
    • Quarles tells Donovan this when he shows up to confront him over killing Brady. He doesn't, though Quarles ends up brutally beating and raping him, and Donovan only survives because Raylan finds him in time.

Justified: City Primeval contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Willa has a bucketload of screentime in the first couple of episodes, but absolutely nothing comes of it. Raylan sends her home and she never returns to Detroit. They meet up after he resigns to go fishing, but otherwise, there is no payoff for this subplot.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Since the mini-series is just eight episodes, there are a few things that get condensed and changed, especially since Cruz is removed and Raylan is put in the story in his place. After all, it was originally a novel, so not everything could fit in eight episodes.
  • Age-Gap Romance: A massive one between Sweetie and the other bartender he’s with romantically. Sweetie’s 73 years old and the bartender looks to be somewhere between thirty and forty years old.
    • There is also one between Judge Guy and his female assistant. Judge Guy is 67 and we presume the assistant to be in her 30s.
  • All for Nothing: After all the chasing the Detroit cops and Raylan have done, Toma throws Mansell’s murder weapon into the river, so it’s all been for naught. This is especially confusing since they were just gonna lock Mansell in the panic room to die, so there was no reason not to let Raylan have the murder weapon so he could close the case on Judge Guy. Toma appears to be doing it because of Conflict Ball and nothing else.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Carolyn and Raylan have this vibe—he’s a marshal investigating her client (though to be fair, Mansell threatened Carolyn to represent him or he’d kill her) and she’s the lawyer standing in his way of convicting Mansell, yet they both develop feelings and lust towards each other and eventually act on it. It’s implied that Raylan’s bad boy charm won her over and her intelligence and fierceness won him over right back.
  • Amoral Attorney: Played with, but ultimately averted. For one, Mansell threatened Carolyn into representing him, so she's not doing it because she likes him or wants his money. We do see her do a few morally grey and outright illegal things (namely, partnering up with the Albanians to lock Mansell in Skender's panic room to die of starvation and thirst.), but overall she does actually believe in doing the right thing whenever possible and it's proven when she does actually get appointed to Judge Guy's former position based on her excellent track record as a prosecutor.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Mansell is nothing more than a selfish man-baby, so of course when Raylan has to draw down on him, it’s instantly over. Mansell never even fires a single bullet at Raylan the entire show through, much to the chagrin of fans who had expected a showdown similar to the original series. But in the show’s defense, they never acted as if Mansell was a stone cold badass with a gun; he’s just reckless and got the drop on the Albanians.
    • Speaking of which, after all the talk of how dangerous the Albanians are, they are easily shot to death by Mansell after he kills Skender. None of them even get their gun out fast enough to graze the man, so it’s a limp ending for this particular subplot.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Two examples. The first is Mansell scratching his balls with the barrel of his gun. The other is when Mansell shoots the condo owner in the back of the head, using a pillow as an impromptu silencer. In reality, it wouldn’t muffle a thing and every person in that condo would’ve immediately heard that and called the cops. Gunshots are at an extremely high decibel indoors and they probably would smell the gun powder too, but the show simply cuts away instead of dealing with the more realistic outcome of him being found and arrested for murder.
  • Asshole Victim: Judge Guy, the Albanians, and eventually Mansell.
  • Bathtub Bonding: Carolyn and Raylan have an intimate moment on his last day before he plans to head back to Florida. Note that he’s outside the tub, but is washing her back and holding her hand while they chat.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Carolyn Wilder. Raylan is instantly attracted to her, and vice versa, and they have a little cat-and-mouse type dynamic until they both resolve the sexual tension. It’s a nice departure since Raylan’s very well known character flaw is that he likes skanky blonde women, the skankier the better, back in Harlan county.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Carolyn and Raylan have one the morning after their evening spent together. If you look closely, you can see Raylan wanting to say something smug about her reaction to the kiss, but he wisely suppresses the urge.
  • Big Fancy House: Carolyn is staying in her ex-husband’s house, which is huge and ostentatious as hell. She admits she hates it except for the free standing tub.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: As with the original series, this trope is played with quite often. It’s clear the Detroit cops are pissed off that they can’t find hard evidence to convict Mansell. Norbert, one of the assisting officers, even throws Mansell under the bus to the Albanians in the hopes they kill him since the law has failed everyone. Raylan and Carolyn initially accept it when Toma locks Mansell inside the panic room to either suffocate (if it’s airtight, it’s never specified) or starve to death, but Raylan can’t sit with it, so he goes to let him out only to find out Skender stupidly allowed Mansell to escape. It’s clear he does seem to regret shooting Mansell only to find out he wasn’t holding a gun, but he doesn’t look very upset to have put the mad dog down.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Judge Guy is an Asshole Victim for sure, but he is still the first one of the series to die by Mansell’s hands.
  • Black Gal on White Guy Drama: Carolyn's ex-husband Jamal does not take kindly to finding out that Carolyn and Raylan are sleeping together and makes a point to call him the enemy, especially since he’s a cop. This makes no nevermind to Carolyn, who is well-aware of Jamal’s fake posturing to seem like a bigger man than he is, but it doesn’t help that Raylan squares up to him too.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Mansell gets Judge Guy’s book of blackmail and teams up with his accomplice Sweetie to use the book to blackmail people and get enough money to skip town. Only problem is Mansell is a psychopath and Sweetie is really only his partner under duress, meaning they butt heads until finally, Sweetie betrays him and Mansell shoots him dead.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Mansell, after Raylan shoots him in the chest several times. He deserved far worse, too—he dies in a matter of seconds since Raylan shoots to kill and doesn’t miss.
  • Born Lucky: Mansell. It’s damn near the only reason he’s still alive and has avoided jail time, but to be fair, he basically strong-arms Carolyn into representing him and she’s an amazing attorney.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Willa. She’s not nearly as bratty as some other examples of the trope, but she’s naïve and still talks back to her father enough that he sends her home after Mansell finds her and makes a pretty disgusting threat by implication. She returns in the final episode to go fishing with her dad and seems slightly less resentful of him.
  • Bury Your Gays: Sweetie gets popped by Mansell after betraying him.
  • The Bus Came Back: To the surprise of no one, the final 10 minutes of the series finale is Boyd Crowder breaking out of prison with the help of a female prison guard he’s been sleeping with and the two head for Mexico. Raylan gets an alert on his phone and a phone call, but the episode ends without revealing if he picked up.
  • The Cameo: Just two main leads from the original series—Winona (Raylan’s ex and Willa’s mom) and Boyd Crowder. A much, much smaller cameo is also Luis Guzman’s brief role during Boyd’s jailbreak.
    • Raymond Cruz, the protagonist of the book that this series is based on, gets a brief scene with Raylan to talk about Mansell. He also foreshadows the book’s ending.
  • Cliffhanger: The series ends with Raylan’s phone ringing after Boyd Crowder breaks out of prison, so if the show doesn’t get a renewal, well…we’ll never know if he picked up or not.
  • Conflict Ball: As mentioned above, there was zero reason for Toma to throw the murder weapon into the river if he was just gonna kill Mansell and let Raylan and Carolyn go. It was done just so that Raylan can’t close the case and essentially has to shoot Mansell to stop him for good.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Not that unusual, but definitely very cruel—Mansell gets in the car with the poor assistant after shooting her boss to death. She tries to run and he shoots her in the chest, so she falls to the ground drowning in her own blood before he finally waltzes up and shoots her in the face to finish the job. The Detroit cops are understandably livid when they find her, as she may have helped Guy get away with crap, but in no way deserved to die like that.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: A non-sexual or romantic meta version. Many viewers have found Willa’s voice to be irritating since it’s Timothy Olyphant’s actual young daughter and her voice is extremely high pitched, to the point of sounding as if she’s huffing helium before reading her lines.
  • Dating Catwoman: Raylan starts sleeping with Carolyn Wilder, Mansell’s lawyer (though under duress), but oddly enough, it never plays back into the plot nor does it get either of them in trouble, even though Maureen figures it out pretty quickly.
  • Death by Adaptation: Sweetie survived in the book, but dies in the show.
  • Defiant to the End: Subversion. Sweetie makes no attempts to stop Mansell from shooting him, but he does refuse to close his eyes so Mansell has to look him right in the face when he ends his life. Mansell gets over it, but he did seem to regret his actions briefly.
  • Deep South: Where Mansell hails from. His nickname is the Oklahoma Wildman.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Seriously, all Skender had to do was wait a few weeks and Mansell would’ve died in the panic room either from suffocating or starvation/thirst. There was a little bit of food and drink in there, but nothing that would last him more than a couple weeks, if that. The only reason it happens is the writers needed to get Mansell out, but didn’t want it to be Raylan so they could have a separate final showdown.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: Mansell. In the book, he’s shot after Raymond Cruz challenges him to a duel, but Mansell thinks he’s bluffing and stupidly reaches into his pocket, which Cruz assumes means he was going for a gun. He wasn’t; it was a bottle opener. Raylan has a similar final confrontation with Mansell, who was reaching for his mix tape when Raylan shoots him dead in Carolyn’s kitchen. To be fair, it was very clear Mansell intended to kill them both since he broke into her house and they both witnessed it.
  • Double Entendre: Cleverly used between Carolyn and Raylan after the first time they slept together.
    Carolyn: I got something you want.
    Raylan: That’s fair to say.
  • Dumb Blonde: Sandy Stanton might as well be the poster girl for it. She is basically a hooker who plumps up targets and then Mansell comes in and robs them later on by using whatever information she gives him. However, it’s painfully apparent she’s not aware of what a monster he is and it takes her forever to work out that if she defects, he’s going to kill her. The last we see of her is her finding out Mansell killed Sweetie. She likely skipped town after her last scene with Raylan in the apartment.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Raylan’s is “chicken-fat”, according to Mansell.
  • Enemy Mine: Once they realize they can’t get him the legal way, Carolyn decides to cut a deal with Toma and the Albanians to get Mansell instead. It almost works, but Raylan has second thoughts, and then Skender stupidly goes to the panic room to try to kill Mansell, but just gets himself killed and lets Mansell out.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Judge Guy introduced as a selfish asshole who blackmails people constantly to get what he wants and is posthumously revealed to have been accepting false testimonies from Maureen.
    • Mansell is introduced stealing a Cool Car since he has an obsession with old radios that play cassette tapes and recklessly drives off with the guy’s car singing a tune.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Even though he’s a homophobic murderer, Mansell does seem to express regret about having to kill Sweetie since Sweetie betrayed him. He even asks Sweetie to close his eyes before he shoots him, but as a final act of defiance, Sweetie refuses. Mansell shoots him anyway.
  • Everything Is Racist: Judge Guy asserts this in his courtroom after the first assassination attempt. Carolyn also jumps on this, knowing Judge Guy can be played like a fiddle if she implies that Raylan’s actions apprehending the two carjackers was somehow racially charged. It wasn’t, but since Guy is a Jerkass, he accepts it anyway and lets them both off scot-free.
  • Evil Luddite: Mansell is a subversion. He hates most technology, preferring cassette tapes instead of having digital music like everyone else, and he likes old classic cars, not modern ones.
  • Fan Disservice: Clement Mansell and Sandy Stanton are immensely shitty people, so watching them have sex isn’t exactly arousing for most viewers. And then there’s the fact that we see him in his tighty-whiteys in all eight episodes…
  • Fanservice: Raylan gives the fans a looky-loo in just his boxers when he wakes up after his passionate night with Carolyn Wilder.
  • Fish out of Water: Raylan is taken from the backwoods of Harlan county to Motor City, and naturally sticks out like a sore thumb even though he's tangled with Detroit mobsters and drug dealers before, like Wynn Duffy.
  • Foreshadowing: In the scene with Raymond Cruz, he recaps the gunfight that got him retired, and it is identical to the way the book ends with Cruz shooting Mansell, who he thought was reaching for a gun, but instead was reaching for a bottle opener in his pocket. After Mansell busts into Carolyn’s place to kill her, he chats Raylan up and then reaches for something. Raylan shoots him in the chest only for Mansell to pull out his mix tape he made of himself singing. His final lines as he dies are those from the book: “What’d you go and kill me for?”
  • Hello, Attorney!: Carolyn Wilder is quite a looker and Raylan takes notice immediately even while she’s in the middle of getting his case thrown out by the asshole Judge Guy.
  • Hypocrite: Mansell absolutely abhors gays, but is perfectly chummy with Sweetie… until Sweetie betrays him and then he shoots him dead.
    • Judge Guy complains that Detroit is a “racist ass city in a racist ass country” and yet he’s sleeping with his very young, very white assistant.
  • Informed Ability: The Albanians are built up to be very scary, but not one of them can get a shot at Mansell who just walks up to them and shoots them dead at point blank range. It begs the question how they ever rose to power if they’re that incompetent against a single man.
  • Instant Death Bullet: How Sweetie dies when Mansell shoots him in the chest. But to be fair, Sweetie is an old man and Mansell shot him at point blank range.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Mansell has no control over his own temper. He has at least two kills under his belt that are entirely impulsive due to his uncontrollable temper.
  • Jerkass: Several people, in keeping with Justified tradition, starting with Mansell, but also Judge Guy, Maureen, Jamal, and the Albanians. Special kudos to Judge Guy for dismissing two men who carjacked Raylan and Willa (and one of them made a thin pass at his underage daughter) just because Raylan and Willa got on his nerves in the courtroom. It’s no wonder nobody’s upset when Judge Guy turns up dead that evening. Raylan even comments if Guy is even surprised it hasn’t happened more often considering what a prick he is.
  • Kick the Dog: Mansell murdering both Judge Guy’s assistant and Sweetie. The only time we see him show any mercy is with the old man in the hospital who likely had dementia.
  • Kill the Cutie: Mansell shoots Judge Guy’s poor assistant/girlfriend just for the crime of being in the same car with him when Mansell snapped.
  • MacGuffin: There are two—the blackmail book that Judge Guy had and the gun that murdered Guy, his assistant, The Wrecking Crew, Sweetie, and possibly nameless others. The series is centered around Raylan and the Detroit cops trying to get their hands on either of them.
  • Mean Boss: Judge Guy is sleeping with his assistant, but still sees fit to insult her in front of the officers when she’s late.
  • The Missus and the Ex: A subversion with Carolyn’s ex-husband Jamal interrupting her dinner with Raylan to try and show him up. All that happens is she gets irritated and walks out on both of them once they start arguing over her.
  • The Mole: Subversion. Maureen turns out to be in Judge Guy’s book, which is why she didn’t actually want it recovered. She tries to frame a drug addict who came across the assistant’s body, but thankfully, the book is later recovered and they let the guy loose since Maureen is proven to have been on the judge’s payroll to give false testimonies to put certain people in jail.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Mansell tells people his mother was carried off by a tornado, but then tells Carolyn Wilder he shot her in the head for being a whore (though he doesn’t explain if she did this just to make ends meet or was just sleeping with any man she wanted). Given his behavior, it’s far more likely the latter story is true.
  • Old Shame: Of the criminal variety. Mansell basically forces Sweetie to work with him under duress because Sweetie betrayed his old black crew of criminals, The Wrecking Crew, and got away with it in the end. He doesn’t like to be reminded of betraying fellow black men for a white, racist criminal and resents Mansell a lot for having to go along with his shenanigans, so much so that he tries to get Mansell killed by a third party.
  • Open Secret: Everyone on the Detroit police force knows Mansell killed Judge Guy and his assistant. And the Wrecking Crew. The problem is they can’t seem to get their hands on hard evidence, especially the murder weapon.
  • Parental Substitute: We find out that Sweetie was actually Carolyn’s part-time surrogate father, as he used to babysit her if her parents were busy, so naturally she is devastated when Mansell murders him and is determined to get justice, even if it’s not legal.
  • Pillow Silencer: Used when Mansell executes the guy who returns home and Sandy’s no longer there. However, anyone who’s ever fired a gun knows this trope is bullshit and the people in the condo would’ve called the cops immediately after hearing it, but the show just ignores that and keeps going, also without revealing what Mansell did with his body.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Mansell is an open racist, bigot, and homophobe. He decides that smoking weed is somehow gay and is against interracial relationships. But believe it or not, he’s toned down from the book where he uses numerous slurs.
  • Psychopathic Man Child: Mansell, in spades. He does anything he wants, quite impulsively, and the reason he and Raylan cross paths is entirely a coincidence. Mansell had been attempting to follow Sandy and Skender back to his place, but due to a toll booth, Mansell loses them. He tailgates Judge Guy, who gets mad and flips him off, and since Mansell has now lost his target (whom he intended to rob), he decides to kill the judge and his assistant for making him lose the target. This is further proven when he catches up to Skender another time and finds out Skender has nothing of value in the vault, so he breaks his leg using the garage door just to punish him for not having any cash. He may have also murdered his mother in cold blood and shoots the guy whose condo he was staying in (albeit with only Sandy’s permission, not the man’s) even though there was literally no reason to kill him. The cops already knew Mansell was staying there, so it wasn’t like the man would reveal his location, he didn’t really steal anything, and trespassing is a minor offense, not a felony in this instance since Sandy had permission to stay, but just invited Mansell over while the man was gone. Mansell executes him just for the hell of it, really.
  • Red Herring: Norbert seems like he would be The Mole since he’s very aggressive and doesn’t seem to care if he brings criminals in alive or dead, but it turns out that Maureen is the one who doesn’t want Mansell arrested or the book found because she’s in it.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Raylan hands in his badge and gun in the final episode, though it’s not clear if killing Mansell did it or if he’s just had enough of the game at last.
  • Sex with the Ex: Jamal attempts this with Carolyn, but she’s not stupid and notices he has women’s lingerie in his place that she knows does not belong to a relative. It turns out Jamal was trying to get some extra ass on the side and Carolyn absolutely takes him to task for it, making it clear she’ll never get back with him now.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Despite the fact that the series shows Mansell and Sandy’s humping in detail, it does not show Raylan and Carolyn’s steamy affair. There is a kiss and some intimate touching, but nothing more.
  • Silver Fox: Raylan has aged quite nicely. Some fans have even started calling him Graylan.
  • Straight Gay: Sweetie. It’s not apparent he’s gay until the other bartender finally spills the beans that they were an item. Sweetie’s nickname may be a play on his sexual preference too.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Raylan, as always, but Carolyn Wilder’s ex, Jamal, counts as well. Too bad he’s a total Jerkass, though.
  • Tempting Fate: Yes, Mansell, reach into your pocket in front of the US marshal who is already pointing a gun at you after breaking into Carolyn Wilder’s house with the express reason of killing her. Great idea.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Much like the original series, several examples.
    • Sandy Stanton literally doesn’t put it together that Mansell is a crazy murderer until he murders Sweetie, whom they had spent plenty of time with and was considered an ally (to an extent) and only then does she decide to leave him.
    • Willa is unbelievably lucky that Mansell just wanted to tick Raylan off. He very well could have kidnapped and sexually assaulted her. The biggest dumb moment is that Willa just took Mansell at his word because he knew her father’s name. She didn’t ask for a badge number nor did she reason that Raylan would have told her ahead of time if he’d sent another marshal to the hotel. This also applies to whatever person at the front desk gave him Raylan’s hotel room number. That is against hotel policy and could wind up getting that employee fired and sued.
    • Sweetie attempts to set up a gambit to have a third party kill Mansell in exchange for the money he was going to extort out of one of the lawyers. Instead, the marshals show up to try and (unsuccessfully) arrest Mansell, so the would-be assassin has to abort. Mansell of course puts together that Sweetie set him up, arrives to his bar that night, kills the would-be assassin, and then Sweetie. There was no reason for Sweetie to just accept his own death; he could’ve gone on the run, as Mansell doesn’t get to him until the middle of the night. No explanation is given as to why Sweetie just accepts his fate.
    • The Albanians who went after Sandy Stanton’s roommate and start pulling out her teeth. Not only does this poor girl have no control over when Sandy will show up—she was apparently dodging her rent payments while hiding out with Mansell—but they start yanking her teeth out in the middle of an apartment complex in broad daylight, so of course someone calls the cops when they hear her screaming. The cops proceed to apprehend one and shoot the other one dead, making the entire exercise pointless.
    • Skender gets tired of sitting in his hospital bed and demands that he be allowed to go kill Mansell. Toma and the other Albanians locked Mansell inside his panic room, meaning he’d either suffocate (if the panic room is airtight, that is) or starve to death, but Skender isn’t satisfied with a slow death, so he takes a handgun and goes to the panic room while still on crutches with a broken leg. Naturally, Mansell ambushes him and pistol whips him to death, then goes to the hospital and murders the rest of the Albanians.
    • Mansell, in his final scene. Despite running into Raylan a few times and knowing what he’s about, he still foolishly reaches into his pocket after breaking into Carolyn’s house to kill her, so Raylan shoots him dead without even waiting to see if he was pulling a gun. Mansell is somehow shocked by this as he lays there bleeding to death. But that’s why the name of the show is Justified: “He pulled first. That shooting was justified.”
  • Uncool Undies: Seriously, very few people wanted to see Clement Mansell in his tighty-whiteys in all eight episodes. It’s possibly a creative choice to emphasize the fact that he’s a walking man-baby, but it can count as Fan Disservice too for some folks.
  • Villain Ball: Overlapping with Conflict Ball, Toma throws Mansell’s murder weapon into the river for seemingly no reason at all. It comes across as a ploy to just give Raylan a reason to kill Mansell instead of trying to get him behind bars.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Get real used to seeing Mansell in a kimono and tighty-whiteys. It’s in every single episode and it never pans away from his man-batch for a second.
  • Where The White Women At: It’s hard not to almost chuckle at Judge Guy’s ranting about everything being racist when in reality, he’s been boning his white assistant this whole time.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Mansell basically implies he’d rape Willa in front of Raylan, which immediately results in him catching marshal hands and Raylan threatening to kill him if he ever comes near her again. He then sends Willa home just to make completely sure that Mansell will never get anywhere near her ever again.

We dug coal together.