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Meet the Characters of Justified

Updated on January 02, 2015

Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder

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Ever since Raylan Givens first strolled across the screen in his Stetson hat, and informed mobster Tommy Bucks he had twenty four hours to get out of town, I was hooked on Justified. The characters of Justified are rich, complicated, flawed, sometimes heroic, sometimes evil and all too human. Here we will take a look at each important character that moves the story of Raylan Givens forward each week.

First we will take a look at the good guys. The most important of those is our protagonist, Raylan Givens.

The Good Guys

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Raylan Givens-Timothy Olyphant

Raylan Givens is a U.S. Deputy Marshal from Kentucky. Raylan grew up in the poor mining town of Harlan Kentucky. His father was a small time criminal, which had a big impact on Raylan as he grew up. We learn through the course of the story that Raylan's father Arlo was an abusive father and husband. He often escaped to his Aunt Helen's house when his own home became too volatile. After graduating high school Raylan went to work in the coal mines. That is where he met a young Boyd Crowder. Boyd once saved Raylan's life during a mine collapse so Raylan feels he owes a certain debt to Boyd. Raylan's Aunt Helen seeing that he needs to escape Harlan, gives him the money to do so. She tells him to leave and never come back. Raylan takes her advice, enrolls in college and joins the Marshal Service.


When we first meet Raylan he has been sent back to his home state of Kentucky against his will as a form of punishment. When Raylan gives Tommy Bucks the option of leaving Miami in twenty four hours or dying, Bucks chooses to draw his weapon. Raylan outdraws Bucks and kills him thus sealing his fate of returning to Kentucky, a place he swore he had left forever.


That sets up the story of Raylan Givens as he deals with old acquaintances, family and his ex-wife. Raylan is a throwback to an old west gunslinger. He lives by his own code of right and wrong. Raylan has a line which he never crosses. In Raylan's world you are either a good guy or a bad guy. If you are a bad guy, Raylan, has no qualms about taking you out.

The Shootings of Raylan Givens

Art Mullen - Nick Searcy

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Art Mullen is the Chief Deputy Marshal in the Lexington Kentucky office where Raylan is now stationed. Art and Raylan taught shooting classes together at Glencoe, a U.S. Marshal's field training facility. Art feels fatherly towards Raylan, so he does his best to keep Raylan out of trouble. Art is married and has grandchildren. He is looking forward to retiring in the near future. He can be tough, tender, wise and often times hilarious.

Tim Gutterson - Jacob Pitts

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Tim Gutterson joined the Marshal service after serving a tour in Afghanistan. Gutterson served in the U.S. Army Rangers. He is a highly trained sniper who has taken out many high profile targets during his tour of duty. Before Raylan was assigned to Lexington Gutterson was the newest Marshal in the office. He seems to harbor some resentment towards Raylan and his lone style of performing his job. Through the course of the story we derive the idea that Gutterson is a functioning alcoholic and suffers from PTSD. His dry wit is perfect for the lively banter between him and Raylan.

Rachel Brooks - Erica Tazel

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Rachel Brooks is the only female character that we come to know in the Lexington Marshal's office. Not much has been revealed about Rachel. Through the four seasons of Justified we learn that Rachel was raised by a single mother and has one sister. One episode featured Rachel's storyline as we learn that her sister was killed in an automobile accident with her brother in law. In this episode we learn that Rachel was helping her mother raise her nephew after her sisters death. She is a no nonsense by the book Marshal. She frowns upon Raylan's free wheeling style. She also resents what she sees as favorable treatment toward Raylan. Even with her resentment towards Raylan they still manage to forge a respect for each other. They have even formed a certain kind of friendship. In the fourth season Art reveals that Rachel and her husband have separated, a fact she shares with Raylan. Rachel is tough, efficient and always fighting for her place as a Marshal.

Raylan Givens Tribute

Boyd Crowder - Walton Goggins

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Boyd Crowder and Raylan were friends during their youth. Boyd once saved Raylan from a collapse in the coal mines. Boyd comes from a long line of career criminals. His father, Bo, ran the crime syndicate in Harlan County. The Crowders were involved in everything from protection and collection, manufacturing meth to selling drugs.

When Raylan returns to Kentucky, he finds Boyd has become the head of a white supremacist criminal organization. Boyd served a tour in Kuwait after joining the army, he returned to Harlan a demolitions expert. He uses that knowledge in his criminal pursuits.

After initially welcoming Raylan back to Kentucky, Boyd finds himself on the bad side of Raylan. This inevitably leads to a showdown between Boyd and Raylan. Boyd pulls a gun on Raylan and Raylan outdraws him shooting him in the chest. All this occurs at the dinner table.

Boyd survives his wounds and goes to prison. In prison he claims to find religion and emerges a supposedly changed man. After being betrayed by his own father, Boyd loses his newfound faith and returns to his old criminal ways.

By season four Boyd is fighting to take control of the drug trade in Harlan County. He has a new love in his brother's widow Ava. Once again Boyd finds himself on the wrong side of Raylan.

Ava Crowder - Joelle Carter

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Ava Crowder has lived in Harlan all her life. She married Boyd's younger brother, Bowman. Bowman was a violent and abusive husband. One day Ava made Bowman his favorite supper and shot him with a shotgun as he sat at the dinner table. For this she was convicted of manslaughter and was sentenced with parole.

When Raylan shows up at her door she reveals to him that she has had a crush on him since high school. This began an ill advised love affair between Ava and Raylan. Raylan later breaks off the affair and leaves Ava heartbroken.

She later takes in her brother in law Boyd when he has nowhere else to go. After trying to convince Boyd not to return to his criminal habits, she finds she has fallen in love with him. They then form a sort of Bonnie and Clyde relationship. Ava joins Boyd in his criminal activities, even becoming the head of their prostitution establishment.

Ava shoots and kills the former owner of the prostitution business to protect, Ellen Mae, a prostitute working for him. They dispose of the body and this sets up trouble for Ava down the line.

Raylan and Ava

Johnny Crowder - David Meunier

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Johnny Crowder is Boyd's cousin. When we first meet Johnny he owns a bar in Harlan. Johnny is involved in his Uncle Bo's criminal organization. Bo shoots Johnny in Season One because he believes Johnny and Boyd are conspiring against him.

Johnny survives but he is permanently crippled. When Boyd takes up his criminal activities again he brings Johnny into his circle.

On the surface Johnny appears to support Boyd, but actually harbors resentment and anger towards Boyd.

Wynn Duffy - Jere Burns

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Wynn Duffy is a member of the Dixie Maffia, a crime organization that operates in the South. Wynn Duffy is a very ruthless and violent man. He has his first run in with Raylan when he threatens Raylan's ex-wife's new husband Gary. This confrontation leads to Duffy being shot.

Raylan and Duffy continue to have run-ins with each other. Raylan suspects Duffy is helping the Dixie Maffia attempt to take over the drug trade in Harlan County.

Initially Duffy and Boyd were fighting each other over drug turf. At the end of season four we see them forming an uneasy alliance.

Winona Hawkins - Natalie Zea

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Winona Hawkins is Raylan's ex-wife. Raylan describes her as the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. They met in Salt Lake City where they discovered they were both from Kentucky. They were bonded by their mutual agreement that they would never return to Kentucky.

Their marriage deteriorated because of Raylan's anger management problems and Winona's fear that Raylan would be killed on the job. When Raylan was transferred to Miami, Winona stayed behind and began an affair with their realtor Gary Hawkins. After six years of marriage they were divorced and Winona married Gary.

When Raylan returns to Lexington, he finds Winona working as a court stenographer at the Lexington Federal Courthouse. She returned to help her ailing mother and is living in Lexington with Gary.

Seeing each other rekindles old feeling between Raylan and Winona. Soon they are embroiled in a passionate affair. Later Winona leaves her husband to be with Raylan. Winona proves to be a bad choice for Raylan. She does some things that almost ends his career. She also has no intention of standing beside him. After discovering she is pregnant with Raylan's child, she leaves him, quits her job and begins to live with her sister.

Even though they are apart, both Raylan and Winona still have strong feelings for one another. At the end of Season four events happen that push them even farther apart as they await the arrival of their baby girl.

Raylan and Winona

Arlo Givens - Raymond Barry

Arlo Givens is Raylan's father. Arlo is a Viet Nam Vet and he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Although a very charming southern man, he is very violent with a long criminal history. Arlo was abusive both to Raylan and Raylan's mother, Frances.

Raylan has not seen Arlo since he left Kentucky and has no desire to see him when he returns. In his own way Arlo has shaped the person that Raylan is today. Raylan hates everything his father stands for and has spent his life becoming the opposite of his father.

Raylan and Arlo's relationship is both fascinating and heartbreaking. Although they both show signs of caring for each other, the bridge between them can never be gapped.

Although in bad health, Arlo, joins Boyd in his new criminal organization. This makes the divide between him and Raylan even wider than before.

Helen Givens - Linda Gehringer

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Helen Givens is Raylan's aunt. She is a sister to his mother Frances. Helen married Raylan's father Arlo after her sister died. She became a mother figure to Raylan and treats him as he is her own son. Raylan loves and respects his Aunt Helen.

Helen loved Raylan and helped him leave Kentucky so that he could avoid the kind of life his father leads. Helen is a tough no nonsense woman.

Summary

These are just a few of the great characters you will meet on the FX Show Justified. There are many great guest stars including Margo Martindale as Mags Bennett, Jeremy Davies as Dickie Bennett, Damon Herriman as Dewey Crowe, Neal McDonough as Robert Quarles, Mykelti Williamson as Ellstin Limehouse and Patton Oswalt as Constable Bob and the list goes on.

Justified is one of the best shows on television. It has a great story based on an Elmore Leonard short story Fire in the Hole. It features the coolest character on television today, Raylan Givens. It has wonderfully complicated bad guys who quote dialogue as if they are doing a Shakespeare play. it has excitement, love, hate, complicated relationships, humor and wonderful actors to portray it all. Anyone who hasn't checked it out should give it a try. Season One through four is available through streaming on Amazon. FX also has reruns on Saturday nights. Season five will begin in January 2014.

Justified Season 1 Ep 1 "Pilot"

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