Justified is an FX crime series that ran for seven seasons. The hugely underrated show followed the exploits of Raylan Givens, a US Marshal who deal with various criminal elements in his hometown of Harlan, Kentucky. Raylan is a short-tempered but cool lawman who thinks of himself as a cowboy from the Old West. He can also outdraw just about every gunfighter he comes across.
The series did a great job bringing Raylan's story to a close, but there are still many things viewers want to know about this complex and entertaining character. From his past to his relationship and much more, these are all the questions you have about Raylan Givens finally answered.
10 Where Did The Character Originate?
Raylan Givens is a character created by the great American crime writer, Elmore Leonard. Leonard has written countless classic novels and short stories, many of which have been adapted into films, like Out of Sight, Get Shorty and Jackie Brown. Raylan first appeared in Leonard's novel Pronto.
While Timothy Olyphant portrays Raylan in the show, James LeGors first played him in a TV movie adaptation of Pronto. After the success of Justified's first few seasons, Leonard wrote a stand-alone story for the character called Raylan.
9 Did Raylan Murder Tommy Bucks?
Justified kicks off with a bang as the first scene in the show has Raylan having a shootout with a gangster. The gangster is Tommy Bucks who Raylan had run-ins with previously. When they last saw each other, Raylan tells Bucks he has 24 hours to get out of time or Raylan will shoot him dead. He keeps his promise.
The shooting gets Raylan in a lot of trouble, with some thinking it was a murder rather than a justified shooting of a suspect. However, Tommy did draw his weapon first, but Raylan was quicker. While the shooting was legal, Raylan wonders if he might have killed Bucks even if he was unarmed.
8 What Happened To His Relationship With Winona?
Due to the shooting of Tommy Bucks, Raylan is transferred from his position in Miami to the office in his home state of Kentucky. Being back home means Raylan is forced to confront a lot of relationships from his past, including his ex-wife Winona.
The relationship between Raylan and Winona is a complicated one, to say the least. They initially split up when he became obsessed with his work and she had an affair. When they were both in new relationships, they had an affair with each other, then had a baby together, before breaking up yet again. While they seem to make a nice pair, they also seem to be an imperfect match.
7 Why Does The Mob Want Him Dead?
Throughout the series, Raylan and his loved ones are repeatedly the targets of a Miami-based organized crime outfit. They make several attempts on Raylan's life and seem to hold a very serious grudge against him. They also try very hard to bring him in alive so that they can make his death as painful as possible.
The bad feelings go back to Tommy Bucks. Taking out a high-level member of their organization in such a public way was a stain on their reputation. Unfortunately, the more people they send after Raylan, the more of their people he kills which only makes to mob angrier.
6 Why Does He Hate His Father?
Certainly, the most complicated relationship Raylan has in the show is with his father, Arlo Givens. Before we even meet Arlo in the show, we get a sense of what kind of man he is and what Raylan thinks of him. Their relationship remains antagonistic, even violent, for the rest of the series, but it started long before.
Arlo is an army veteran who suffers from PTSD. To cope with this, he drinks heavily and becomes violent with his family, including young Raylan. The way Arlo treated Raylan and his mother caused him to resent the man for years. When he returns to Kentucky, he sees Arlo hasn't changed and their relationship grows worse.
5 Who Is His Mother?
Arlo Givens is very much a part of the entire series, but we never do meet his mother. Frances Givens died when Raylan was younger and Raylan was raised by his aunt Helen. As the series goes on, we discover more about Frances.
She is a member of the Hill people who live in the hills around Harlan County and seem to live by their own societal rules. Ellston Limehouse, the leader of Noble's Hollar, also mentions that Frances spent some time there when Arlo became particularly violent. The memory of his mother is still very painful for Raylan.
4 Why Did He Leave Harlan?
Though he spent most of his life in Harlan and though it has clearly had an impact on him, Raylan spent most of his young life trying to escape that place. When he is sent back to his hometown at the beginning of the series, it is his first time returning in many years.
Raylan's hatred for Harlan certainly has a lot to do with his violent childhood, but it is also due to the crime and corruption of the place. Harlan is a very poor place filled with desperate people. He sees criminals take advantage of this fact. When he returns, he makes it his mission to punish those criminals that plague Harlan.
3 Does He Like Boyd?
Raylan has a lot of complicated relationships in the show, but the one that defines the series is his relationship with Boyd Crowder. Raylan and Boyd had known each other for years going back to their days of digging coal together. When Raylan returns to Harlan, these two quickly find themselves on opposite sides of the law and Raylan ends up shooting Boyd.
After that, the two men have helped each other on occasion and tried to kill each other on occasion. To Raylan, Boyd represents everything wrong with Harlan and wants to see him behind bars or dead. However, he also can't escape the bond they share having dug coal together.
2 Is Raylan Corrupt?
Though Raylan is certainly presented as the hero of the series, sometimes he appears to be more of an antihero. His unorthodox ways of dealing with criminals often get him in trouble with internal affairs and his superior officers. He is regularly investigated for corruption, and while some of the accusations are certainly false, by the end of the series, it's clear Raylan is not an upstanding lawman.
He has been shown baiting criminals into gunfights. He has covered up crimes. He has illegally interrogated suspects. He has even helped set up a mob assassination. He does all these things for noble reasons, but Raylan is certainly a bad lawman.
1 Where'd The Hat Come From?
The first thing that stands out about Raylan Givens is that iconic hat. In his continued attempts to be an Old West lawman, Raylan is always seen wearing a large white cowboy hat. He wears it well and it becomes a very big part of his character. When asked where the hat came from, he simply says, "I tried it on and it fit."
While the explanation seems innocent enough, it has darker connotations. In the series finale, Raylan faces off with another gunman who wears a cowboy hat of his own. After Raylan kills the man, he is seen wearing the same hat, saying "I tried it on and it fit." This could imply that Raylan's original hat is a trophy of sorts from someone he previously killed.