Phillip Thompson

Crime Fiction writer

justified-fx-premiere_20110325043645The premiere date for the final season of Justified has been announced (Jan 20. 2015), and with it will come the end of the coolest show on TV. And probably the coolest cop show ever. That’s not to knock any of the great ones (Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, SouthLAnd, etc.), but there was something about watching Elmore Leonard’s indelible characters and always pitch-perfect dialogue come to life onscreen this way.

True, several of Leonard’s novels have become movies: Get Shorty, 52 Pick-Up, Stick, Jackie Brown (from the novel Rum Punch) and Mr. Majestyk, just for starters. And he had a hand in 3:10 to Yuma and several TV adaptations of some of his work, Justified being the most notable.

Leonard has long been revered as the master of the crime genre, with incorrigible but still likable characters (to wit: George Clooney’s performance as bank robber Jack Foley in Out of Sight), sardonic wit and brilliant dialogue. But unlike most of the other adaptations, Justified had Leonard’s personal touch for most of the show’s run. The showrunner, Graham Yost, brought him into the writers room early on, and Leonard and Timothy Olyphant entered into a sort of strange mentor-consultant-personification-muse role. Olyphant’s Raylan, along with Walton Goggins’ Boyd Crowder, prompted Leonard to call the show “better than I would have written it.” High praise indeed.

We already miss Leonard. Soon, we’ll be missing Justified. In the meantime, though, we’ll get to see Raylan and Boyd go at it one more time.

And speaking of best cop shows, Flavorwire posts these as the best 25 ever … I can’t get behind some of these; others I’ve never even heard of. And nobody asked me, but I sure as hell would have put Justified a lot higher than #14.


25. DragnetCOPS1
24. The Unusuals
23. Starsky & Hutch
22. Sledge Hammer
21. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
20. S.W.A.T.
19. Law & Order
18. 21 Jump Street
17. THe Mod Squad
16. Miami Vice
15. Crime Story
14. Justified
13. NYPD BLue
12. Luther
11. Barney Miller
10. True Detective
9. Police Squad!
8. SouthLAnd
7. Naked City
6. Columbo
5. Cagney & Lacey
4. The Shield
3. Homicide: LIfe on the Streets
2. Hill Street Blues
1. The Wire


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