Justified: City Primeval – This Series Has Aged Badly…

SERIES REVIEW – There’s always been something old-school about Raylan Givens’ Raylan Givens, whether it’s the cowboy outfits he wears so naturally or the gritty honesty with which he plays Deputy U.S. Marshal Timothy Olyphant. Unconventional in his methods, the cop has so far been a big hit on his six-season FX series, which has remixed two novels and an adaptation of an Elmore Leonard short story into something a little retro and a little contemporary: a classic, noir-tinged Western in the age of prestige dramas. But in this tired new season, something is very wrong…



Like so many old, beloved TV shows, Justified is back. With original protagonist Timothy Olyphant, an Elmore Leonard story at its center, and a new cast of mostly corrupt characters, Justified: City Primeval attempts to recapture the spark of the original series in a new setting a decade later, when Raylan has moved from Kentucky to Detroit with his daughter.



Something is missing


It’s clear there’s something fundamentally missing from the Justified fans know and love. Yes, Olyphant slips back into character like a day hasn’t passed, and newcomer Aunjanue Ellis is great in the role, but something about the revival never clicks. The whole series is somehow superficial, at times almost soulless, and for a Leonard thriller that is not only annoying but disappointing.

Based on Leonard’s novel High Noon in Detroit (with the narrative adjustment to make Raylan the protagonist), he finds himself back in the Motor City in the jungles of Detroit, this time with his teenage daughter on board. After a “serious conflict” with a pair of Michigan fugitives in Florida, Raylan lands in Detroit to help investigate the attempted murder of a judge and related conspiracies in a city with its own particular web of corruption, deal-making, and criminal networks. Raylan, reluctantly involved in the investigation, clashes with powerful defense attorney Carolyn Wilder (Ellis) while trying to raise his teenage daughter Willa (Vivian Olyphant, played by Timothy’s own daughter).



Is this Detroit?! Really?!!


Not a bad concept, but something gets lost in the move from Kentucky to Detroit. Not so much character in the portrayal of the place, although the filmmakers have gone to great lengths to create the legendary car city of Detroit as its own frontier of corruption and lawlessness. We get the sense that it could be any troubled metropolis, rather than a specific city with its own particularities.

Just as the show struggles to establish its setting, it also struggles to establish its stakes and emotions. It’s hard to say why we should care about these corrupt Detroit politicians, the rather “gray moral” judges, and the common, often quite petty criminals, or the relationships between them. It takes several episodes for the story to take shape, but unfortunately it becomes less and less like an entertaining and mysterious mystery and more and more like a frustratingly overcomplicated and uninteresting plot.



It’s a shame…


But Justified is a great show that I’ve loved for a long time – I consider the older seasons to be some of the best of the 2010s. But in many ways, it feels like a relic of an era when television glorified anti-heroic lawmen who clung to their own sense of justice. Yes, Raylan has to adapt to a changed world in many ways – he can’t get away with taking two suspects in custody to his daughter’s summer camp, for example – but it’s impossible not to feel like the show is too dated for 2023. The plot is also too full of old sensibilities about cops and robbers, about justice and Justified’s place in the world. Olyphant himself may have aged well and is in great shape, but the story around him is all the more old-fashioned.



Justified: City Primeval

Direction - 6.4
Actors - 6.8
Story - 6.2
Visuals/Music/Sounds - 7.2
Ambience - 6.6



The new season of Justified: City Primeval is disappointing, despite the return of original protagonist Timothy Olyphant. The storyline, which moves from Kentucky to Detroit, fails to adequately convey the atmosphere and idiosyncrasies of the new location, and the new characters fail to make up for the dynamism of the original series. While the acting and visuals are fine, the series feels tired and dated in the context of 2023.

User Rating: Be the first one !

Spread the love
Avatar photo
BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines – including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

No comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.