If there’s one thing you need to watch tonight, it’s the series premiere of FX latest drama, JUSTIFIED, starring Timothy Olyphant as a Deputy US Marshal with an old school swagger than isn’t rivaled by anyone we’ve ever seen.  Here is the official description from FX:

JUSTIFIED is the story of Deputy U.S. Marshal RAYLAN GIVENS (Timothy Olyphant), a true-blue hero and something of a throwback, given to wearing a Stetson and cowboy boots, carrying his sidearm in a hip holster – a weapon he only draws when he has to, and when he does, he shoots to kill, because, as he sees it, that’s the purpose of a gun.

Raylan was born and reared in the hill country of eastern Kentucky.   It was in Harlan where he played ball, chased girls and dug coal.  And it was from Harlan, at age 19, that he ran, determined to become a U.S. Marshal.  Now, years later, after shooting a gun thug in a Miami hotel and thereby incurring the wrath of his Marshals Service superiors, Raylan has been sent in punishment (and by fate?) to the one place to which he vowed he would never return – Kentucky.

The character of Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens was created by America’s pre-eminent crime novelist Elmore Leonard (Get Shorty, Out of Sight) and is played by Timothy Olyphant (Deadwood, Live Free or Die Hard).  The Chief Deputy of the Lexington U.S.M.S. office is ART MULLEN, played by Nick Searcy (Cast Away, From the Earth to the Moon).  Working alongside Raylan are fellow deputies TIM GUTTERSON – played by Jacob Pitts (The Pacific) – and RACHEL BROOKS – played by Erica Tazel (Life, The Office). Raylan, Art and the other deputies do what all U.S. Marshals do – chase down fugitives, protect witnesses, transport prisoners.

But, being back in Kentucky, Raylan will also have to confront a past crowded with enough skeletons to choke a graveyard.  There’s his old friend and fellow coal-miner, now fugitive bank-robber, BOYD CROWDER (Walton Goggins – The Shield).  There’s AVA CROWDER (Joelle Carter – Monk, CSI: Miami), the cheerleader from his youth he always had a crush on.  There’s ex-wife WINONA (Natalie Zea – Hung, Dirty Sexy Money).  And, looming largest of all in Raylan’s past, there’s his career criminal father ARLO (Raymond Barry – Cold Case, Training Day).

JUSTIFIED was developed for series television by Executive Producers Graham Yost (Boomtown, The Pacific), Michael Dinner (Karen Sisco, Sons of Anarchy), Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly (Kidnapped) and Elmore Leonard.  The series comes from FX Productions and Sony Pictures Television.

The show is dark and daring, and dramatic, and heartbreaking (especially at the end of the pilot when Natalie Zea says what she says to Olyphant’s Raylan).  I found myself easily able to make a comparison to SONS OF ANARCHY in that it explores people and characters that we haven’t gotten the chance to feel for on TV in recent years.  Walton Goggins’ horrible white supremacist, aside from a star making turn by Olyphant, is the true stand out of the show for me, and I managed to sympathize with basically, the devil, but enjoying his performance.

I list 4 FX shows on my top ten of recent years, and I think, after seeing the first three episodes of this incredible series, I’ll be adding a 5th.  My few words can’t do the series justice, so do yourself a favor and get set a series recording.  You will not regret it.  JUSTIFIED premieres on FX tonight at 10/9Central.