Justified – “A Murder of Crowes”: All in the family

Justified: Season 5

Episode 1 – “A Murder of Crowes”

Aired: January 7, 2014

Director: Michael Dinner

Writers: Fred Golan and Graham Yost

“I’ve been to Iraq. It’s a lot like Detroit except you have better music.”

– Boyd Crowder

At this point in Justified, we’ve explored Harlan County from every conceivable angle. As we enter season five of the show, it gets harder to find new ground to explore. Last year, the writers mixed things up by doing a season-long mystery. This year, it seems their plan is to branch outside of Harlan to the larger criminal world.

Very little of this first episode takes place in Harlan. Boyd Crowder and Wynn Duffy head to Detroit to square things up with their suppliers after a couple of goons show up without Boyd’s drugs, attempting to rob him instead of living up to their end of the deal. And Raylan finds himself in Florida chasing down Dewey Crowe’s cousins after their Cuban associate in the sugar import business finds himself wanted by the marshals.

Obviously, this is all heading back to our home turf. By the end of the episode, the Florida Crowes are already heading to Harlan to horn in on Dewey’s new-found wealth (which he got as a settlement after suing Raylan for mistreatment). And after striking out with the Canadians, Boyd heads back home to beat Mr. Paxton to death, though he still may have to go to Mexico to find a new supplier.

It’s hard to delve too deep into this first episode analytically since obviously it is just setting the table for things to come. I think Michael Rapaport is a good addition to the show as family patriarch Daryl Crowe Jr. Wendy Crowe seems like a fun wild card. Personally, I would have liked to see more of Dilly before he was taken out as well.

On the Detroit side of things, I enjoyed the madcap nature of the scene at the top of the building with the chainsaw guy and the assorted rooms full of chaos. Though, for me at least, a lot of that storyline felt clunky as they tried to transition out of the established hierarchy into whatever new supply chain Boyd, Wynn and Picker will be establishing. Picker shooting Tonin felt especially bizarre – mainly that he would choose the moment Boyd and Wynn arrived to do it. (I know this was “explained” by Picker saying that he needed their money to free himself from the Canadians, but it still felt strange and overly-convenient).

Meanwhile, Ava is still in jail and Boyd is making a mess of things looking for a way to get her out. And Raylan is finding excuses not to see Winona and his daughter, even when his job brings him to Florida. It seems sadly that the women of Harlan are being relegated more to the background this season, though I supposed they could have something up their sleeve for Ava (or an expanded role for Rachel). The show could definitely use a strong female energy though, so I hope that is in the cards.

For now, I’m excited to see this new direction we are headed in and am particularly psyched to see the amazing odd couple that is Boyd and Wynn continue to team up in their quest for drugs.

And another thing …

  • I’m happy to see the casting people continue to take chances on comedians in dramatic roles on this show. Mike O’Malley was so great as Nicky Augustine last season, so I’m glad they continued the trend with Dave Foley, Will Sasso and David Koechner in this week’s episode.
  • I’ve always wondered what Wynn Duffy does in his free time in his Winnebago. Apparently he watches tennis.
  • I seriously hope we are just beginning to tap the endless comedic potential of Dewey Crowe running Audrey’s.

Written by Joel Murphy. If you enjoy his recaps, he also writes a weekly pop culture column called Murphy’s Law, which you can find here. You can contact Joel at murphyslaw@hobotrashcan.com.

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