Friday, November 30, 2018

A Note To A Friend On Justified, The Extended Crime And Law Enforcemet Series

Just finished watching last season,

It may not be artistically the best extended dramatic television series.

I can see arguments for its flaws.

I can see how its violence, indiscriminate and plentiful and often throw away killings and many contrivances can count against it.

But, I’ll distinguish between best and favourite, and say it’s my very favourite extended tv series.  

I love how shot through it is with the characters, plot twists, themes, dialogue, voice, idiosyncrasies  and generally the spirit and artistic sensibility of Elmore Leonard. 

I love the scene in which Raylan Givens lends his fellow Marshall a battered paperback copy of George V. Higgins’s The Friends Of Eddie Coyle and tells him it’s so beat up because, he says, if he’s read the novel ten times that would be low. Elmore Leonard said George V. Higgins was his biggest literary influence, his master. I see Higgins’s books as literature. I’m starting to think some of Leonard’s novels are too. 

Another thing striking about the series is its fantastic sense of place, the mountains, valleys, hills and hollers of Appalachian Harlan County, Eastern Kentucky, its local colour, as evident in the characters, the language, rhythms and idioms of their speech—that’s simply magnificently done—its recreation of place and time and in the cinematography of the land. 

Tabling its ultimate aesthetic worth, I’d put it artistically over Breaking Bad, which I like but don’t love, and on a par with The Sopranos. 

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