On this lonely road, a lot of Justified characters tried to make it home, but instead met their makers at the hands of one of the many deadly personalities roaming the streets of Kentucky. Based on the work of legendary author Elmore Leonard, Justified is a show where recurring characters bite so much dust, entire shipments of dust probably need to be brought in on a weekly basis. And that's part of what makes it so damned fun and exciting, because when your lead character is a quick-drawing sharpshooter, you don't want to see him filling out paperwork in every episode.
It would be a monumental task to list everyone who has been killed on Justified in its six seasons, as "natural causes" presumably isn't listed on anyone's death certificate, so we decided to round up the 20 biggest deaths that the show had to offer. There are good guys, there are bad guys, and there some truly heinous assholes in this bunch. (Unfortunately, Robert Quarles and his lopped-off arm aren't listed, as it was never proven that he died.) If you don't see one of your favorites on here, take it up with U.S. Attorney Vasquez. And finally, there are SPOILERS here, people, so be warned.
20. Ethan Picker
As a henchman, John Kapelos' Ethan Picker was one rotten son of a bitch. He flipped on his former boss Nicky Augustine, taking part in his execution, and later executed the arrogant Sammy Tonin after he became the head of the Detroit Mafia. But Picker was the guy who could tie Raylan to Nicky's death, and he also didn't particularly care for Boyd, so his time on Earth was definitely limited. The way in which he died made him legendary, though, as he was the victim of an exploding pack of cigarettes that Boyd put together. Smoking kills, y'all.
Rest in so many pieces, Picker.
The intimidation factor brought upon by Avery Markham's goon Boon is directly proportionate to how stupid Jonathan Tucker's mustache and hair looked. Which is to say, always extremely intimidating and stupid. But the fact that he would frighten and/or kill anything that moved was part of his anti-charm, as he made a hella-strong impression on audiences despite only being in half a season. His attempts to emulate Raylan just made their final showdown all the greater, and I'll accept the fact that he grazed Raylan's head for paying the ultimate price.
Get a haircut in Hell, Boon.
18. Danny Crowe
Not a single scene with A.J. Buckley's Danny Crowe went by that failed to strike up an urge to drive a truck through his face. I think we can all agree that the Crowe family is one of TV's most reprehensible, and Danny was the least charismatic shithead of them all. Like many of the show's villains, his death was most poetic, as he fell victim to his own dumbass "21-foot rule" challenge. While trying to attack Raylan, he accidentally fell into a grave he'd just dug for his dog Chelsea and stabbed himself through the neck and mouth. It was gloriously disgusting, especially for this show.
R.I.P. Chelsea, but not Danny.
17. Rodney "Hot Rod" Dunham
As played by the instantly recognizable Mickey Jones, Hot Rod was one of the rare non-major characters who lived through four seasons, even though he wasn't actually seen in Season 4. As a heavy in the marijuana trade, he wasn't exactly the most brutal character, but always seemed to be involved with a crazy set-up. It was a shame to see him go, as he was shot in the stomach by his former henchman, but he went out in style, stabbing his attacker in the neck with a pencil and revealing himself to be a DEA informant.
Rest in pot smoke, Hot Rod.
16. Ty Walker
Ty Walker, played with a perfectly militarized tension by Garret Dillahunt, was one of Season 6's deadly baddies, and one that I thought would make it to the end, given how precisely he handled most situations. But he makes the mistake of getting into a shootout with Raylan and Tim Gutterson -- which is dumber than asking Choo-Choo about calculus -- and although he lives through that experience, he later holds Ava and Earl hostage before getting gunned down by Raylan. Pretty sure Boyd would have skinned him alive for that, so he actually made it out easy.
R.I.P. Choo-Choo. I'll leave it up to him to judge how peaceful Walker's afterlife will be.
15. Daryl Crowe Jr.
I can't lie, I found Michael Rapaport's Daryl Crowe to be one of the most endlessly entertaining villains Justified ever gave fans, even if it was mostly based on that ridiculously backwoods accent. Daryl was the "wisest" of the Crowe clan, although his smarts usually just meant he made other people do the dirty work. (Or at the very least made them take the blame for his own dirty work.) His death was about as amazing as it gets on this show, as he was shot in the neck and in the groin by his sister Wendy. No man should have to go out like that, but then he was less of a man at that point anyway.
Rest in penis wounds, Daryl.
14. Colton Rhodes
In a perfect world, Ron Eldard's Colton Rhodes would be on a reality program with Danny Crowe where the only point of the show was watching them hit each other in the face with an endless supply of bricks. Throughout Season 4, Colton was one of Boyd's worst underlings, for several reasons, but he was an important character in that he was one of the only quasi-plotlines that Tim ever got that wasn't just "following Raylan and/or Rachel." Colton pompously antagonized Tim a little too much, though, and paid the price by getting shot down. At least he was smart enough to know it was coming.
Go eat your sunglasses, you prick.
13. Bo Crowder
One of the reasons Justified's first season was so gripping was M.C. Gainey's intimidating Bo Crowder, who was not only Boyd's father, but that of Bowman, the abusive dipshit that Ava killed. As with most people who try to become big-time meth dealers, Bo's every action was of the criminal sort, and he even tried using his association with Arlo as a way to kill Raylan. Unfortunately, Boyd couldn't even get the joy of killing his own Ava-kidnapping father, as Bo was shot down by Miami gunrunners hiding out in the woods. Why couldn't Boyd just talk him to death like he'd asked?
Meth in peace, Bo.
12. Avery Markham
Goddamn, but it pains me to write about any Sam Elliott character biting the dust, especially Avery Markham, the rootinest-tootinest marijuana dealer that has ever existed. He and his low and slow drawl are two of the reasons why Season 6 felt like a throwback to the early years of Justified, although he obviously wasn't going to be one of the few still standing in the end. But it wasn't quite clear how he was going to say goodbye, and I'm not sure "getting shot through the eyeball by Boyd" was at the top of my list. Here's hoping he mourned Katherine's death long enough.
R. EYE. P. Markham.
11. Carl Lennon
As one of Boyd's later right-hand-men, Carl was about as loyal as they come, though he was a hell of a lot more rude and hardcore than his younger brother Earl. (He was also afraid of snakes, but that's another story.) No amount of loyalty could save him in the end, though, as Boyd had no problems setting him up as the fall guy in his money-grubbing scheme. And when Carl got out of jail and went to kill Boyd in the hospital, his allegiance failed him once again, as he handed Boyd the weapon that was immediately used to kill him. Classic Carl.
10. Nicky Augustine
Nicky Augustine was a self-centered bastard throughout Season 4 of Justified, but he's played by Mike O'Malley, so it's literally impossible not to enjoy his presence most of the time. (Although nowhere near enough characters noogied his big bald head.) Nicky was one of the characters whose death was far more important than his life, as it was another walk on the unlawful side for Raylan, who allowed it to happen, setting in motion the troublesome part of his relationship with Art and other superiors who suspected him. He sure had GUTS!
R.I.P., Nicky. I hope they buried you in your limo.
9. Jimmy Tolan
I mean seriously, houseflies have a way of living longer than Boyd's henchmen, though Jimmy probably lasted the longest and made the biggest impact. We'll forgive him for initially getting in with Johnny Crowder, as he proved to be essential to Boyd's rise to...whatever level of criminal Boyd got to by the end of Season 5. Jimmy's death was a hard one to watch, as he was bound to a chair when dickhead thug Manolo shot him in the chest as a consequence for Boyd's lies. Boyd rarely looked so downtrodden, and that's a crime in and of itself.
8. Katherine Hale
Mary Steenburgen's Katherine Hale offered Justified the perfect piece of southern fried class...at least until all of her secrets came out and her duplicitous plans to steal lover Avery Markham's money non-literally blew up in her face. With nothing much else to do at that point, she tried to take her anger out on Duffy by killing him, but that's when Mikey came in and saved the day, taking a handful of bullets before crushing her windpipe atop a table that Duffy was hiding under. I wish she would have had been around longer than just these past two seasons, but her last scene was at the apex of intensity.
R.I.P. Ms. Hale, presumably in Hell's penthouse.
7. Mikey Cosmatopolis
Rarely has a Justified character experienced such a rapid deepening in personality as old Mike "He Hates the Name Mikey" Cosmatopolis, Wynn Duffy's bodyguard as played with fashionable precision by Jonathan Kowalsky. Brought into the fold back in Season 2, Mikey was a solid background character until a few episodes ago when he decided Wynn's informant behavior didn't fit his code. Despite initially intending to harm Duffy, Mikey shows his true colors in that shocking brawl with Katherine, in which he took five bullets to save his employer's life. Aw, shucks, though.
Rest in Duffy's arms, Mikey.
6. Helen Givens
Everybody needs a family member to get along with, and Raylan's aunt/stepmother Helen was his. She wanted to keep Raylan away from Arlo's terrible influence, and although her first appearance has her begging Raylan to get Arlo out of jail, she usually came out ahead with a shotgun in hand. Unsurprisingly, it was Arlo's dirty dealings that inevitably led to Helen's death at the hands of the seemingly immortal Dickie Bennett, and I for one am extremely glad that her death haunted him after, even if he turned into an even bigger shithead.
R.I.P. Helen, one of Harlan's finest, mostly by default.
5. Mags Bennett
Margo Martindale was one of the finest actresses that Justified had going for it, which was all the way back in Season 2. As the head of the Bennett clan, Mags not only had to deal with her dipshit sons Doyle, Dickie and Coover, but she later brought Loretta in after killing her father. She was a ruthless old bitch, but she was a mother first and foremost. Rather than poisoning Raylan with her special apple pie moonshine -- which she easily could have done and he'd have been none the wiser -- she chooses to poison herself to death after seeing her family fall to pieces.
R.I.P. Mags. You should have had a spinoff.
4. Johnny Crowder
As one of Justified's most resolute shitheels, David Meunier's Johnny Crowder was the most insufferable of the Crowder bunch, if only because we never got to meet Bowman. Most people who take a shotgun blast to the stomach from their own father learn something from it, but Johnny just kept trying to find ways to fuck people over. And he made that mistake about twelves times too many, and his final plan to overtake Boyd for a Mexican heroin deal left him shot dead in the Mexican desert. Knowing that, I still kept waiting for him to appear in Season 6 as a limping ghost.
3. Dewey Crowe
A character that is far more amusing on TV than he would be in person, Damon Herriman's Dewey Crowe was a constant whirlwind of mispronounced words, misguided worldviews and easily penetrable dreams of running his own criminal kingdom. Dewey was one of Justified's most utilized side characters, and he killed every scene he was in. At least until his moronic behavior puts him on Boyd's permanent shitlist and warranted a bullet in his head. It was one of the show's biggest shocks, especially coming at the beginning of a season, and it was one of the few Boyd crimes that I kind of hated him for.
R.I.P., Dewey, because blessed are the folks who ain't never asked Jesus for shit.
2. Tommy Bucks
We barely know anything about Peter Greene's Thomas "Tommy Bucks" Buckley, but it was his death that set all the events of this entire series in motion, so I don't give a damn if he was only in the show for a few minutes. A drug cartel gunner whose relationship with the Miami-centered Raylan included a man's head exploding with dynamite, Tommy was the moron who refused Raylan's offer of self-exile and found himself dead of a bullet wound soon after. Was it a justified kill on Han Solo Raylan's part? Sure it was, but Raylan still ended up back in Kentucky anyway, and that's how this wonderful show began.
Maybe R.I.P.? I don't know. Probably not, though.
1. Arlo Givens
Since we never got to meet Raylan's mother Frances, Raymond Barry's hard-as-coffin-nails Arlo Givens is our main avenue of understanding Raylan's past, and what a shitty past it must have been. A mentally unstable sweet-talker who never got on with the scrupulous crowd, Arlo was a violent sod that put his own needs and desires above all others, with very little love lost between him and Raylan. Especially in the end, after he got shanked in the chest with a pair of barber shears, and his last words to Raylan (that we see) are "Kiss my ass." Raylan's entire life was plagued by this white-haired blight of parenting, and he's not even safe from Arlo's ghostly presence.
No peace for you, Arlo, especially if Raylan keeps trying to dig up the family plots.