2. Justified
The key to Justified is its wide net of side characters who appear and reappear depending on particular plotlines. Some are US Marshalls. Some are local residents involved in the criminal underbelly. Others are hookers or members of the Detroit mafia or blood relatives. They all boast some connection to Kentucky, and they’re all used expertly by series creator Graham Yost to add realism and to please the hardcore fans who have grown to love various supporting players who thrive in and around Harlan County.

Most of them somehow perfectly bridge the gap between antagonist and protagonist too. Take Boyd Crowder. At his core, he’s a bad guy. He deals drugs, breaks the law and acquires funds illegally. He’s also a well-intentioned man with his own moral code, however, and because of main character Raylan Givens’ shortcomings, he’s sometimes the person it’s more comfortable rooting for.

Heading into Season 5, Justified is still getting better and better. It pushes the envelope enough to be groundbreaking, but it doesn’t do it so much as to isolate its audience or become showy. It’s just the right level of violent. Just the right level of sexy. Just the right levels of smart, sophisticated and engaging, and thanks to some shrewd writing, the future is full of possibilities.

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