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'Justified' review: Season 3 explodes with new, old nemeses for Raylan

"Justified" creator Graham Yost was in a terrible pickle when it came time to work on Season 3 of his critically acclaimed series: What do you do when you've killed off one the greatest baddies ever?

You find not one, but two major villains to trouble the ever-so-cool U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant). Oh, make that three; Raylan's nemesis/friend Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) hasn't left the Kentucy backwoods.

Boyd is making a play for the Harlan County marijuana trade that was once run by Mags Bennett (Emmy-winner Margo Martindale) and the wider drug business, but he's not the only one. A carpetbagger from Detroit named Quarles (Neal McDonough) has his eye on the whole of eastern Kentucky, which is sure to bring him into conflict with both Raylan and Boyd. Plus, a mysterious man named Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) from Noble's Holler owes a favor to Mags, so he's watching her son, Dickie's (Jeremy Davies), back.

To say Raylan's sitting on a powder keg would be underselling it the new season (9 p.m. Jan. 17, FX; 4 stars). Based on a novella by Elmore Leonard, "Justified" continues to explode with superb writing, complex characters and rich acting.

Even without Mags, "Justified" drags us once again into the murky morality of the people of Harlan County.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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