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"The next best thing to reading Elmore Leonard is re-reading him." -- Mike Lupica,
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Monday, January 07, 2013

The relationship between Elmore and Justified—“as fascinating and complicated as the show itself”

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Salon Magazine
BY KRISTOPHER JANSMA

Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Credit: James Minchin/FX)
FX’s hit series “Justified,” which returns on Tuesday for its fourth season, has been hailed as groundbreaking for its complex, moral storytelling, its modern-Old West setting of Harlan, Ky., and for its lawman hero, Raylan Givens, perpetually wearing a white cowboy hat and played with no small amount of charm by Timothy Olyphant.

But the show has been quietly breaking another kind of ground these past few years. Both the character of Raylan and the world of Harlan come from the pages of master crime-writer Elmore Leonard, who created Givens as a secondary character in two novels about Miami from the mid-’90s, “Pronto” and “Riding the Rap.” It wasn’t until 2001 that Leonard wrote the story “Fire in the Hole,” which made Raylan the star and sent him back home to Kentucky. This story became the basis for the pilot episode of “Justified” in 2010.

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