The story follows Raylan Givens, a US Marshal reassigned to an office near his humble roots in Kentucky as reprimand for taking care of a matter above the law. There's no one good guy or bad guy in Justified; Raylan isn't technically an anti-hero, he truly wants to do the right thing, but sometimes his way of justice is to extend his jurisdiction beyond the law. But don't expect a loud, brash action hero; Raylan is the most laid back badass you'll ever see. A modern day Clint Eastwood in slim fitting jeans: that's Timothy Olyphant's Raylan.
The bad guys are mostly bad, and delightfully so. I've never seen The Wire, the first show that actor Walton Goggins gained fame, but his portrayal of Boyd Crowder on Justified had me rivited from the first episode. Boyd is a racist, a southern gangster, a preacher, a scoundral with morals. He literally captivates every time he's on screen. His back-hollar family has serious ties with Raylan's own criminally inclined relatives, deepening their conflict.
Why You Should Watch: It's not just a guy parade of neo-cowboy action, the women on this show are a force to be reckoned with: Winona, Raylan's on-and-off ex-wife isn't afraid to speak her mind, and Ava Crowder, sister-in-law to Boyd in season 1, matches the conniving backwoods thugs with her own threats and blasts from a shotgun. Season 2's Big Bad won Margo Martindale an Emmy for her portrayal of Mags Bennett, a Godfather/mother leader of a drug ring in Raylan's old turf. Even her caretaking of an orphaned girl didn't gain her much sympathy, given the girl was an orphan because of Mags. The show is violent, but the acting is superb if you aren't adverse to gritty action.
Factoid: Dickie Bennett, another memorable character, played Dr. Farraday on later seasons of Lost. It's amazing how the actor pulls off both characters who couldn't be more different.
Bonus Factoid: Elmore Leonard wrote Out of Sight, which was adapted to film in 1998 by Stephen Soderberg, starring Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney.
Justified just finished season 3 (last night on cable channel FX) but you can see previous seasons on DVD.