“Watching the Detectives” is the Justified episode where things really start to get bad for Raylan. Considering how they’ve been going so far, you can imagine what that means for him. For us, it means one of the most intense hours the series has brought so far.

timothy olyphant

JUSTIFIED: Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens. CR: Frank Ockenfels III / FX

Justified Review “Watching the Detectives”

Before we get to Raylan, there is the matter of the upcoming election for Sheriff of Harlan County. The current Sheriff, Tillman Napier (David Andrews), is backed by Quarles (Neal McDonough). And by “backed,” I mean, “in the pocket of.” When Quarles finds out from Limehouse (Mykleti Williamson) that Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) is backing Shelby (Jim Beaver), they decide to take matters into their own hands.

I never doubted that the explosion of Napier’s car was done by Quarles (or more accurately, Tanner, who is trying to get back into Quarles good graces), but I honestly wasn’t sure if he wanted Napier to die or not. Killing him had no real benefit, yet that guy is cuckoo, so logic seems to be unnecessary when trying to figure out his motives. The point was to set up Boyd, and therefore taint Shelby’s run for Sheriff. I’ll be honest, I was somewhat indifferent to this entire story line. Not because I don’t think the outcome of it is important. It was because everything else that was going on was so insane I was too anxious to pay much attention. I basically just used these scenes as a time to catch my breath. But let’s just get to the crazy that is Raylan’s current predicament.

Remember how last week Quarles and Wynn (Jere Burns) went to go get Gary from wherever he was in Oklahoma, but we didn’t know why? Well, we found out almost immediately. While Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) was enjoying a singer at the bar he lives above, Quarles and Wynn were bringing Gary to Winona’s house. Where they killed him. On the front lawn. That is not going to help sell the house.

JUSTIFIED: Episode 8: Watching the Detectives (Airs March 6, 10:00 pm e/p). Pictured: Natalie Zea. CR: Prashant Gupta / FX.

And while that was happening – Sammy (Max Perlich) was busy talking on the phone to someone about how Raylan is a dirty cop in the pocket of Boyd Givens. Of course he said this knowing the Feds were listening in. So yeah, you could say things started to spiral for our man in the hat.

To say I was anxious during the entire episode is an understatement. Things just kept getting worse. First the homicide detectives from Lexington PD had a list of reasons to look into Raylan. The bullet used to kill Gary had Raylan’s prints on it – it was the one he threw a Wynn a few episodes ago and then said “the next one might be coming faster.” The Detective really liked that story. Also, they found out that Gary hired that hit man to kill Winona and Raylan (which we saw in a previous season). Winona didn’t know that, so when it was brought up in questioning, you can imagine she took it well. The girl sure knows how to pick a guy!

As if this nonsense isn’t enough, the call Sammy made spurred Agent Barkley (Stephen Tobolowsky) into action. He introduced himself AUSA David Vasquez (Rick Gomez, who was on for a few episodes back in Season 1) so they could work together to prove that Raylan is dirty. Art (Nick Searcy) was annoyed, not with Raylan, but with the whole scenario. And Tim (Jacob Pitts) was at his best this week. They both helped Raylan be…. well, Raylan. Smart ass and trying to get out of everything. Raylan realized he was being set up – the fingerprint on the shell casing, someone had messed with his car over night and the Winona found the gun that killed Gary in the house. But he, of course got out of all of it.

The ballistics on the casing didn’t match Raylan’s gun. So while Gary’s case isn’t closed, Raylan’s off the hook for now. And when Art asked Barkley who is source was that made him think Raylan was dirty, he wouldn’t tell so he had to back off and Vasquez dropped his investigation as well. Also gone – Winona who had it up to here with Raylan and his drama.

But just because this drama was shelved for now, doesn’t mean things are getting any easier for Raylan. Sammy told Quarles that he is out of the business – and Quarles went all crazy eyed. Yes, more so than normal! He even went to Nobels Holler to team up with Limehouse which is not going to be good for anyone we know and love. Meanwhile, Raylan went to Quarles’s old house where Wynn was painting over the blood (and lord knows what else) that was on the walls of the torture room. Threats abounded back and forth in a manner, that I have to admit, was wrought with sexual tension. Those crazy kids.

Once again, I need to post my favorite quote. And I’m happy to say that, once again, it involved my beloved Tim Gutterson.

Barkley: Don’t play dumb with me deputy.
Tim: I’m not playing. I’m an idiot. You can ask anybody.

I had to pause the DVD I was laughing so much. The writing this season has been on fire. And I’m not the only one to take notice! Congrats to creator Graham Yost, and the entire cast and crew – it was announced today that Justified will be picked up for a 4th season to air in 2013! HURRAY!

Written by Melissa Miller. Find her on Twitter @serrae