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Childhood friends Boyd Crowder and Raylan Givens.

Justified

Season 4 is available on demand until July 31, 2013, at Super Channel On Demand and online at RogersAnyplaceTV.com.

The Mountie always gets his man in the end, and it really couldn’t be any other way – even in the deepest backwoods of Kentucky. It’s a given that Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) will always get his man (or, more likely, stick a bullet to him) by the end of every season, but such victories in Justified tend toward the bittersweet. They come at personal expense, cause unnecessary bloodshed, and end up feeling somewhat hollow as they curiously fuel our sympathy for the so-called bad guys.

Such murky shades of grey are further muddled by the fact that lawman Givens is probably only one badge away from being a bad guy himself. And the bad guys on his hit list are just as likely to be personal associates, family members or rivals of an ancestor who refuse to bury the hatchet. The difference between the law man and the crime is no great divide at all.

Givens no doubt became a law man in an attempt to differentiate himself from Arlo, his less-than-law-abiding father, and his less-than-wholesome, small-town upbringing, but he remains defined by his father and his geographical roots – despite best intentions and a fair dose of self-delusion.

So dispensing with Arlo in Season 4 is yet another brave move for a series that routinely, frustratingly, kills off its greatest characters. Whether or not Arlo’s absence creates vacuum enough for Raylan to evolve independently is doubtful. Arlo’s parting words to Raylan – “Kiss my ass” – would support such pessimism.

Further clouding the murky greys, Season 4 gave us more of a reason to root for Boyd Crowder – someone who’s just as much Raylan’s kin and comrade as moral enemy – instead of rooting for Raylan by default.

Justified continues to intrigue, even with low-key chapters like Season 4, as Givens’ theoretical journey toward fatherhood, emotional commitment and domesticity is thwarted by his pedigree. For the time being, until Season 5 premieres in January 2014, Givens remains a boy with a gun who just loves ice cream.

• Broadcaster: Super Channel

• Episodes in Season Two: 13

• On demand until: July 31, 2013

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