Justified

Common Sense Media says

Lawman shoots first in racially charged, complex drama.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series takes place in the present, but plays like an old Western, with a strong-silent lawman enforcing frontier justice with his trusty handgun. While Raylan certainly makes it clear that crime, and bad manners, will not be tolerated, he also seems like an anachronism in the modern day when due process is considered a critical part of the justice system.

Positive role models

Law-and-order sometimes takes a backseat to Raylan’s sense of justice; if he thinks the world would be better off without a bad guy, he just might find a way to eliminate him and make his choice seem justified. He’s not always wrong, but it’s pretty hard to justify his vigilante act.

Violence

Plenty of gunfire. The main character is a lawman who sometimes seeks reasons to draw, and use, his sidearm. Several people get shot – some are wounded, others are killed, and most of the attacks are shown. The villains sometimes use heavy weapons, such as a rocket launcher.

Sex

Some seasons are mostly flirting and suggestive comments while other seasons include some sex scenes between adults.

Language

Plenty of swearing, including lots of unbleeped uses of “s--t” and its variations, such as “horses--t,” “s--tstorms,” and more. The villains are racist white supremacists who often use highly inflammatory terms.

Consumerism

A few mentions of well-known brands, such as RC Cola and Lysol.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Plenty of drinking. People socialize in bars, drink shots together at home, and sometimes get pretty drunk. Some smoking and discussion of drugs/drug dealing.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this compelling drama about a lawman in rural Kentucky involves mature themes that are best for adults and older teens. Along with plenty of gunplay, including death by gunfire, the main character straddles a moral line between protecting people's civil rights and punishing bad guys. A primary narrative involves a gang of white supremacists. There’s plenty of unbleeped swearing -- including racially charged language -- and a good deal of drinking.

Parents say

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

After a questionable encounter leaves a suspect dead, Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) is transferred from cushy Miami to a small East Kentucky outpost, not far from the hometown he left behind years ago. He quickly reconnects with old flames and old friends, including Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), now the head of a white-supremacist gang, ex-wife Winona (Natalie Zea), and Ava (Joelle Carter), the high school cheerleader he never pursued but always wanted. As Raylan settles into his new assignment, it becomes clear that Boyd is at the center of a string of mysterious incidents.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

JUSTIFIED makes its intentions clear from the first scene. This compelling drama is an old-fashioned Western. Yes, it takes place today, but just look at Raylan: He wears a Stetson and cowboy boots and packs a big pistol on his hip. And that questionable incident? Seems he gave a known bad guy 24 hours to get out of town. When time's up, Raylan tracks him down, gun at the ready. The meaning is clear: The lawman has challenged the criminal to a gunfight, and though the villain draws first, the marshal draws faster -- technically, the killing was justified, Raylan insists.

Transferred to rural Kentucky coal country, Raylan brings the same swaggering attitude and quiet, steely reserve. There’s a new sheriff in town -- well, deputy marshal. The show is based on a book by famed novelist Elmore Leonard, who also serves as a producer and makes sure the scripts are always entertaining and unpredictable. Olyphant is wonderful as an old-school lawman who won’t draw his weapon unless he plans to shoot to kill, because that’s the whole purpose of a gun. It’s worth tuning in just to hear him calmly deliver this line to a skittery punk with a shotgun, who promptly drops the gun and runs.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Raylan’s idea of dispensing justice. Do you think it’s OK for him to shoot the bad guys, even if they don’t pose an immediate threat?

  • How does this show, set in the present, resemble a classic Western? Does Raylan ever seem out of place in modern times, when one man is not permitted to dole out justice on his own?

TV details

Cast:Nick Searcy, Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins
Network:FX
Genre:Drama
TV rating:TV-MA
Available on:DVD

This review of Justified was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Educator and Parent of a 10 and 13 year old Written byMrs. W December 21, 2010
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Well written, well acted, for adults and mature older teens only: a thoughtful exposition of how life is not black and white but nearly infinite shades of gray, and the complications well-meaning, good-intentioned people can find themselves in - not suitable for young adults who are still firming up their own characters.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written byBabygurl18 April 12, 2010
AGE
15
QUALITY
 
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 17 years old Written byMalucodemez September 30, 2010
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

Great for older teenagers.

I love this show. Its well written, and is always really entertaining.

Although at first glance, it may not seem to have any positive messages, season 1 depicts a lot of "change for good" and "forgiving" messages toward the end of the season.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families