<i>Time of Departure</i>: New Excerpt Time of Departure: New Excerpt Douglas Schofield Mystery, romance, and a bit of Sci-Fi. Don't mind if I do. <i>Ornaments of Death</i>: New Excerpt Ornaments of Death: New Excerpt Jane K. Cleland Josie Prescott is at it again! <i>The Red Storm</i>: New Excerpt The Red Storm: New Excerpt Grant Bywaters The debut novel by a former private investigator. <i>Riot Most Uncouth</i>: New Excerpt Riot Most Uncouth: New Excerpt Daniel Friedman The first in a new series featuring Lord Byron.
From The Blog
November 29, 2015
Troubled Waters Ahead: 7 Great Cruise Ship Mysteries
Crime HQ
Pirate of the Sky: An Unsolved Thanksgiving Mystery
November 24, 2015
The ZINNG: "You Like Me! You Really Like Me!"
Crime HQ
November 23, 2015
Set Sail with Steve Berry!
Crime HQ
November 20, 2015
“You’ve Come a Relatively Middling Distance, Baby”: Signs of Shift in Female Fictional Detectives
Janice MacDonald
Showing posts by: Regina Thorne click to see Regina Thorne's profile
Apr 16 2015 10:00am

Justified 6.13: Series Finale “The Promise”

Last night’s Jusified series finale, “The Promise,” wrapped up the series both in a deeply satisfying and completely surprising way, and I honestly expected nothing else from this sadly underrated gem of a tv show.

We open this episode directly after the end of the last one; thanks to the BOLO issued for our hero by ADA Vasquez (Rick Gomez), two police officers arrest Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) after he leaves the wounded Constable Bob (Patton Oswalt) at the hospital. While in the police car, Raylan overhears that the police dogs have followed the fugitives’ trail to the bridge in Harlan, where they’ve found nothing but an alligator tooth necklace. Aww, it’s like Dewey Crowe is making a cameo appearance from his slurry pit.

Art (Nick Searcy) swoops in to rescue Raylan just before he’s booked by the arresting officer, who gets the sharp edge of Art’s tongue. Raylan lets Art know about Boyd’s flight and Ava’s imminent danger from Avery Markham (Sam Elliott) — as they purportedly drive back to Lexington in Art’s SUV, knowing that Art won’t take him back once he’s explained. And sure enough, once Raylan’s laid out the FUBAR situation, Art asks where they should start looking for Ava (Joelle Carter).

[Better keep running, Ava!]

Mar 25 2015 9:45am

Justified 6.10: “Trust”

Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder Joelle Carter as Ava Crowder, Jere Burns as Wynn Duffy, Justin Welborn as Carl

Raise your hand if you were expecting that ending? Anyone? Anyone? But before we get there, a lot of other things happened in “Trust,”Episode 6.10 of Justified.

First of all, we open with Katherine Hale (Mary Steenburgen) very angry and yelling at Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) about the fact that Boyd (Walton Goggins) nearly blew her up at the pizza parlor. Wynn tells Katherine up front that he’s the one who gave Boyd the idea that Avery (Sam Elliott) was planning to move his money — and he speaks loudly and clearly for the benefit of Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) and Tim (Jacob Pitts) who are listening in on this conversation. After he finishes with Katherine, Wynn makes a plea to stop being a CI, but he’s not getting out of this hole so easily: Raylan says they’re giving Wynn a chance to make up for Boyd’s screw-up in not getting arrested while stealing Avery’s money.

[That's pretty fair when you think about it...]

Mar 18 2015 10:00am

Justified 6.09: “Burned”

Sam Elliott as Avery Markham, Mary Steenburgen as Katherine Hale

“Burned,” this week’s episode of Justified had less of the emotional violence of last week, but a lot more explosions and bodies as Boyd’s (Walton Goggins) heist went horribly wrong, and Raylan’s (Timothy Olyphant) conviction that working with Avery Markham (Sam Elliott) to take down Boyd also seemed increasingly suspect. Also, RIP Uncle Zachariah (Jeff Fahey). Or maybe not! But best of all, we got a meeting between Art (Nick Searcy), Raylan and Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) in his skivvies. As much as Art disliked that view, I salute Jere Burns for his willingness to let it all hang out there as an actor!

We open with Rachel (Erica Tazel) and Art interrogating Raylan on his hunch about Ava’s (Joelle Carter) turning. Raylan can’t explain it precisely, but I think they should defer to his better understanding of Crowders and people in Harlan. AUSA Vasquez (Rick Gomez) is disgusted at the loss of a valuable asset, coupled with Raylan making sure that Boyd got $100,000 of Avery Markham’s money last week and sarcastically asks where they’ll find another CI. (He also gives us a little rundown on RICOH statutes — the CI actually has to witness Boyd committing crimes, which was why Ava was so perfect.) Art Mullen, always awesome, has an idea about another potential CI.

[Any guesses?]

Mar 11 2015 10:45am

Justified 6.08: “Dark as a Dungeon”

Since we’ve known him, Raylan’s worst enemy has always been Arlo Givens (Raymond J. Barry), the violent, mean drunk who sired him and terrorized his mother and him. Arlo was a petty criminal his whole life, so Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) became a lawman, but he’s always feared that there was more of Arlo in him than he wanted, which was one of the reasons he found it so hard to commit to Winona (Natalie Zea) and to their baby - what if he turned out to be an awful husband and a terrible father like Arlo? (One of the brilliant things the show did, by the way, was to create the monstrous Arlo Givens and give us the rich seam of conflict between him and his son; in the novels on which Justified is based, Raylan’s father was a coalminer who died long before the books opened, and Raylan and Winona were divorced but had two kids already.)

Given that history, it was entirely fitting that “Dark as a Dungeon” opened and closed with Raylan confronting the ghost of his father, figuratively in the opening scene and more literally in the final scene of the episode.

[It needed to happen...]

Mar 4 2015 11:15am

Justified 6.07: “The Hunt”

Sometimes the quietest episodes of Justified are filled with the most tension. “The Hunt” which was in some ways, a setup for the last half of the season, had a relatively low body count (except for the ambulance drivers who had the misfortune to take Ty Walker’s call), but it was filled with thematic density.

The three separate storylines – Raylan’s (Timothy Olyphant) commitment to the daughter he’s never met before and her mother; Ava’s (Joelle Carter) fraught hunting trip with Boyd (Walton Goggins); and the manhunt for Ty Walker (Garrett Dillahunt) played riffs on the themes of fraternity, loyalty, betrayal, love. and family.

Last week, Ty Walker reluctantly conceded to Avery Markham (Sam Elliott) that Choo Choo (Duke Davis Roberts) needed to be sacrificed for “the greater good” (which mostly is Avery Markham’s good.) This week it was Ty’s turn to learn that the supposed fraternity of having served in the “sandbox” together wasn’t strong enough to keep Seabass (Scott Grimes) from choosing Avery’s enormous piles of cash over his loyalty. There’s no honor among thieves, I guess. Left all alone, Ty extracted a bullet from his own shoulder (that was hardcore – nearly on a par with The Americans DIY dentistry a couple of weeks ago!) and menaced some frat boys before conceding that he would need medical attention. He lured an ambulance to where his car broke down, and then, once he realized he’d been recognized, murdered both the “hero” ambulance driver who tried to sedate him, and his far less heroic sidekick who pleaded for his life.

[Poor guys...]

Feb 25 2015 11:15am

Justified 6.06: “Alive Day”

Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder, Joelle Carter as Ava Crowder, Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens

We’re almost halfway through the final season of Justified, and given how great this season is turning out to be, I’m truly pained to type those words! In Episode 6.06, “Alive Day”, Ava’s (Joelle Carter) position between a rock and a hard place seems to be getting more slippery by the day while Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns), Avery Markham (Sam Elliott), and Katherine Hale (Mary Steenburgen) are tangled up in a cat’s cradle of double-, triple- and quadruple-crosses. Meanwhile, Raylan’s (Timothy Olyphant) wayward ways are a cross that Rachel (Erica Tazel) has to bear and Choo Choo (Duke Davis Roberts), nicknamed for an inanimate object, suddenly becomes the most painfully human of Avery Markham’s henchman.

The episode begins with Boyd (Walton Goggins) coming back to Ava’s place and finding Raylan’s car parked out front. Raylan makes it clear that he’s there on “Marshal Business” and asks about Dewey Crowe. I still think that Dewey is inadvertently going to throw a monkey wrench in Boyd’s plans from beyond the grave, because that’s what he did when he was alive, and also we got the shot of Earl (Ryan Dorsey) draping his crocodile tooth necklace in Boyd’s bar. That can’t have been a coincidence! And it would be such an Elmore Leonard ending if it’s actually Dewey’s murder that ends up getting Boyd put away. But I digress! In response to Raylan’s questions, Boyd tries to finger Markham’s gang for anything that may have happened to Dewey by saying that Dewey was headed to the pizza parlor when Boyd last saw him. Boyd also gets into a very public display of affection with Ava which is also a pissing contest with Raylan.

[A contest neither are winning...]

Feb 18 2015 10:30am

Justified 6.05: “Sounding”

Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, Patton Oswalt as Constable Bob

The final season of Justified keeps piling on the delicious complications of plot and adding to (and subtracting from) its wonderful cast of characters. In “Sounding,” last night’s fifth episode, Boyd (Walton Goggins) returned to his coal-mining roots, Ava (Joelle Carter) did something impulsive and kind of dumb, and Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) seemed poised to do something even more impulsive and even dumber.

Boyd and Ava return from their trip to Lexington, and while they’re stopped at a Kentucky State Police roadblock. Boyd is full of his grandiose vision of becoming a marijuana entrepreneur, and Ava muses that they’ve changed positions on staying versus leaving Harlan, because she wants to get the hell out of there.

Ava and Boyd finally get to the front of the roadblock, where the policemen seem unusually concerned about Ava’s well-being. Boyd seems not to find this suspicious because he’s already caught up in his plans to put a spoke in the wheels of Avery Markham’s well-oiled property purchasing machine.

[Boyd always has a plan...]

Feb 11 2015 11:30am

Justified 6.04: “The Trash and the Snake”

imothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, Garret Dillahunt as Ty Walker, Sam Elliott as Avery Markham

Any episode of Justified that gives me Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) backstory in addition to the return of one of my all-time favorite characters is, by definition, a great episode. But “The Trash and the Snake” also had some of the best dialogue not spoken by Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), as well as the pleasure of watching Raylan (Timothy Olyphant), Ava (Joelle Carter), and Boyd interact with their mentors or would-be mentors, a genuine explosion, and some nail-biting suspense.

We open with Boyd watching Ava sleep in their Lexington hotel room; if we hadn’t watched Boyd shoot Dewey Crowe and didn’t know that Ava was a CI, this would be romantic, but as it is, I’m just all tense and scared for Ava. When she wakes up, Boyd tells her that he’ll be out doing criminal business for most of the day. Ava stretches and says she plans to take advantage of the spa, but actually she’s just waiting to call Raylan and give him some information so the Feds don’t send her back to prison.

[She's straddling a thin line here...]

Feb 4 2015 1:00pm

Justified 6.03: “Noblesse Oblige”

We open with the aftermath of Boyd’s (Walton Goggins) pulling out the good bourbon for Ava (Joelle Carter) because of her revelation that the pizza parlor is located above a former bank. Boyd and Ava are slumped on top of the bar, and I daresay they’d be canoodling if they hadn’t been drinking bourbon for six hours. Ava gets a text message from Raylan (Timothy Olyphant); her effortless lie to Boyd about who’s texting her at the crack of dawn is all the more impressive considering how very drunk she is. Luckily Boyd is also drunk and accepts her explanation.

Ava drunk-drives her way to a meeting with Raylan at the Givens home, where she’s ambushed by Rachel (Erica Tazel) and AUSA Vasquez (Rick Gomez), both of whom take turns telling her that unless she comes up with usable information quickly, the deal that got her out of jail will no longer remain in play.

[Time to step up your game...]

Jan 28 2015 10:30am

Justified 6.02: “Cash Game”

Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens

Previously on Justified: Boyd committed murder and bank robbery (so business as usual, basically); Ava was caught between a rock and a hard place (or a Givens and a Crowder which amounts to the same thing); and Raylan got a perplexingly generous offer for the old family homestead.

Ava hears Boyd rummaging around in her barn; he claims to be looking for paint to finish a job for her, but he’s actually hidden the ledger and documents from the bank robbery last week. After she kicks him out, she finds the documents.

At the Marshals’ office, Tim Gutterson and Raylan have a hilariously laconic conversation about Raylan’s baby while Vasquez and Rachel interview a potential witness to Boyd’s neo-Nazi activities. Raylan is concerned that the baby isn’t walking (at five months) and explains to Tim that there are two kinds of people in the hollers of Harlan County: those who are basically on Boyd’s side, and those who are terrified of Boyd. Getting nothing from the witness, Rachel tells Tim and Raylan to go on a road trip to Harlan and interview the owners of the safe deposit boxes that Boyd robbed.

[Sounds like a good place to start...]

Jan 21 2015 11:30am

Justified 6.01: Season Premiere “Fate’s Right Hand”

Previously on Justified: Art got shot (noooooo!) and Raylan promised (yet again) to be there for Winona and their daughter and promised with somewhat more vigor to help the Marshals’ Service and ASA Rodriguez take down Boyd Crowder. Meanwhile, Katherine Hale (Mary Steenburgen) told Boyd Crowder that his true superpower was robbing banks, Ava Crowder turned informant for the US Marshals, and Dewey Crowe confessed to murder.

We open with Winona wondering what in the world is worth Raylan’s missing the graveyard shift with his adorable baby daughter Willa.

The answer is taking down Boyd Crowder. Raylan’s in Mexico, trying to get the Federales who found Johnny Crowder’s body to tell him who witnessed that murder. The chief, Aguilar, is unimpressed by Raylan’s Marshal badge and tells him to piss off. Raylan is uncharacteristically restrained, saying only “see you around” and the chief returns to his drinking buddies. When Aguilar emerges from the bar, extremely drunk, we find out that when Raylan’s parting words meant that he was planning to kidnap Aguilar and bring him back to the US where he’d be more likely to talk and more respectful of the Marshals’ service.

[Oh Justified, how we missed you!]

Jan 20 2015 12:30pm

Six Reasons to Watch The Americans

The premise of The Americans, which is set in the early 1980s, is that Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, a suburban Virginia couple who seem as American as apple pie and the Fourth of July, are actually a pair of ruthless KGB sleeper agents whose marriage was arranged by spymasters in the Kremlin. The show returns for its third season next week, and here are six reasons why you should be watching:

1. The Americans is exciting!! From the opening sequence of the pilot (which involved a kidnapping, a stabbing and a car chase) right up until the closing moments of Season 2, the show gives us all the exciting spy games we could possibly want. There’s also the mental and emotional tension of not quite wanting Philip and Elizabeth to succeed in their missions (and we know, of course, that ultimately the Soviets didn’t win the Cold War) but also not wanting them to be exposed or killed.

2. The writing is, for the most part, extremely intelligent. I love the way the writers incorporate actual historical events into the storylines, such as the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, or the U.S. government’s support of the Contras in Nicaragua, or the struggle of Soviet Jews to be allowed to emigrate to Israel. Plus, showrunner Joe Weisberg’s own background in the CIA and knowledge of spycraft informs such wonderful set-pieces. Take “Gregory” for example, an episode from Season 1 where Philip and Elizabeth try to make contact with a colleague’s widow before the FBI gets to her. The writers also don’t fall into the trap of making smart characters do stupid things just so the plot can move along; we get the far more exciting pleasure of watching clever people do clever things that are thwarted by circumstance or the technological limitations of the early 1980s (from our vantage point, it’s so startling to watch a world without cell-phones, GPS systems, tiny cameras, or sound recorders, etc. But they do have an awesome mailroom robot in the FBI!). The show’s writers even managed to put the Jennings’ teenaged daughter Paige at the center of the plot last season without making me roll my eyes or reach for the fast-forward button.

[We're looking at you, Homeland...]

Apr 14 2014 3:15pm

Wrapping Up Justified’s Season 5: Can Raylan Kill His Own Shadow?

When they first announced that Justified would end after Season 6, I was prepared to be heartbroken at the news, but after the recently ended and quite lackluster season 5, I think it’s a good decision. In fact, I wonder it might not have been better if Graham Yost had decided to end “Justified” in five seasons, perhaps doing a Breaking Bad and giving us an extra long fifth season split into two parts.

I say this not because Season 5 was terrible, though I do think it will go down as the weakest one for this usually stellar show, but because it now seems like the entire season was just a setup for the final confrontation we’re going to get in Season 6 between Boyd and Raylan. That confrontation has been brewing from the very first episode of the series, when the TV show let Boyd survive Raylan’s gunshot to the chest. In “Fire in the Hole”, the Elmore Leonard short story that introduces Raylan Givens, Boyd dies, and it’s hard to even contemplate how very different the show would have been if they’d followed the plot of the short story.

[It was always going to be Raylan versus Boyd...]

Apr 5 2014 3:00pm

The Walking Dead’s Season 4: Rick Grimes as Aeneas, Or Just When I Think I’m Out...

The Walking Dead manages to be both the most frustrating and occasionally most compelling show I watch on TV. First of all, Im always at the edge of my seat wondering whether a given episode is going to be a snoozefest (I love you Daryl, but that episode with Beth was something that required severe over-caffeination to get through) or a brilliant 45 minutes of character-driven awesomeness. The mid-season finale was certainly not coma-inducing, but basically substituted loud bangs and weird nonsensical motivations for actual plot, and so that was when I stopped watching on a weekly basis and only returned to skim. But then the show gives us some episode like “The Grove,” which, like last year’s “Clear” relied on the characters interacting with each other to devastating effect. (Melissa McBride is absolutely fabulous as Carol, and I hope she stays on the show for a long, long time!) So, like Michael Corleone and the Mafia, just when I think I’m out... they pull me back in.

[Take the crossbow, leave the cannoli...]

Mar 12 2014 10:00am

Justified Slumps When It Strays from Harlan County

Et tu, Justified? Last fall, I decided to quit watching The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy because I was bored with the repetitive storylines and frustrated with the direction both of the storylines were taking. And now I’m worried that one of my favorite shows is doing the same thing. Now, admittedly, I’m willing to cut Justified a whole lot of slack, because it’s been so good for four seasons, and even when the episodes themselves aren’t all stellar, as in Season 1, I’m still so fond of the characters and so delighted by the witty dialogue. But I have to say that three episodes into a subpar stretch of season 5, I’m wavering. It’s not that Justified is suddenly a bad show, but it’s not one of the best on TV any more, and I’ve been trying to pin down what I feel are the problems this season.

[Kentucky, where have you gone...]

Feb 16 2014 8:30pm

Justified 5.06: “Kill the Messenger” Settles for Consexual Bloodletting

After last week’s bullet-filled extravaganza, the latest episode of Justified, “Kill the Messenger” didn’t feature a single dead body (though there was a good bit of blood flowing, even if some of it was claimed to be “consexual.”)

Various subplots came together, as the Crowes were integrated into the Crowder fold and Raylan’s girlfriend had a frankly terrifying and skin-crawling run-in with Danny Crowe, who is every bit as stupid, but not nearly as sweet or hilarious as his cousin Dewey. (I hope he and his dog Chelsea hit the road back to Florida or the great dogrun in the sky—whichever, I really don’t care—ASAP.) Thanks to Danny’s poor decision-making skills, Raylan and the ever-calm and collected Rachel disrupted Dewey and Danny’s plans to hold Boyd Crowder’s henchman Carl (Justin Welborn) for ransom. When “rescued” by Rayland and Rachel, Carl slyly claims not to be kidnapped, but to be playing rough sex games with Danny Crowe, which was one of my laugh out loud moments in the show. I already love Carl, by the way.

[Please proceed consexually to the rest of the post...]

Feb 7 2014 7:45pm

Justified 5.05: “Shot All to Hell” is Truth in Advertising

I knew the title of last night’s episode, but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so literal. I lost count of the bodies by the second or third commercial, but I think they included...

Note: Read on if you're spoiler-proofed!

[One, two, guess who's turning blue...]

Jan 29 2014 2:00pm

Justified Episode 5.04: “Over the Mountain”? I’m Over the Moon!

While I was less than thrilled about last week’s “Good Intentions”, this week’s episode had me over the moon. (Or perhaps “Over the Mountain.”) We’re getting to the point on the show where various plot threads start to come together into the tight, waterproof weave that I know. And now I’ll abandon that straining metaphor and tell you what happened!!

One of the things I’ve always loved about Justified, and one of the things that keeps it from being just a superbly well-written procedural show, is that actions always have consequences here, and this week we saw how far-reaching those consequences can be.

Back in Season 1, we learned that Johnny Crowder had always had his eye on his cousin Bowman's lovely bride/widow Ava, and we also watched him take a stomach full of buckshot from his uncle Bo because he did Boyd a solid. Johnny ended up spending several years in a wheelchair and still walks with difficulty, but though his physical injuries have more or less healed, he’s a big limping ball of resentment and jealousy over Boyd, who’s got all that Johnny wanted.

Note: In a show as action-packed as Justified, we can't talk at all if we can't mention plot points, so spoiler-proof yourself!

[More resentment and jealousy please!]

Jan 22 2014 8:00pm

Justified Episode 5.03: “Good Intentions” Fall Short

Aaaah, Justified, I saw your “Good Intentions” last night ... but they just weren’t quite enough to make me love this episode. There were some things I loved, (like the idea of Rachel and Raylan as roomies, which could have gone on longer, as far as I was concerned) and I’m always happy to see Dewey Crowe have a chance to spread his verbal confusion far and wide. (Yes, Dewey, realtors are always happy to see peeling curbs at the properties they sell!)

But on the whole, I found this episode somewhat lacking in luster, perhaps because the case of the week involved a character (Monroe, AKA Racist Scumbag) to whom we had little connection and who never really registered as someone interesting to me. He was just there to advance the plot and set up a reason for Raylan to live in the big house with the hot wheels and to go visit Wynn Duffy at long last. (Second only to my love for the Boyd-Raylan frenemy relationship is my love for the Wynn-Raylan frenemy relationship.)

Poor Raylan is just never going to have an unproblematic romantic relationship, is he?

[What fun would that be?]

Jan 15 2014 9:00pm

Justified Episode 5.02: “The Kids Aren’t All Right”

There was so much great stuff that I’m not even sure where to begin. So let me start with the titular kids, one of whom is Loretta McCready (Kaitlyn Dever), one of the pivotal figures from the brilliant second season of the show.

Note: we're dishing here—you know there will be spoilers! And now that's it's been announced by showrunner Graham Yost that the show will end with next season (sigh), every moment feels even more precious to relive.

Loretta’s back, and she’s in trouble again: she and her loser boyfriend Derrick (Riley Bodenstab) got caught selling weed to a cop’s son, so Loretta reaches out to the one person who’s consistently had her back, Raylan Givens. At first I was a little disappointed that clear-eyed Loretta had developed a crush on someone as ridiculous as Derek, but I should have known better: the entire thing was just part of Loretta’s scam to cheat Memphis marijuana kingpin “Hot Rod” Dunham (Mickey Jones) out of a whole lot of money. It’s always great to see the continuity on this show, so I enjoyed getting a glimpse of Hot Rod again, but what I enjoyed even more than that were Hot Rod’s henchmen, Jay and Roscoe, played by real-life brothers Wood Harris (who was so memorably Avon Barksdale on The Wire) and Steve Harris (The Practice, among others). They were hilarious even when “Seal-Team Six-ing” a hapless “brother” who’d been cheated out of money by Loretta and Derek. (Though obviously, it was all Loretta’s plan, because Derrick is kind of an idiot.)

[They like the shooting, but not all of Raylan's paperwork...]