Justified Season 5 Premiere: “A Murder of Crowes”

Former Haitian policeman Jean Baptiste with Raylan Givens and Deputy Marshal Sutter
Former Haitian policeman Jean Baptiste with Raylan Givens and Deputy Marshal Sutter
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas (give or take a day!), the Justified team gave me a whole murder of Crowes, and I couldnt be happier about it. As much as I loved Season 4 (and I did!), I have to confess that I missed the misadventures of Malaprop Meister and general screwup Dewey Crowe, who was last season being carted back to prison, convinced that he’d just lost two of his four kidneys.

My wish came true last night, because not only did we get a Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman) now released from prison, but the richer by $300,000 thanks to Raylan Givens’s irresistible urges to smash Dewey’s face into steering wheels.

And thanks to this development, we also got a passel of other Crowes of the Florida gator-wrestling and sugar-smuggling variety, thanks to Dewey’s brother, Dilly Crowe (Jason Gray-Stanford), who decided to kill someone for mocking his stutter.

Oh, I can tell this is going to be fun!

These brothers are basically about five steps back on the tree of human evolution, perhaps even lower than the Bennett family from season 2 (at least one of them was moderately intelligent and their mother was scary!) May I introduce Exhibit 1? Dewey, a convicted felon, carries around a loaded gun with his name on it. Also, raise your hand if you think Dewey will blow his entire $300K on hooch and hoochies. Stay gold, Dewey Crowe, stay gold!

Art sends Raylan to the home roost of the Crowe family in Florida, where Raylan proceeds to reunite with Marshal Grant, his former boss who got him out of a jam in the opening of Season 2, and meets Deputy Marshal Gregg Sutter (David Koechner from Anchorman and many other things, but I really love Anchorman!) who is Raylan’s minder for the Florida trip. If Marshal Grant is hoping to reduce the trail of bodies that usually accompanies a visit from Raylan, he is, alas sadly mistaken.

At least two more bodies drop during Raylan’s brief visit to Miami (though he’s only directly responsible for one of them!) As always with Justified, even the minor characters who may or may not be seen again this season are so real and vivid that they clearly have off-camera lives that we just occasionally get to glimpse. With that said, I hope we get to meet Wendy Crowe (Alicia Witt) again; finally a member of the clan with brains!

Oh, and Raylan’s ex, Winona, is apparently also living in Florida with their baby daughter, because Raylan weasels out of actually going to see them and has a Skype chat with them instead. Interesting! Although I honestly am not sure that Raylan needs to have a love interest at all, but after Arlo’s death last season, I think it would be fascinating to see how Raylan copes with being the father, rather than the child, in a relationship. (Though one might argue that Raylan is more or less always the child in his romantic relationships and maybe the reason they don’t work out is because he’s still looking for his mother. Or maybe I’m just reading too much into a short scene.)

Meanwhile, Raylan’s best frenemy, Boyd (Walton Goggins), is dealing with one of the great existential quandaries of modern life: what do you do when you have everything except the one thing you want the most? Boyd has finally outlasted and outplanned everyone to take his spot as Harlan’s Top Criminal, thanks to his deal with the Detroit mafia and their Frankfurt proxy, Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns, playing another favorite character of mine!!) but all of that might just as well be sackcloth and ashes, because Boyd’s beloved Ava is still in prison for the murder of the pimp, Delray. (In addition to murder, Ava is facing a charge of desecrating a corpse, which is actually rather hilarious.)

Boyd swears he will bribe or threaten everyone he needs to (which might be the entire law enforcement population of Kentucky at this point) in order to get her out. Meanwhile, Boyd also has to deal with his drug suppliers trying to cheat him (three more bodies out of that confrontation if I’m not mistaken!), and let me tell you, if you think multitasking in an office job is difficult, it’s much harder to multitask as a criminal mastermind.

Boyd and Wynn pay a visit to Detroit (all things considered, I’d say Raylan got the better travel opportunity in this episode). Boyd says that where they meet up with an old friend, Picker (John Kapelos), one of Nicky Augustine’s henchmen last season, who is now apparently in business for himself. During their time with Picker, Boyd and Wynn witness a spot of chainsaw torture at the behest of Sammy Tonin, before Picker picks off three men: the torturer, the victim, and Sammy Tonin himself. Being the boss of the Tonin family apparently gives you the life-span of a fruit-fly, because Sammy is the third “boss” we’ve seen disposed of in as many seasons. The body count is awfully high already; I hope Justified isn’t borrowing from the Sons of Anarchy playbook this season.

There was a bunch of complicated business involving a source of drugs for Wynn’s and Boyd’s business, a duo of Canadian criminals and a meeting at a doughnut shop (mmm, doughnuts) but I was a lot less interested in that than in the fact that Boyd seems far more worried about Ava than he is about his drug business. Insofar as he needs the money to help get Ava out of prison and set up her in style, I guess he’s all in, but he really is a most romantic criminal, isn’t he?

Boyd, learning that the judge in Ava’s case doesn’t have any family that can be threatened with dire consequences, visits funeral director Paxton to enlist his help in bribing the judge, offering the sum of $300,000 (coincidentally, that’s Dewey’s payout too.) Paxton doesn’t want Boyd’s money to free Ava; he wants Boyd destroyed, and the deal he offers is that Boyd take the rap for Delroy’s murder. When Boyd hesitates, Paxton says he knew Boyd didn’t love his white-trash girlfriend enough to sacrifice himself for her, and that is just the final straw that breaks frustrated Boyd’s violence-meter, because he administers a horrifying beat-down to Paxton that almost certainly killed him. Well, I guess killing everyone who refuses to let Ava out of prison is one way to go, but as a long-term plan, I think that’s a “no!”

Best line of the night belongs to Boyd Crowder: “I’ve been to Iraq; it’s a lot like Detroit only you have better music.”

Since my Dewey Crowe-related wishes came so spectacularly true last night, I’m going to wish for lots of Marshals Tim and Rachel next week! Who’s with me?

Read more coverage of Justified on Criminal Element.

Regina Thorne is an avid reader of just about everything, an aspiring writer, a lover of old movies and current TV shows, and a hopeless romantic.

Read all posts by Regina Thorne for Criminal Element.


  1. David Cranmer

    The best show. Great episode. And superb write-up, Regina.

  2. Mary Saputo

    Marco! Polo! My boyfriends ‘re back and we’re gonna be in trouble. Hey-la-day-la, my boyfriends ‘re back! Lord, I’m a happy little camper! Love this show and am happy to see Boyd’s sexy little face again. Don’t you just love that he loves Ava so much and is in a COMMITTED (Raylan?) relationship?

Comments are closed.