Everything You Need To Know To Start Watching The Pulse-Poundingest, Heartbreakingest Show On Television
He's a lawman (a US Marshal) and that makes a lot of his otherwise violent or dubious actions...wait for it...JUSTIFIED.
His respect for the law is shaky at best.
He grew up the son of a criminal in Harlan, Kentucky and after disgracing himself in Florida was sent back to Kentucky to clean up his act. He likes to quip.
But he loves his hat.
Maybe even more'n he loves his ex-wife Winona Hawkins.
Did I say ex? It's complicated.
She's not around much anymore since she had Raylan's baby and moved to Florida. Why'd she move? Well, the life of a Deputy Marshal's Baby Mama ain't exactly safe.
The other love of Raylan's life is Boyd Crowder. They dug coal together in their youth. Boyd used to be something of a white supremacist.
But we, the viewers, have forgiven him because he's really, really cool.
And not that much of a supremacist anymore. Mostly.
These days he's merely an outlaw, murderer and a drug kingpin with dreams of going legit.
You can't help but root for him, though. He's like Walter White with shawl collars and a thesaurus instead of a working knowledge of chemistry.
Boyd's got Daddy Issues. But that's okay, his daddy is dead.
Raylan's also got Daddy Issues. But that's okay. His daddy is dead too.
Just go ahead and assume everyone on the show has Daddy Issues, okay?
Especially Raylan's brand new baby girl. She's going to have Daddy Issues something fierce.
Speaking of daddies, this is Raylan's boss and obvious Father Figure, Chief Deputy Art Mullen. He favors a different kind of hat.
We like him very much.
Raylan has two main co-workers. The first is Deputy Tim Gutterson. (The Marshal Stiffie thing is a theme.)
He's a snarky former Army Ranger and a sure shot who hardly has any lines.
We're pretty sure he's gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Raylan's other co-worker is Deputy Rachel Brooks. She's another sass pot, is recently divorced, has fewer lines than Deputy Tim and even less of a backstory.
She mostly threatens to hurt people a lot. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Another great badass lady on this show is Ava Crowder. Weapon of choice? A cast iron skillet.
Ava was married to Boyd's brother (killt him), dated Raylan briefly (he sort of cheated on her/she dumped him) and is now desperately in love with Boyd Crowder.
We cain't hardly blame her.
These two got engaged last season.
But Ava's been arrested. We're not saying she didn't deserve to be arrested but we are saying that she better get out soon because we need more of this.
Also behind bars are two hapless, lovable, terrible individuals: Dickie Bennett...
...and his deeply stupid cohort, Dewey Crowe.
That's the two of them trying to escape from prison via body bog. They're the best.
Boyd is going to have to raise some money in order to get Ava out of jail so he'll be forced to work with dangerous criminal and Women's Tennis aficionado Wynn Duffy.
Wynn Duffy sometimes has a mustache but all the time has the best reaction faces on of television.
Wynn has been bumped up to series regular so expect more of this.
This is Loretta McCready. She and Raylan have a complicated relationship that vacillates between father/daughter and Timothy Hutton/Natalie Portman in Beautiful Girls. Probably on account of her...wait for it...Daddy Issues. She's amazing.
Finally there's this song. It's called You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive. This is an important song. It's like that devil in the hole song from The Wire. It's the thesis of the show. When they play it, you should prick up your ears. Sometimes they even quote it.
This is not a show that's going to end well for our heroes. But the inexorable fate and twin destiny of Raylan The Lawman and Boyd The Outlaw is one of the best stories going on TV. So catch up or skip ahead. Do whatever it takes.