Justified Finale – We Dug Coal Together

Leaving Harlan County

I watched the Justified finale yesterday and was once again amazed at how this show has fascinated and entertained me for all these seasons. The cast of characters is so rich and even the smaller roles are well written and all but the very smallest characters get some serious time in the sun.

In the first season, Raylan, a federal marshal, is transferred from Miami, FL back to Harlan, KT after the fatal but justified shooting of a suspect. The primary reason is for him to take down a notorious criminal and his one-time friend, Boyd Crowder. Their acquaintance started before Raylan became a marshal, because “Boyd and I dug coal together,” he says in the pilot episode.

After seasons of circling each other, Raylan finally puts Boyd in jail. Boyd swears vengeance on Raylan and his fiancé, Ava, who betrayed him. Ava flees the law and is found by Raylan many years later. He decides to not bring her in as it looks like she turned her life around and made a new beginning.

Knowing that Boyd will one day come looking for her, he decides to visit the jail where Boyd is locked up to spin a tale of Ava’s death. Divided by a pane of jailhouse glass, talking to each other through a phone, Boyd wonders aloud why after all these years Raylan came to tell this news to him in person.

“Well, I suppose if I allow myself to be sentimental, despite all that’s occurred, there is one thing I wander back to…” Raylan starts.

Boyd thinks he knows why. “Because we dug coal together.”

“That’s right,” Raylan says.

And so the show comes to a powerful, emotional though hillbilly end.


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