'Justified' Season 3 Preview Guide: More Trouble in Harlan
'Justified' Season 3 Preview Guide: More Trouble in Harlan
Last season on FX's western hit Justified, U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) faced off against the deadly, apple pie-serving Mags (Margo Martindale). He might have won that fight, but he made plenty of enemies in the process. Meanwhile, his criminal counterpart Boyd (Walton Goggins) hooked up with pistol-packing Ava (Joelle Carter), last seen shot in the season finale. Not all love stories ended with bullets flying though: ex-wife and current paramour Winona (Natalie Zea) discovered she was pregnant.

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The second season of the Kentucky-set western cast back into Raylan's past to explore a family feud with the Bennett clan. It didn't work out so well for the Bennetts but it did work out well for the show, which scored Emmy nominations and a win for stand-out actress Martindale. What will Raylan be up against in Justified season 3?

What to Expect from Justified Season 3

Familiar faces and ghosts from Raylan's past will abound when Justified returns for its third season on FX on January 17. The fallout from Mag's suicide in the finale will have an impact even beyond the first episode, according to TV Fanatic.

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Dexter and Gossip Girl fans have another reason to be excited: Desmond Harrington will show up in the season premiere! The details on his character are mum but word is he'll be sporting a southern accent, a tough attitude and connections to "businessman" Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns). Looks like Harrington might get to show off some of the tough-guy skills he learned as the villainous Uncle Jack Bass on Gossip Girl.

Other familiar faces reappearing besides Duffy is Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies) and the always hilarious Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman). Of course this is Harlan, where there's always another criminal right around the corner. In Justified season 3, we'll be saying hello to two new complicated bad guys when Quarles (Desperate Housewives' Neal McDonough) and Limehouse (24's Mykelti Williamson) stop by to make life more complicated for our favorite lawman.

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Speaking of complications, Raylan's love life might get a bit messier with the introduction of assistant director for the U.S. Marshals Service Karen Goodall (Carla Gugino) in the episode airing January 24. The lovely Gugino is no stranger to the tales of Justified author Leonard Elmore, having previously starred in the short-lived TV adaptation of his work Karen Sisco. With her pretty face and tough demeanor, she seems like a natural object of affection for Raylan. Should Winona be jealous?

''They were always attracted to one another,'' executive producer Graham Yost told Entertainment Weekly. ''But when Raylan was free, Karen wasn't -- that kind of thing. Now comes this situation where the attraction is still there, but Raylan has reconnected with Winona.''

Women aren't the only thing complicating Raylan's life, not when he has old friend turned weird friend/nemesis Boyd around. The two men have one of the most fun dynamics and complicated relationships on the dial, both admiring and suspicious at once. Expect to see more of the two of them butting heads and joining forces in the upcoming season. In fact, Raylan might even try to help Boyd out of a jailhouse pinch. Who could have seen that coming?

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The official FX description of the Justified season 3 premiere, "The Gunfighter," makes it a sure thing that this season will be as dangerous and exciting as ever: "The arrival of a dangerous new player in Lexington puts Raylan on a collision course with a sadistic Dixie Mafia hitman."

Justified returns to FX for a third season of gun-fighting and hillbilly whispering on January 17.

Will you be watching? And what are you most excited about seeing this upcoming season? Sound off in the comments!

Morgan Glennon
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of FX)