Elmore Leonard – Justified (Season 4)


It was the mid 90’s and I was in a meeting about the launch of a new magazine by IPC. It was from the Music & Sport group who looked after NME, Loaded, the dance bible of the time “Muzik” and countless others. So, I was looking forward to hearing the details.

The editor of the magazine, Allan Jones, had taken the unusual step of producing a complete dummy of the magazine. Instead of the usual design, layout & flat plan, Allan had written all the articles. Mock ones at that. The mag was to be an alternative & cultural look at music & film, with an emphasis on digging deep that would mean long features.

By way of introduction, Allan talked us through his lead feature. A mocked up article about James Ellroy, and the story of how one of his books was being made into a Hollywood movie. Of course this hadn’t actually happened yet. LA Confidential was made into a film roughly 2 years later.

A number of things strike me about re-collecting that meeting. Firstly, it set me off on a path of American crime & crime noir discovery that would be unfettered for a number of years. Taking in, first Ellroy, but then George P. Pelcanos, James Lee Burke, Dennis Lehane, Walter Mosley & of course Elmore Leonard.

The other striking fact was that the obvious trajectory of such a novel, even for a mock feature in a new mag, was a Hollywood film. Doubtless the mock up in many a media outfit today would be about the novel being turned into a multi-series TV show for HBO.

Which brings us nicely to the Season Four launch of the Elmore Leonard inspired “Justified” on Channel 5 USA on May 8th. Based on a Leonard character Marshal Raylan Givens from the novels Pronto & Riding the Rap. Launched in 2010, and already a cult favourite & multi-award winner, Justified tells the story of the moonshiners, meth dealers and murderers who populate the dirt-poor coal-mining community of Harlan, east Kentucky policed by the deputy U.S. Marshal played by Timothy Olyphant.

Don’t forget to set your Sky + to series record & get yourself Season 1-3 on boxset if you’ve missed out. It might rain over the Bank Holiday weekend…

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