Six (More) Reasons to Love Justified – The Guest Appearances

There are an endless number of reasons to love Justified – the excellent writing, the always entertaining way in which the show’s actors deliver the well-written witty banter or the undeniable chemistry between Timothy Olyphant (Raylan) and Walton Goggins (Boyd). There are few things I enjoy more on Justified than the sweet, sweet sound of Boyd greeting his former colleague, sometimes nemesis with a “hello, Raylan!”

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One of the things Justified has done better than any of its peers is its excellent use of guest stars. In the current season, viewers have been treated to guest spots by Adam Arkin (Theo Tonin), Katilyn Deaver (Loretta McCready) Wood Harris (Jay), Steve Harris (Roscoe), David Koechner (Greg Sutter), Will Sasso (Al Sura) and Michael Rapaport (Darryl Crowe). Whether its one episode or a multi-episode arc, the writers have proven adept at creating scenarios that highlight the show’s fun casting choices.

Although it’s not an easy task, I’ve decide to compile a list of my six favorite Justified guest appearances (so far).



WHY YOU LOVE AND FEAR HER: As Mags Bennett, Martindale portrayed a tough, smart, charismatic family leader who would smile in your face, offer you some delicious apple pie moonshine and then kill you without hesitation. At times, it was easy to forget how menacing Mags could be when you saw how much she cared for Loretta McCready. Of course, that’s until you remember that Loretta began living with the Bennetts after Mags killed Loretta’s father for meddling in their pot business and having the nerve to call the police when the Bennett boys hired a convicted pedophile to work for the family business.

Mags loved her sons, flaws and all, but she did not abide their insolence. The scene in which she took a hammer to her son Coover’s hand after he dared disobey her was horrifying. It was fascinating to watch Martindale tell her on-screen son that the punishment had to be done, but she was at least sparing him the inconvenience of losing the use of his shooting hand.


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“Now sit your bony ass down and listen to my counter offer while there are still pieces of you big enough to find.”

“Wherever your boys grow up, do you think they’d be better off doing it with or without their daddy? You figure out that next time before you open your mouth to me.”


CHARACTER: Ellstin Limehouse
SEASON(S): 3-4

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Limehouse is more than a humble butcher making delicious barbecue in Noble’s Holler. There’s a reason why he is Justified’s trusted bank for some of show’s most formidable baddies, including the aforementioned Mags Bennett. Limehouse has emerged as a key player because he trades in a very important type of currency – secrets. Limehouse is always a step ahead of the rest. If you’ve been robbed, he knows who did it, when they planned it and how much will be taken before the crime even happens.

Limehouse is also a student of history. He takes pride in the history of Noble’s Holler and can still tell you how to use old tunnels from the Underground Railroad if you need to get a cooler of money to Dickie Bennett without the feds noticing. What’s so fascinating about Williamson’s portrayal of the character is his ability to go from jovial to menacing without flinching. I hope we get to see Limehouse again before Justified ends next season.


Raylan about Limehouse: “A horsefly sneezes in these hills, he knows about it beforehand, but I’m to believe the car bomb and the dead trooper down the road comes as news.”

“Now, you think that little ‘ol star on your chest and that gun in your holster allows you to say whatever the hell you want up in my holler, but you a damn fool, Shelby.”


SEASON(S): 1-5

THE STAYING POWER OF WYNN DUFFY: Jere Burns’ tennis loving gangster, Wynn Duffy, is in a special category of antagonists on Justified. Aside from Boyd Crowder, Duffy is one of the only bad guys whose managed to appear in all five seasons of the show and still live to talk about. Here’s hoping he makes it to next season!

Duffy has done business with just about every criminal to set foot in Harlan County from Emmitt Arnett to Robert Quarles to Theo Tonin and now, Boyd Crowder. Despite numerous threats from Raylan, Duffy has proven he has real staying power. Part of Duffy’s survival is likely due to his criminal flexibility. Since first appearing on the show, he’s done everything from security installation to debt collection to contract killing to dabbling in numerous drug enterprises from meth to oxy to heroin.

Although Duffy can be ruthless and erratic at times, he’s never lost his cool when it matters most. A pragmatist, Duffy has never met a foe he wasn’t willing to make a partner in his various criminal endeavors. Jere Burns has a lot of acting credits to his name, including Burn Notice and Breaking Bad. His portrayal as Duffy remains my favorite, due in large part to his great onscreen chemistry with Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins. There are few things that I enjoy more than a back and forth between Duffy and Boyd.


“Raylan, I am so sorry. I would love to be of more help, but I gotta get back to watching women’s tennis.”

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Raylan: “The S.S. Quarles is going under. You best swim like hell to get clear or the whirlpool will take you down with it.”
Duffy: “I believe they disproved that on MythBusters.”


CHARACTER: Shelby Parlow/Drew Thompson
SEASON(S): 2-4

A MASTER OF MYSTERY AND DISGUISE: Like Jere Burns, Jim Beaver has a long line of television and movie credits. Many fans may recognize him for memorable roles on Supernatural and Deadwood. When Beaver first appeared on Justified, he was introduced as mild-mannered Shelby Parlow – a supervisor at the coal mine where Boyd worked during season 2. During a robbery at the coal mine, Boyd pulled a fast one on his co-conspirators – killing them and deciding to spare Shelby’s life. In the following season, Boyd turned to Parlow as a candidate for Harlan County sheriff. Boyd thought that he would have control of the sheriff’s office with Shelby in the position. We learned very soon that Shelby was not a pushover and although he appreciated Boyd’s support, he was not inclined to be Boyd’s puppet in perpetuity.

In season 4, Beaver was masterful at playing the role of the earnest, concerned lawman who simply wanted to do his job and help Raylan find Drew Thompson. It took me more than half of the season to finally figure out that Shelby Parlow and Drew Thompson were the same person, thanks to excellent writing and Beaver’s performance. Or as Art, aptly observed:

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“Well that’s like warning a man it’s gonna rain when he’s already wet.”

“The way I see it, this is my last chance to make something useful of myself before I head to the wrong side of the grass.”


SEASON(S): 2-3, 5

THE MAN BEHIND THE SPEEDOS – UNDER THE ROBE:: In his portrayal of Judge Reardon, Root has provided a straight-shooting ally of Raylan who thinks that the marshal’s shooting of Tommy Bucks was justified and never hesitates to deliver hard truths. It also doesn’t hurt that Reardon wears nothing but a speedo under his robe without any shame or embarrassment when others discover this secret. It’s fun to watch Reardon and Raylan together, as the former has a knack for taking things into his own hands – including carrying around a .38 caliber revolver under his gown just in case someone wants to kill him.

I knew that Root’s character would be one of my favorites after his very memorable introduction to the show. In his first episode, “The Hammer,” we met Reardon as EMTs rushed into his house and found him on the bed in his now famous speedo underwear, instructing his companion for the night to suck the venom out of his inner thigh. A cotton mouth was placed in Reardon’s home and it bit him mere inches away from his “home plate.” Luckily for Reardon, he was able to put the snack down due to his trusty .38.


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About Dickie Bennett: “Sometimes you can flush all you want and there’s just that one floater that won’t go down.”

“I am not gonna piss in another man’s sandbox.”

Wynona: “Good morning Judge.”
Reardon: “Good? It blows dead donkey dick.”


SEASON(S): 4-5

GET YOUR GO BAG! You can’t go wrong with hiring Patton Oswalt to appear on your show. He’s been one of my favorite guest stars on the current season of Brooklyn 99 and he did great dramatic work on the United States of Tara. Oswalt did not disappoint in his portrayal of Constable Bob and was a great addition to the Drew Thompson mystery in season 4. He had me at the mention of his go bag.

Oswalt was at his best and his funniest when he refused to allow the limitations of his role as a constable to get in the way of carrying out his own brand of vigilance and justice. On looks alone, it would be easy to dismiss Constable Bob, but he exuded admirable bravery when confronted by one of Tonin’s henchman in the season 4 episode “Decoy.” Never underestimate the effectiveness of playing possum to take down your opponent. Bob was also instrumental in keeping Drew Thompson safe, as he was the one that came up with the 3:10 to Yuma-like plan to transport Thompson on a train.

I can’t wait to see Constable Bob’s return to Harlan County this season.


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Raylan about Bob: “People underestimate Bob at their own peril.”


Which Justified guest appearances have been your favorite? Sound off below!