Stars: Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter, Erica Tazel, Jacob Pitts, Natalie Zea, Raymond J. Barry, Jim Beaver, Jere Burns, Brent Sexton, Ron Eldard, Joseph Mazzello, Lindsay Pulsipher, Patton Oswalt, Mike O'Malley, Robert Baker, David Meunier

Heavy questions of fate loom over the proceedings of Justified's fourth season but despite that dark cloud, the crime drama managed to deliver it's most fun run yet this year.

Each season presents a shift in narrative tone, and this storyline was something of a mystery, with Harlan county's multitude of lawmen, feds, crime syndicates, and local bosses hunting for a long-missing mob fugitive, whose capture could be the golden ticket for everyone involved. In teasing out this complex tale, Justified retained its title for best dialogue on TV, and demonstrated that it does a better job of casting its colorful characters than most. (Who would've thought Mike O'Malley of all people could be the scariest guy in the room?)

Even with a golden ensemble, the man of the hour remains Tim Olyphant's Raylan Givens, the quick-witted, quick-draw US Marshal with a mountain of unresolved daddy issues. He's still ostensibly the hero of the story, but it's no accident that this season drew more parallels between him and his low-life father (Barry) and frenemy Boyd Crowder (Goggins) than ever before. —FT