Sunday, January 15, 2012

Despite some disconnects, Harlan County seems to like being the fictional setting of 'Justified'

This week's premiere of the third season of "Justified," a show on the Fx channel about a U.S. marshal fighting crime in Eastern Kentucky, got the full treatment today from the Lexington Herald-Leader: a review and story about the show in the arts section, and a Page One news story about how the show is viewed in Harlan County (Wikipedia map), where it is set but not filmed; as usual for Hollywood, that work is done in California. That has helped lead to some obvious inaccuracies, but those declined after the producers did some local research, reports reports Bill Estep of the newspaper's Somerset bureau.

"Despite the less-than-positive image of Harlan residents, the show has a lot of fans locally," Estep writes. "To be sure, some people wish the show would include more positive images of the county." He quotes local historian and school administrator James S. Greene III: "It's not supposed to be a literal interpretation of Harlan. It's not sociology. It's not journalism. It's not history. . . . I think we should just enjoy the fact that Harlan County has a reputation." (Read more)

Herald-Leader arts reporter Rich Copley says the show "is still at the top of its game," with great acting and fine writing. His review is here.

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