1. Classic Raylan
Part of the fun of Justified is the many quirks of the main character, Raylan. Season 4 saw a more somber version of our cowboy hat wearing hero. And for good reason. His father had tried to kill him and then was murdered in prison partially because of Raylan’s actions, all before Raylan’s own child’s birth. That’s definitely enough to ruin anybody’s good mood. Hopefully, Raylan doesn’t continue down the same dark and depressing path. The best version of Raylan Givens is the wisecracking, gun-toting lawman who can’t help but relate a bit too much to the criminals he’s so fond of shooting. As long as we see glimpses of that Classic Raylan over the course of season 5 it’s sure to be memorable.
2. Storylines for Tim and Rachel
Despite being series regulars since the first season, Tim and Rachel are still woefully underused characters. While Tim got his moment to shine last season with a storyline involving a drug-addled buddy from his days in Afghanistan which eventually connected to Boyd’s crew, but it was just a small taste of all the wasted potential. So many hints have been given about the lives of these two marshals with very little pay off. Tim is battling alcoholism and Rachel is dealing with a divorce… all off screen. Every time Raylan partners up with his fellow marshals, it’s gold. It’s always fun to see Rachel deal with the people of Harlan, so why not have her partner up with Raylan full time?
3. A Memorable Villain
Justified’s number 1 strength is the complex and entertainment of the more villainous characters. White supremacist drug dealer Boyd Crowder became one of the show’s most sympathetic characters since his appearance in the pilot. The Bennett clan from season 2 were among the most memorable TV villains of all time, especially the conniving matriarch Mags. Meanwhile side villains like Wynn Duffy and Dewey Crowe are always fun to watch, even if they aren’t as scary as the others. I’m interested to see what new bad guys are in store for this season. Unfortunately, the casting of Michael Rappaport, who has never met a complex character he couldn’t play exactly the same as all his other characters, as a relative of Dewey has me a bit worried. However, I have faith that his character will be well written at least.
4. Frances Givens
For years we’ve been given hints about the sort of person Raylan’s dearly departed mother, Frances, was, but I think it’s finally time to crack open that character through a storyline or flashbacks. Frances was a natural peacekeeper and well-liked by all who speak of her, but also the sort of woman who would marry the ornery Arlo Givens. Frances had relatives among the Hill People, a sister who was willing to marry her husband after her death, and a connection to Limehouse. It’d be interesting to see what sort of woman gave birth to Raylan and discover what other connections she had in the dark world of Harlan County.
5. Tribute to Elmore Leonard
Elmore Leonard, the brilliant mind who spawned many of Justified’s characters, including Raylan and Boyd, passed away in 2013. Much of the plot and dialogue of Justified is lifted straight from Leonard’s novels. The rest is clearly inspired by his years of work. Even though we’re likely to get a tribute card in the credits, it’d be nice to see something in-show to memorialize a really great writer who brought to life many beloved characters.