Justified: When and Why Did Raylan Givens Move from Kentucky to Miami?

Image Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

Based on the series of stories by late American author Elmore Leonard, ‘Justified’ is a neo-Western crime drama series that originally aired for six seasons on FX between 2010 and 2015. The plot follows Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), a deputy US Marshal as he deals with the criminals in his own unique way. In ‘Justified: City Primeval,’ Raylan finds himself pursuing the notorious murderer, The Oklahoma Wildman, in Detroit, Michigan. We learn that Raylan now works in Miami, Florida, even though ‘Justified’ is predominantly set in Kentucky. If you are wondering when and why Raylan moved from Kentucky to Miami, we got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Raylan Givens’ Miami Transition: Specific Timeframe

Raylan is originally from rural Harlan County, Kentucky, and grew up in a troubled household. His father, Arlo, was abusive and emotionally distant, and a career criminal. The only healthy relationship he had at the time was with Helen, his aunt from his mother’s side, whom Arlo married after the death of Frances, his first wife and Raylan’s mother. Through his father, Raylan was exposed to the criminal elements of the area, which later helped him in his career as a US Marshal.

When Raylan was a young adult, he used to work as a coal miner alongside his childhood friend, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). This shared experience would go on to impact many decisions that these two characters take as people on either side of the law.

At the start of ‘Justified,’ Raylan is in Miami, Florida, serving as a US Deputy Marshal. He is forced to leave after killing Tommy Bucks, a drug runner for the cartel, in broad daylight. His boss at the time, Chief Deputy Marshal Dan Grant, sends him to Lexington, Kentucky, to avoid a scandal and protect Raylan from Buck’s vindictive colleagues. When he arrives at his new office, Raylan is tasked to investigate Boyd Crowder. Since the last time Raylan had seen his childhood friend, Boyd had become a white supremacist before turning into a dreaded bank robber. The complex and epic relationship between these two men is one of the most important narrative points throughout ‘Justified.’

In the series finale, Raylan returns to Miami after Boyd’s arrest. The narrative skips four years before the final part of the series unfolds. The book ‘Justified: City Primeval’ is based on, ‘City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit,’ is not about Raylan. It has a different protagonist. The creators inserted Raylan into the story as a protagonist, though the original main character, Detective Raymond Cruz, is still part of the narrative. As things stand now, it isn’t explicitly revealed in the narrative how much time has passed between the events of the ending of ‘Justified’ and ‘Justified: City Primeval,’ but in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, co-showrunner Michael Dinner mentioned that Raylan is “seven, eight years older” in the new show, so we can safely state that the intermediate period between the events of the two shows is also seven to eight years.

Raylan’s Move: Escaping Cartel Conflict in Kentucky

After the issues with the cartel got solved, Boyd is Raylan’s main reason for staying in Kentucky. Raylan becomes romantically involved with Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), who plays an important role in Raylan arresting Boyd for the first time. In the subsequent seasons, Ava and Boyd become lovers, and she becomes part of the world of crime. In the series finale, Raylan and Boyd have their final confrontation, during which the former challenges the latter to a gunfight, but Boyd refuses. He warns Raylan that he will kill both Raylan and Ava if he is ever released from prison. However, Raylan doesn’t kill him and hands him to the police. As he takes Ava to the authorities, he is ambushed by Boon, a ruthless killer who has served as an antithesis of Raylan throughout the series. Although Raylan manages to kill Boon, Ava escapes.

Four years later, Deputy U.S. Marshal Rachel Brooks informs Raylan that Ava is now in Lebec, California. Raylan goes to confront Ava and discovers that she now has a son, Zachariah. Ava tells Raylan that the boy’s biological father, Boyd, can’t find out about him. Agreeing, Raylan helps fake Ava’s death and informs Boyd by showing him the death certificate of one of the aliases Ava once used.

Read More: Is Justified: City Primeval Based on a True Story?