Justified Tuesday – Who is Drew Thompson?

Last week’s previews hinted that we’d discover Drew Thompson’s identity in tonight’s episode. Who do you think Drew Thompson is?

Here’s what we know about Thompson:

  • He was involved in the incident where a parachutist fell to his death with a load of cocaine strapped to his body.
  • That happened 30 years ago. If he was between 20 and 40 at the time he’d be 50 to 70 years old now.
  • He has a widow/ex-wife named Eve Munro, the psychic.
  • Some people know his identity – Arlo Givens, ex-sheriff Hunter Mosely, and probably others I’m forgetting.

Last week’s episode dropped a lot of clues on one character. Melissa and I our guessing it’s him. Our guess is the same as this guy’s (I’m linking instead of saying for people who don’t want potential spoilers).

What’s your guess?

Justified Tuesday – Gangstagrass

Long Hard Times to Come (used as Justified’s theme):

I’m Gonna Put You Down:

Nobody Gonna Miss Me:

Long Hard Times to Come lyrics

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Justified Tuesday – What’s the Badger Game Lindsey Talked About?

In episode 3, Lindsey reveals to Raylan that she and her ex-husband stole from people and that they specifically used something called a badger game. The next weekend I watched a 1941 movie, Shadow of the Thin Man, that mentioned that one beautiful but nefarious character’s expertise was the badger con.

I had never heard of it, so I checked Wikipedia:

The badger game is an extortion scheme, often perpetrated on married men, in which the victim or “mark” is tricked into a compromising position to make him vulnerable to blackmail.

There are two competing explanations for the origin of the term badger game. One explanation is that the term originated in the practice of badger baiting. Another says that it derives its name from the state of Wisconsin (the Badger State), where the con allegedly either originated or was popularized.

This con has been around since at least the early 19th century. There are several variations of the con; in the most typical form an attractive woman approaches a man, preferably a lonely, married man of some financial means from out of town, and entices him to a private place with the intent of maneuvering him into a compromising position, usually involving some sort of sexual act. Afterward an accomplice presents the victim with photographs, video, or similar evidence, and threatens to expose him unless blackmail money is paid.

The woman may also claim that the sexual encounter was non-consensual and threaten the victim with a rape charge. It can also involve such things as the threat of a sexual harassment charge which may endanger the victim’s career.

If photographic evidence is not used in the scam, then an accomplice will usually burst into the room during the act, claiming to be the woman’s husband, father, older brother, etc., and demand justice. The con was particularly effective in the 19th and earlier 20th century when the social repercussions of adultery were much greater. A famous person known to have been victimized by the scheme was Alexander Hamilton, whose adulterous affair with Maria Reynolds was used by her husband to extort money and information from him.

Justified Tuesday: Is Justified the Best Crime Show on TV?

Andrew Klavan thinks so. That sounds right. When I found out a friend doesn’t watch Justified I always tell them that it’s good enough to be an HBO show.

The main competitor in crime shows would be HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. You can just look at Boardwalk and tell it has a bigger budget. The camera work is better. It’s more self-consciously artistic. It’s a good show, but not as enjoyable for me personally. Boardwalk is mostly about power relationships between the characters, few of whom are sympathetic, much less heroic.

Justifed is better at drawing you into the characters, good and bad, and some of them are people you actually like. I care about what happens to Raylan Givens. If Nucky Thompson gets killed on Boardwalk, well, that’s why there’s no retirement homes for old gangsters. Son of a bitch had it coming anyway.

Here’s another big difference. When Justified rolls credits I can’t wait for the next week’s episode. With Boardwalk I just don’t get the same thrill.

Hey Justified Fans – the Pouch and the Parachutist

So what do you think the deal is with the bag in the wall? Here’s what we know so far:

  • In the season opening scene we see a flashback to a parachutist crashing into the street.
  • The only thing in the bag was a Kentucky driver’s license belonging to Waldo Truth.
  • Arlo, from prison, arranged for the drug kids to break into his house and retrieve the bag. (This isn’t spelled out exactly, but Raylan asks the kids why they did it and later he asks Arlo why he had the kids do it, so presumably they spilled the beans.)
  • Arlo pretended not to know anything about the bag, but he tripped up and said the bag came from the wall when Raylan hadn’t mentioned that fact.
  • A prison trustee overhears Arlo talking about the bag and lets on that he knows something about it. Arlo immediately kills him with a shiv.
  • Last night the marshals tracked down Waldo, only to find out he’s an imposter who was helping the family collect Waldo’s “draw check.”
  • According to Waldo’s wife a pilot took Waldo away ages ago.
  • Raylan’s boss Art helped her remember the pilot’s name, Drew Thompson.
  • Art was familiar with the case and wants to be the one to wrap it up before he retires.
  • Based on an injury his wife gave him (she stabbed him in the butt) and the coroner’s report the marshals confirmed that the parachutist was Waldo Truth.
  • The bag was a Panamanian diplomatic pouch. Diplomatic pouches are immune to inspections at airports and border crossings, so they’re sometimes used unscrupulously for smuggling.
  • Anything I missed.

I’m wondering if the bag is tied, not to Arlo, but to his wife Francis, who’s long estranged and supposedly dead. Here’s why I say that. At one point Raylan and Arlo talk about whether Raylan will have a son or a daughter. Raylan hopes it will be a daughter so the line will end and his troubles will stop. Arlo tells him that he’s not the only source of turmoil, that Raylan’s mother’s name was Francis, not Saint Francis. Too, Waldo’s wife portrays as a ladies man, so I wonder if he drew Francis away from Arlo.

The Real Life Parachute Drug Smuggler

From Alan Sepinwall’s episode 1 recap:

A few readers suggested Graham Yost based this on a real Kentucky case, outlined in a book called “The Bluegrass Conspiracy” — which Yost confirmed when I asked. He says, though, that they really only bothered [sic – borrowed] the image of the parachutist in the street, and the first name of one of the figures from the real case, so if you know the story, you shouldn’t be spoiled on where this is going.

The real life smuggler was Andrew C. Thornton. My wife remembered the case, since it had a Knoxville connection. (And in the first episode of the season they called out Knoxville by having the the fugitive on the run from killing two people there.)

On a smuggling run from Colombia, having dumped packages of cocaine off near the Blairsville, Georgia, Andrew jumped from his auto-piloted Cessna 404.[3] In the September 11, 1985 jump, he was caught in his parachute and ended up in a free fall to the ground. His dead body was found in the back yard of Knoxville, Tennessee resident Fred Myers.[4] The plane crashed over 60 miles away in Hayesville, North Carolina.[5] At death Thornton was wearing night vision goggles, a bulletproof vest, Gucci loafers, and a green Army duffel bag containing approximately 40 kilos (79 lbs.) of cocaine valued at $15 million, $4,500 in cash, knives, and two pistols. Three months later, a dead black bear was found in the Chattahoochee National Forest that had apparently overdosed on cocaine dropped by Thornton.[6]

The story of Andrew C. Thornton II was examined in Dominick Dunne‘s Power, Privilege, and Justice and in Sally Denton’s The Bluegrass Conspiracy.[7] Robert L. Williams, Cowboys Caravan, looks into the death of his son David, and his skydiving relationship with Drew Thornton. Andrew “Drew” Thornton was also detailed in a Discovery Channel double-length episode of “The FBI Files” named “Dangerous Company” in 2003.

His life, and demise, apparently form the basis of a story line in the TV program Justified on the Fx channel [Season 4, Episode 2, ‘Where’s Waldo?’], in which a character is referred to as “Drew Thompson…pancaking into that driveway.

So on the show they switched Drew Thompson from being the parachutist to being the pilot.

FX’s “Justified” is Having an Awesome Season

Just watched this week’s episode of Justified. This season rocks a bunch. Great plot lines and really fantastic villains.

I subscribe to Dave Campbell’s theory that great villains make for great heroes and great drama. Villains that are lame pushovers make it too easy on the hero. Villains that are smart, capable, and dangerous keep you on the edge of your seat. They put the hero’s life in jeopardy and test his abilities..

This week’s episode had not one but six great villains: the recurring villains of Boyd and Dickie and Wynn, this year’s new villains Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough) and Ellistin Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson), and the pawnshop owner.

The pawnshop owner was a one-episode character who was well-drawn and memorable. He used his henchmen’s drug addiction to control them and punished one by forcing him to play Russian roulette to get his fix. That’s some villainous type stuff right there.

I’ve said it before. The Justified writers have talent to burn. They don’t hesitate to kill off a memorable character because they’ve got a well of creativity they can keep tapping. If you’re not watching the show give it a try.

What’s on TV?

Justified – Timothy Olpyphant (Seth Bullock from “Deadwood”) as U.S. Marshal Raylin Givens, fighting the meth wars in Harlan, Kentucky. Above average show in every way. The writers will put together great characters knowing they’ll be killed off at the end of the episode. Walton Goggins (Shane from “The Shield”) is amazing as twisted, conflicted Boyd Crowder, a racist hillbilly son of a thug who turns to Jesus to escape his past. Lots of “Lost” refugees, too.

Deadwood – One of our all time favorites. Set in Deadwood, South Dakota during the gold rush. Tells the story of a rough mining camp populated by the likes of Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Sheriff Seth Bullock, and whoremonger Al Swearengen. We’re watching it again on Charter On-Demand, which is showing the first season.

The Shield – Casually re-watching this in replays on cable. Inspired by the LA Ramparts division scandals. Tells the story of a crew of dirty cops who get the job done, while lining their own nests for their retirement. Watching it again it’s hard to believe what a scumbag Vic Mackie is.

Alaska State Troopers – National Geographic channel’s version of “Cops” in the 49th state. Compared to the Fox version it has gorgeous scenery, lots of wildlife, upgraded gats, and higher-speed chases. Favorite quote so far: “Always wear gloves when dealing with naked people.

Hard Core Pawn – The wife and I like History Channel’s “Pawn Stars,” with their interesting historical items and high-priced merchandise. Set in Detroit, Hard Core Pawn shows the seedier side of the pawn business, with people pawning everyday items to pay the bills. It ain’t pretty.

So, what’re you watching?

For Fans of FX’s Justified

“Lost” blogger Jo Garfein is blogging about “Justified,” which started its second season last night. And in a crossover, Jeremy Davis (Daniel Faraday on Lost) is on Justified this season. Lots of Justified coverage here.

(LATER: And the other Lost connection is that Lost’s Mr. Friendly was the heavy in the first season of Justified.)

“Justified” is about the methamphetamine trade in Harlan, Kentucky. It’s sort of like “The Wire” with hillbillies.

I like the show. I’ve liked Timothy Olyphant since he played Sheriff Seth Bullock on HBO’s “Deadwood.” The writing and cinematography are good to great and there’s plenty of action.

The writers do a good job with characters. They’ll spend time developing memorable personalities for throwaway characters that only appear on one episode, so they must have talent to burn.