November 28, 2023

Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 4 Review: Kokomo


It took them until Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 4, but we finally got what is — in my estimation — a classic Elmore Leonard-esque criminal philosophy expounded with conviction and eloquence.

Toma Costia, Mags Bennett says howdy-doo, and please give Raylan a run for his guns.

With the Albanian mob making things complicated, does anyone else feel like Raylan’s just about done being all calm and collected and by the book?

To be fair, he still hasn’t shot anyone. And that’s really the best measure of how far he’s come since his stint in Harlan County.

When Agron takes off on Bryl — more thoughts on our dear Norbert later — Raylan‘s restraint when Besnik’s instincts are to back up his buddy is laudable. Pre-parenthood, Raylan would’ve at least shot him in the leg to make sure he stayed put.

Taking a moment to admire Yuna’s spunk. For those who don’t speak Mandarin Chinese, she calls Bryl a “fat freak” when she’s already tied up and outnumbered. And even after they carry out their threat, she’s not broken, just pissed.

Have to wonder how she and Sandy ended up roommates. There’s a cool backstory there—or maybe more to Sandy than we see when she’s with Clement.

Besnik: Do you know what this is?
Yuna: Pliers?
Besnik: It’s Albanian tooth extractor.
Yuna: Well, what makes it Albanian?
Agron: The fact that I’m holding it.

But back to Bryl.

Detroit’s finest has some fascinating takes on how police work works.

Bryl: Either the Albanians lead us to Mansell or they turn him into little tiny pieces. Done and done.
Raylan: That’s an optimistic point of view. Another would be we just put a hit out on our suspect.
Bryl: Excuse me for misunderstanding that you had the willingness to do what needs getting done.
Raylan: I have no problem getting things done. I do have a problem rolling up on Mansell, face down in a river, shot to death by some Albanian dipshits, when what WE want is for the man to be prosecuted, forced to answer for his crimes, long period of reflection in a tiny cell.
Bryl: That’s another way to look at it.

His constant gum-chewing and “take ‘im out by any means necessary” attitude has me suspecting something is going on with him.

Maybe he’s breaking an addiction? Had a relationship fall apart recently? Reinventing himself in the wake of an emotional loss or setback?

He doesn’t seem like the level of law enforcer who should be coordinating task forces or put in charge of raids.

He’s not that good a tail, either, which is probably why Raylan’s doing the driving when they’re teamed up.

Bryl: So we land, right? We find a dozen goddamned Albanians carrying homeboy on their shoulders like Christ off the cross. We roll up, like, ‘Hey guys, what’s crackin’?’ They go, ‘Fuck yourselves. He fell down the stairs.’
Raylan: That clumsy Jesus now?

As the visiting badge, Raylan has had the opportunity to ride along with Robinson, Downey, and Bryl, even taking Willa over to stay overnight at Downey’s.

Of the bunch, Bryl evokes the most #SMH reaction.

Robinson, as a detective, is an example of solid police. He’s the link between the Wrecking Crew murders and Clement’s current streak of violence.

He has history with Raymond Cruz, the original protagonist of the City Primeval novel. He knows players like Sweetie, even recognizing Sandy on Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 2 and making the connection with Clement.

Downey is also good police, but possibly because of her being a woman, she gets a lot more “feelings” moments. It doesn’t detract from her as an officer: she’s just as tough and probably smarter than her male counterparts. Still, it’s curious that she’s telling Raylan about her Magic Mike dreams while Bryl’s usually stuffing his face or making up credentials and Robinson’s sharing about his conversion to matcha.

None of them are a Tim or Rachel. And the branch chief certainly isn’t Art, but — once again, for our friends in the back — Raylan is just passing through. These are transitory relationships at best, and honestly, if Bryl can manage to finish out this limited series on the side of the living, I’ll be shocked.

Whether he dies on the job or off-the-clock by choking on a wad of gum, only time will tell. The only predictable thing is Bryl won’t see it coming.

Toma Costia recognizes dumb when he sees it. Skender can’t be the only busted bulb in the family holiday lights.

You choose your friends, but family is thrust upon you.


He’s also savvy enough to see Raylan for what he is, someone trying to do his job but intelligent enough to be trouble.

Toma’s the kind of character that really owns his space.

Toma: I know you have come here to get me to compel Skender to tell you who has done this so police can arrest and serve justice as you see fit.
Bryl: He catches on fast.
Toma: Course that justice is really no justice at all. It is only satisfaction of a mandate for the appearance of order. But order and justice, they’re not the same thing. If I wanted to restore order, I could, of course, instruct Skender to cooperate. But I am not interested in order. Justice, however. Justice is meted out in accordance with the action it remedies. And in this case, justice requires more than the law is willing or able to provide.

Like Mags, he does what needs doing and makes no excuses. He’s driven by pride and family and good business sense. He has a philosophy and articulates it well. Whether his visitors agree or not does not factor into it.

Toma States the Facts - Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 4

His calm confidence intimates he believes his minions will beat Raylan to Clement, but also that if they don’t, they still have other options to deliver justice.

Raylan: Look, I can’t stop you from doing what you’re gonna do. Even sympathize, in a way. But you also need to understand your place in line, which is to say, ‘Me, first.’ After I’m done, you can charge the shitheap with felony assault, but it ain’t gonna mean much if he’s doing life. You understand what I’m sayin’?
Toma: You tell me to get in line. I say, ‘You want him, you better find him quick, or he’ll be dead.’

Carolyn‘s plan of action takes a sudden detour when Sweetie decides to get his own back by playing Clement.

None of this improves my foreboding feeling about Sweetie. Watching him dance with the underwear-clad, Beach Boys-singing Clement in the penthouse strikes me as wrong. Looks like Sandy feels the same way.

Wading around in murky waters like this? That’s how you get bit.


Despite warning Sweetie about the dangers of messing with her other client, we never hear Carolyn say she won’t use Judge Guy’s notebook to make a play for a bench.

That’s a clue. They like to hold onto possibilities.

On Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 3, it was hinted that Clement had killed Skender, but he hadn’t.

We can assume Carolyn will take the high road, but the possibility remains that she won’t.

There’s also a lot we can assume about where she and Raylan are taking their relationship next.

Raylan: As we speak, hordes of Eastern Europeans are spreading across Detroit, looking to ixnay your client and likely Sandy Stanton and anyone close to him along the way.
Carolyn: Why, Marshall, I think you’re trying to scare me.
Raylan: I don’t have to. The Albanians should already do that.

Sitting together in a car in the middle of the night with a bottle of high-end hooch could just be that. Or it could mean the waters are just as murky in Grosse Pointe as in the ‘hood.

What do you think, Fanatics? Did Willa sense something or set it in motion before being exiled to Florida?

Hit our comments with your guesses and grouses. We want to hear them! Go ahead: Shoot from the hip.

Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lifelong fan of smart sci-fi and fantasy media, an upstanding citizen of the United Federation of Planets, and a supporter of AFC Richmond ’til she dies. Her guilty pleasures include female-led procedurals, old-school sitcoms, and Bluey. She teaches, knits, and dreams big. Follow her on Twitter.

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