Michael Rapaport’s Awful Southern Accent is Ruining Season 5 of Justified

I just caught up on episode eight of Justified’s fifth season. My question: How much longer can we abide Michael Rapaport’s preposterous southern accent? It is so conspicuously laughable that it becomes a distracting focal point of every episode he’s in. The plot from this week’s episode crackled, with Boyd convincing Yoon and Ruiz that his crew could make the dead bodies in the Mexican desert go away. A midnight desert showdown with corrupt Mexican police followed. Misdirection led Boyd and crew to escape with their heroin intact, yet also teased a showdown between Rapaport’s Daryl Crowe and Boyd.

And yet…there’s this:

This is just one example, and not nearly the most egregious one. It’s like needle scratch stops the action every time he utters a line.

There’s not much I could add to Matt Barone’s excellent breakdown of Rapaport’s dreadful drawl on Complex.com. I just hate that Justified swung and missed so spectacularly in casting Rapaport in the first place.

I’ve enjoyed so many of the seasonal or multiple episode character arcs on Justified. Margo Martindale was brilliant in season two, winning an Emmy as Mags Bennett. Neal McDonough was fantastic in his role as Detroit bad guy Robert Quarles (those smarmy Cadillac commercials notwithstanding). I loved Patton Oswalt’s turn as the wannabe cop. The show cast Jere Burns perfectly as Duffy, with a surgery-altered joker face that suits his role. It’s like his face is its own character. (And frankly, his pinned-back, thin-eyed, bad-after-picture appearance probably makes him uncastable for many roles.)

And I’m actually on board with the story lines this season. I like the tension between Art and Raylan. I like the uncomfortable coexistence of the Florida Crowes in the Kentucky backwoods. Joelle Carter manages to make Ava engaging even amid a somewhat tedious Women in Prison subplot. And Art’s showdown in the diner earlier this season is one of my favorite scenes in the entire series run. But Rapaport’s clanging performance as Daryl is derailing the season for me.

Bonus Boyd Crowder aside: The outstanding Walt Goggins briefly attended my high school in the northwest Atlanta suburb of Smyrna. (Julia Roberts went there too. Go figure.) I just discovered today that Goggins used to leave notes in my friend’s mailbox notifying her that she smells nice. For the record, she does smell quite lovely.

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