A trailer for the new limited spin-off series of FX’s hit show Justified came out this week. It’s set in Detroit and I can already tell, just 18 seconds into the teaser, that this show is gonna do my hometown dirty.
It’s not the cool, gritty flashes of Detroit’s few recognizable landmarks with police sirens in the background that give me pause. Nor is it the title Justified: City Primeval, which sounds bad, until you realize it’s a reference to beloved crime fiction author and Detroiter Elmore Leonard’s book City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit (the entire Justified series is based on Leonards work.)
No. It’s the very wrong way the show displays traffic in Detroit.
I’m sorry, but a cacophony of random honking, mid-day, in downtown Detroit? What? It’s so wrong that the sound in the teaser threw both me and former Detroiter, current Editor-in-Chief Rory Carroll for a complete loop.
Even though the majority of the show was shot in Chicago, according to Deadline, it’s clear Justified’s crew at least gathered B-Roll from the real Motor City’s downtown. Did you hear honking?
I will bet you dollars to donuts you did not. Because we are not a honk-for-no-reason kind of place.
There are two causes for our quiet traffic: Number one, Detroit might have a reputation as a tough, crime-filled place to live, but this is still the Midwest and we come with the same level of politeness as a sister-in-law from Wisconsin. I personally know very avid drivers who lived in Detroit and are proud to have never touched a car horn in their whole lives.
The second reason is that almost every major street downtown is four goddamn lanes wide. Two separate freeways — M-10 and the shortest freeway in the U.S., I-375—just kind of end in our downtown and morph into surface streets. It’s absolutely bananas. And since Detroit, as you may have heard, isn’t exactly busting with population at the moment, there’s usually plenty of room for everyone to get around. No one is jockeying for position or space. It’s hard to get impatient with another driver when you have so many options to get around them. This is a city made for and by cars, and we don’t get terribly stressed by driving in this kind of environment. I was just downtown for a Tiger’s baseball game on Sunday, for instance. That’s some of the heaviest traffic downtown Detroit gets but it was quiet enough on four-lane Woodward Avenue for me to carry on a conversation with a guy in a ’67 Ford Mustang Convertible from the sidewalk and a lane away
If this teaser is implying traffic stopped because the bus stopped to allow main character Raylan Givens played by Timothy Olyphant to cross the street, I’ve got news for you: That’s even less like reality. No Detroit bus is going to stop for a car or a human being or anyone else. They actually run these streets.
I know they needed to put honking in to make it sound like a city. Production probably heard a lot of honking in Chicago (show offs) and thought, yeah this works. Cities have honking, right? Sure, most cities. But not all cities. Not this city.
Do better FX.