It's not terrifically surprising that season three of Justified is a mild slowdown from the sustained excellence that was Season 2, but even so, it's still one of the best shows on television, and apparently people are recognizing that, as viewership for this season is averaging something like a 10% increase over last year. So it's not a terrific surprise that FX yesterday announced that it'll be bringing the show back for a fourth season.
At this rate the only real question is how long the show can continue to maintain its momentum. In reading various opinions around the web, there are some complaints that the first couple of seasons have seemed to rotate around the theme of having most of the early episodes involve a lot of one-off cases for Raylan, and then having the overarching storyline come to a head in the last few episodes. I can't say that I necessarily agree; I think that the second season and this season have done a pretty great job of balancing season-spanning storylines with stuff that can be wrapped up in a single 60-minute episode. Again, after season 2, anything they could've done this year likely would've been a bit of a letdown, but at the very least we have Neal McDonough killing it as a gay mobster lackey.
At any rate, Season Four will likely commence in early 2013. Excited?