With nearly 20 years of watching Law & Order, I could be accurately described as a procedural crime show fan. On the other hand, I’m not that fond of westerns, aside from Unforgiven and the recent Hell or High Water. Recently encouraged to give Longmire a try, I figured it would be a mix of both genres.
Having binged the first season in less than a week, I have to say both my wife and I are enjoying it. While each episode has a specific arc, so far with the titular Walt Longmire catching the crook each time, the show seems more about the individual characters than the crimes they solve; much more The Wire than Law & Order in that regard.
The performances are all fantastic and I want to really note the two stars of the show:
- Katee Sakhoff as Victoria “Vic” Moretti
- Having mostly seen Sakhoff in the (fantastic) Battlestar Galactica reboot, I was very interested to see how she did in a modern-era show, and I certainly was not left wanting. Kara “Starbuck” Thrace was a complex character but one with relatively straightforward motivations and backstory. Vic is certainly not that, and it has been genuinely enjoyable seeing how Sakhoff makes this character come alive.
- Robert Taylor as Walter Longmire
- Not having seen much of this Australian actor before this show, I am impressed with the subtlety and nuance with which he handles the role. Sheriff Longmire is a conflicted, sometimes troubled, man, one driven by a very old-West, “man’s man,” frontier attitude toward life. His interactions with others, and how he handles his own past, is a big draw for me, particularly with lingering, “quiet” shots that highlight what an actor can do when not reciting lines.
With a somewhat jerky start, the show has nevertheless carried itself well through the first season, largely on the strength of its characters rather than the particular cases. The setting of a fictional Wyoming county is novel, and while some character introductions or particular idiosyncrasies are a stretch for the imagination, all in all the show is enjoyable and is something the wife and I look forward to watching together.
Watch If: you like Westerns, crime dramas, or interpersonal conflict
Do not Watch If: you want non-stop action or episodic plots that aren’t wrapped up neatly by the end of each episode