Is it possible to rely on your instincts alone to solve a case? What if you’ve been wrong in the past? Could you overlook those mistakes in order to get the job done? That’s part of the premise behind the new season of A&E’s “Longmire,” which followed one man’s journey as he solved cases each week. The story may be somewhat familiar, but the show provided a new spin that made it worthwhile to watch.
“Longmire” followed Sheriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) who was dedicated to serving the citizens of Absaroka County, Wyoming at all costs, but he was unaware of the true extent of the danger he faced. He finally came to terms with his wife’s untimely murder, even though he was the prime suspect in the death of his wife’s killer. Despite Walt’s best efforts, the investigation could pull in Walt’s daughter Cady (Cassidy Freeman) and his best friend Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips) into the mix. It also didn’t help that his deputy Branch Connally (Bailey Chase) was trying to take his job by running against him in the next Sheriff election. Connally also had a past relationship with Walt’s daughter Cady that could case additional problems down the line. Luckily, Walt had his trusted deputies Victoria “Vic” Moretti (Katee Sackhoff) and The Ferg (Adam Bartley) to help keep the peace at work for most of the time. Can Walt continue to do his job when his past continued to haunt him?
In terms of questions, the show posed a few in the second season premiere that foreshadowed what was to come for Taylor’s complicated sheriff. In a series of hallucinations, Taylor has to grapple with his secrets coming to light, such as his possible involvement in harming his wife’s killer. He tried to deny the truth, but it was starting to get harder for Walt to believe it. The show has succeeded so far in allowing the Montana scenery to be a character in itself, which helped to tell some of the stories. The season premiere mixed a prison break with a deadly Montana snowstorm that added an extra element of danger, because Walt could die while trying to save a hostage that was taken. It also helped that the show’s writer tried to pay careful attention to the different cultures, such as the Cheyenne, and made an effort to blend them into each story. Some of the episodes tried to go beyond being cut and dry weekly murder cases to keep viewer’s interest, which was a wise move. The premiere prominently featured a metaphor involving a white buffalo that could mean a number of different things, but it was left to viewer interpretation as to what it really meant for the cast.
As for breakout performances, Taylor and Sackhoff led the pack as they provided unique approaches to being in law enforcement. Taylor gave Longmire a type of relaxed approach that made him look like he’s been around for years when it’s only the second season. He provided a level of tough guy cool that made his character more of a television cowboy than a typical television cop. Taylor was able to express a lot of what Longmire was feeling without saying a word by expressing his character’s sadness in his eyes if a scene called for it. His most memorable scene came when he was forced to deal with his various demons while weathering the elements to stop an escaped murderer from going too far with a hostage. One of those demons involved his daughter Cady which forced the gruff Longmire to change his entire demeanor in order to earn his daughter’s forgiveness. Unfortunately, viewers were disappointed to realize that the scene was only in Walt’s mind. Sackhoff, on the other hand, had the challenging task of being the show’s resident rebel who often acted before she thought things through. Her most memorable scene was when her character got into a verbal sparring match with an FBI agent that landed her in hot water. Viewers saw that her intense reaction came from the fear that her boss/mentor might be in great danger. The reaction might’ve been extreme, but it came from a place of genuine concern. Hopefully, Sackhoff’s Vic will have more of her back story revealed as the season progressed so that viewers could get a better understanding of her character.
“Longmire” premiered on May 27th and airs Sundays at 10:00 PM on A&E
Verdict: Taylor put a different spin to the role of the grizzled hero by making Longmire relateable to viewers. The supporting cast also helped to drive story and provide some moments of appropriate levity.
TV Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)