Walt Longmire is the sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. He has an estranged lawyer daughter named Cady, a best friend named Henry Standing Bear, and Walt’s wife died a year ago, something that he’s still upset about. He has a new deputy named Victoria (Vic) Moretti and another deputy named Branch. Walt’s term is almost up and Branch is going to run against him in the upcoming election. The show is based on a series of mystery novels by Craig Johnson and the first season will have ten episodes. Longmire had A&E’s biggest original series premiere of all time with about four million viewers.
The show’s biggest problem so far is pacing. It’s pretty slow. Some might see this as a quiet, wise maturity. Call us peasants, but we don’t really want to try that hard to keep our eyes on the screen. Longmire’s second biggest problem is that it’s nothing new or particularly memorable. This Western is more good than bad because of some nice emotional touches, subtlety, good acting, good characterization, and the generally appealing crime-procedural element. They keep making crime shows, so people must love them, right? When there was music, it was good, especially when it was upbeat, and the scenery was pretty to look at.
The pilot also set up lots of interesting potential plot points. The daughter stuff can go somewhere. The election stuff can overarch. The fact that the Native American community doesn’t get on too well with the sheriff’s office can provide interesting cultural conflict. There are tons of ways this show can pull itself out of the formulaic, relaxing hole in which it started out. People who love police procedurals and watch Western stuff should love this though.
We will not be watching Longmire anymore this year, but months ago we might have. We are crunched for time this summer (only staying with “A” shows) and Justified already exists. If you want to check it out, we won’t dissuade you. It’s “quality.” In fact, once it hits its stride, we wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up being a show that people start telling us we have to catch up on. We await the comments saying, “This show really picked up and got good.” When and if that happens, we will check it out again before a season two.
Episode grade: B-