Longmire Review: Welcome to Wyoming

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Warning: I am about to unfairly compare Longmire - a new drama on A&E that stars Robert Taylor in the title role and premieres this Sunday at 10 p.m. - to Justified.

Yes, I have reasonable cause to do so. Both are set in rural areas and both feature serious lawman who wear a cowboy hat. It's nearly impossible to watch a Longmire trailer and not think of Raylan Givens.

But Longmire has aired one episode, Justified is one of the best shows on television and the comparison mostly falls apart after the initial set-up.

Longmire Premiere Photo

Taylor's Walt Longmire is no Givens. Whereas the latter oozes charisma and sarcasm, the former has been grieving the death of his wife for about one year (the pilot is centered on the anniversary of her passing) when we meet him.

Already old school (Walt doesn't own, or really understand, a cell phone) and all-business in nature, Longmire doesn't seem like the kind of sheriff who ever made small talk with his colleagues. But he's been especially dour since losing his wife, as well as especially absent.

Notes Bailey Chase's Branch, an officer with high career aspirations, when Walt chooses to drive 10 hours round trip to notify a woman of her new status as a widow: the sheriff "hasn't done much in a while."

We watch him grow a bit reinvigorated throughout the episode's main case, which involves a missing Native American teenager, a mobile brothel and which, to be honest, isn't all that fascinating. The final reveal of the key culprit isn't all that shocking, either, to anyone who watches any number of procedurals out there.

For that reason - because the premiere, at least, doesn't play out much differently than a regular CSI or NCIS episode - we need Walt to be an engaging, interesting character. And he simply isn't. He's understated and quiet, responding to a co-worker at one point who asks what he's doing staring into the distance with:

"Thinking. I do that sometimes before I talk."

It's Walt's funniest line, and it's a quality I admire in a human being, but it doesn't make for a particularly riveting lead character.

Do supporting players Lou Diamond Phillips (as Walt's best friend) and Katee Sackhoff (as a deputy who has been out West for six months, respects Walt and may have some connection to him we'll learn about later on) assist in the personality department? A bit. They'll certainly need to going forward if Longmire is to really hold my interest.

For while it's beautifully shot (the Wyoming countryside is practically a character onto itself) and well acted (Taylor is a man who knows how to cry), nothing about Longmire really stands out. It's not gripping or suspenseful or funny. It's reserved and restrained and peaceful.

It's certainly not bad, I'm all for slow-building character studies, but none of the storylines that played out on the premiere, nor any of the arcs teased for future episodes, made me scurry to my remote and set my DVR for Series Recording. I'll need more unique, engaging cases and more personality all around to keep Longmire on my summer viewing list.

Longmire airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on A&E.


Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (112 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


Grew up in WY near where Craig Johnson lives. Characters are spot on. Scenery looks just like parts of northern WY. Most anybody from WY will be able to pick out fake tidbits of info in the show though. Can be both fun and annoying.


Longmire and Lou Diamond are a must to watch.... the both work well and show what friendship is all about.... Its a must see for me....over and over looking forward to getting the dvd... of the series both.... unless there are some I have missed... if so let me know
Linda from Canyon Lake Texas...


I do not disagree that Longmire has the potential to be a goodprogram. However, living in WY the Absordorka Range they refer to is not located near Crook County; as the show seems to claim; maybe 150 miles west as the crow flies. Matter of fact; Crook County is on the plains and hardly close to a mountain range. Nor would any Wyomingite take off on foot up a mountain in a snowstorm; fall into a creek and get hypothermia, and then have a major concern be the cowboy hat. To my knowledge there are not land wars except with the energy companies and BLM; yes, there is a large Indian Reservation in WY about 200 miles southwest from Crook County. Perhaps the producers and actors could really come to WY and talk with some of the people to make this show as realistic as it claims to be.


Grew up in Wyoming and even if its not all filmed in Wyoming..it's close enough to take me back home. The acting is right on reminds me of folks that are really living this way today. The kind of folks that do have gun racks and use them. As a woman who now lives back in the Wild West of Oregon..and yes we do have hippies, but like I was raised you look at the person and they are great too
.I miss the people of Wyoming but don't miss the wind, snow storms that burry the livestock and freezing temps
I am a loyal viewer and will keep watching! Especially like the fact that I forgot the way a well used vehicle looks like that has dirt on it...good job sherif priorities right ha ha good job my mother had a lever action rifle like longmire brings me back.


Should be filming in Wyoming! New Mexico terrain is way different than Wyoming area where they're claiming it's supposed to be from.


I watch this show because the main characters are intelligent, quirky without being contrived, work well together, and it is well worth watching. Finally a show with characters that are more than pretty faces and are believable. This show made me curious about the books and now I am a devoted reader of anything Craig Johnson writes. The series may differ somewhat from the books but it is well written and well acted. As for comparing it to Justified, as a lifelong Kentuckian, although I find it entertaining and like the characters (especially Boyd), it is not even remotely realistic. Craig Johnson always portrays American Indians with respect and obvious admiration. If you haven't read the books give yourself a treat and go to the library. They are real page turners.


a great series i really like it


A great show....the characters all fit so well together....can hardly wait for season 2. That was my favorite night for t.v.


Longmire is filmed in New Mexico.


As of today, I have seen all 10 episodes of Longmire. It is BY FAR the best new TV show I have seen in quite a while......I love it. I can't wait for season two to start. I highlt recommend you watch. You won't be sorry you did.

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