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 (113 Votes)

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


Longmire is just good tv. I don't think about it being political correct. Just good tv. Tv shouldn't be over analyze. Think of longtime as a good book your reading 1 chapter at a time.I want live where longmire lives its beautiful.Mojo 8-14-12


Why not film a show about a sheriff in Wyoming in Wyoming. We have a beautiful countryside and lots of open space. With that said, I LOVE LONGMIRE!


Also, Crow, Cheyenne, and Ute. I'm sure this show is negative against American Indians.


I love this show and so happy it has been renewed. Did not care for the review I read on it but all people are different and like different things and I dont go by reviews for this reason.


I am devotedly hooked on Longmire! Love, Love, Love it! And the casting is perfect. I think Walt is sexy as a man can be. At first I was not sure I liked the female deputy, but after a few weeks, I adore her. There is something quirky, but very honest and sweet about her...I cannot put my thumb on exactly what, but I find her totally fascinating! I am tired of the unbelievable characters, i.e., the woman in another show who walked past a guy, shot out a hand and decked him without breaking stride...PLEEEEZZZZEEEE! Ruby is adorable, and I am even beginning to like Branch and the chubby stumbling deputy! I am hooked and look forward to my 10 PM hour of entertainment every Sunday night!And, no, I am not a hormonally driven young female!


I am willing to wait for this show to get legs. I'm glad its getting good ratings and a second season but so far its game, set and match to Justified and Timothy Oliphant. I don't find Mr. Taylor's portrayal of Walt entertaining as of yet or do I find that hat or coat to be authentic. But I'll continue to watch and wait. The early Seinfeld's were mundane as well. I think this show will improve and Taylor will grow the character of Walt.


All I can say I like the show cast is great I miss few shows so I have some questions glad it was renew for 2nd season I want to know more about Walt Longmire past what in that letter he put in fire any of the books close to the show? Thanks Stan


I like this show... alot! I am hopefull that it will be a success. Yes, reading the books does give you an idea of who you think the characters should be, however, that is your perception... not necessarily anyone elses.
I'll be watching regularly.


Love this show!! Makes me want to move to N. Mexico, if that's how beautiful it is.
I love Robert Taylor, and really the rest of the cast is also very good too. I'm so glad they have a hit, and it got renewed for next season.
Mr. Taylor is sure a "hunk"......


Yes, it is nice countryside,however, it's not shot in Wyoming. It's shot in New Mexico...

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