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Katee Sackhoff's new western/mystery series is one of the most underappreciated shows to come down the pipe in a long while...
Warner / 443 Minutes / 2012 / Unrated / Street Date: May 28, 2013
Longmire is a pastiche of a hundred different well-worn TV clichés, but it wears them well: this is the sort of familiar television that works almost in spite of itself. It’s a western, it’s a murder mystery, it’s a deeply emotive melodrama – Longmire clearly borrows from a myriad of recognizable sources, and this collection of echoes from the boob tube past comes together with class and panache.
Our eponymous protagonist is Sheriff Longmire (Robert Taylor), a lonely, grizzled Wyoming cowboy who has been spending the last year of his life painfully mourning the passing of his beloved wife. Then a case comes along, one that involves a dead sheep and a dead human high on a nearby mountain. Longmire and his chief deputy Vic Moretti (Katee Sackhoff) go check it out, and things spiral into complexity from there.
In addition to the more-than-capable dramatic through-line on display here, the show’s presentation of the complicated yet undeniably rich relationship between the police department and its region’s Native American population hints at a deeper sense of connection to land and place that is frequently really immersive. There’s no denying that you can pretty much see every twist and turn in Longmire: The Complete First Season a minute or two before they appear, but it hardly matters when the storytelling on display is so effective. Plus, Katee Sackhoff’s in it. Case closed.