(Let me start with an apology if the formatting of this post is wonky. I’ve been fighting it all day and finally gave up)
When I first talked about new shows starting for the summer, I mentioned that I hoped that Longmire would fill the gap left by one of my favorite shows, Justified. I mean, troubled lawman in a cowboy hat — sounds pretty good. Now that I’ve watched the first two episodes of Longmire, I’m ready to report.
First, Walt Longmire is a good looking man, but he’s definitely of the old West cowboy flavor. I’d much rather look at Raylan. Longmire does offer up a deputy, Branch, who I remember from Saving Grace, and while he’s yummy, I don’t like the character much, which takes away some of the pleasure from the eye candy.
Next, in looking at the characters, I think Walt could be almost as fascinating as Raylan. I remember way back in the first season of Justified, Raylan’s ex-wife Winona (ugh) said that he was the angriest man she’d ever known. And deep down it’s true; Raylan is an angry man. Walt, on the other hand, is a sad man. His wife died a year ago and he checked out. Although he kept his position as sheriff, he hasn’t much participated in life, and his deputies covered for him. Now, though, he’s coming back in. He’s decided that he wants to run for sheriff again, which puts him running against his deputy, Branch. One little quirk about Walt that I like is that litter drives him nuts. He’ll chase down a paper wrapper just so he can pick it up and get it off the street.
The last thing, and this is a big one, is dialogue. I wrote months ago about the superb dialogue in Justified. The dialogue in Justified reads they way we would all love to sound if we planned out everything we wanted to say, but it suits the characters, particularly Raylan, perfectly. After watching the first episode of Longmire, I thought maybe I hit another great example.
In that first episode, Walt stops and watches birds flying overhead. His deputy, Vic, says, “Hey, Walt. Wacha doin’?” His response?
“Thinking. I do that sometimes before I talk.”
No, it’s not the rambling God-I-love-this-dialogue speech, but this kind of line sums up who Walt is, much like Raylan’s commentary on his lack of “interest in shitkicker-on-shitkicker crime.”
Unfortunately, I didn’t get that same feeling about the dialogue in episode 2. While I still enjoyed the show and Walt is one of those intelligent, well-seasoned sheriffs that is often underestimated because he’s old school (doesn’t have a cell phone, doesn’t use a computer). I’m going to keep watching because my hope is that we’ll get more of that character-revealing dialogue.
I also think that the secondary characters, if they get a chance to be fully developed, will be interesting to watch. The one female deputy, Vic, is a transplant from Philadelphia where she was a homicide detective. We haven’t gotten her story about why she moved, but really, it has to be good, right? What could get you to move to Wyoming if you were a city girl? I think Branch running against Walt will make for good drama. They’re both good cops, but they antagonize each other. Lou Diamond Phillips plays Walt’s best friend, Henry Standing Bear. I wonder how they became friends.
The last thing that makes this show watchable is the setting itself. The big open expanse of land is beautiful. From what I understand, the show is filmed in New Mexico, which disappointed me. I watched the first episode believing that I was seeing Wyoming. Either way, still beautiful.
Have you watched Longmire? What do you think?