Iâ€™ve been a fan of Longmire since day one. I think I was initially excited about it because it was an unexpected cop show, set in an unusual location and featuring Katee Sackhoff (who I love and really wanted something good for after the disaster of The Bionic Woman).
Iâ€™m a sucker for a well-done procedural, so thatâ€™s what pulled me in initially. Of course the great character work made it an even better show, but Season 4 is when the show went from good to great. So while I have more than 10 reasons (I know, I know itâ€™s cheating â€” but isnâ€™t that allowed during the holidays?!), hereâ€™s why Iâ€™m so grateful for this show:
Honorable Mention: Location, location, location. I wouldnâ€™t call Wyoming an â€œexoticâ€ location, but itâ€™s a refreshing one. So many cop shows are set in major metropolitan hubs â€” New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc. Being set in Absaroka Country makes this a different kind of cop show to begin with and changes the types of cases these cops work on. So when theyâ€™re out in the field, itâ€™s interesting to me to be surrounded by all those beautiful landscapes. I know Montana is considered big sky country, but from what Iâ€™ve seen on this show so is Wyoming. It all seems so beautiful and unspoiled. I might need to get myself invited to set next seasonâ€¦
10. Bailey Chase.Â Even though Branch Connally isnâ€™t technically on the show this year, Iâ€™ve got to give him a place of honor on this list for a few reasons. First of all, itâ€™s his apparent suicide that kicks the season off. Itâ€™s Waltâ€™s guilt and good detective work of him and the rest of the team that leads them to realize Branch was murdered. So even though we only see Branchâ€™s lifeless body at the beginning of the season, his presence is felt long after heâ€™s gone.
9. Netflix. I have to thank themÂ because without them Longmire would just be another good show that was cancelled too soon. Actually, I donâ€™t know if â€œtoo soonâ€ is really accurate. I think the show A&E made was good, but it made sense for them to cancel that version of it. Longmire got even better when it moved to Netflix. With more time to spend with the characters, the show became richer and more engaging and truly binge-watchable.
7. The ensemble. Iâ€™ve raved about them in the past and Iâ€™m happy to rave about them again. Weâ€™ve got Ferg, who started out as a pity hire. Walt was doing Ferg’s old man a favor by making him a deputy, but Ferg has slowly earned his place — and even got his own police cruiser this year. I really love how Adam Bartley played Fergâ€™s jealousy and how he eventually got to a good play with Zach.
Weâ€™ve got Ruby, whoâ€™s the steady presenceÂ the team needs, but isnâ€™t afraid to make her opinion or displeasure known.
Weâ€™ve got Vic. I could say a lot about Vic (and I do later), but for now Iâ€™ll say I like that her mouth gets her into situations that even her training canâ€™t always get herself out of. It makes for great TV.
Weâ€™ve got Cassidy Freemanâ€™s Cady Longmire. Iâ€™m so glad she and Vic finally bonded and got to know each other and that Cady finally seemed to find a great way to put her degree to use. I never thought sheâ€™d work for A. Martinezâ€™s Jacob Nighthorse, but Iâ€™m excited about this new partnership. And thatâ€™s saying a lot considering I never thought Iâ€™d have any sympathy for Jacob. But Graham Greeneâ€™s Malachi is such a great villain. I love that he portrays a Native American who serves the almighty dollar first and foremost, especially when weâ€™re used to seeing this community of Native Americans close ranks and stick together.
6.Â Gerald McRaney.Â I probably couldâ€™ve included him in the ensemble, but I do feel the need to single Gerald McRaney out for a few reasons. Firstly, Iâ€™m wondering if thereâ€™s any role Gerald McRaneyâ€™s had where he doesnâ€™t bring something uniqueÂ to the table. Iâ€™ve seen him do such great work in every guest-starring role heâ€™s had recently. I do feel the need to acknowledge (and praise!) the writers for giving him (and the rest of the cast)Â such great material.
Barlow Connally is a complex character, where they couldâ€™ve gone all surface. With Barlow we got to see a great range of emotion. His relationship with Branch was always difficult, but at the end of Season 3 it looked like these two were finally getting closer. Of course, thatâ€™s until Branch discovered his father was responsible for the death of Waltâ€™s wife, Martha. I love how all of that played out and although I didnâ€™t want to believe Barlow capable of killing his own son, it was such a great twist. I didnâ€™t think weâ€™d wrap his storyline up so quickly in Season 4, but Iâ€™m not complaining. Gerald McRaney did such great work, but it was time for Barlow to depart this earth for his many, many sins.
5. Ally Walker. Iâ€™ve loved her a long time and got to talk to her back in September when Season 4 premiered. When I heard she was cast, I figured sheâ€™d be a love interest for Walt. I wasnâ€™t disappointed. Like Ally, my favorite Walt/Donna Sue encounter was on the side of the road when Walt let his walls down. But the other thing I loved about her character was Donna Sueâ€™s willingness to go out into this community and help these vets. I know there isnâ€™t nearly enough of a spotlight on how to help our wounded vets, especially if itâ€™s psychological trauma. So the fact that the show is trying to raise some awareness is huge. And considering the way this season ended, Iâ€™m hoping we havenâ€™t seen the last of the good doctor.
4. Vic Moretti. If we talk about love interests, weâ€™ve got to talk about Walt and Vic. I donâ€™t know too much about the book series this show is based on, but I do know theyâ€™re together.Â In the show, thereâ€™s always been that underlying tension, but this season it came to a headâ€¦sort of. I thought Vic would declare her feelings in episode 3 when she went to Waltâ€™s cabin with some liquid courage and what seemed like the determination to talk about her feelings. Iâ€™m glad she got to delete that embarrassing voicemail (yikes), but Iâ€™m less glad she didnâ€™t declare her feelings. Of course, that wouldnâ€™t have been the right time anyway. The right time to get things out in the open was when Vic and Walt were looking for Henryâ€™s truck. Vic brought up the topic and Walt shut her down. Not cool. There is something between them though and maybe weâ€™ll see them take that next step in Season 5.
3. Native American Society. Iâ€™m trying to think of another show I watch that gives us such a deep and resonant look into modern Native American culture and society. Iâ€™m not here for a history lesson, but I love that we get that anyway in this show. But not in a boring, rolling-your-eyes, will this be on the test sort of way. We get to see the struggles, challenges and rewards of life on the rez and how white society impacts and influences them. On top of that, itâ€™s been interesting to see the affect of the casino on everyone.
A particularly difficult and resonant arc this season revolves around rape survivor Gabriella Langton. Not only do we see how Callum Keith Rennieâ€™s Walker Browning circumvent justice because of his knowledge of the law and habits of local law enforcement, but we see how this incident speeds Henryâ€™s metamorphosis into a new version of Hector.
2. Lou Diamond Phlllips. I have loved the Henry/Walt friendship from day one. It’sÂ been tested so many times, but theyâ€™re always there for each other in the end. And while their friendship has weathered the storm so far, it’s never been tested like this.
Walt’s determined to kill Jacob after discovering his part in Marthaâ€™s death. But thatâ€™s minor. The biggest test of their friendship comes as Henry decides to take up Hectorâ€™s mantle. His actions put him at direct odds with a lot of what Walt stands for. So to see Lou Diamond Phillips play that out and watch as it affects his relationship with Walt has been different. These two donâ€™t keep secrets from each other, or they hadnâ€™t until now. Walt did all he could to get Henry out of a white manâ€™s jail. Is there anything he can do now that Henryâ€™s been arrested by Mathias? I can’t wait to see how it all plays out.
1. Robert Taylor. I mean, this show wouldnâ€™t be nearly as good or engrossing without our tragic hero. I wasnâ€™t familiar with him before this show, but I love him in this role. He feels like the embodiment of Walter Longmire to me. As Iâ€™ve already mentioned, I love a good procedural but what sets this series apart for me is this main character. Heâ€™s flawed, but he has such a strong sense of right and wrong. He’s not pretentious or high-handed about it. He just wants to do the right thing and make sure the right people pay for the crimes they’ve committed. Sometimes that makes him unpopular, but he doesn’t worry too much what others think of him.Â Does he always do the right thing? Of course not, but that makes him all the more interesting and for a pretty entertaining show.
Season 5 of Longmire will premiere in 2016 on Netflix.
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