Longmire is very much an old school procedural (with old school values). That is its best trait and its worst. The twisty mysteries of each episode are often over-compressed and would benefit from a bit more time to breath.
It looks like it moved from a 44 minute episode to an hour episode when A&E dropped it and Netflix picked it up, which is probably a good thing. Season 1 does introduce serial storylines—primarily one of Sheriff Longmire’s deputies running against him for Sheriff and the mystery around Sheriff Longmire’s wife’s death—but they aren’t well developed. Neither has any resolution by the end of the season.
I have a bias toward shows that balance procedural story-of-the-week aspects and serial storylines, but they are hard to find. The paragon remains The Shield. Justified was a better show, in my opinion, when it included both, but the writers largely dropped any story-of-the-week after season 2.
Longmire is set in rural Wyoming and follows county sheriff Walt Longmire, who, to be honest, has to deal with an anomalous number of murders. The sheriff’s office is small, consisting of five employees total and they along with Sheriff Longmire’s best friend and daughter make up the primary cast. The action sticks to its fictional corner of Wyoming and the nearby rez.
Violence comes cheap in this neo-Western, and Sheriff Longmire isn’t afraid to deal it out, but he isn’t a cruel man like Vic Mackie, or even a shoot-first loose cannon like Raylan Givens. He is a deeply honorable, deeply decent man who feels guilt toward his late wife when he drunk dials an interested woman. It’s a refreshing change to the more cynical fare we’re usually served these days.
3 of 5 Stars.
Longmire is available to stream on Netflix and for purchase on blu-ray at Amazon.