Longmire (TV series)
"Walt Longmire Mysteries" book series|
by Craig Johnson
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||63 (list of episodes)|
|Production location(s)||New Mexico|
|Running time||42–71 minutes|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original release||June 3, 2012– November 17, 2017|
Longmire is an American modern Western crime drama television series that premiered on June 3, 2012, on the A&E network. The series, developed by John Coveny and Hunt Baldwin, is based on the Walt Longmire Mysteries series of novels by the best-selling author Craig Johnson. The show centers on Walt Longmire, a sheriff in fictional Absaroka County, Wyoming. He is assisted by staff, friends, including a Cheyenne man, and his daughter, a lawyer, in investigating major crimes within his jurisdiction.
Longmire became the "highest-rated original drama series" on A&E; however, following the conclusion of the third season in August 2014, the network announced that it would not renew the series. Warner Horizon Television offered it to other networks, and Netflix picked it up, starting with season 4. Netflix released the sixth and final season on November 17, 2017. Episodes of all six seasons are available for streaming and viewing online via Netflix in North America (and Australia).
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Sheriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) is the sheriff of Wyoming's fictional Absaroka County. Buffalo, in Johnson County, in northeast Wyoming, is the setting for some scenes set in the fictional town of Durant, county seat of Absaroka. Sheriff Longmire's longtime friend, Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips), a Cheyenne man, provides insight to and sometimes aids in dealing with tribal police. (The Indian reservation has its own police force which has authority within the reservation boundaries except for capital crimes.) As the series progresses, the friends deal with issues of gambling at a casino on the reservation, issues of competing jurisdictional authority for protecting people and prosecuting crimes, and other issues of contemporary Native American life.
In the first season, Walt's adult daughter Cady (Cassidy Freeman) is concerned that her father has been stuck since the death of her mother. While preparing to run for re-election, Walt has delegated most police duties to deputies Branch Connally (Bailey Chase) and "The Ferg" (Adam Bartley). Branch has also entered the election, to unseat Longmire, and he is secretly dating Cady. Victoria "Vic" Moretti (Katee Sackhoff), a transplanted Philadelphia homicide detective, arrived in Wyoming six months prior and works as one of Walt's deputies.
In random flashback scenes, Walt and Henry travel separately to Denver, Colorado, where Walt attacks someone in a meth house. Denver Police Homicide Detective Fales (Charles S. Dutton) later comes to Wyoming to talk to Walt and Cady about Cady's mother's death. Cady is shocked to learn her mother was murdered, as Walt had told her she died of cancer. Fales tells Walt they found the murder suspect buried in a shallow grave. Walt denies killing the man; however, Detective Fales suspects that if Walt did not commit the murder, then Henry did.
In the second season, Cady goes to Denver to speak to Detective Fales, who gives her the details of her mother's murder and informs her the suspected murderer has also been killed. When Fales questions her, she says that her father confides in Henry Standing Bear, inadvertently giving Fales a new target of investigation. Henry tells Walt that he killed the murderer because Walt was unable to do so. Vic encounters Ed Gorski (Lee Tergesen), a retired cop from Philadelphia. They discuss the suicide of Gorski's former partner, whom Vic had implicated in a corruption scandal that prompted an internal affairs investigation. Gorski blames Vic for his partner's death and begins to stalk her. Frightened by Gorski's manner, Vic asks Henry for help, and Walt visits Gorski to warn him away. Gorski is subsequently beaten severely. Hector, a Cheyenne mercenary believed to have assaulted Gorski, is protected by Walt. Henry confesses to Walt that he hired Hector to kill Miller Beck, the murderer of Walt's wife, but Hector explains that he beat him and took his teeth as trophies. Fales and his team find the teeth at Henry's bar and arrest him. Walt wins the election. Cady is hospitalized after being hit by a car after hers is sabotaged. Branch investigates, leading to a confrontation with members of the local Cheyenne reservation.
In the third season, as Branch recovers from being shot, he comes to believe he was shot by David Ridges, a Cheyenne who was thought to have committed suicide and been cremated. Walt and the others do not believe him, and he begins his own investigation. In prison, Henry is abused by other Native Americans, led by former Cheyenne reservation police chief Malachi Strand (Graham Greene). Strand believes Henry contributed to his arrest through his friendship with Walt. When Malachi makes it difficult for Henry to obtain an attorney, Cady decides to represent him. Henry gets released on bail and sets out to prove his innocence.
Malachi is also released and begins working as security for Jacob Nighthorse, a prominent Cheyenne businessman and developer. Both Branch and Henry uncover clues that point to Nighthorse's being involved in their cases, with Ridges as a key figure. Walt believes Nighthorse might have had a part in his wife's murder. He begins to believe that Branch is obsessed by his ideas about Ridges and suspends him temporarily, putting him in the care of his father Barlow. Walt and Henry learn that Ridges killed Miller Beck. Walt learns of Ridges' hideout location and kills him in a confrontation, in self-defense. Fales drops all charges against Henry, but the investigations continue. Branch questions his father, who admits to having paid Nighthorse to hire Ridges to kill Walt's wife in hopes of helping Branch become sheriff. The season ends with the sound of a gunshot.
In the fourth season, Walt, Vic, and Ferg set out to search for Branch, after finding a disturbing typewritten note on his home computer. Walt finds him dead in a river from what appears to be a self-inflicted shotgun wound. Walt refuses to rule Branch's death a suicide after he finds soil in the shotgun shell. This shows that the shell had been ejected from firing and put back into the gun. Walt thinks that Nighthorse is behind the murder, until a drunken Barlow Connally confesses to the sheriff about killing his own son. The murder had followed Branch's finding out that his father had ordered the murder of Walt's wife. After his confession, Barlow provokes Walt to shoot and kill him, increasing official suspicion of the sheriff's behavior. Meanwhile, Walt and his department join forces with Mathias (Zahn McClarnon), chief of the Cheyenne tribal police, to investigate the rape of a Cheyenne woman, Gabriella (Julia Jones), by several oil field workers. The men escape prosecution because of conflicting authority and the reluctance of federal officials to prosecute. Walker (Callum Keith Rennie), the oil foreman, buys off Gabriella's family, who urge dropping the case. Henry takes up Hector's role of avenger and plans to exact justice on the rapists. One is found dead, and Gabriella shoots the other as Henry is threatening him. Shot in the dark by Walt, Henry takes Gabriella into the Crow Nation territory to protect her. Both Walt and Walker seek to find her, ending up in a stand-off. Later, Mathias catches up with Henry and takes him into custody. Walt relaxes at home with his new love interest, Dr. Donna Sue Monaghan (Ally Walker), but an unknown intruder invades and shoots them.
In the fifth season, Walt conducts an intense search for the person who kidnapped Donna after the home invasion and seriously wounded him. Walt and Donna continue their relationship. Nighthorse becomes increasingly suspicious of Malachi's activities, and suspects he is skimming at the casino or otherwise earning illegal money. Mathias figures out that Henry has taken over Hector's duties as vigilante and uses that to his advantage. A heroin operation by the Irish mob is discovered in Walt's jurisdiction. Walt defends a wrongful death suit; if he loses, he will lose everything he owns and, probably, his job. Vic learns she is pregnant and suffers an assault. Walt ends his relationship with Donna. A future possibility of a relationship with Vic is suggested as they acknowledge their feelings toward each other. As Henry gives a ride home to a presumably drunk woman, Malachi and his men kidnap him. He is taken to a remote area of the neighboring Crow reservation, staked to the ground, and left for dead.
In the first episode of the sixth season, "The Eagle and the Osprey", Henry is still being held by kidnappers and might die if not found. Walt investigates a bank robbery with some unusual aspects. In the final season several other aspects are explored, including the civil lawsuit against Longmire and his plans for the future.
|First aired||Last aired||Network|
|1||10||June 3, 2012||August 12, 2012||A&E|
|2||13||May 27, 2013||August 26, 2013|
|3||10||June 2, 2014||August 4, 2014|
|4||10||September 10, 2015||Netflix|
|5||10||September 23, 2016|
|6||10||November 17, 2017|
Cast and characters
- Robert Taylor as Walt Longmire, the long-time sheriff of Absaroka County. His character is a throwback to the iconic heroes of classical Westerns, laconic and introspective with a strong sense of duty and justice. As the stories build, Walt is shown to have a knack for finding the truth behind the various crimes that have been committed. His wife died a year before the series started, and he has told his daughter and friends that she died of cancer. However, Henry knows that she was murdered in Denver. Walt's grief leads to isolation and guilt.
- Katee Sackhoff as Victoria "Vic" Moretti, a sheriff's deputy and a former Philadelphia Police Department homicide detective. She moved to Wyoming with her husband Sean following an incident with her superior officer in Philadelphia. Vic and Sean later divorce, and Vic has sexual encounters with Eamonn and Travis before she and Walt finally get together. She has four brothers, and at least one sister.
- Lou Diamond Phillips as Henry Standing Bear, a Cheyenne who is Walt's boyhood friend and confidant. Their friendship goes back to elementary school, when they met in 5th grade. Henry owns and operates the Red Pony, a local tavern and restaurant. An expert tracker, his name is described as meaning "a bear who protects those whom he loves". Henry is initially treated as a minor character, but as the series goes on, his position as a well-respected member of his community becomes a prominent storyline, and he actively helps Walt and Cady on numerous occasions. Henry does not speak in contractions.
- Bailey Chase as Branch Connally, an ambitious deputy who comes from a wealthy local family. His uncle, Lucian Connally, was Walt's predecessor as sheriff, and Branch hopes to be sheriff one day, as well. He was romantically involved with Cady Longmire. After being shot by David Ridges in season 2, he is shown during the next season recovering and investigating the attack. He was suspended from the force at the end of season 3, and is later shot and killed by his father, Barlow Connally.
- Cassidy Freeman as Cady Longmire, Walt's daughter, an attorney who initially works for a local law firm. Later, she works for Jacob Nighthorse, to provide representation to residents on the reservation. She was romantically involved with Branch Connally for a time. Later on, she becomes romantically involved with "Zach" Heflin.
- Adam Bartley as Archie "The Ferg" Ferguson, an awkward but hard-working young deputy, who felt unappreciated next to his more senior deputies, the handsome Branch Connally and the former Philadelphia Detective Vic Morretti. His eclectic knowledge and skills have helped solve cases, justifying Walt's hiring him, despite the fact that one reason Walt hired him was as a favor to his father. He continues to feel overlooked, even after he is promoted to a more senior deputy status following Branch's death. In the early seasons, he has an unrequited crush on Cady. In season 5 he meets Meg, a local nurse.
- Louanne Stephens as Ruby: the dispatcher and manager of the sheriff's office (seasons 1–6)
- Zahn McClarnon as Chief Mathias: chief of the Cheyenne reservation's tribal police (seasons 1–6)
- A Martinez as Jacob Nighthorse: a local Cheyenne businessman representing the interests of his people (seasons 1–6)
- Gerald McRaney as Barlow Connally: a wealthy, powerful, local real estate developer and Branch's father (seasons 1–4)
- Peter Weller as Lucian Connally: Branch's uncle and Walt's predecessor as sheriff, now retired (seasons 1–4, 6)
- John Bishop as Bob Barnes: the town drunk who has worked a variety of odd jobs (seasons 1–6)
- Tom Wopat as Sheriff Jim Wilkins of neighboring Cumberland County (seasons 1, 4-6)
- Louis Herthum as Omar: a local hunting guide with expertise in firearms (seasons 1–3, 5)
- Katherine LaNasa as Lizzie Ambrose: a wealthy local woman with whom Walt has a tentative romantic relationship (seasons 1–2)
- Charles S. Dutton as Detective Fales: a detective from Denver investigating the suspicious death of the murderer of Walt's wife (seasons 1–3)
- Derek Phillips as Travis Murphy: a boyhood friend of Branch Connally's who wants to be a sheriff's deputy (seasons 2–6)
- Michael Mosley as Sean Keegan: Vic's husband, who works as a natural gas company executive (seasons 1–3)
- Jeffrey De Serrano as Hector: a Cheyenne ex-boxer who lives on the reservation and is a mercenary-for-hire and vigilante for Cheyenne seeking justice (seasons 1–3, 6)
- Irene Bedard as May Still Water: A Cheyenne woman who respects Walt and Henry (seasons 1, 3-4)
- Lee Tergesen as Ed Gorski: an ex-cop from Philadelphia who used to work with Vic (seasons 1–3)
- Noam Jenkins as FBI Agent Towson: a by-the-book agent who is seen by the sheriff's department as a negative force (seasons 2, 5)
- Graham Greene as Malachi Strand: former chief of the tribal police and Nighthorse's chief of security at the casino (seasons 3–6)
- Hank Cheyne as Sam Poteet: a Cheyenne White Warrior and sage, whom Branch kidnaps and tortures (seasons 3–6)
- David Midthunder as David Ridges: a Cheyenne man who shoots Branch and becomes a fugitive (seasons 2-3)
- Scott Michael Campbell as Dr. Weston: a doctor at the regional hospital who occasionally assists in Longmire's investigations (seasons 3–6)
- Josh Cooke as Eamonn O'Neill: a deputy from Cumberland County who fills in briefly after Branch's death (seasons 4–5)
- Barry Sloane as Zachary "Zach" Heflin: a new deputy hired by Walt (seasons 4, 6)
- Julia Jones as Gabriella Langton: a Cheyenne girl who is raped (season 4)
- Joseph Daniel Havenstar as Darius Burns: Malachi Strand's right-hand man (seasons 3-6)
- Ally Walker as Dr. Donna Monaghan: a therapist treating local veterans (seasons 4–5)
- Tantoo Cardinal as Marilyn Yarlott, a Crow hunter and medicine woman who lives alone in the vast wilderness of the Crow territory on the reservation (seasons 4-6)
- Callum Keith Rennie as Walker Browning: a manager for a regional energy company; Walt suspects him of criminal activity (seasons 4–5)
- Tamara Duarte as Mandy: a young Cheyenne woman hired by Cady Longmire to assist her in the legal-aid office on the Cheyenne reservation (seasons 4–6)
- Mary Wiseman as Meg: a nurse at the local hospital who begins dating Ferg (seasons 5–6)
- Eric Ladin as Mayor Sawyer Crane: the ambitious mayor of Durant (seasons 5–6)
- Brett Rice as Tucker Baggett: close friend of Barlow Connally's, who organizes a wrongful death lawsuit against Walt for the shooting of Barlow (seasons 5–6)
- Dylan Walsh as Shane Muldoon: the leader of the Irish Mafia (seasons 5–6)
- Patch Darragh as David Milgrom: Walt's lawyer, representing him in the wrongful death lawsuit for the shooting of Barlow (seasons 5-6)
Development and production
Longmire received a pilot order on December 14, 2010. The pilot was written by John Coveny and Hunt Baldwin, and directed by Christopher Chulack. Coveny, Baldwin, and Chulack serve as executive producers alongside Greer Shephard, Michael M. Robin, and the production companies Warner Horizon Television and the Shephard/Robin Company. The series is an adaptation of the Longmire mystery novels written by best-selling author Craig Johnson.
Casting announcements began in February 2011, with Robert Taylor cast first in the lead role of Sheriff Walt Longmire. Katee Sackhoff, Bailey Chase, Cassidy Freeman, and Lou Diamond Phillips followed, with Sackhoff cast in the role of Victoria "Vic" Moretti, Chase cast as Branch Connally, Freeman cast as Cady Longmire, and Phillips cast as Henry Standing Bear.
On August 26, 2011, A&E picked up the series for a 10-episode first season. A&E renewed it for a second season on June 29, 2012, following early success as the highest-rated summer scripted drama debut, and as A&E's highest-rated scripted drama. The network renewed it for a third season on November 25, 2013.
In 2013, massive wildfires scorched the Valles Caldera National Preserve, which disrupted the series production. Three fires started over a three-week period, two at the same time. The Prescott Fire Department's Granite Mountain Hotshots assisted in preventing the destruction of the area around where Walt's house is filmed. Nineteen of the Hotshots' 20 members were later killed battling the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona. The second season's finale honored them in the closing credits.
Production for the third season began in early 2014. Filming of the interiors took place in New Mexico at Garson Studios, on the campus of Santa Fe University of Art and Design. According to the New Mexico State Film Office, exteriors were filmed in and around Santa Fe and at Garson Studios.
On August 28, 2014, A&E announced that Longmire was cancelled after completing its third season, despite consistently strong viewership that made it "the most watched original series in A&E history, packing almost 6 million viewers" per episode, "reportedly because it appealed to an older demographic that was unappealing to advertisers" and was produced by an external studio.
Three months later, Netflix confirmed that it had picked up the series (based, in contrast to A&E, on its strong appeal to a specific segment of the audience) and would film additional episodes. The 10-episode fourth season filmed on location in New Mexico, and was made available for viewing in North America and Oceania on September 10, 2015.
On October 30, 2015, Netflix announced that Longmire would return for a fifth season. Season-five location filming was scheduled for late March to late June, 2016. It took place primarily in Las Vegas, New Mexico, the town that is shown in the series. Other locations included towns in the surrounding area. The studio work was completed at Garson Studios at Santa Fe University of Art and Design. The 10-episode fifth season was made available for viewing on September 23, 2016.
According to Eric Witt, director of the Santa Fe Film Office, season 6 filming was scheduled to begin in March 2017. By June, the interior scenes had been filmed at Garson Studios; location photography was underway in various New Mexico locations including Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Valles Caldera, Pecos and other sites in the northern part of the state. The director was by T.J. Scott and the producers included Hunt Baldwin, John Coveny, Greer Shephard and Michael M. Robin. Filming concluded the last week of June.
U.S. television ratings
Longmire debuted as A&E's number-one original-series premiere with 4.1 million total viewers.
|Season||Timeslot (ET)||Episodes||First aired||Last aired||TV season||Avg. viewers|
|1||Sunday 10:00pm||10||June 3, 2012||4.15||August 12, 2012||4.34||2011–12||TBD|
|2||Monday 10:00pm||13||May 27, 2013||4.31||August 26, 2013||4.42||2012–13||TBD|
|3||10||June 2, 2014||3.86||August 4, 2014||3.68||2013–14||TBD|
Longmire began airing in the United Kingdom on TCM, on March 17, 2013, at 9:00 pm, in Australia on GEM on May 15, 2013, at 9:30 pm. Season two began airing in Australia on July 31, 2013, and in Italy on Rete 4 on July 4, 2013, at 9:00 pm.
The sixth and final season began airing on TCM in the UK, on January 7, 2018.
The series is shown in Ireland on RTÉ One and in Germany on RTL Nitro, as of January 10, 2014, at 10:05 pm. It made its Canadian debut in English, in January 2014 on APTN, and in French on May 26, 2014, on Séries+. International broadcasters retain the rights to new Netflix-commissioned seasons of the show until their licenses expire.
The first season of Longmire was released on May 28, 2013. It featured a documentary about filming in New Mexico, when the setting is in Wyoming, a gallery of photographic stills, and some unaired scenes. The second season was released on May 13, 2014. The three-disc set included an extended directors' cut version of the seventh episode, "Sound and Fury", as well as the season finale, "Bad Medicine". A bonus featurette, "Testing Courage: The Storm Defines the Man", was also included. The third season, including a bonus featurette, "The Ghost in the Storm", was released on March 3, 2015. The first three seasons were added to Netflix in the United States in June 2015. The fourth season was released on September 16, 2016, in a three-disc, 10-episode set. The Blu-ray releases of the series were handled by the Warner Archive Collection.
Reception has generally been positive. During season 1, Nancy DeWolf Smith of The Wall Street Journal called the series "the best of two worlds: a modern crime drama with dry wit and sometimes heart-wrenching emotion that's also got a glorious setting under the big sky of Wyoming." She added: "If it weren't for a few modern conveniences, like cellphones and trucks, it might as well be 1875, so rugged and unspoiled does the scenery look." Newsday's Verne Gay stated: "Longmire arrives as silently as a dust devil kicked up by a high wind on the Wyoming plains. With little in the way of fanfare and a lead actor unacquainted with household name status, it must instead rely on a quiet fortitude, much like its namesake." He added: "Unassuming Longmire doesn't shout 'Love Me!' but instead works its charms subtly, quietly. There's promise here." Alan Sepinwall of HitFix said of Season 1, "there's a sense of place to the show that makes it feel unlike every other cop show on television", and he would "like to see the mysteries grow more engaging as the series moves along, but Longmire at least starts with a good foundation in Walt, his sidekicks, and the wide, open spaces they travel."
The San Francisco Chronicle's David Wiegand was critical, writing that the series "has the look and feel of a show cooked up by a bunch of bored TV industry types while they were waiting for the valet to bring their car to them at the Beverly Hills Chuck E. Cheese." He added: "There's very little drama, and the pilot episode lumbers along like an overfed elk."
Three years later, after viewing the first three episodes of Season 4, a top critic on the Roger Ebert site wrote, "It sometimes sounds like faint praise to describe a series like you would a reliable car but Longmire is just a sturdy show. It is well-constructed all around—confidently made, well-acted, and the writing is much smarter than many shows like it. It hums, each episode these three feeling more well-paced than the one before." At the same point in the series, Mike Hale of The New York Times also filed a favorable review, with particular praise for actor Robert Taylor, described as a "modern day Gary Cooper or Joel McCrea".
In the aggregate, Longmire received favorable reviews on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes. For example, Season 4 received an average rating of 8.5/10 based on 7 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. By season 5, and especially season 6, however, there have been no reviews by critics and few comments in the Audience Ratings section.
In 2013, the pilot episode of Longmire, whose teleplay was written by Hunt Baldwin and John Coveny, was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America. The season 2 episode, "Party's Over", was nominated by the Entertainment Industries Council for a PRISM Award for Best Drama Series Episode – Substance Use. Also in 2013, the series won the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum's Bronze Wrangler for Fictional Television Drama. The series won a Bronze Key Art Award for its season two television advertisement, titled "The Oath".
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