I’ve devoted only one of 645 posts to a television show, Longmire, because the series is exceptional. Walt Longmire, a rural Wyoming sherif, is haunted by his wife’s murder. Each week we see him try to keep peace with his own demons, with his daughter, his employees, and the neighboring Cheyenne reservation, while solving crimes and capturing desperadoes.
Though the show has a solid viewer base, A&E cancelled the series two weeks ago. TV Guide reports that Longmire viewers are too far over the hill. With an average age of 61, apparently we don’t by as much stuff as the sought-after 19-49 year old demographic.
“It was losing money for us,” said one A&E executive. “It’s a business.” No one thought the decision was based on quality…
All may not be lost. As one of the top 25 television shows of the summer, Warner Brothers is putting together a presentation to other cable networks to continue with a fourth season for Longmire. I hope they succeed so I don’t have to spend my “golden years” recalling the good old days when television was occasionally intelligent.
Thanks to a tip from our niece, Theresa, we’ve discovered a promising mystery show on A&E. Longmire, based on a series of award winning novels by Chris Johnson, premiered in June, 2012. Now in its second season, the first years’ shows are available on Netflix.
In the pilot, we find Walt Longmire (played by Australian actor, Robert Taylor), sherif of the fictional Absaroka County, Wyoming, returning to work a year after his wife’s death. He gets a call from his deputy, Vic (aka Victoria, played by Katee Sackhoff), formerly a Philadelphia homicide detective. Joining her on a remote ridge, they discover a dead sheep and a dead man, both killed by bullets from an antique Sharps rifle.
The victim is a teacher whose wife thought he was in Laramie. With more digging and the help of his Cheyenne Indian friend, Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips), Longmire discovers the dead man was the father of a 16 year old girl whose Cheyenne mother reported her missing three months earlier. That could present new problems; Longmire isn’t popular on “the Res,” having jailed the tribe’s chief for extortion. A gun expert warns Longmire that the Sharps rifle can kill a horse at 500 yards. Such an antique sniper’s weapon would only be used “by a coward or a professional, and both can be very dangerous.”
Longmire echoes the square-jawed defenders of justice from earlier era westerns – he reminds me of the McLoud mysteries that starred Dennis Weaver from 1970-77. This show, like our times, is darker and more full of angst than the earlier series. Look for the show on Monday’s on A&E, or on Netflix. I plan to.