Jun 4, 201201:44 PMThe Telegraph
The Premier Blog of the West
'Longmire' -- Episode 1 Recap
In case you missed Sunday evening’s premiere episode of Longmire – the A&E Network series based on Craig Johnson’s popular mystery novels – here’s the Top 5 things you need to know before tuning in next week. As a bonus, the good folks at A&E have made the first episode watchable for free online.
BACK IN THE SADDLE: Walt Longmire -- played with taciturn authority and subtle, self-effacing wit by Robert Taylor – is introduced just as he’s beginning to emerge from a deep blue funk one year after the death of his beloved wife. During that down time, he’s evidently been less than totally attentive to his duties as sheriff of Absaroka County in Wyoming. But that’s about to change.
A MAN’S GOT TO DO WHAT A MAN’S GOT TO DO: Longmire is called in when Victoria “Vic” Moretti (Katee Sackhoff), his deputy of six months, discovers the corpse of a sheep unaccountably killed with a high-powered rifle on a snow-covered hillside near town. As they converse, Vic emphasizes – seemingly for the umpteenth time -- that she’s an experienced cop, newly migrated to Wyoming after several years as homicide investigator in Philadelphia. But it’s Longmire who notices that, not so far from the corpse of the sheep, the corpse of a man – felled by the same type of rifle – lies in the snow.
STILL WATERS RUN DEEP: Longmire takes it upon himself to break the bad news to the murdered man’s wife, who lives in a town a five-hour drive away. While informing her, however, Longmire is the one who briefly breakes down – even sheds a tear or two – while his talk of a spouse’s untimely demise triggers painful memories for him. (Which actually seems to help bring about some sort of catharsis for the lawman.) On the way back to his own town, Longmire gets a rude surprise – a campaign billboard for another deputy, Branch Connally (Bailey Chase), who’s running against him for sheriff of Absaroka County in an upcoming election – and he’s so shocked and distracted that he winds up running his vehicle off the road.
JUDGE NOT, LEST YE BE JUDGED: Because several empty beer cans are found in Longmire’s wrecked vehicle, some folks – including Deputy Connally, of course, but also Longmire’s own daughter, Cady Longmire (Cassidy Freeman), an attorney – suspect the worst. But it’s a bum rap: Longmire just has a thing against littering, and is prone to picking up trash wherever he finds it. On the other hand, Longmire is equally quick to rush to judgment when, while connecting dots that lead from the murder victim to a small-scale prostitution ring, he assumes a person of interest referred to as “the Indian at the Red Pony” is his longtime friend, Native American (and Red Pony bar owner) Henry Standing Bear (a graceful-under-pressure Lou Diamond Phillips). Henry, it should be noted, does not take kindly to being suspected of human trafficking. Not to worry, though: The two buddies patch things up in time for Henry to teach Longmire an “O.I.T.” (i.e., Old Indian Trick) that helps the lawman avoid getting killed during a climactic confrontation with the real bad guy.
THE RECKONING: Longmire’s successful resolution of the murder investigation – and, more important, his return of a runaway Native American teenager to her anxious mom – appears to temporarily assuage tensions between Longmire and Tribal Police officers who resent his intrusions on their jurisdiction. (There has been bad blood between them ever since Longmire arrested the corrupt police chief.) At the end of the episode, Longmire is sufficiently rejuvenated to launch his re-election campaign, taking a small but meaningful step to demonstrate that he’s willing to fight for his job.