Walt and his team find a connection between two seemingly unrelated armed robberies.
We're taking an episode-by-episode look at Season 4 of “Longmire,” which currently is available for streaming on Netflix. Be forewarned: There will be spoilers a-plenty in each of these overviews.
THE PLOT: Walt interrupts his winnowing of candidates for the late Branch Connally’s job when he responds to a report of a shooting at the home of Greg Collette, who says he was wounded by a home invader who stole his wife’s engagement ring. Where was Brandi, his wife, when this happened? Greg informs Walt that Brandi, a troubled military veteran who suffered from PTSD, killed herself two months ago.
Walt is accompanying Greg to the hospital in an ambulance when he gets a call about another shooting, this one at a storage warehouse where a security guard reports he was wounded by masked bandits who stole, among other things, a hefty supply of the antidepressant Zoloff.
It seems more than a little odd that two armed robberies would occur on the same day in Absaroka County. And sure enough, it doesn’t take long for Walt, Vic and Ferg — with a little help from candidates for the deputy job — to find a connection between the seemingly unrelated cases. Walt briefly considers the possible culpability of VA hospital psychiatrist Dr. Donna Sue Monahan (Ally Walker), who tried and failed to help the late Brandi Collette, and seems frustrated by her inability to get other PTSD-stricken veterans to admit they need treatment. But no: She insists that she’s not into “psychiatric vigilantism,” and certainly wouldn’t be passing out Zoloft — stolen or otherwise — without first carefully diagnosing the specific problems of patients. Walt believes her — even though she just happens to be conducting group therapy sessions for the spouses of troubled vets at a church where he and Vic find a stash of the purloined antidepressant.
Ultimately, Walt identifies Greg, a veteran who fought alongside Greg's wife, and the wife of a vet receiving stolen Zoloft as the ones responsible for the warehouse theft. The security guard wounded the robbers during a brief gun battle — which is how Greg got shot — but agreed not to identify them after he learned what they were up to. (After all, one of them did patch up his leg after he, too, was wounded.)
With the case closed, Walt returns his attention to the hiring process, and selects Zachary Heflin (Barry Sloane of Revenge), a sharp candidate (and, not incidentally, a crack shot) who appears to have soothed his inner demons by practicing Tai Chi. At least, that’s his story, and he’s sticking to it.
TAKEAWAY NO. 1: Walt tests his applicants for the deputy job by having them read John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and asking how they would respond, while in the line of duty, to the situation described in the novel’s final pages, where George prepares to kill Lenny before his friend is lynched. It’s the sort of idiosyncratic mind game one has come to expect from our crafty hero — and, to give them credit, the writers planted a portent for it at the start of Episode 404, where we saw Walt reading Steinbeck’s book during his rest-and-recuperation period. But wait, there’s more: There are echoes of the novel’s finale in the extremely suspenseful wrap-up of the robbery plot, when Walt finds himself at the wrong end of a gun and yet manages to talk himself out of the situation. And at the very end, Zachary’s thoughtful response to Walt’s original test is what pretty much seals the deal in terms of his getting hired.
TAKEAWAY NO. 2: While at the Red Pony, Vic finally calls Eamonn O’Neill (Josh Cooke), a potential romantic interest (and rejected candidate for the deputy job) who was introduced in Episode 404 — but immediately hangs up when a woman answers his cellphone. So she moseys on over to the table where Travis Murphy (Derek Phillips), another would-be deputy, is steaming over being rebuffed by Walt. All of which raises the question: Isn’t it time for this poor woman to stop looking for love in all the wrong places, and make another play for her boss?
TAKEAWAY NO. 3: Walt is surprised to hear the news of Brandi’s suicide — and the rumors that Hector, or someone like him, is once again avenging wrongs in Absaroka County. Now, granted, our hero has had a lot on his mind lately. But wouldn’t you think that the sheriff in a small town would already be up to speed on both these matters? Maybe he’s been spending a little too much time reading literary classics, and not paying enough attention to current events?