Having recently feasted upon modern day cowboy series Justified (I’m up to season 4), I was interested to see whether Longmire could steal my affections. However, Walt Longmire is definitely not Ralen Givens.

He’s older, (occasionally) wiser, even more set in his ways, and twice as prickly. Walt is Ralen in ten or fifteen years time when life has kicked him around a bit more.

Longmire opens with some fairly standard country cop storylines and warms us into the characters slowly.

Right out of the gate though, the bolshy, displaced city cop role, fits Katee Sackoff like a glove. Bailey Chase (Saving Grace) gives deputy Branch Conolly’s character some brooding depths, and Louanne Stephens (Friday Night Lights) as Ruby the dispatcher, is outstanding in whichever role she plays.

Lou Diamond Phillips portrays the character of Henry Standing Bear, Walt’s best friend, and a man constantly trying to bridge the divide between the local townsfolk and the Native American community. Less interested in conciliation is (Zahn McClarnon) Chief Mathias of the Tribal Police on the Cheyene Reservation.

Because of the quality of these actors, I stayed through the first few episodes though I didn’t feel that the stories matched their acting potential. With three episodes left to go in series one, Longmire felt like it hit a rhythm. The over-arcing storyline that explores the tensions between the Cheyenne reservation and the rest of Absaroka county is the most interesting aspect of the series so far.

Walt’s grief after losing his wife and his battle against Branch to retain his position as Sheriff, also provides some inter-office conflict. And though Walt’s friendship with Henry Standing Bear is the lynchpin relationship in the series, the real prize is the land.

Even on the small screen, the countryside (sadly not Wyoming, but California and New Mexico) dominates the series in the same way that Texas pervaded Friday Night Lights. I’m looking forward to season 2 to see where the writers and Aussie actor, Robert Taylor, takes Walt Longmire. The trailer (below) tells us there’s a storm coming.  

Season 2

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but I love Canadian TV series. King is now sitting on my video shelves with Booker, The Border, Wiseguy and (my all time favourite) Intelligence.

Unfortunately, this cop show only lasted two series but it’s still well worth watching. Wiki says: Amy Price-Francis [is] Jessica King, a veteran police officer who gets promoted to head of the Major Crimes Task Force in Toronto after her predecessor has a breakdown on television.

Jessica is over-achieving, blunt, smart-mouthed workaholic who takes no prisoners at work. Her husband (played by Gabriel Hogan) is a Guns and Gangs detective with a gambling problem and chip on his shoulder. The marriage is tumultuous and passionate. And then there’s her colleague, Detective Spears (Alan van Sprang), demoted, lonely and kind falling in love with her. It’s messy!

Though the storylines aren’t anywhere near as compelling as Intelligence, Jessica’s relationships with those around her and enough to hook the viewer in. When her and her husband decide to try and fit children into the equation, some very real issues are brought to the table.

Probably the most interesting aspect of the show for me, was seeing Jessica’s personality played out against colleagues, family, felons and strangers. Though abraisive and arrogant she’s also loyal to a fault; the kind of person you learn to love despite her sharp edges. Oh, and the high heels – they rarely matched her outfits. But Jessica King didn’t care.

Unfortunately, like many of the best characters in TV fiction, her network abandoned her. Shame on them!

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 

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