The pilot episode of the new A&E Network series “Longmire” is a refreshing take on the crime drama genre, largely due to the performance of lead actor Robert Taylor (“The Matrix”), but the effective writing of Hunt Baldwin (“The Closer”) and John Coveny (“The Closer”) doesn’t hurt the show, either.
The Australian actor plays Walt Longmire, a character based on the Walt Longmire Mystery novels by Craig Johnson.
As the series begins, Longmire, sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, is just beginning to get back on his feet after the death of his wife a year before and he decides to run for re-election while being challenged by young Deputy Branch Connally (Bailey Chase, “Damages”).
Longmire has the support of daughter Cady (Cassidy Freeman, “Smallville”) and close friend Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips,” Numb3rs”), as well as from female deputy Vic Moretti (Katee Sackhoff, “Battlestar Galactica”), who is new to the department.
Taylor is magnetic as the determined and deliberate sheriff, conveying not only strength, but also a touching vulnerability, especially in a scene involving the notification of the death of a man to the victim’s wife.
This scene was extremely affecting and memorable in an overall well-paced, deftly-acted and engagingly written and produced pilot which was directed by Christopher Chulack (“Southland”).
“Longmire” premieres with the first of 10 one-hour episodes at 9 p.m. Sunday, June 3 on A&E.
– Melissa Hayer
Follow me on Twitter: @MelissaHayer