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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Longmire is murder mystery/police procedural show, with all the grittiness that implies. Crime is the focus of the series, so parents can expect to see dead bodies, lowlifes, unpleasant situations, and some blood. Most storylines are adult-oriented, with the main character recently widowed, and career competition as a major narrative thread. Expect some occasional language ("s--t") and coarse references to sex, but mature teens with a penchant for Western fare might enjoy the drama.
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What's the story?
Laconic Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor), the hero of the crime drama LONGMIRE, is a shell of a man since the death of his wife last year. While he was struggling with his new widower status, a rival at the sheriff's office, the ambitious young Deputy Branch Connally, is out to dethrone Longmire by running against him for sheriff. But Longmire is determined not to let his position go so easily. Even while he opposes Connally, Longmire still has to work with him, as well as with his tetchy and talkative new deputy, Philadelphia expatriate Victoria "Vic" Moretti (Katee Sackhoff). Together Moretti, Longmire, Connally, and the other deputies solve twisty crimes with a Big Sky flavor, such as those connected with the local Indian reservation, where Longmire has a connection in the form of his best friend Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips).
Is it any good?
Though the guns-n-clues antics of Longmire will be familiar to an audience weaned on police procedurals, the Wyoming setting turns out to be just as important a character as the human actors, and Western lovers will thrill to the many shots of cowboy hats, spurs, and Big Sky sunsets. This is not to discount the characters of Longmire, who cannot be dismissed by a one-phrase description as can the faces on many a cop show. These characters are knotty and complex, and think more than they say, particularly main character Walt Longmire, the very epitome of a strong, silent man who does what needs to be done without a lot of discussion.
The show is a little slow-moving, which is actually an asset to viewers who prefer character development to a plot which moves around actors like they're chess pieces. Longmire's characters are recognizably human: sometimes noble, sometimes petty, sometimes just doing the best they can in a bad situation. That these situations are criminal livens up the proceedings considerably, as does the fine acting and magical setting. This is not a show for those who like their action fast 'n' furious; instead, this is a murder mystery that's clearly taking its time setting up complex situations with realistic characters. It's a lot to chew on, but patient types who relish a show with some meat on its bones will appreciate the slow burn.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Longmire is different from police procedural shows like Law & Order or CSI. Does Longmire move as quickly as these shows? Does it linger on gore and dead bodies? Why do you think Longmire chose to distinguish itself from other crime programs in this way?
Many current crime shows have offshoots set in different cities: CSI: Miami for example, or Law & Order: Los Angeles. Can you imagine a Longmire: Los Angeles or is the Wyoming setting an important part of this series? How does the setting affect plot and characterization on Longmire?
Longmire centers on a man past middle age, which is pretty unusual for television series. Why do you think most TV shows focus on people in their twenties and thirties? Can you relate to Sheriff Longmire's character even if you're younger than him?