Sheriff Longmire has the right to remain silent.
That’s practically a job requirement for archetypal western lawmen like him. The titular hero of A&E’s “Longmire” is the silent type – or at least a man of few words – and he’s remaining silent on at least one crucial detail about his recent history.
It’s a particular tidbit that gets revealed this Sunday (Aug. 12) as the inaugural season of “Longmire” (the second syllable rhymes with “spire”) comes to a close (10/9c on A&E).
Naturally, I won’t spoil it here, but I will tell you this secret has to do with the death of Longmire’s wife, a bit of backstory that has kind of hovered over this show ever since it premiered June 3 with the first of 10 episodes.
I know what this tidbit is, because I’ve seen the show – one of the benefits of toiling as a journo on the TV beat. I get to see these things in advance – which is a very special privilege indeed when it means getting to watch one of my current favorite shows in advance of its air date.
This was especially gratifying when I watched this season finale episode of “Longmire” the other day. Among other attributes, Charles Dutton guest-stars as a detective from Denver who comes to Wyoming to have a chat with Sheriff Longmire. And beyond that, mum’s the word on the detective’s visit.
If you haven’t been watching “Longmire,” then you’ve been missing one of the surprise hits of the summer TV season. Four million have been tuning in on average every Sunday to watch the show, which has been adapted from a series of “Longmire” mysteries written by Wyoming novelist Craig Johnson. His main character – Sheriff Walt Longmire, played on the show by Robert Taylor – is a modern-day county sheriff in eastern Wyoming. We found out early in the show’s first season that Walt’s a widower whose wife died recently. And he has a grown daughter. His deputies include Victoria Moretti (Katee Sackhoff) and Branch Connally (Bailey Chase). And Walt’s best friend is the Native-American owner of a bar in town – Henry Standing Bear, played by Lou Diamond Phillips.
Among other problems Walt’s been dealing with: The young, ambitious Branch is running against Walt in the election for local sheriff. Plus, Branch is dating (and sleeping with) Walt’s daughter, something Walt found out in last Sunday’s episode.
This Sunday, that storyline comes to a head also, along with the divulging of the secret we referenced above. And then, this attractive new series and its laconic sheriff go away for about a year.
And that’s the only fault I can find with “Longmire.”