TV Review: A&E Mystery Series Return in ‘Longmire,’ ‘The Glades’

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Average: 3 (2 votes)

CHICAGO – A&E’s “Longmire,” returning tonight for its second season, can be a great show. It’s an underrated Western-mystery hybrid with a stellar lead performance from Robert Taylor and a heavy dose of “No Country For Old Men” atmosphere. “The Glades,” also returning tonight for its fourth season, is a more inconsistent program but has produced some solid episodes over its run. Neither show is at their best to start their latest outings with episodes that fall below what they typically deliver but they should still provide quality escapist entertainment over the Summer season. Television Rating: 3.5/5.0
Television Rating: 3.5/5.0

Reviewing shows like “Longmire” and “The Glades” off one season-premiere episode can be very difficult. Will the increased, overplayed tone of the season premiere of “Longmire” be something that keeps up for the whole season? Probably not. I find “Longmire” at its most interesting when it plays it subtle, going for the gruff, character-driven approach to mystery solving that’s too often missing in a genre glutted by quick cuts and overly complicated plots. The season premiere of “Longmire,” “Unquiet Mind,” featuring a guest appearance by Lawrence Gilliard Jr. from “The Wire,” is more of an intense thriller than fans of this show may be expecting, although it could be purposeful to try to keep some of the audience of the high-pitched “Bates Motel,” which ended its first season last week.

Photo credit: A and E

If you’re totally unfamiliar with “Longmire,” the title refers to Walt Longmire, the protagonist of a series of books by Craig Johnson. Sheriff of Absaroka County, Longmire (Robert Taylor) is an old-fashioned crime solver who knows what’s right, knows what’s wrong, and always gets the job done. He’s a thinker more than a doer, which is why the action pace of the premiere doesn’t do the show the most justice. Longmire has to deal with a headstrong daughter (Cassidy Freeman), a tough deputy (Katee Sackhoff), and another underling who wants his job (Bailey Chase). Lou Diamond Phillips co-stars.

The Glades
The Glades
Photo credit: A&E

“Unquiet Mind” features the transport of a notorious serial killer through Walt’s county. He’s not about to let the FBI handle it. If there’s someone dangerous in his area of the world, Longmire is in charge. Of course, things go very wrong on the eve of a vicious snowstorm. With a madman on the loose, Walt heads out after him, facing the elements that would kill most people and having imaginary conversations with people important to him along the way. “Unquiet Mind” certainly isn’t “bad” TV but it has a frantic, overheated pace that is more fitting for other programs. I like seeing Sackhoff being allowed to show her dramatic range as Vic gets more concerned about Walt’s fate but I expect the show will settle back into its more subtle groove next week. If you’re curious as to how “Longmire” got here, check out the DVD, hitting stores tomorrow — Synopsis & Special Features below. Television Rating: 2.5/5.0
Television Rating: 2.5/5.0

What about “The Glades”? Like the season premiere of “Longmire,” the start of the fourth season of “The Glades,” “Yankee Dan,” doesn’t feature the show at its best although I’m starting to think that the “best” of “The Glades” isn’t really all that great. It’s been a decent diversion in the Summer season for a few years now but how long can a show be little more than warm weather escapism before we want to move on to something else? Matt Passmore is starting to look a little bored as his Det. Jim Longworth has to investigate a poorly-written mystery in the season premiere (Passmore comes way more to life in the romantic arc with Kiele Sanchez, whose character he asked to marry at the end of last season). The writing in the premiere, in which Passmore seems to guess how an axe ended up in the back of his latest victim repeatedly until he happens to get it right, is pretty awful. I like the tone of the show, the cast is solid, and the writing is typically better than “Yankee Dan” but I’m still wanting more from a show that I don’t think is going to provide it.

Photo credit: Warner Bros.

“Longmire” DVD Synopsis:
Walt Longmire is just the man to close murder cases under the open skies of Absaroka County, Wyoming. Striding out of best-selling author Craig Johnson’s Western mystery novels, the charismatic and unflappable sheriff (Robert Taylor) headlines this spellbinding hit series with world-weary dedication. Struggling since his wife’s death a year ago and at the urging of his attorney daughter, Walt knows he must turn his life around. Aided by a new female deputy and his oldest friend, he becomes reenergized about his job and running for reelection, though an ambitious younger deputy (Bailey Chase_ is a rival candidate for the job. And despite the dark secrets and tangled relationships that pervade this 2-Disc, 10-Episode Season One Set, he doggedly solves the big crimes of Wyoming’s big sky country.

“Longmire” DVD Special Features:
o The Camera’s Eye: Realizing The World Of Longmire
o Longmire Justice: Exploring The Cowboy Detective

“The Glades” and “Longmire” return to A&E tonight, May 27, 2013, starting at 7pm CST. content director Brian Tallerico

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