A New Old Western that premiered on A&E on June 3, 2012 based on the series of mystery novels by Craig Johnson. It follows the adventures of Walt Longmire, a Wyoming sheriff attempting to keep the peace in his county while recovering from the loss of his recently-deceased wife.
This show provides examples of:
All-Natural Snake Oil: Elk velvetine is a remedy made from elk pancreas and powdered elk horn. When ingested it can sometimes cause an otherwise healthy young man to develop a debilitating wasting sickness.
Ascended Extra: Branch. In the book series, his character only appeared in the first book.
Animal Assassin: A bear is baited into killing a convicted killer who was granted early parole in "The Worst Kind of Hunter".
Badass: Sheriff Longmire of course. In the premiere he escapes gunfire by counting the exact amount of time it takes to reload that particular gun and running only during the reloading time, as he makes his way to his truck.
Played with a bit: Longmire is clearly absolutely terrified.
Bears Are Bad News: One Victim of the Week was drugged, tied up, covered in meat and left in an area where a bear was known to live. It was one of the most gruesome crime scenes Longmire and his deputies have ever seen.
Walt Longmire and Henry are two nice guys who work hard to support their community and do the right thing. But piss either of them off, and God help you.
Branch is a quite decent man who really believes that he can be a better sheriff than Walt. When he finds out that Cady's car was sabotaged he goes after the perpetrator full bore, not caring that he is digging into things that his most powerful backer would rather leave hidden.
Can't Bathe Without a Weapon: When Vic is being stalked by Ed Gorski in "A Good Death is Hard to Find", she starts taking her gun into the shower with her.
Cowboy Cop: Walt is a good detective, but a rubbish sheriff, and as he spends less time keeping his workmates in the loop, he risks losing his job.
His predecessor was one too.
Crime After Crime: A man starts out by simply buying an illegally manufactured natural remedy for his sick wife. When he cannot afford more he resorts to poaching elk to make it himself. However, he ends up killing a witness and then frames another poacher for the crime. When that fails he adds attempted murder of a police officer to the list when he attacks Walt with a hunting knife. The remedy is primarily All-Natural Snake Oil and he was simply deluding himself into thinking it helped.
Dark Secret: Something happened in Philadelphia that caused Vic to relocate to Wyoming.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: She blew the whistle on a fellow cop who was involved in corruption. This caused the corrupt cop to kill himself. His partner retaliated against Vic by stalking her.
Death Seeker: Lampshaded in the season two premiere. A group of armed prisoners escape into the mountains and Walt goes after them alone in the middle of a snow storm. The other characters start wondering if Walt is trying to get himself killed. When Walt starts to hallucinate, one of his hallucinations accuses him of this which means that he is actually thinking that dying up on the mountain might be a solution to his problems.
Department of Child Disservices: Joseph Nighthorse accuses the DCF of being this in "Dog Soldiers" and accuses them of profiting off taking Cheyenne children from perfectly fine homes and he's right, though it also turns out that the "Dog Soldier" who's been abducting them back is Nighthorse himself.
Drink Order: Longmire only drinks Rainier brand beer. It becomes important when he crashes his truck and scatters empty beer cans all over the accident scene. He is accused of drinking too much and drinking and driving. He explains that he picks up litter and points out that none of the cans are his brand.
Subverted in "Of Children and Travelers." Apparently he's not above drinking a Coors if Rainier is not available.
Evil Is Petty: Ed Gorski has a serious vendetta against Vic for turning his partner in.
Jacob Nighthorse and Barlow Connally will cheerfully screw each other over in any way they can, no matter how minor.
Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: Cady, midway through Season 2, loses her job at the law firm, and ends up working at Henry's bar (much to Walt's disapproval).
Foreshadowing: In the pilot Walt sees an owl outside his window in broad daylight as he's making coffee. In Cheyenne mythology owls are a symbol of foreboding or a messenger of evil things. Later, a stuffed one appears in the background of a scene when he's talking to Dan Estes, who turns out to be the killer.
Gay Panic: One of Walt's cases turns out to be a case along these lines: A son is unable to handle his father having sex with the local beer distributor.
The Ferg in the second season; he goes from cuddly doofus to a very competent and smart investigator.
Lucian Connally, who fires off shotguns in nursing homes and snarks at anyone and everyone available, is a poet.
Hypocrite: Jacob Nighthorse, full stop. He will happily talk up his heritage when it suits his purposes, but will also cheerfully discard it if it gets in the way of his business enterprises. For example, his paying for Cheyenne graves to be defiled so he can build his casino.
Improbable Aiming Skills: Longmire is able to fire his rifle and hit the driver of a moving SUV that is a fair distance from him and driving over very bumpy terrain. Just hitting the car would have been a very good shot. Somewhat justified in that he takes his time and uses a sniper's technique instead of just jamming the rifle into his shoulder and firing.
I Never Said It Was Poison: A murder suspect incriminates himself when he claims that Longmire has no jurisdiction because the murder occurred on the reservation. However, the official story is that the murder occurred just outside the reservation. Only Longmire, the tribal police chief and the actual murderer know where the real crime scene is.
Instant Sedation: Averted. Vic is hit with a Tranquilizer Dart meant for a bear and she stays on her feet and talking for quite some time before becoming incoherent and losing consciousness. She is taken to the hospital where she spends some time recovering from the effects. Walt realizes that if the dart was really meant for a bear, the dose would have killed her. The shooter shot her on purpose but did not want to kill her.
Inspector Javert: Detective Fales from Denver. He's investigating Walt and Henry for the murder of the crackhead who killed Walt's wife.
Malcolm Xerox: Detective Fales distrusts Walt because of his own experience growing up in a small Southern town that had a corrupt sheriff who abused his power.
Insult Backfire: A white security guard tries to insult Henry by calling him "kemosabe". Henry points out that the Indian was called Tonto and Kemosabe was the white guy's nickname.
Jerk Ass: Jacob Nighthorse and Barlow Connally, the latter to the point where Branch finds it actively humiliating.
Jerkass Has a Point: Nighthorse, at least, turns out to be dead on about Cheyenne children being taken by the DCF for a profit.
Matthias the tribal police chief to a lesser degree, but he slowly gets over it as Walt demonstrates respect for his jurisdiction and helps him root out problems.
The sheriff's department and the reservation's tribal police really don't get along at all. Must have something to do with Longmire arresting he tribal police chief. Things are so bad that he has to sneak onto the reservation at night in the back of a pickup truck just so he can speak with a witness who lives there.
Both Longmire and the tribal police hate to get the feds involved.
When Longmire's investigation leads him to a neighboring county, the county's sheriff is not happy that Longmire did not check in with him before interrogating a resident. Then when Henry independently follows the trail to the same location, the sheriff thinks Walt is responsible.
Inverted when the tribal police is nice to them and asks for their help. Longmire and Vic suspect that they are about to be set up for something bad. They are proven right when Longmire discovers that the tribal police chief moved a dead body just outside the reservation border so Longmire is the one who has to investigate a politically sensitive murder that could scuttle his chances at re-election
Vic punches an FBI agent when he refuses to send a helicopter to search for Walt who is alone on a mountain looking for escaped prisoners. She is then booted off the investigation and barred from the room.
Oddly enough, the tribal police seem to get along well with the Denver police, but that may only be because they're investigating Walt.
Morton's Fork: Walt presents the bad guy with one of these in the episode "Dog Soldiers". Namely, "Turn yourself in for murder and go to jail, or get beaten and possibly killed by the guy you framed for the murder."
He does it again next episode. Turn yourself in or get mauled by a bear.
He (with Vic's help) does it again in "The Great Spirit". Confess, or get dragged off by a horse.
New Old West: Takes place in modern Wyoming and features pickup trucks and modern bars alongside cowboy hats and horses.
Noble Savage: Totally averted with Lou Diamond Phillips's Henry Standing Bear, a Deadpan Snarker modern-day Native American (i.e. wearing usual modern American western clothes rather than traditional garb) who is Walt's best friend.
Played a bit straight with Hector though, minus the traditional garb. He's an enforcer for the local Cheyenne, has a constant look of stoicism on his face, speaks in somewhat simple and old-fashioned terms. However, as Walt himself points out in the Season 2 finale, he's the only one whose conscience wouldn't allow him to play judge, jury, and executioner of Walt's wife's killer
Completely subverted with Jacob Nighthorse. Not savage, but definitely not noble. Being a powerful businessman/politician, he happily flip flops between the Native American community and the White corporate world, depending on whatever will profit him the most.
Perfect Poison: Averted. A man drinks poisoned tea and it takes quite some time before he starts convulsing and vomiting. Longmire pours water into the man's throat to induce more vomiting. The man is miserable but lives.
Retired Badass: Lucian Connally is implied to be this in the TV series, and more obviously one in the books.
The Rez: A major setting, and Walt's history with the police there make up a major source of conflict in the show.
Running Gag: Longmire does not own a cellphone but somehow they are still able to reach him by calling the cell phone to the person he is with at the time. This once occurs while he's in the middle of a Cheyenne ceremony at a lodge and one of the Cheyenne's phones goes off in the middle.
Wham Episode: "Death Came In Like Thunder": Walt didn't kill the man who murdered his wife. Henry did.
Season 2 finale gives us a few more details. Walt tracked the guy down, but he and a few friends of his damn near beat Walt to death. So Henry goes to Denver, finds the guy and tells him he's a dead man, then sends Hector, a local thug from the rez, to handle it. But Hector isn't a killer, and just kicked the guy's ass and took some of his teeth to give to Henry. Teeth that Detective Fales finds, and thus has Henry arrested. So the real killer is still out there, Walt's best friend is more than likely going to prison for something he didn't do, one of his deputies is being stalked by a man from her past, and Branch got shot out on the rez. Oh, and Walt also learned his wife's death was quite possibly a paid hit. Walt's episode ending office trashing is entirely justified under the circumstances.
Before that, "Election Day" features Cady being hit by a drunk driver, Branch discovering the man backing him in the election was playing dirty, and the Ferg showing a fairly serious case of Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass. The election, which the show has supposedly been building to since the first episode, is mentioned only in passing.
What the Hell, Hero?: When Longmire accuses Henry of being a pimp, Henry calls him out on the fact that they have been friends for 37 years and Longmire still does not seem to trust him. He also gets very snarky over the fact that Longmire was basing his accusation on a vague description of "the Indian at the Red Pony" and only found out later that it was referring to Henry's also-Cheyenne busboy.
Would Hit a Girl: Branch hits October reasonably hard in "An Incredibly Beautiful Thing" to stop her attack on Cady.
Would Not Hit a Girl: When Lucian Connally shoots up his room at the retirement home Longmire sends in Vic on the assumption that Lucian would not shoot at a woman.