UPDATE: If you don't know, #Netflix has picked up Longmire, for 10 episodes for 2015!
We're all lovers of A&E's "Longmire" series, based on Craig Johnson's novels. But: what the heck is up with the show's writers?
If you're a fan of A&E's Longmire, then you probably already know what I'm about to say, but why on earth are Longmire's writers so poorly-informed about the world in which we live? Is it that they are cavalier about the intelligence of their audience? Do they simply not care? Or are they themselves simply too lazy to do five minutes worth of research? Here's a shortlist of some of the most boneheaded errors so far (and in this, I am repeatedly and deliberately ignoring the fact that they constantly get the law wrong with regard to lawkeeping on the reservations, adjoining towns/cities, and law enforcement officers, generally):
- In Episode 2 , Season 3, "Of Children and Travelers," which aired June 9th, Walt and Vic drive to Arizona from Wyoming. There's no indication that they stop on the way, or spend a night before getting to Arizona. They seem to drive to Arizona in a few hours, meet the woman at the orphanage, drive around some more, go to a hotel, and eat dinner. Vic and Walt then retire to their (respective) hotel rooms. When Vic speaks to one of the other deputies back in Wyoming on the phone,she says that she and Walt are "driving back in the morning, and we're going to see the foster parents." The foster parents in Wyoming? That morning? Listen, Longmire writers, I have news for you: I have a house in central Arizona and one in Western Wyoming (far closer to Arizona than eastern Wyoming, mind you). They are 859 miles apart. The fastest we have ever driven it--and this is on Western highways, where 70-80 mph (and, when nobody's around, even faster) is common--is 15 hours. Hell, to drive from the northern edge of Phoenix, Arizona, to the Grand Canyon (still in Arizona, mind you) is not a minute less than 3 hours. To Page, to the Utah border? Add another hour and 15 minutes. This is THE WEST, folks. This isn't the Eastern Seaboard where you roll through 4 states in as many hours.
- In season 1, "The Dog Soldier": The writers completely get the adoption/fostering scam wrong. Just ask attorney Bonnie Riley, who blogged about it on May 6th. Bonnie said "On the A&E show, a villainous social worker and a group home director schemed to take children from the nearby Indian reservation, fabricating allegations of parental abuse or neglect, then skimming the premium paid to the foster parents. This made for a tension-filled story, but the show’s writers were apparently ignorant of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) in exercising their poetic license." Now, in fairness, as this is a complicated issue, I'm prepared to cut the show's writers some slack, but this type of mistake continues, after nearly 3 seasons, to plague the show.
- Season 2, Episode 1: In "Unquiet Mind," Walt tracks an escaped convict through a blizzard. Now, as anyone who has ever lived in Wyoming, or Montana, etc., can tell you, taking off to track anyone in a blizard is, to put it mildly, incredibly stupid. Moreover, Walt does this a) without proper clothing, barely wearing a jacket, much less snow gear, and b) manages to have a raging fight with the escapee, during which, Walt falls into a frozen stream, drenching himself--and survives. Having lived both in Western Wyoming and Alaska, lemme tell you: that's total bullpucky. Nobody survives being soaked in a Wyoming winter, hero or not. This mistake was so bad that I wondered if author Craig Johnson actually lived in Key West, FL, but devotees of the series (written) tell me that this boneheaded mistake was yet another creation by Hollywood.
- "Miss Cheyenne," which aired last week on the 16th, had this doozy: Walt and Vic ask a doctor to "waive doctor-patient privilege" for his patient's privacy. Hello? No such thing. A doctor can violate his patient's privacy, and the patient's privilege--but he can't "waive" it. The USA is a country of laws. When you have laws, you have what are, for all intents and purposes, contracts. Just as I can't sign a contract (for example, a car purchase and loan) for you, and bind you to that contract, a doctor can't waive his patient's privilege. That belongs solely to the patient to waive--not the Doctor. (Another Longmire boo-boo; last season , a doctor claimed "patient privilege" for a dead person--for whom privilege no longer exists.) If the doctor gave Walt the information, he didn't waive the privilege--he violated it. In the real world, doctors lose their licenses for that, and are oftentimes sued for the same thing. I'm pretty sure that every 6th-Grader in the US, who has ever seen a television show, knows that the writers on Longmire got this one wrong.
I don't mind a little "poetic license" in a storyline. I don't. But I do object to the constant errors that are so egregious that they yank me out of the story. I really like Longmire. The characters are great, and they are near-perfectly cast. The storylines, generally, are pretty good. So, why, then, is each episode ruined with some line of dialogue, or plot, that could be fixed with five minutes' worth of research? It's a shame, and it consistently prevents Longmire from becoming a great show.
So, Longmire fans: what will this week's boneheaded mistake be? I'm assuming that as we see Henry in an electronic monitoring device, the mistake will be about that. Either the tracking ankle bracelet will magically stop working, or will work too well--something. I can't speak for other Longmire fans, but I for one would really like to see the show live up to its potential: stop wasting all that on-screen talent by giving them crappy erroneous lines to read, or plotlines that are fatally flawed.