Even after A&E Network canceled “Longmire,” title star Robert Taylor didn’t believe his three-season-old series was history.
“I thought it was a joke,” the 52-year-old Australian actor says. “… It took me a week or so and I reconciled myself to not doing it again, but I always believed we weren’t finished. I just felt it in my bones that we weren’t done.”
And his feelings were proven correct when nearly three months after its Aug. 2014 termination, Netflix picked up the hourlong drama for a fourth season, which drops with 10 episodes on Thursday (Sept. 10).
The story picks up where the third-season finale left off, with Absaroka (Wyo.) County Sheriff Walt Longmire (Taylor), having found out who was behind his wife’s murder, succumbs to his darker impulses and takes off with revenge in mind. What happens next and whether he follows through are questions that are answered in the new season.
“I think he feels things very deeply, especially since the death of his wife,” says Taylor, who is joined in Season 4 by fellow cast returnees Lou Diamond Phillips, Katee Sackhoff, Cassidy Freeman and Bailey Chase. “I think that kind of destroyed his universe and nothing seems to make sense anymore. And as much as a guy his age and with his background can be searching for something, he would never admit it in polite company – or impolite company, for that matter. … I mean, he does resolve to do something about it but ultimately that may not be the right decision.”
When it comes to details on Season 4, Taylor is understandably tight-lipped lest he give away spoilers but a trailer says it will be about second chances. And for Walt, that means how he moves forward now that he thinks he’s found his wife’s killer.
“Obviously, it’s all about the writing,” Taylor says of how he connects to Walt’s moods. “… You bring your soul, or a version of your soul, with your spirit and you have to render that and deliver that, and nobody gives you any notes on that. That comes entirely from the actor.”
Phillips, who plays Longmire’s best friend, Henry Standing Bear, agrees.
“I think it’s part and parcel of playing characters who are our age,” he says. “I mean, I’ve been around a long time — we both have — and to finally be able to play characters who are mature men who have life experience, who have baggage and history and mileage — the scripts are all fantastic but they do rely on us to bring that sense of gravitas to it.
“And I’ve always said as an actor we’re very fortunate because the longer we live, hopefully the more we learn, the more our minds are open, the more we are able to apply having kids, having our ups and downs, having challenges in life to our work that enriches our work. And our writers have blessed us by not giving us superficial characters. They put us in these situations where we have to draw on our experiences, our empathy, our compassion as mature human beings, to round out who these characters are and how they deal with their choices.”