EXCLUSIVE : LONGMIRE Scoop: Katee Sackhoff Interview

Riding high after its fourth season debut on Netflix, LONGMIRE continues its strong streak of captivating stories and even more addictive characters.  When A&E suddenly announced the shows cancellation last year, fans and viewers were stunned.  It was with immense relief when two months later Netflix announced that it was picking up LONGMIRE for a fourth season — especially since LONGMIRE had ended its third season on a brutal cliffhanger where the fate of Branch Connally (Bailey Chase) was unknown as a shot rang out.  Plus, fans were wondering if anything romantic was ever going to blossom between Sheriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) and Deputy Victoria Moretti (Katee Sackhoff) after Vic’s husband announced he was divorcing her due to her increasing closeness with Walt.  But mostly, fans were just dying to spend more time in the incredible world brought to life in LONGMIRE with its rapturous portrayal of the rugged beauty of Southwest, as well as the quirky town and Sheriff’s office served as perhaps the last bridge between a time of old west values and the encroaching fast-paced world we now live in.  

In an exclusive interview, star Katee Sackhoff talked about how confidently LONGMIRE moved through its fourth season and seemingly is embracing a fifth season should Netflix give it the green light, as well as teasing a bit more about the fun they had working on Season 4.

Your co-stars have been hinting at Season 5, which is probably a good thing since Season 4 ended in another cliffhanger.
KATEE:  (Laughs) Who is doing that?!

Robert Taylor.
KATEE:  Well, he would know.  He has all the producers on speed-dial.  I wouldn’t know.  But I imagine that I’ll find out at some point.   

Given the cliffhanger from Season 4, is Vic ready to step and be the Sheriff again in Walt’s absence, if it comes to that?  Will she be out for vengeance?  Do you have any idea what they may be thinking of if the show gets Season 5?
KATEE:  (Laughs) I don’t ask.  I have been in this place for a while now where I don’t ever believe that another season is coming and I try to prepare myself for it if is not happening.  It’s sort of an emotional defense-mechanism.  This business is full of ups-and-downs and, after you get your heart broken one too many, you just stop hoping.  So I don’t really ask what is going to happen.  Even if the show gets picked up, I may not be back — they may not ask me back.   If the show gets picked up, then each actor individually has to get their individual pick up letter.  So it’s just too much to think about for a creative person who is artistic.  The business aspect sort of drags you down sometimes.

How did it feel for you reading that final scene of Season 4 and where they left the show hanging?
KATEE:  It was weird.  A lot of people disagree with me, but I didn’t feel like Vic was involved in that final scene.  She didn’t know that it had happened and she wasn’t there, so I didn’t even think about where it went next.   People are always asking me, “How did it end?” and I say, “I don’t remember.”  Then I go, “Oh, right, the door!”  I try not to think about it. For my character, regardless, it probably wouldn’t affect her anyway.  So I have no idea.  I will be excited to find out what happens.    

Can you envision a world where Vic might want to give Walt a run for his money and be sheriff one day herself?
KATEE:  I don’t know.  That is so interesting.  Maybe.  But I don’t see him retiring anytime soon.  You mean run against him?  No.  Those people die.  (Laughs)  The person that Vic is and the character that they have created, I don’t know if she is that much of a leader to really want to be sheriff. 

She was doing a fine job during the month Walt was out after Barlow Connally died.
KATEE:  A little bit.  Then Walt comes in and she says, “thank god, you’re back.”  So I think Vic was doing as good as she could in that situation with a little bit of her hands tied behind her back because she couldn’t make any really important decisions because it was still Walt’s job.  It was an interesting thing.  When Walt walked back in, the office was supposed to be in complete disarray and that was how it was written.  It was supposed to be messy.  Then I walked in and I almost died.  I called them and said, “This is really bad,” and they actually agreed with me and decided to not go with that because it was so over the top.  It made Vic look really unprofessional.  There are certain moments as an actor where you pick your battles, and that was definitely the battle of the season.  Though I lost the one with the dirty dishes in the sick at Vic’s house.  That was another battle.  But it is okay because I won the office one.  

There was such a big change dynamic-wise as far as who was going to be in the revolving door of the deputy position after Branch was gone.  How did that change things for you working on the show having people coming and going in that position?
KATEE:  Not too much.  In a sense, you’re trying to see if the role fits for some of the actors.  I think as a producer and if I was the boss, I wouldn’t want to bring in an actor without giving your cast members a chance to work with them and see if they even like them because if they don’t then their hands are tied.  If it is not a good fit, then you want to know that as soon as possible.  So it was a smart thing to do, to have this revolving door and they can see how people play out and if they fit.  They are all phenomenal actors, isn’t never about that.  It’s just about do they fit the way the story is written and how it unfolds and if their style of acting fits with the show.  

The character of Zachary (Barry Sloane) was very interesting and he was such a different character than Deputy Eamonn (Josh Cooke).  So it was fun to see the different dynamics and how they played off the characters already on the show.  
KATEE:  It’s great.  I love Josh Cooke and I love Barry too, but I’ve known Josh for a good 7-8 years.  So it was kind of nice to have him around.  But it’s nice having new faces.  And having Callum Keith Rennie [a former BATTLESTAR GALACTICA alum] around was friggin’ awesome.  So great.

For you, at this point what is the best part about playing Vic?  What do you like about her?
KATEE:  (Laughs) Not the pants. Definitely not the pants.  But I like her swagger.  One of the things I enjoy about her the most is how she handles every uncomfortable situation with humor.  I think that is actually indicative of what a lot of people do as a real emotion or a real reaction to trauma or uncomfortable situations.  I love that about her.  I think that is fun.  So that, for sure.  

If you were to give Vic some advice, what would you tell her?
KATEE:  “Stop relying so much on what men think of you”  and “Have a tiny bit more independence.”  (Laughs) God forbid that I get too graphic, but we don’t always need men.  I mean, take a break.  Take a break.

I could see Vic having some platonic adventures with Henry (Lou Diamond Phillips) and helping him a bit in his world. That might be interesting for her.
KATEE:  Could be.  I also really enjoy working with Cassidy [Freeman].  My scenes with Cass are probably some of the most fun that I had on the show just because she and I get along so well.  I truly enjoy her as a person.  So I would love some more of those scenes.  I also hope I get to work a bit more with Callum, if he comes back again. 

It was interesting that the show decided to have Vic and Cady move in together.  That was a surprise.
KATEE:  Actually, it was a logistical problem.  I don’t think they wanted to shoot at Vic’s house anymore.  A lot of times, a story is invented to solve a problem that you have.  Like Vic’s house was out in the middle of nowhere and it didn’t really play as anything else.  We couldn’t really add it to our day.  It was really inconvenient with all the crew moving and the road got muddy all the time.  It wasn’t convenient at all and we were not there enough to make a set and build it.  So they had to think of a way to get Vic out of the house and so she got evicted.  It’s always interesting where stories come from. But that’s how that happened.

Where there other logistical challenges in Season 4?  It seemed like there were slight differences from prior seasons in how not as much of it was filmed outdoors.
KATEE:  Oh gosh, I didn’t even notice that.  I don’t think that was intentional if that was the case.  It was probably one of those things that is simply where the stories put itself.  We have a phenomenal crew that if you told them to put a camera on their back and climb a mountain in snow with a rope tied around their waist, they would do it and they wouldn’t complain the entire time because they love the show that they work on.  I actually wish we would shoot in January and February to get more snow on the show. (Laughs)  I rather deal with the snow in Santa Fe rather than the heat in Santa Fe. 

The ghost of Zachary kind of lingers because we do not yet know if his character will be back in Season 5, if there is a Season 5.   What exactly is the dynamic between Zachary and Vic?  I could never quite pinpoint that.
KATEE:  Did they even have one?  I don’t think I even had any scenes with Barry where our characters actually talked to each other.  So I have absolutely no idea how she feels about him.  Vic comments that they need to have another person there and it is not a time to be short-handed.  (Laughs) I think Vic would rather have anyone there than have to do more work.

Another thing that kind of hovered over the season was the death of Branch and how everyone was grieving differently over his sudden loss and even Vic seemed profoundly affected by someone that she did not always get along with, which was interesting.  What was it like playing that?
KATEE:  It’s so funny because everyone thinks that her reaction at the truck was about him and it wasn’t.  That’s what is so great about television — everything is up to the interpretation of the viewer.  For me, that was about something entirely different.  But the audience read it as it was about Branch.  But it actually wasn’t.  It was the frustration of her life and what is going on in her life at that moment.  Branch is a person who threw her up against a wall and physically manhandled her and for all intensive purposes, in her opinion, he was taking drugs and was a liability.  So I think she was upset about it, but she didn’t really know him.  She only worked with him for a couple of years and he threatened her multiple times.  So her reaction at the truck was not about him.  It was more so a reaction to everything that has gone on in her life.  Like the fact that Walt, in the very beginning of the season is for all intents and purposes being really rude to her and not letting her in.  So I think she was just frustrated.  Then she hits a possum and starts crying.  

What else are you currently working on?  Are you working in the interim on anything else or are you holding your breath waiting on Netflix to pick up LONGMIRE for Season 5?
KATEE:  (Laughs) I would never hold my breath ’cause I would have probably have suffocated by now.  But I just finished a movie in Wales a couple of weeks ago and I’m reading scripts to try to figure out what to do next.   And I’m taking the opportunity to spend time with my family and friends and my boyfriend and really connect with people because I just worked 12, almost 13 months straight.  So it is kind of nice to stop for a second and kind of evaluate where to go next.  Then if it all works out, then I’ll be back in Santa Fe in March.  (Laughs)  If not, then we have had four amazing seasons that are now on Netflix that people can stream over and over again.

Season 4 of LONGMIRE is currently available for binge-watching and viewing on Netflix and, with a bit of luck and our fingers-crossed, Netflix will announce it is picking up LONGMIRE for Season 5 soon.  Here is to hoping for Season 5 of LONGMIRE!