Katee Sackhoff has traded in her viper flight suit for a badge and gun.
The Battlestar Galactica alum stars alongside Robert Taylor in A&E's new drama Longmire, a modern-day western that follows the life of the recently widowed Sheriff Walt Longmire and his deputy, Victoria Moretti, as they navigate the varying degree of crimes — from the most mundane (shooting sheep) to the most gruesome (sex trafficking) — in a small town in Wyoming.
Where Walt is quiet, yet dedicated and unflappable, Vic offers the fish-out-of-water comedic timing in this slower-paced, heavily character-driven drama, which also stars Bailey Chase as another deputy looking to unseat Walt as the Sheriff, Lou Diamond Phillips as Walt's liaison to the crimes that take place on the Indian reservation, and Smallville's Cassidy Freeman as Walt's daughter Cady.
To get acquainted with the new series, TVGuide.com turned to Sackhoff, who calls Longmire "a throwback to the old Westerns," which could play in the show's favor following the recent raving success of History's period miniseries Hatfields & McCoys. Get the scoop:
Tell us about the premise of Longmire and who Victoria is.
Katee Sackhoff: Walt Longmire is a sheriff in a fictional town in Wyoming called Absaroka County. I play his deputy, Victoria Moretti, who is a transplant from Philadelphia. She was a homicide detective in Philadelphia, and her husband works for the gas company and she goes with him. She stems from a family of cops. Two of her three brothers and her father are all police officers. She's from a very stereotypical East Coast Italian family and moves with her husband and is a bit blown away by everything that's going on around her.
There's one episode where she actually has to go track a bear and she's like, "A bear? Do we have to get a warrant for the bear or do we just go pick him up? Do we ask for him to come with us? I don't know what we do." So she's really funny and she's got the quips, and she always keeps Longmire on his toes, which is kind of the heart of their relationship. She takes the piss out of him as much as possible.
That personality is similar to your character Starbuck's from Battlestar Galactica. Is that a fair comparison?
Sackhoff: It is possibly a fair comparison. I took this character, ultimately, because I felt she was extremely different from Starbuck, and I made a conscious decision to make her more feminine. She talks differently, she's a character that talks really fast. The other day we had to work with bulls and I was scared of them, and they're like, two feet tall. I figured I would just use it for the character. She's a city girl. She's not used to this whole cow dung stuff.
What attracted you to this role?
Sackhoff: Ultimately it was the script and Craig Johnson's book. When the role came my direction, I read the pilot, then read the book. I loved the book, and then I met with the producers and I loved them. Ultimately, the reason why I took the job was because of [executive producers] Greer Shepherd, Hunt Baldwin and John Coveny. At the heart of this, it's a throwback to old Westerns. The pacing is very much like an old Western. Longmire really is just that quintessential, slow-talking, big-thinking, quiet, reserved, anti-hero.
What kind of relationship do Vic and Walt have?
Sackhoff: They have a relationship that's grounded in their ideals. They have a very different way of doing things, but at their core, they are both after the exact same thing, and I think that's what draws them together. She has this sort of brother-sister, kindred spirit relationship where they're still trying to figure out what exactly all of it means.
Longmire is a big departure for both you and Cassidy Freeman. How much will your characters interact?
Sackhoff: Vic thinks that Cady is a do-gooder and a goody-goody, and she appreciates her honesty and she respects her, but she also thinks she does things the slow way. Vic is "shoot first, ask later," and both Walt and Cady are both "do things by the book." Ultimately, Cassidy doesn't have as much screen time as I think she should have, but maybe next season.
What will attract viewers to the show?
Sackhoff: It's obviously going to be very different for every single person, but I think ultimately this is a study into these characters and what makes them tick. At the center of it is this police drama, but it's all about these people and what makes them flawed and how they cope.
Longmire premieres Sunday at 10/9c on A&E.