Katee Sackhoff is one of those actresses we always love to see on TV, so it was cheer-worthy when Longmire survived its cancellation by A&E and was revived by Netflix for a ten-episode fourth season, which premiered Sept. 10. But what was it like for Katee to go through the experience of her show being ended and then saved? And how did she think her character, Wyoming deputy Victoria “Vic” Moretti, fared in season four? LA Fan Cultures Examiner sat down with her last week to discuss Longmire‘s second chapter.
“It was huge,” she said of the Netflix renewal. “I’d already moved on. I’ve been in the business for more than half my life so I don’t dwell on things because I’ve been, now on my sixth or seventh series, I’m very aware that they do end and I try not to dwell. I tend to be a bit of a pessimist and move forward. When it got picked up, I was completely shocked, so it was interesting. Things like this don’t happen, so it was cool.”
Katee told us that there was no difference in making the series for another network. “It’s literally the same show,” she explained. “There’s a few people that have problems with the language, but that was me pushing that. I wanted Vic to be closer to the books and if people are fans of the books, they know the language on Netflix is even toned down. It was one of the things I really pushed for. Not to say there’s a ton of language flying all over the place, because truthfully I think my seven-year-old nephew has heard worse at daycare. That’s the only change I can actually see.”
But her character went through a lot of changes in season four. “I think that Vic was a very different person this season,” she reflected. “It sort of felt like a ship without a harbor. I’m proud of the untethered-ness of her that she has this season. She really has no idea what she’s doing. She’s still a confident police officer, but when the badge comes off, her life is in shambles.
“I’m really proud of this first episode, in the sense that I feel it was the strongest that we’ve seen Vic all season and the most that I had to really do,” Katee continued. “One of the hardest things to do is play convincingly drunk and then playing convincingly hungover. It’s one of those things that always terrifies me, is when someone says you’re going to be drunk in this scene.
“I don’t know what it says when everyone called and was like that was so great, you were so good at that. I was like oh my God, does that mean I’ve had way too much practice or I’m just good at it? I have no idea,” she laughed. “That’s what people called me and told me was most impressive about my performance, the whole season were those two scenes.
“I think you can watch from the first episode and you can really sense where it’s going for the rest of the season,” she added. “A little humor, a little distant darkness and everybody seems to be a little bit, uncharacteristically handling everything.”
With the fourth season pickup, Vic is now one of the longest-tenured characters on Katee’s TV resume, behind only Kara “Starbuck” Thrace from Battlestar Galactica. What has it been like for her to stay with Vic for this long?
“As an actor, you’re torn,” she told us. “There’s a part of you that wants to play different characters all the time because that’s part of what attracted you to the business in the first place. Then you get the sensible side of you that’s been drilled into you from your parents growing up. Just to have a job, is really amazing. Especially in this business, well any business but especially for a woman, the older you get in this business, you definitely pinch yourself that you’re still working.
“So I’m torn. I love the fact that I’m on a show that people absolutely love,” she continued, “but I’m blessed that its only four months out of shooting so it’s got another few months to go out and play other characters but I actually get the best of both worlds.”
But Vic might rank lower if you’re ranking the characters she’s played by their toughness. “I don’t think she’s really very tough,” Katee explaned. “I think she’s very strong-willed and I think she’s a very competent police officer. She’s very good at what she does, but I find that her dependence on what people think of her and the men in her life is a little not as strong as some of the other characters that I’ve played that really didn’t come into themselves as a person or their beliefs as a strong woman.
“Starbuck didn’t really care about men, she kind of used and abused them,” she said, “and most of the other characters I’ve played didn’t really think about a man in their life. They’re just like ‘There’s a man there, awesome.’ This is a character who makes decisions based on whether there’s a man in her life, and sort of takes her emotional cues off what that person thinks of her for the day. Which is different. I don’t look at her and think she’s very strong in a lot of ways, but then in other ways I think she’s really tough. I think she’s a bit more normal than the other characters I’ve played.”
While Katee doesn’t know yet if Longmire will return for season five, she has several more projects on the way. You can catch her in two upcoming independent films called Girl Flu and Don’t Knock Twice, and that’s just the start of what she has in the works. “I’ve got a couple different movies, they’re in different stages of development,” she told us. “A TV show that I’m in a process of developing and getting ready. I’ve got a kid’s book that’s going and potentially a cartoon.
“I’ve got a lot of things going and it just feels right to have my hat in a lot of different rings,” she continued. “This is a business that you’re lucky if it keeps you in it a long time, so I feel the smartest thing to do is be able to do it all.”
Not only is it smart, but it’s great for the rest of us. You don’t see a lot of people in the entertainment industry who are as versatile, and certainly not as engaging and tenacious and talented, as Katee Sackhoff. Thanks to Netflix, we get to enjoy her portrayal of Vic Moretti for another season, and continue to appreciate how much she’s capable of. We’ll always be glad to see her.
All ten seasons of Longmire season four can be streamed now on Netflix.