[Exclusive] My Chat With LONGMIRE’s Katee Sackhoff

After leading the way to Earth on Battlestar Galactica, battling aliens in Riddick, and bathing with Howard Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory, actress Katee Sackhoff has become a full-fledged pop culture icon. She’s spent the last couple years out in the wilderness as Vic Moretti, solving crime and navigating small town politics on the show Longmire. Longmire was canceled by A&E after its third season, but saved by Netflix, which recently released season 4. There is a big cliffhanger at the end of the new season, so fans definitely are not going to be happy without a season 5.

OHSOGRAY talked with Katee about the prospects for the show continuing, how Vic has evolved throughout the season and her thoughts about all the show’s changes.

The big question in the minds of Longmire fans, of course, is whether there is going to be a season 5. Do you have anything you can share on that yet?

Oh god, no. I’m always the last one to know, anyway. So I would…I’m sure Adam Bartley (“Ferg”) will know before everyone.

With such a big cliffhanger, it would be a pretty bleak way to end the series.

Yeah, no, for sure. I mean, listen, it happens. I’m sure it would be. Maybe that was the producer’s intention of…tie Netflix’s hands.

Were you guys expecting to get picked up by Netflix or were you just thinking the show would end after season 3?

Well, no, I didn’t think anyone was going to pick us up. We’d been canceled. For all intents and purposes, in my history…when you’re canceled, you’re canceled. You don’t necessarily get a second chance. So that phone call to say we got picked up was a very interesting one in the sense that it was a bit shocking, actually.

Did you have any hesitation about going back to the project? Or were you really excited?

Well, interestingly enough, our contracts were never with A&E. Our contracts were with Warner Brothers, who always retained ownership. So it wasn’t even an option of whether or not we get to choose to go back.

At the beginning of season 4, Vic looks like she’s about to make her move on Walt, but then she doesn’t. What do you think is holding her back from laying her feelings out to him?

I don’t really think he cares about her. I think she senses that. I think that he probably has some feelings either way, but he’s never really shown her any affection. So I think she’s holding back because she doesn’t trust in, and doesn’t necessarily believe that it’ll go the positive, in her mind anyway, the positive way that she would think. I would probably do the same thing.

I haven’t read all the Longmire books, but I have read online that there is a Vic/Walt romance in the books. Do you think fans of the show want to see them together?

Oh, I have no idea. I don’t know. I have no idea. I’m sure that the fans are probably split on that. Because I know there’s a lot of fans of the show that don’t read the books, and the fans of the books that don’t watch the show. So I have no idea. I have no idea. Listen, you can never make everyone happy. I’m sure half of the people would hate it and half would love it.

What are your personal thoughts about whether a Walt/Vic pairing makes sense? Do you think Vic should be with Walt?

No, I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I think Vic has a lot of emotional things that she needs to deal with before she gets into a relationship. And like I said, I think they get along really well and I think they have a nice interaction with each other. But for all intents and purposes, she’s got a crush on her boss. He doesn’t really show her that he has feelings either way. I think that maybe she’s kind of creating something that may or not be there. I have no idea. I have no idea. That’s why I’m not a writer.

There was a big moment for Vic in season 4 when she told Walt she would lie for him, what were your thoughts about her coming to that decision?

There were a lot of things this season that I didn’t agree with Vic. She seemed too, I told the producers when I first started reading the episodes that I was really disappointed with a lot of the decision she was making. I felt that it was uncharacteristic and she just didn’t…she sort of felt like she was untethered and searching for something to hold on to. Which I thought was a sign of weakness in a sense. That she was desperately seeking approval of something. It was a little weird for me this season playing her. She seemed all over the place. It was fun to play. Fun to play for sure. Cause you’re almost not playing the same character every episode. But she was a bit all over the place. But I think some of the other…we see Walt do a lot of things that are uncharacteristic. They all sort of were. So it was very fitting. But as a person who’s played someone for three years to go into a fourth season and start doing things completely differently, is weird. It’s a little hard to swallow at first, because it’s frustrating.

It was a season with a lot of changes. You had more scenes with Cassidy Freeman as Vic moves in with Cady. How was it to have more time with her?

I love Cassidy. I love working with her. She’s really fun. She and I joke a lot that we can’t believe we ended up on the same show cause we actually look alike, too. So it’s a little funny actually. Cause when I got hired on the show, I had red hair and when she got hired, she had blonde hair. So it feels a little interchangeable. It’s fun. I love working with Cassidy. She’s one of my favorite people to go to work and see. She’s always happy and she’s just a joy to work with.

You guys also had to say goodbye to Bailey Chase this season with the loss of Branch. Was that a tough thing to do since you’d all been on the show together since the beginning?

No, not really. I think maybe if I was at the beginning of my career or this was one of my first jobs, it probably would have been a bit more difficult. But, I’ve seen a lot of cast members come and go in my life and it doesn’t mean they’re not in your life anymore. It just means they’re not on the show. It really didn’t change the dynamic much at all. But it was definitely interesting to see where it was going to go, for sure.

The show has such a fantastic cast, including Adam Bartley who plays Ferg. Is there one person who is a ton of fun to shoot with?

Um, I think probably Cassidy. I loved working with Callum Keith Rennie again. He’s always really really fun to work with. Everyone’s really great.

Speaking of Rennie, are there any other BSG costars you’d like to see, maybe Mr. Olmos, pop up in season 5?

Oh god, no. (Laughs) No! I don’t like to…I don’t know, I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to mix…. It feels like putting my family in my day job. It’s weird. We were together for so many years on television that it would be difficult to work with them all again. It’s just…no, that would be like having my dad at my day job. That would be weird.

Do you have any plans to guest star on The Big Bang Theory again?

You know, if I was asked, absolutely. It’s one of the things that I have the most fun doing, when I get to do comedy. So for sure. It just hasn’t worked out again. It’s a little hard to put me on the show now because Battlestar’s not on the air. I mean, people absolutely still talk about it constantly, so it’s still always going to be a piece, in my opinion and many people’s opinions, pop culture. But I don’t think it’s as current or as forefront as people that are necessarily watching the show, I guess. So it’s kind of hard to have me back on right now cause they’d be like, “Battlestar, what?”

No way. Never underestimate the geek universe!

(Laughs) It’s true. True to a certain extent, for sure.

The format of Longmire changed significantly midseason after the resolution of Branch’s murder and Walt’s vengeance played out. It went back to more of a procedural format. Do you think that was a change that needed to happen?

Oh gosh, I don’t know. You’re talking about things that are above my pay grade. I don’t know. I personally love the serialized aspect of the show. I didn’t really notice that so much, I guess. Vic was…I felt like I was so light in the season, I didn’t really feel involved in the procedural aspects of the show, nor was I really involved in the serialized aspects of the show. I felt like my storylines stayed pretty consistent. So I don’t really… I didn’t even notice that we went back to serialized…I guess I did to a certain extent. I had a lot of down time.

The show films in New Mexico. How is it being away from Los Angeles and Vancouver and filming more in the small town environment, out in nature?

Well, I grew up in a small town in Oregon, so it’s pretty easy for me. The altitude kills me. I’m allergic to everything in Santa Fe. It’s a bit of a gong show when I show up at […] I’ve got a bag full of medication because my skin goes crazy, my face goes crazy, it’s just absolutely insane. My body likes smog, I’ve decided. So I like it, I like the kind of break of not having to deal with traffic and things like that. Which is really nice. But I definitely miss the city, I’m a city girl. I have a hard time being too far away from, I guess, city life. I’m really good with nature, just not every day.

As an animal lover, I was really touched by the scene where Vic runs over the possum and breaks down over it. Was that hard for you to film?

No, no. It was because it wasn’t really why she was crying. It wasn’t about Branch. It wasn’t about the possum. She was just frustrated. Vic’s been through a lot of change in the last 3 years. Then, not only that, any who’s been divorced or in a long relationship and separated knows that even if it’s the best thing for you, and it was amicable, and you’re happy that it’s over, it’s still hard. It’s still your life changes, exponentially. I think for Vic, I think that she just was frustrated with everything that was going on the last couple weeks in her life. She hit a possum and it’s the thing that made her cry. It just as easily could have been spilling coffee down the front of her shirt. It really is not about the thing as about the what and what it was about. So in reality, the scene was quite easy to get to that emotional place because it wasn’t about the possum. For me, it would have been! I would have been on the side of the road with the possum trying to give it mouth-to-mouth like, “You can do it! You can do it!” But for Vic, it was just a bit of…she just literally got to the end of her rope and it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

If there is going to be a season 5, do you have any ideas of where you would like to see Vic go or see in her future?

Not really. I try not to think about that kind of stuff too much because in this business, the chances are stacked against you. So I don’t know. If and when we get told there’s a season 5, I might start thinking about it a little bit. I would like her to have a bit more independence and not really rely on the people in her life to sort of…I think she depends emotionally on people a little too much to determine how she should feel about herself. I think there’s a bit of growing to be done for her. Which would be nice.

While you wait to hear about season 5, do you have any other projects that you are working on right now?

I do. I have a few. I wrapped a movie three weeks ago. I’m planning on going on a three-week sort of working/vacation with my guy and his kids and having a good time. The older I get, the more I’m like, “I don’t need to work. I would just like to be with my friends and family for a while and not work 13 months straight next year.” I’ve got a lot of stuff that I’m producing that’s sort of in different stages of readiness, which is fun. But for the most part, I’m just really excited to not do anything for a while. Although my manager and agent love when I say that because they try 10 times harder to find something and keep me busy.

You do a lot of work with charities. Is there anything coming up that people can come see you at or get involved with?

No, this is the time of the year where I’ve been so busy for the last…like I’m not kidding, the last 13 months I haven’t stopped working for 13 months, not to mention I’m doing construction on my house and have been the last 6 months. My life is in complete craziness right now and I’m so excited to just do nothing. That being said, my website, I sell photos for the Fly Free Charity, which my mom and I started. And this year it’s all going to benefit the Kevin Rudi Foundation, his brother Noland is one of our crewmembers and he’s a lovely guy. Kevin was taken too soon, so this year, we did a half-year sale. All the money went to the foundation. We’ll do another Black Friday sale, like we did last year, where everything’s 20% off and all the money will go to the Kevin Rudi Foundation again. So I will do that. Usually we end up having about $20,000 at the end of the year to give to charity just from signing photos, which is great. So that’s that…I’m sure something else will come up that I can’t turn my back on.