AMC’s Tribal Crime Drama ‘Dark Winds’ Wins With Measured Storytelling

“Dark Winds” is set in the early 1970s, and the new AMC drama series feels like a throwback with its simple storytelling and measured pacing.

But the reasonably entertaining six-episode show, which premieres on Sunday, may be more interesting behind the scenes.

According to an article by The Hollywood Reporter, executive producer Robert Redford acquired the rights to Tony Hillerman’s novels centered on Navajo tribal policemen Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee in 1986. Much more recently, the film industry giant has recruited the novelist George RR Martin. — the mastermind behind the book series that spawned HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and a huge Hillerman fan — to finally help bring the work to the screen.

Perhaps more remarkable: As the THR piece explains, a sizable collection of talented people with Native American roots helped make this show – both behind the camera and in front of it – from showrunner Graham Roland to star Zahn McClarnon, a part-Lakota actor who’s a big reason why “Dark Winds” holds your attention.

After showing us the heist of an armored car in Gallup, New Mexico, which ends with the criminals escaping in a helicopter, Roland’s first scripted episode, “Monster Slayer,” introduces us to McClarnon’s Leaphorn.

Note: TV-MA

When: Premieres at 8 p.m. on June 12

Where: AMC; broadcast on AMC+

***1/2 (out of 5)

He watches a man dig a hole.

“Put them back,” he orders, the man below him then lowering several Native American cultural objects into the dirt. “If I catch you stealing artifacts again, the hole you will dig will be much bigger.”

Leaphorn’s attention is soon drawn to the mysterious murder of an older man and a younger woman in a nearby motel room.

“Dark Winds” is boosted by appearances by Noel Emmerich as FBI Special Agent Whitover, who wants Leaphorn’s help in solving the case involving the armored car because the helicopter was spotted heading towards the Navajo country.

“Dark Winds” is never an edge-of-your-seat thing, rather the series simmers to a satisfying simmer.

As the aforementioned Hollywood Reporter also points out, the arrival of ‘Dark Winds’ contributes to a moment for Indigenous content on television, started by FX on Hulu’s ‘Reservation Dogs’, which features the director of ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Taika Waititi among its creators. forces, and the pleasant “Rutherford Falls” of Peacock.

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