The period noir crime thriller debuted on AMC on June 12. The first season will consist of six episodes total, as will the second season. The show is based on the Leaphorn & Chee book series by Tony Hillerman.
Set in 1971 on a remote outpost of the Navajo Nation near Monument Valley, the series follows Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn (Zahn McClarnon) of the Tribal Police as he is besieged by a series of seemingly unrelated crimes. The closer he digs to the truth, the more he exposes the wounds of his past. He is joined on this journey by his new deputy, Jim Chee (Kiowa Gordon). Chee, too, has old scores to settle from his youth on the reservation.
Jessica Matten also stars along with Deanna Allison, Rainn Wilson, Elva Guerra, Jeremiah Bitsui, Eugene Brave Rock, and Noah Emmerich.
Graham Roland created the series and serves as executive producer. McClarnon executive produces in addition to starring. Robert Redford, George R.R. Martin, Annie Hillerman, Chris Eyre, Vince Calandra, Vince Gerardis, and Tina Elmo also executive produce.
“This once-in-a-lifetime creative team and cast have delivered something truly special with ‘Dark Winds,’” said Dan McDermott, president of entertainment and AMC Studios for AMC Networks. “We can’t wait to share the rest of this thrill ride of a first season with the fans and follow Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee into a second season on AMC and AMC+ next year. Overwhelming gratitude to our entire production team and a special thanks to executive producers Robert Redford, George R.R. Martin, Chris Eyre and of course Zahn McClarnon, who also leads the cast and brings humanity, authority and the wisdom of richly lived experiences to everything he does.”
The series premiere drew 2.2 million viewers on AMC in the Nielsen Live+3 ratings. It is the culmination of a long process of getting the books to the screen. Redford first optioned Hillerman’s books more than 30 years ago. With special permission, 70% of “Dark Winds” was filmed on tribal lands at Tesuque Pueblo in New Mexico, using their Camel Rock Studios facility. Another 30% of the series was filmed on tribal lands at Cochiti Pueblo, also in New Mexico.