Zahn McClarnon, Kiowa Gordon & Jessica Matten Interview: Dark Winds Season 1

Dark Winds, based on the iconic Leaphorn & Chee book series by Tony Hillerman, premieres tonight on AMC with the season’s first 2 episodes. The series opens on a double homicide that shocks the Navajo Nation in 1971, just as a bank robbery stumps the FBI. With two events occurring so close together, questions that they may be connected arise and the community are at the mercy of outsider interference.,Zahn McClarnon (Westworld) stars as Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, who is tasked with solving both crimes in the face of distrust from his own people and the demons from his past. He is joined by his faith second-in-command Bernadette Manuelito (Jessica Matten, Burden of Truth) and a suspicious new deputy named Jim Chee (Kiowa Gordon, Roswell, New Mexico) who has been off the reservation  since leaving for college. They must band together despite initial misgivings to stave off not only the FBI, but forces as yet unknown to them.,Related: AMC’s 15 Best Recent TV Shows, Ranked,Screen Rant spoke to McClarnon, Gordon and Matten about getting in touch with their characters, understanding the importance of Navajo culture in the story, and mastering dialogue in the Navajo language on set with the crew.,Screen Rant: I’m loving Dark Winds, and it’s so interesting seeing the story take place in the ’70s. What is it like for you guys to portray that time period?,Jim Chee seems like such a sweet bean at first, but obviously there is a lot more to his agenda. Can you talk about how he feels returning to the reservation and being paired with Leaphorn?,Speaking of Bernadette, normally being a woman on the job can create its own friction, but Manuelito seems to have everything under control until she comes up against certain dark forces. Can you talk about how she handles that?,It feels like the series could be called Everybody Hates Leaphorn, because there’s such deep-seated anger towards your character towards. And as the series goes on, we slowly unveil why this has happened. Can you talk about diving into his backstory, and how he feels in his own community?,It’s very rare to see a story that’s specifically about the Navajo culture, and draws so much from real influences, up to and including the language and dialogue. What is it to have those conversations behind the scenes about portraying the culture authentically?,Set in 1971 on a remote outpost of the Navajo Nation near Monument Valley, Dark Winds follows Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn (Zahn McClarnon, The Son, Westworld, Fargo) 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, The Red Road, Roswell, New Mexico). Chee, too, has old scores to settle from his youth on the reservation. Together, the two men battle the forces of evil, each other and their own personal demons on the path to salvation.,More: Predator 5 Director Explains Importance Of Prey’s Indigenous Lead Actor,The first two episodes of Dark Winds premieres tonight on AMC at 9pm ET, and they will be simultaneously available on AMC+.