AMC's Dark Winds

 

Dark Winds, the new television series based on characters and stories my father and I created, premiered on AMC in June 2022. I was happy to learn it has already been renewed for 2023.

The first season's episodes were inspired by Tony Hillerman’s Listening Woman and People of Darkness. They also incorporate my broader use of Bernadette Manuelito as a main crime solver.

The writers, directors and actors have added their own interesting twists, including setting the stories in the 1970s. It’s fun to watch the actors bring these characters to life. Jessica Matten, the actress who plays Bernadette, graciously thanked me for expanding Bernie's  role in my novels.

 

Executive producer Graham Roland assembled a fine team of indigenous scriptwriters to develop the plots and dialog for the show. (I had nothing to do with the scripts or the casting.) 

 

I especially liked three things about the first season of Dark Winds.

  • The episodes capture New Mexico and on the Navajo Nation as real settings. The scenery is spectacular.

  • The series makes excellent use of native talent, both as the cast and off screen.

  • The show portrays the essence of Joe Leaphorn and Bernie in a way that makes me proud. I know my Dad would be happy, too.

 

In developing their scripts, Dark Winds took some detours and made changes from the way the plots unfold in the novels. Although these adaptations aren’t part of Dad’s and my stories, many of which are creative and entertaining. These including giving Joe and Emma Leaphorn a son, and making Emma a nurse.

I hope that the televised Dark Winds will make viewers curious about the Hillerman books that inspired AMC’s producers to take on the project. I look forward to the second season with enthusiasm.

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Anne Hillerman and Jessica Matten (Bernadette Manuelito in Dark Winds)