AMC's Dark Winds

 

Dark Winds, the new television series based on characters and stories my father and I created, is set in the 1970s. The  series premiered on AMC in June. I was happy to learn it has already been renewed for season two for 2023.

The first episodes were inspired by Tony Hillerman’s Listening Woman and People of Darkness, but the writers, directors and actors add their own interesting twists. Overall, I am pleased and entertained by the series. It’s fun to see these characters come to life.

Like most authors who see their characters and stories as the inspiration for a movie or TV show, I had nothing to do with the scripts or the casting. The series creators did invite me to a sneak preview, and Jessica Matten, the actress who play Bernadette, graciously thanked me for creating Bernie, a role she appreciates having.

I especially like two things about Dark Winds.

  • The episodes were filmed in New Mexico and on the Navajo Nation. The scenery is spectacular.

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

 

In developing their scripts, the Dark Winds writers and actors took some detours and made many changes from the way the plots unfolded in the novels. Head writer and executive producer Graham Roland assembled a team of indigenous talent to develop the plots and dialog for the show. 

While these adaptations aren’t exactly true to Dad’s and my stories, they are creative and entertaining. These including have Bernadette Manuelito in the mix, giving Joe and Emma Leaphorn a son, and making Emma a nurse.

I hope that 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 curiosity and enthusiasm.

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