Leaphorn is joined by a new deputy, the ambitious Jim Chee (Kiowa Gordon), to whom a colleague, Bernadette (Jessica Matten), says ominously, “Here, sometimes your best protection isn’t your .38.”
Created by Graham Roland and adapted from Tony Hillerman’s novels about Navajo sleuths, the slightly convoluted plot involves a family of tourists who buy the wrong painting and an unsolved bank robbery that left behind untraceable loot and still sparks excitement. interest from an FBI agent (“The Americans” Noah Emmerich) operating in the area.
Leaphorn and his wife (Deanna Allison), meanwhile, are recovering from personal tragedy, with McClarnon’s pained expressions whenever his family history pops up, doing a lot of work to convey the mileage the character carries.
As noted, “Dark Winds” stands out more for its introduction to a particular place and time than for the central mystery, a time far enough away where references to magic seem more plausible. There are also pointed reminders of past transgressions against this community, such as a pregnant woman being warned of forced sterilization if she has her baby in the hospital.
“Dark Winds” premieres June 12 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC, with early access on AMC+.