Dark Winds Brings Tony Hillerman’s Navajo Tribal Police Mysteries to the Small Screen
Dark Winds. AMC. Sunday, June 12, 9 p.m.
Fifty-five years ago, at a high-school newspaper seminar at the University of New Mexico, I listened to a talk by the chairman of the UNM journalism department. It was a pleasantly meandering tale of his experiences as a wire-service reporter and a metro daily city editor, full of lurid newsroom tales of how to outwit recalcitrant cops and write through obliterative hangovers. But what really caught my attention was his disclosure that he was writing a murder-mystery novel. I had never met an actual, bona-fide book author before.
After his speech, gripped by a modest (though it didn’t seem so to me at the time) fantasy of owning an autographed copy, I scampered to the front of the room to ask what the novel would be called and when it would appear. He hadn’t picked a name yet, he replied, but he expected the book to be on the shelves the next year. A year came and went with no sign of the book, and then another, and I sadly concluded the professor had been unable to evolve past the 300 words that compose most newspaper stories to the 100,000 or so that make up a book. (By that time, I myself had written plenty of the former, but could contemplate the latter only with blank terror.)
It wasn’t until I was leaving New Mexico four years later, heading for college—literally standing at the airport, waiting for the departure gate to open—that I finally spotted the book at a newsstand and hurriedly snatched it up. By the time I reached San Francisco a couple of hours later, I was halfway through The Blessing Way and well into what has turned out to be a lifetime acquaintance with Lt. Joe Leaphorn, one of the heroes of Tony Hillerman’s tales of tribal cops working the darker corners of the Navajo reservation.
Leaphorn and his subordinates Jim Chee and Bernadette Manuelito appeared in 18 Hillerman novels over the next 36 years, and seven more after Hillerman’s daughter Anne took over the series in 2013 following her father’s death. The Navajo cops are all getting a new and vivid—albeit slightly scrambled—lease on life in AMC’s crime-drama series Dark Winds, which launches a six-episode season this weekend.
Executive producers Robert Redford, George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones), and Graham Roland (Fringe) have fiddled a bit with Hillerman’s characters and their chronologies, sometimes in ways that will likely displease purist fans. (Dark Winds, for
Article from Reason.com