Zahn McClarnon, known for his roles in Westworld and Reservation Dogs, is gearing up for Season 2 of Dark Winds, where he plays Joe Leaphorn, a Tribal Police lieutenant facing personal and professional challenges like never before. The show, based on Tony Hillerman’s novels, takes place in the 1970s Southwest and follows Leaphorn as he teams up with his former partner, Jim Chee (played by Kiowa Gordon), who is now a private detective.
In this new season, Leaphorn and Chee are on a mission to catch a serial killer linked to the recent injury of Leaphorn’s wife, Emma, and the death of their son years earlier. The storyline delves into themes of revenge, justice, and the moral code that Leaphorn grapples with, which adds depth and complexity to the character.
Throughout the season, viewers will witness the evolving dynamics between Leaphorn and Chee. They have grown more comfortable with each other, and Leaphorn is no longer Chee’s boss. The writers have crafted moments of lightheartedness between the two characters, reflecting the growth and evolution of their relationship.
As Leaphorn continues to mourn his son’s death, McClarnon explores the guilt and emotions associated with not being able to protect his child. Emma, on the other hand, deals with the loss differently, seeking solace by bringing a young mother and her baby into their home. This divergence in coping mechanisms adds depth to the characters’ individual journeys.
A highlight of this season is McClarnon’s reunion with A Martinez, his former co-star from Longmire. Martinez portrays Valencia County Sheriff Gordo Sena in Dark Winds, and the chemistry between the two actors enhances the on-screen relationship between their characters.
Reflecting on his roles as tribal cops in Dark Winds, Reservation Dogs, and Longmire, McClarnon emphasizes the importance of giving each character a distinct personality and approach. While all three characters share similar job roles, McClarnon ensures they are unique and don’t blend together.
McClarnon also had the opportunity to work with comedy legend Mel Brooks in History of the World Part II, a sketch comedy series. Initially feeling apprehensive about working with such an iconic figure, he ultimately embraced the experience, going for a fun and silly approach in his role.
The increasing popularity of shows like Dark Winds and Reservation Dogs is a testament to the growing interest in fresh and diverse stories centered around Native cultures and communities. These shows provide a different perspective, showcasing Native characters beyond the stereotypes often depicted in mainstream media.
With the success of Dark Winds Season 1, McClarnon expresses gratitude for the show’s renewal for a second season. The positive reception reflects the audience’s enthusiasm for the intriguing storytelling and cultural representation the series offers. McClarnon remains hopeful for a third season, as there is an abundance of source material to explore.
In conclusion, Zahn McClarnon’s portrayal of Joe Leaphorn in Dark Winds Season 2 promises an engaging and captivating journey for viewers. The show’s focus on Native cultures and its unique characters continue to resonate with audiences, making Dark Winds a standout addition to the television landscape.