Dark Winds is getting a showrunner change for season two.
The breakout AMC series will see John Wirth take over showrunning duties for the sophomore run, replacing Vince Calandra, who served as showrunner and exec producer on season one.
Wirth is no stranger to the network, having served as showrunner on Hell on Wheels for four seasons and exec produced Hap and Leonard.
It comes after the network renewed the Native-led Western noir crime thriller, which stars Zahn McClarnon, for a second six-episode run in June.
The series, which is produced by AMC Studios, performed well for the network, drawing 2.2M viewers for its June 12 launch in live+3 ratings and becoming its number one new series launch for its streaming service AMC+.
Set in 1971 on a remote outpost of the Navajo Nation near Monument Valley, Dark Winds follows Lt. Joe Leaphorn of the Tribal Police (McClarnon) as he is besieged by a series of seemingly unrelated crimes. The closer he digs to the truth, the more he exposes the wounds of his past. He is joined on this journey by his new deputy, Jim Chee (Kiowa Gordon). Chee also has old scores to settle from his youth on the reservation. Together, the two men battle the forces of evil, each other and their own personal demons on the path to salvation.
It also stars Jessica Matten, Deanna Allison, Rainn Wilson, Elva Guerra, Jeremiah Bitsui, Eugene Brave Rock and Noah Emmerich.
The series, which has been drawing rave reviews for its portrayal of Native people on television, is based on the Leaphorn & Chee book series by Tony Hillerman.
Created by Graham Roland, who exec produces alongside McClarnon, Wirth, Robert Redford, George R.R. Martin, Anne Hillerman, Chris Eyre, Vince Gerardis and Tina Elmo.
Redford optioned Hillerman’s book collection more than three decades ago.
The first season focuses primarily on the book The Listening Woman, with elements of People of Darkness, and the production worked closely with the Navajo Nation. With special permission, 70% of Dark Winds was filmed on tribal lands at Tesuque Pueblo in New Mexico, using their facility Camel Rock Studios. Another 30% of the series was filmed on tribal lands at Cochiti Pueblo, also in New Mexico.
“We are thrilled to welcome John Wirth, someone we know well and have collaborated with so successfully on multiple shows – most notably Hell on Wheels – to the Dark Winds creative team,” said Dan McDermott, president of entertainment and AMC Studios for AMC Networks. “This series quickly became one of the breakout hits of the year, on both linear television and streaming, and we are looking forward to the ride continuing next year.”
“I’m delighted to be returning home to AMC to join the Dark Winds team for season two and roll up my sleeves alongside Zahn McClarnon, Chris Eyre, George RR Martin, Robert Redford and others. I’m a long-time fan of the Tony Hillerman novels and am looking forward to working with my indigenous partners to bring his books and the world of the Navajo Nation to life on screen,” added Wirth.