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Exclusive interview: Jeremiah Bitsui on his complex role in Dark Winds

Jeremiah Bitsui
Jeremiah Bitsui, as Tso/Hoski, is the breakout star of the AMC+ series Dark Winds. Pic credit: AMC+

Light spoilers

Jeremiah Bitsui is having a big moment. First, the actor leaped to the forefront in the Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul universe as Victor, a heavy who Gus Fring dispatched in the first series. Then, he got another chance to flesh out his backstory in the Breaking Bad prequel.

Bitsui stars in AMC+ Dark Winds, cast as Hoski/James Tso, whose role as a Diné priest is complex and curious. A character who has a twin brother.

Atmospherically, Dark Winds has elements of the series Longmire, Outer Limits, and even sly scripted dialogue moments echoing Reservation Dogs’ “Res” humor thanks to Graham Roland’s adaptation of several of Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn & Chee series of books. 

The superb magic of the creatives behind the project—director Chris Eyre and Robert Redford, and George R. R. Martin, among the long list of executive producers who fuel the show’s engine—and additionally the indigenous staff writers and filmmakers such as Razelle Benally, Billy Luther, and Erica Tremblay, make it all hum. Also, the critically acclaimed FX series Reservation Dogs, where Dark Winds’ series lead Zahn McClarnon shines brightly as a Res Sheriff, gives it the right tone and authentic feel of a time long ago in the Navajo Nation of New Mexico.

The Dark Winds story starts in 1971 in a remote outpost of the Nation. Lt. Joe Leaphorn (Zahn McClarnon) is a sheriff of the Tribal Police, and his new Deputy is Jim Chee, another man from the Res who is hiding something from Leaphorn and his local police peers. Energetically the two men bond in their work after a strange string of unrelated crimes seems to have connectivity. But, they also face their painful pasts as the dots are connected and the unsavory truths emerge.

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