Netflix Series Description:
“Navajo shape-shifters, old west outlaws. Grave robbers. On the reservation murder cases are anything but ordinary.”
“A Veteran Cop returns to his childhood reservation, where his urban investigation methods sometimes clash with his partner’s traditional ones”.
Skinwalkers-The Navajo Mysteries
Some notes and dialogue on first watching.
I’m mainly watching this because of the desert. Plus it sounds interesting. And I feel like watching something in sunlight. Rather than the dark.
Anyway, here comes the veteran Cop, kind of grizzled, ornery and wise looking all at once. He’s driving down the road. Wait. This isn’t the Cop/Policeman I don’t think. It’s the first murder victim..
Based on the novel by Tony Hillerman.
Then we are inside a hut. Watching a ceremony.
And, now here is our veteran Cop.
The handsome young man is a Policeman too.
So the young Policeman is called officer Jimmy Chee.
Being averse to pan pipes as I am, plus feeling the same way about officially ethnic music in dramas- I will find it tiresome if they keep playing pan pipes. I know.
Joe Leaphorn is the Detective.
So. All quite corny and generic so far. Plus the drama looks like it’s set in the 90’s judging by the TV.
However the veteran Detective is very good I think. It’s looking like the classic Cop from the city with his city ways: clashes with the officially spiritual or so it appears-medicine man. Officer Chee. Who is the Detective’s Police partner.
Veteran Cop to Officer Chee:
“OK we’ve got a dead sheep and some graffiti..”
Winston Sam to Jimmy Chee:
“Wrong Jim, wrong as ringworm..”
“Cop, medicine man, garbage man, whoever you are..”
“No matter who you are, the dark wind blows on everyone..”
Officer Jimmy Chee lives in a caravan with a cat. right on top of a mountain. Or so it seems. In the desert.
Wait. Wooshing noise. The cat is miaowing..
Oh and the desert is beautiful. As I’d hoped.
Mrs. Leaphorn to Leaphorn:
“Since moving here,..”
“It just feels so right,”
“Can’t you feel it?”
Wilson Sam to the rats:
” Party’s over..”
Wind wooshing again..
I like how the story is progressing. Although the pan pipes do return sometimes..
Wilson Sam to Jimmy Chee:
“Remember, the dark winds blow on everyone..”
“You just have to push your way through it..”
I think I know who did it. A while back now..
The Detective is very cool.
Some notes and dialogue on first watching.
So Skinwalkers is growing on me. Certainly I liked the scene in the petrol station at night. With the petrol pumps looking like sweet alien robots with upside-down rectangular heads.
“Before there were books about lives..”
“There were rivers, stones and rocks..”
“And I knew all their names.”
Jimmy Chee to the Vietnamese teacher:
“What are fractals?”
So before you know it the buttoned up Detective is wearing loud and crazy Hawaiian shirts. But being so utterly cool he carries them off-with aloof aplomb. Popping his gigantic Rayban style sunglasses on intermittently.
It must be pretty hot in a black leather jacket in Arizona. But Leaphorn wears one to work..
Ah ha. Just as I was saying that, the Detective has looped his finger into his jacket and thrown it casually over his shoulder. Nobody does that anymore.
So the women characters in Skinwalkers are annoyingly saccharine. They are prone to offering wise words of wisdom and encouragement. Such described moments tend to bring out/ back the pan pipes again.
Special music plays for a Vietnamese character too.
The scenery (in the desert) is simply spectacular though. At one point Officer Jimmy Chee drives through a tunnel carved out of mountain.
Jimmy has a bit of a lisp when he talks.
So I am detecting a pattern: in the bad guys. Or maybe not.
Veteran Cop to Jimmy Chee:
“Sometimes I think we don’t solve a thing, we just move the mystery around.”
Officially meaningful music plays . Possibly this is worse than the pipe pipes.
“The whiskey blows a dark wind on my soul..”
It’s weird that you keep thinking it, the drama, is a Western. because of the desert scenery, the mountain, the trees, everything.
Such is the established link between that scenery and old Western films-to me.
Review of Skinwalkers-The Navajo Mysteries.
So as I described at the beginning of these notes made whilst watching:I mainly chose this series for the sunshine. Plus Skinwalkers looked interesting and most especially: it is set in the desert.
Is desert the correct term now I am wondering: I hope so. Suffice it to say that desert is what this scenery is for me. I may well be using the word generically. To those more in the know about Arizona I guess.
I certainly don’t wish to use the word desert superficially. Is what I’m saying. ‘Cause I love the desert. Not that I’ve ever been there. But I’ve hear descriptions. Mostly stories of fast cars-being driven at speeds-down the limitless highways.
Because you don’t get to drive fast anywhere else much in America. Or so I was given to understand. I seem to remember the person telling me this tale had been driving a TR-7. But I digress.
Yes, I love deserts. Who doesn’t. That road with no side and no end, the eponymous cacti, that shimmering sky. Sigh.
Now Skinwalkers is set more in a mix of desert scrub, mountains, the Navajo Reservation and with land all around, that looks like The Grand Canyon.
I found myself pondering during the drama whether mountains was the right or correct word, for what I was describing. As often the characters were climbing orange ochre rocks. Sandstone perhaps. Surely this would be described as a rocky outcrop.
What is it that makes a mountain? I had never had these thoughts before. About mountains that is.
Succinctly put: the scenery is Skinwalkers is simply spectacular. I could watch this series/ this scenery all day long.
In fact the setting of Skinwalkers plus the very cool and charismatic Detective with a slightly comical air: is what kept me watching.
The only thing was, just as I was really getting into Skinwalkers, thinking, yes I’m up for another episode of this: whilst gazing in affixed wonder at the pink red sunset haze above the top of the sandstone mountains (I’m calling them mountains) Skinwalkers ended!
There was no more episodes. Only three. Really . Seriously. That was the series. It’s another (the series) Residue. Noooo. Only three episodes long.
Yes, Jim (Detective) Leaphorn’s wife was annoyingly saccharine as a character. She had an odd glowy sort of lighting around her face. Whenever she appeared. I felt that this effect was meant to denote that she was all wise and wonderful and all.
Likewise Jimmy (Officer) Chee’s girlfriend was sterotypically feisty and driven. As a character. But a bit bland.
I preferred the two Policemen as characters. They were both excellently played and portrayed I felt.
The interplay between the two men: the young, slightly sweet and goofy Jimmy Chee and the laconic, logical and straight talking Leaphorn, Veteran Detective is interesting to watch and excellently played.
As the rookie Cop as well as spiritual healer progresses to a point where he makes an astute deduction in a case. Proving that he is Detective material.
And the veteran hard boiled Cop has relaxed enough to shout out as they bound along a pot-holed road in the truck:
“I think you are breaking my ass!”
I discovered that Robert Redford and his son co-produced Skinwalkers-The Navajo mysteries. That might explain the whole, classic, Western feel to Skinwalkers.
I also thought that Skinwalkers was very well researched. Not that I am an expert on this subject of course.
However the interactions between some of the characters and the described taboos of the Navajo tribe reminded me of some of the Inuit customs described in the books by M.J. McGrath I had read recently.
( having become fascinated with descriptions of life in the Arctic Circle)
To my memory-there were no mobile phones or computers in Skinwalkers. Which gave it a very peaceful, relaxed feel.
At one point a character actually travels to give someone a message-in person. Which was a nice touch I felt. I wondered if this action was not just because there were no mobiles: but a reflection of an actual custom.
One of the reasons I decided to watch Skinwalkers-The Navajo Mysteries was because I liked the laconic Netflix description of the series.