TV

Who is Nakai in 'Dark Winds'?

Image credit: AMC

Here's what you need to know about the character and the actor who plays him.

Frank Nakai looks the part of a villain in the new AMC hit Western crime drama, 'Dark Winds'. Nakai transitions from an ornery-looking foot soldier of the Buffalo Society to one of the most pivotal characters during the final episodes of season one. It's got audiences asking: "Who is Frank Nakai?"

For starters, Frank Nakai is played in 'Dark Winds' by Eugene Brave Rock. The Native American actor first got his start working on stunts and performing in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show at Disneyland Paris. He's originally from the Kainai (Blood) Nation Reserve in Alberta, Canada. As a result, Eugene Brave Rock has spent time working on both American and Canadian projects.

Eugene Brave Rock appeared in several bit parts before training Native American actors for stunts in 'The Revenant', starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. The film went on to receive multiple Academy Awards and gained attention from the rest of Hollywood. Consequently, 'Wonder Woman' (starring Gal Gadot) came knocking and offered the Blackfoot actor the role of "Chief". Eventually, AMC found the 6'3 actor an ideal fit for the menacing role of Frank Nakai in 'Dark Winds'.

There is also the question of who Frank Nakai is as a character in 'Dark Winds'. Nakai first appears as nothing more than dumb muscle for James Hoski and the Buffalo Society. Hoski values Nakai's experience in the Vietnam War for keeping him protected and advancing the causes of the movement.

However, as the first season of 'Dark Winds' progresses, it becomes apparent that Frank Nakai is far more than just an ugly face wielding a weapon. Often, it's Frank who has the courage and ethics to stand up to Hoski, especially in how he deals with the Smiths. Frank is also quick to question Hoski when he believes the leader is not observing the tenants of the Buffalo Society.

Frank Nakai is the only one to have suspicions about Hoski that later (spoilers ahead) become true when Agent Whitover turns the gun on Nakai and Joe Leaphorn. Hoski, who previously cut a deal with the feds, is secretly in on the armored truck heist with Whitover. However, the prophecy of Frank "Can't Die" Nakai (in the words of Agent Whitover) is fulfilled when his body is not found inside the hideout. Moreover, the cash has disappeared even though Whitover's corpse remains behind.

Now that it's apparent Frank Nakai has survived season one, we'll be curious to see what role he plays in season two. For example, will Lieutenant Leaphorn and Chee continue to pursue the fugitive? Does Frank Nakai attempt to return to Navajo land considering he is wanted by the FBI? Or, given the insider knowledge, will he attempt to work with the Tribal Police in exposing the FBI and Devoted Dan's involvement?

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