Jessica Matten as Sam Woodburn on Tribal

Jessica Matten | Talking Tribal, APTN’s new Indigenous crime drama

by W. Andrew Powell

Tribal is APTN’s fiery new crime drama, and it’s one of the most interesting shows on TV this season.

Created by Ron E. Scott (Blackstone), Tribal stars Jessica Matten as Interim Chief Sam Woodburn, and features an almost completely Indigenous cast.

Matten is fierce and completely down-to-Earth as Sam, a tribal police officer forced to take charge as her department is pushed into a partnership with the city police.

She’s teamed up with Chuck “Buke” Bukansky, played by Brian Markinson, a seasoned, but frankly sexist and racist officer with a lot of baggage. Somehow though, Sam puts up with him, and they work together because they both want to close cases.

Those cases are also a big part of why Tribal is so compelling, with details that are taken from real cases that are profound; a controversial pipeline, in one episode, and missing Indigenous people, in another. Through these stories, and especially because of Sam, Tribal supports the spirit of Indigenous communities, and opens up about some big issues in Canada and the U.S.

The show is set in the fictitious Nêhiyawak First Nation, and it was filmed at Tsuu T’ina Nation near Calgary, Alberta.

Tribal also features the incredible work of cinematographer A. Jonathan Benny, with appearances by Michelle Thrush, Justin Rain, Garry Chalk, Adam MacDonald, and Julian Black Antelope.

Watch the video below for my conversation with Matten as she shares insight into the show’s stories, what she learned as she prepared for the role, and what it was like to work with Scott again.

Tribal airs on APTN every Thursday at 9:00 PM (ET), and repeats on Tuesdays at 9:00 PM (ET). You can also stream it on APTN Lumi.

Season two of the series has already been greenlit.

https://youtu.be/iysgw7cyFYQ

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