You might recognize Taylor Sheridan from his role as David Hale on “Sons of Anarchy” or Travis Wheatley in Paramount+’s “Yellowstone,” but the actor’s work on screen is arguably not as impressive as the stacked résumé of films and television shows that he has written.
Sheridan began acting in the 1990s and took on a number of small roles in various TV shows and movies throughout the remainder of the decade into the 2000s. But his career as an actor never quite took off, which is when he discovered his talent and passion for screenwriting. After writing the pilot for “Mayor of Kingstown” in 2011, he knew that’s exactly what he was meant to do. “I was a fair actor, but that’s all I was ever going to be,” Sheridan told The Hollywood Reporter in a June 2023 interview. “Hollywood will tell you what you’re supposed to do if you listen. If you’re banging your head against the wall for 20 years trying to be an actor, maybe you shouldn’t be an actor. But the first thing I ever wrote got me meetings at every major network, at every agency. I had multiple people trying to buy it.”
Since writing his first feature film, “Sicario” (2015), Sheridan has taken Hollywood by storm with a buffet of written works that have exploded in popularity among viewers and critics alike, ranging from “1923” to his most recent project, “Special Ops: Lioness.” The star-studded thriller series, which hit Paramount+ on July 23, stars Zoe Saldaña, Nicole Kidman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Kelly, among others.
If you want a taste of Sheridan’s style while you stream “Special Ops: Lioness,” here are some of his best movies and TV shows.
1. “Sicario” (2015)
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A talented cast — including Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Daniel Kaluuya, and Benicio Del Toro — are front and center of Sheridan’s first feature film, “Sicario.” The film follows FBI special agent Kate Macer (Blunt), who is enlisted by a CIA task force to take down a high-ranking Mexican cartel leader.
2. “Hell or High Water” (2016)
After the death of their mother, brothers Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster) are desperate to save their family ranch, which has fallen into debt. As a means to get by and keep the ranch, the two commit a series of bank robberies and, ultimately, catch the attention of Texas Rangers Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham). In an attempt to bring the robberies to an end, the Rangers pursue the case and seek to find answers about the mysterious duo behind the crimes.
3. “Wind River” (2017)
With “Wind River,” Sheridan was inspired to bring awareness to the staggering amount of crimes Indigenous Americans, especially women, deal with while living on reservations. In an interview with Newsweek, he explained, “The social issues that Native Americans face are the same as in other parts of the country — domestic abuse, poverty, drug addiction, alcoholism — but on the reservation, no one is watching or listening.” The film stars Jeremy Renner as Cory Lambert, a US Fish and Wildlife Service tracker who discovers the body of a young woman on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Along with special FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), the two search for clues to find the killer and solve the crime.
4. “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” (2018)
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“Sicario: Day of the Soldado” is a sequel to Sheridan’s 2015 film, “Sicario,” and similarly focuses on the ongoing battle between drug cartels and law enforcement. The film centers around a fierce drug war that occupies the border between the United States and Mexico, with CIA assassin Alejandro Gillick (Del Toro) and CIA officer Matt Graver (Brolin) joining forces to prevent terrorists from entering the country.
5. “Without Remorse” (2021)
Based on the 1993 Tom Clancy novel of the same name, “Without Remorse” stars Michael B. Jordan as Senior Chief Petty Officer John Kelly, who loses his Navy Seal unit and his pregnant wife to a series of murders conducted by Russian FSB operatives. Filled with rage and grief, John goes on a mission to track down every person who was involved in the killings to seek his revenge and get justice.
6. “Those Who Wish Me Dead” (2021)
“Those Who Wish Me Dead” is based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Michael Koryta. The film, which stars Angelina Jolie and Jon Bernthal, centers on a young boy named Connor, who is stranded in the Montana wilderness after witnessing the murder of his father by assassins. While Hannah Faber (Jolie) is posted at a fire lookout tower nearby, she finds Connor and takes him under her wing. Little does she know, however, that the assassins are out to kill him, too.
7. “Yellowstone” (2018–2023)
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Arguably one of Sheridan’s most beloved works, “Yellowstone” tells the story of the Dutton family, who own the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. The ranch is the largest in the state of Montana, and because of this, the family often has conflicts with others, including folks living on the Broken Rock Indian Reservation and land developers. “Yellowstone” spans five seasons and is a part of a larger “Yellowstone” universe that includes other series by Sheridan.
8. “Mayor of Kingstown” (2021)
Sheridan collaborated with Jeremy Renner again in the crime-thriller series “Mayor of Kingstown.” The show, which currently has two seasons, centers on the influential McLusky family of Kingstown, MI, as they navigate corruption and crime within the for-profit prison industry. In a town riddled with systemic racism, police corruption, and socioeconomic inequality, it’s every person for themselves, no matter who you are or where you come from.
9. “1883” (2021)
A prequel to “Yellowstone,” the limited series focuses on a generation of the Dutton family from the Old West, a period of post–Civil War exploration during the late 1800s. The family, led by patriarch James Dutton (Tim McGraw), makes the decision to leave Tennessee to venture out west and settle in Oregon. The journey is not without struggles and tribulations, and though they initially set their sights on Oregon, the family settles in Montana and establishes what will eventually become the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch.
10. “Tulsa King” (2022)
“Tulsa King” tells the story of Invernizzi Mafia capo Dwight Manfredi (Sylvester Stallone), who is looking to rebuild his life after serving 25 years in prison for murder. Under the instruction of his boss, Manfredi goes to Tulsa, OK, to expand the Invernizzi family organization and establish new roots in the city.
11. “1923” (2022)
A sequel to “1883” and a prequel to “Yellowstone,” “1923” follows another generation of the Dutton family as they fight to maintain control of their land during various hardships of the early 20th century, including Western Expansion, the Great Depression, Prohibition, and drought. In the series, Harrison Ford stars as an older version of Jacob Dutton (portrayed by Tim McGraw in “1883”), the Dutton patriarch.
12. “Special Ops: Lioness” (2023)
Sheridan’s latest series, “Special Ops: Lioness,” stars Zoe Saldaña as Joe, a Marine who joins forces with fellow Marine Cruz Manuelos (Laysla De Oliveira) to befriend the daughter of a suspected terrorist and bring down the organization — all without being exposed.
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