Minnesota nice

Many were excited to hear that Joel and Ethan Coen’s dark comedy crime thriller film, Fargo, would be followed by a television series. Not only excited, but a bit surprised as well. The 1996 film stars Frances McDormand and William H. Macy featuring Steve Buscemi. Fargo tells the story of the Fargo, Minnesota Police Chief, Marge Gunderson (McDormand), investigating a string of homicides, while insurance salesman, Jerry Lundegaard (Macy), devises a plan to kidnap his own wife to cash in on some ransom money.

Eighteen years later, comes the television series inspired by the film broadcasted on the television network FX. Though the series is not made and reprised by the creators of the film, the Coen brothers do take their part as producers for the show. Fargo (TV Series) season one stars Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton featuring Colin Hanks, and Allison Tolman. It includes ten episodes with an average of 45 minute running time each.

 Lester Nygaard
Lester Nygaard


Fargo takes place in the cities of Duluth and Bemidji, Minnesota, and introduces us to Lester Nygaard (Freeman). Lester is an insurance salesman who seems to be living his life as ordinary as possible. It is not until Lorne Malvo (Thornton) runs into Lester that things start to change in Lester’s ordinary life. Only after Malvo accidently hints to killing off Lester’s childhood bully does Lester realize the dangers of Malvo. Lester seems to be having a pretty weird day, but his night takes another a turn for the worst, as he gets fed up with his quite annoying wife. In a very shocking shift in character development we see Lester silence his wife by hitting her atop of the head with hammer, killing her. A nervous Lester turns to Malvo, who had killed his bully, for help.

As Lester’s wife is laid across the floor dead and bloody, Chief of Police Vern Thurman comes to Lester’s house to question him on the death of his bully. Entering the house and noticing the scene, Thurman calls for backup. That is the end of Thurman’s journey as he is shot from behind by a surprising Malvo, who quickly escapes the scene. Lester, knowing backup is on the way, tries think of how to cover-up the scene. After intensely looking at an inspirational poster on the wall, Lester sprints into the wall knocking himself out as policemen enter the household.

The first episode of the series changes pace quite quickly for a television series. Beginning with a very normal and boring character like Lester who minimally defends himself, ending with his character getting fed up enough to kill off his wife. Fargo introduces us to interesting and twisted characters, unlike any television has seen. It is humorous in the darkest times, thrilling in the most action suspense scenes, and it is great. We see the transformation of Lester Nygaard, along with following the journey of violent and murderous Malvo, while also taking a peek into the investigations of Deputy Molly Solverson (Tolman) and Duluth Officer Gus Grimly (Hanks) who are both trying to crack down on Malvo. We also bump heads with other hitmen trying to track down Malvo as well.

Season one of Fargo has received acclaim being nominating for numerous awards and winning two Golden Globe awards for Best Miniseries and Best Actor – Miniseries for Thornton’s portrayal.  As season one wrapped up, viewers were told that the series was going to take an anthology approach with later seasons. Season two is set prior to season playing off as a prequel to the subplots indicated in the first season.