By Jason Aquino
FX’s “Fargo,” based on eponymous film by famous director duo, the Coen Brothers, is set in a tiny Minnesota town. “Fargo” is a black comedy crime drama that features small city folks who get involved in the affairs of crime syndicates and tend to cause a myriad of violence. The story blends comedy and drama by having both comedic and serious characters in thrilling situations. Since the each season takes place in a small, cordial town, the criminally-linked plot makes the show unique from other crime shows.
“Fargo” is an anthology series that is connected by one area: Fargo and its surrounding counties. Each season takes place in a different year and in a different town that is close to Fargo. The first season takes place in Bemidji, Minnesota in 2006 and the second season takes place in Luverne Minnesota in 1979. The show is not named for the town of Fargo North Dakota; however it is actually named for the Fargo Crime Syndicate and Fargo Police Department who both appear in the series. This is because a large aspect of the series involves crime and the law. In addition to the unique setting, the show offers a unique set of protagonists and antagonists. The protagonists, who are noble lawmen, are pitted against intense remorseless criminals. The side characters are diverse and offer insights on the events of the show while offering comedic relief. The setting and the characters are quite different than most shows, creating an unexpected yet interesting atmosphere to the show.
The first season of “Fargo” begins in the unmemorable year of 2006, and takes place in the even less memorable town of Bemidji, Minnesota. The story begins with an insurance salesman, Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) who encounters a hitman, Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton). Lester is a small man who has been bullied all of his life. With a dangerous man like Malvo entering his life, it gave Lester an opportunity to end his oppressors which leads to a spree of horrible murders. The murders spark the interests of the Fargo crime syndicate, causing more mayhem. The spree of deaths are investigated by the small town policemen, Molly Solverson (Allison Tomson) and Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks) both of whom are not taken seriously. The story continues as the two protagonists try their hardest to uphold justice in the face of evil.
The darker second season of “Fargo” takes place in another quiet town, Luverne, Minnesota during another uneventful year, 1979 and the events are even bloodier than before. The story begins when hairdresser, Peggy Blumquist (Kirsten Dunst), accidentally runs a man over with her car. The man turns out to be the son of Minnesota’s Gerhardt clan, a powerful German crime family. Peggy and her husband Ed Blumquist (Jesse Plemons) hide the body out in fear of arrest for manslaughter. After their son comes up missing, the Gerhardt’s believe he was killed by a rival crime organization—the Kansas crime family—who seemingly have an interest in taking them over. This eventually leads to an equally fatal war between the two families. The show continues as policeman, Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson)—the father of Molly Solverson—, attempts to keep order in the town and its surrounding areas.
The story is both amusing and gripping due to the high quality of the plot, and the never-dull characters. It’s recommended that anybody who enjoys crimes shows to watch “Fargo”.
The first two seasons of “Fargo” are on Hulu and the third season premiered on April 19 and is available on FX.