NOTE: This review contains MILD SPOILERS for the FX series (inspired by the Coen brothers’ film- Fargo).
I heard about this show from a former co-worker (who called it “the best show on TV”) and via little snippets online. However, it took me SOME time to get into the story and finish watching the DVD set (which I purchased on sale from FYE). I watched it twice to get a better understanding of the story.
If you enjoy watching British actor Martin Freeman (The Hobbit; Sherlock), then this show MAY make you into a fan. He gets to stretch his acting muscles here, NOT only playing the meek, mild, “Nice Guy” you’d expect.
The good guys on this show are ALMOST as interesting as the baddies- you’ll want to cheer for them for sure! Deputy Molly Solverson (Alison Tolman) is a humble, earnest, and observant 2nd gen police officer in her hometown of Bimidji, MN (which is close to Fargo, ND). Molly is around 30, looks like an average Midwestern woman (thank you, producers), likeable, BUT sometimes undermined in her role (by the males in her department).
She finds a complementary foil in reluctant cop and loving single dad, Officer Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks). On my second watch, I LOVED seeing their working friendship evolve into a slow-burn romance. Tolman and Hanks have such an easygoing and sweet chemistry- it’s rare to see in modern TV. Murder investigations CAN bring people together!
There are several well-known actors who are guest stars on the show; I esp. liked seeing Key and Peele as two clueless FBI agents. In a few of their scenes, I wondered if they were making fun of the two cops on Season 1 of True Detective or perhaps such sketches from their OWN show.
One of my favorites on the show is Lou (Keith Carradine), a retired cop who now runs a diner; he is also a widower and Molly’s father. Lou and Molly have such a GREAT relationship; we see the love and respect shine through in every scene they share. At times, Lou is concerned re: the safety of his daughter, BUT he never undermines her ability to do her job. (FYI: Season 2 goes back in time to find Lou, played by Patrick Wilson, as a young deputy.)
If you like Billy Bob Thornton, then this series will simply be a treat; the veteran movie actor creates a scary good villain and chews up the scenery. He transforms himself w/ different hair, clothing, posture, manners, etc. I think Fargo is definitely worth a watch (esp. b/c of the VERY strong acting, writing, cinematography, and music). It’s a character drama mixed w/ a police procedural, w/ sudden doses of violence (which is to be expected also in MOST of the Coens’ films).