The holy grail for FARGO fans: the 1997 T.V. pilot starring Edie Falco.

Before the great FARGO TV series created by Noah Hawley there was another failed attempt to bring the Coen brothers Fargo (1996) to the little screen. Just a year later in 1997 a TV pilot was shot based upon a script by Bruce Paltrow (father of Gwyneth Paltrow) and Robert Palm but was never never picked up to become a TV series. It aired in 2003 as a curiosum on Trio in a series dedicated to ‘Brilliant but Cancelled’ pilot episodes.

Bruce Bohne who played police officer Lou in the original film is the only actor who reprises his role in the pilot. Edie Falco (Carmela Soprano in The Sopranos, 1999-2007) takes over the role of Marge Gunderson from Frances McDormand and Matt Malloy plays her husband Norm Gunderson, previously played by John Carroll Lynch. All other characters are new.

Marge is still pregnant (“Four more weeks”), Norm is still painting Ducks and Lou is still not the brightest element in the Brainerd police department. The episode revolves around the killing of a pharmacist on a parking lot and a family that wishing to give theri father a proper burial ‘viking style’. The pilot is directed by the famous actress Kathy Bates, oscar winner for Misery (1990).

After Shep Proudfoot in the film, there are also a couple of Indians (as in native Americans) that show up in the Fargo universe, for those familiar with the recent TV series (mainly season 2) not an unimportant element in the future continuation of the storyline. I’ll be discussing Season 1 & 2 of Fargo in the coming days, in the meantime enjoy the pilot on YouTube which is something of a rarity.

Jan Bollen

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