FARGO Season 1: The only way to ensure A White Christmas (+ Offscreen Shootouts)

If you wish to ensure a white christmas for you and your family the only sure way to go is to watch the FARGO TV series. If you liked the film you’ll be bound to like the TV series as well. When I first heard they were going to make a TV show out of Fargo I thought, really (???), but honestly the result could hardly have worked out better.

The film plays in the same universe as the film but in a different time. The events in the film took place in 1987 whereas Season 1 is set in 2006, therefore in correspondance with the Coen brothers movie every episode starts with the onscreen wording: “This is a true story. The events depicted in this film took place in Minnesota in 2006. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.”
Season 1 has new characters and a new story line. Besides the tone, the setting, atmosphere, midwestern accents there’s no direct link between the film and the TV Series, except for the briefcase full of money that was buried by Carl Showalter (the character played by Steve Buscemi) in the snow. You will however constantly be reminded of the film via similar situations or lines of dialogue such as “Hiya Hon!” answered by “In the kitchen.”

An insurance agent Lester Nygaard -Martin Freeman of The Hobbit and the The Office (UK) fame- has an encounter with a former high school bully who hasn’t lost his old ways yet resulting in a hospital visit. There Lester meets Lorne Malvo (Bill Bob Thornton already part of the Coen brothers universe due to his roles in The Man Who Wasn’t There and Intolerable Cruelty and to some extent due to Sam Raimi’s A Simple Plan) to whom he’jokingly suggests’ he should kill the bully for him. Malvo however is the kind of man who only needs one word to go ahead with such a ‘command’. This sets of a chain of events that will change the life of many people indefinitely. Amongst them police officers Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) and Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks, Tom Hanks’son).

In the next post I’ll be discussing Season 2 including some links with Season 1 and references to other Coen brothers films.
In the meantime enjoy the below video I’ve prepared entitled Offscreen Shootouts showcasing James Cagney in William A. Wellman’s classic gangster film The Public Enemy, a clip from Brother (Aniki) by Takashi Kitano and from episode 7 of Season 1 of Fargo, all 3 scenes feature a cinematically interesting (you’ve guessed it) offscreen shootout.

Jan Bollen

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