There is a new crime series on Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. on the FX channel. Fargo is based on the 1996 film created by Noah Hawley and written and directed by the fabulous Coen Brothers. The story line takes place during 2006 when a mysterious man, Lorne Malvo played wickedly by Billy Bob Thornton crashes on an icy road outside of Bemidji Minnesota after he swerves to avoid deer. In his car is a half-naked man. Malvo who is injured kills the hapless victim and then heads to the emergency room.
In town, Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) is a man who is bossed by his wife and has an old schoolyard bully still picking on him. In the latest encounter with said bully, Sam Hess, Lester is injured and goes to the emergency room where he meets Lorne Malvo. After some prying, Lester admits that he’s afraid of Sam Hess. Lorne offers to kill Sam, but Lester tells him no. Lorne finds and kills Sam in a crowded bar.
From here the story takes a trip through multiple layers of events and consequences which keep you on the edge of your seat. Lester kills his wife with a hammer during one of her rants on what a loser he is. Lester calls Malvo for help, but….Chief Thurman stops by to chat with Lester about the identity of the man he spoke to in the emergency room. When Malvo enters the home and finds the lawman there, he kills him.
How Lester fibs his way out of the double murder is the main storyline for episode 2. With Thurman dead, Deputy Bill Oswalt takes over the cases, but he’s dumb as shit and won’t listen to Deputy Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) who knows damn well that there is a link between the car crash/ dead naked man and the killing of Sam Hell and Chief Thurman.
In Duluth, Officer Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks) stops a speeding car driven by Malvo, But Malvo is so freaking scary, the officer lets him go. Smart move! Officer Grimly is raising a young daughter on his own.
On episode 2, two assassins come to town. Mr. Wrench (Russell Harvard) is deaf and dumb and Mr. Numbers (Adam Goldberg) uses sign language to communicate with his partner. They are in town to find Hess’s killer. They abduct the wrong man, and then, drop him head first into an ice fishing hole. Malvo in the meantime is hired to find out who is blackmailing Stavos Milos, The Supermarket King.
This is dark humor at its best. Fargo is a true crime series with a patchwork of characters and plots that stay with you long after the show ends. Billy Bob Thornton has earned my admiration in his portrayal of the sociopath, Lorne Malvo.
Thornton plays this killer with a touch of humor, and that’s what makes him so frightening. He never loses his temper or raises his voice, but when he smiles, we see the inner predator and we want to hide.
Allison Tolman plays a small town cop who must suffer the incompetence of her new superior. Deputy Molly Solverson is a cop’s cop. She looks at the facts and connects the dots and she has a natural talent for seeing through the lies. I love her soft spoken ways and how she holds her tongue while Deputy Bill Oswalt (Bob Odenkirk) screws up the case.
With the addition of the two assassins Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench into the plot, you realize that they, like Lorne Malvo, distract with their sign language while committing the vilest of crimes and their antics are no longer funny.
This is a great show. Take my advice and watch it, but remember it’s brutal. Murder usually is.