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Minnesota Nice: the story of “Fargo”

The Emmy-winning FX limited series “Fargo” returns Tuesday with a new season, the fifth, that stars Juno Temple and Jon Hamm and gets back to basics: cops from Minnesota, bad guys from Dakota North and many snowy landscapes.

Created by Noah Hawley in 2014, “Fargo” is named after Joel and Ethan Coen’s Oscar-winning ’90s film and often repeats character archetypes from that film: kind but determined police officers who echo Frances McDormand’s Marge Gunderson; greedy, conniving husbands like William H. Macy’s Jerry Lundegaard; and bumbling villains in the style of those played in the original film by Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare. But the series draws inspiration from the entire Coenverse, referencing and remixing characters, themes and aesthetics from films like “Raising Arizona,” “Miller’s Crossing” and “No Country for Old Men” — as well as ” Fargo,” of course – in the original stories, they tend to focus on the bad deeds of stupid men.

It’s been three years since the last season of “Fargo.” With the new one about to premiere and the other four available on Hulu, here’s a look at the who, what, where and you bet “Fargo,” season by season.

(April-June 2014)

“Your problem is that you’ve spent your whole life thinking there were rules. There are not any. —Lorne Malvo

Set in 2006, season 1 transforms Jerry’s character into that of Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman), an insurance salesman who crosses paths with a sociopathic hitman named Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton), shades of Javier Bardem’s terrifying Anton Chigurh in “There Is No Country for Old Men.”

After Lester kills his wife and Lorne helps cover up the affair, Deputy Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) of the Bemidji, Minnesota Police Department investigates the increasingly violent affair, assisted by the wonderfully named officer Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks) from Duluth. All four lead actors received Emmy nominations, and “Fargo” won Best Limited Series, the only season to date to win such an award.

(October-December 2015)

“And isn’t that a little miracle?” State of the world today and level of conflict and incomprehension. That two men could stand on a lonely road in winter and talk. Calmly and rationally. While around them, people are losing their minds. » —Mike Milligan

The second season of “Fargo” was more ambitious than the first, bringing the action back to 1979 and expanding the scope of the series. With shots that echo “No Country for Old Men” and “Barton Fink,” and even an alien subplot reminiscent of “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” this season uses the entire Coen filmography as a sandbox while maintaining a centerpiece that is still very “Fargo”.

The protagonists are once again ordinary people caught in a violent world when Peggy (Kirsten Dunst) and Ed Blumquist (Jesse Plemons) cover up her hit-and-run. Problem is, the guy Peggy hit is the son of Floyd Gerhardt (Jean Smart), the new leader of a North Dakota crime family in a battle of wills with a Kansas City crime syndicate looking to expand its scope. (The role helped bring Smart back to prominence.) Patrick Wilson plays Lou Solverson, the Minnesota state trooper who falls into all of this, assisted by his father-in-law, Sheriff Hank Larsson (Ted Danson) .

Bokeem Woodbine, who plays Kansas City enforcer Mike Milligan, leads a stellar supporting cast that also includes Cristin Milioti, Brad Garrett, Jeffrey Donovan, Rachel Keller, Angus Sampson, Nick Offerman and Zahn McClarnon. The second season of “Fargo” received 18 Emmy Award nominations.

(April-June 2017)

“The problem is not that there is evil in the world, the problem is that there is good. Because otherwise, who would care? —VM Varga

Is it still “Fargo” if none of this takes place in North Dakota? The third season shifts the action to 2010-11 and takes place entirely in Minnesota. The protagonist lawyer this time is the wonderful Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon), who finds herself caught in a battle between twin brothers Ray and Emmit Stussy, both played by Ewan McGregor.

When Ray, a probation officer, collaborates with his girlfriend, Nikki (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), to steal a rare postage stamp from her brother, a case of mistaken identity leads to the murder of a passerby. Emmit, a powerful businessman, has his own problems as he tries to escape from a mysterious stranger named VM Varga (David Thewlis). Michael Stuhlbarg, Shea Whigham, Hamish Linklater and Scoot McNairy co-star.

(September-November 2020)

“You know why America loves crime stories? Because America IS a crime story” – Josto Fadda

The most ambitious season of “Fargo” is arguably also the least similar to the others, moving south to Kansas City and set in 1950-51. More interested in the structures that enable abuses of power, it serves as something of an origin story for the crime syndicates seen in previous seasons. But it’s also a commentary on race, privilege, and the type of criminal operations that destroy basic decency.

Chris Rock plays Loy Cannon, a new crime boss who goes to war against Kansas City’s Italian mafia. Jessie Buckley gives one of the strongest performances of the season as Oraetta Mayflower, a nurse who commits a murder that ignites the entire turf war going on between the two unions. Jason Schwartzman also stands out as Josto Fadda, the heir to the Italian crime family, and other co-stars include Ben Whishaw, Jack Huston, Andrew Bird, Glynn Turman and Emyri Crutchfield.

(November 2023-January 2024)

“With all due respect, we have our own reality.” — Danish graves

The new season of “Fargo”, consisting of 10 episodes, returns to the roots of the series, both physically and narratively. The premiere includes more direct references to the film than any other episode in the series’ history, including masked intruders attempting a home invasion, a criminal with a giant facial wound, and even a cop talking about a ” beautiful day “.

With this season, Hawley reverses the film’s victim role, making Dot, Temple’s disappearing housewife, someone who can stand on her own two feet. Hamm plays against the grain as a vicious and resentful sheriff. Jennifer Jason Leigh, who starred in the Coens’ “The Hudsucker Proxy,” is a cruel calculation as Dot’s wealthy stepmother, Lorraine Lyon, and Dave Foley plays the family lawyer and fixer, Danish Graves . Lamorne Morris and Richa Moorjani team up as investigators who find themselves stuck in the middle of the violence.

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