Fargo (TV series)

Genre Anthology
Crime drama
Black comedy
Created by Noah Hawley
Based on Fargo
by Joel Coen
Ethan Coen
Composer(s) Jeff Russo
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 20 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Kim Todd
  • Chad Oakes
  • Michael Frislev
Location(s) Calgary, Alberta
Cinematography Dana Gonzales
Matthew J. Lloyd
Running time 48–68 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor 20th Television
Original network FX
Picture format 16:9 HDTV
Original release April 15, 2014 (2014-04-15) – present
External links

Fargo is an American black comedycrime drama anthology television series created and primarily written by Noah Hawley. The show is inspired by the 1996 film of the same name written and directed by the Coen brothers, who serve as executive producers on the series alongside Hawley. It premiered on April 15, 2014, on FX.[1] Each season follows an anthology format, being set in a different era along with a different story, cast, and set of characters; however, each season is a part of a common chronology together with the original film.

The first season, set in 2006 and starring Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks, and Martin Freeman, was met with considerable acclaim.[2] It won the Emmy Awards for Outstanding Miniseries, Outstanding Directing and Outstanding Casting, and received fifteen additional nominations including Outstanding Writing, another Outstanding Directing nomination, and acting nominations for Thornton, Tolman, Hanks, and Freeman. It also won the Golden Globe Awards for Best Miniseries or Television Film and Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film for Thornton.

The second season, set in 1979 and starring Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson, Jesse Plemons, Jean Smart, and Ted Danson, was met with even greater acclaim. It received three Golden Globe nominations, along with several Emmy nominations including Outstanding Miniseries and acting nominations for Dunst, Plemons, Smart, and Bokeem Woodbine.

On November 23, 2015, FX renewed Fargo for a third season, starring Ewan McGregor, Carrie Coon and Mary Elizabeth Winstead and set in 2010,[3] to premiere in early 2017.[4]


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
110April 15, 2014 (2014-04-15)June 17, 2014 (2014-06-17)
210October 12, 2015 (2015-10-12)December 14, 2015 (2015-12-14)


Season 1 (2014)

Main article: Fargo (season 1)

In 2006, Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) passes through Bemidji, Minnesota and influences the community–including put-upon insurance salesman Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman)–with his malice, violence and deception. Meanwhile, Deputy Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) and Duluth police officer Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks) team up to solve a series of murders they believe may be linked to Malvo and Nygaard.

Season 2 (2015)

Main article: Fargo (season 2)

In 1979, beautician Peggy Blumquist (Kirsten Dunst) and her husband, butcher Ed Blumquist (Jesse Plemons) of Luverne, Minnesota, cover up their hit-and-run and murder of Rye Gerhardt (Kieran Culkin), son of Floyd Gerhardt (Jean Smart), matriarch of the Gerhardt crime family in Fargo, North Dakota. Meanwhile, State Trooper Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson), and his father-in-law, Sheriff Hank Larsson (Ted Danson), investigate a triple homicide at a local diner connected to Rye.[5]

Season 3 (2017)

According to series creator Noah Hawley, season 3 will premiere in spring 2017. The time frame for the season's episodes is 2010, leaving open the possibility that characters from the previous seasons could return.[4] Hawley said, "There are going to be connections, the way the first year was connected to the movie and the second year was connected to the first".[6] Ewan McGregor was cast in the lead dual role as Emmit and Ray Stussy,[7] and Carrie Coon will play the lead female role, Gloria Burgle.[8] In September 2016, Mary Elizabeth Winstead was cast in a major role as Nikki Swango and Scoot McNairy in a recurring role.[9][10]


Season 1

Season 2

Season 3


In 2012, it was announced that FX, with the Coen brothers as executive producers, was developing a new television series based on the 1996 Academy Award-winning film Fargo.[12] It was later announced that adaptation would be a 10-episode limited series.[13] On August 2, 2013, it was announced that Billy Bob Thornton had signed on to star in the series.[14] On September 27, 2013, Martin Freeman also signed on to star. On October 3, 2013, it was announced that Colin Hanks was cast in the role of Duluth police officer Gus Grimly.[15] Production began in fall 2013 with filming taking place in and around Calgary, Alberta.[16]

The series is set in the same fictional universe as the film, in which events took place in 1987 between Minneapolis and Brainerd, Minnesota. The first season features the buried ransom money from the film in a minor subplot.[17][18] Additionally, a number of references are made connecting the series to the film.[19]

Following the series renewal in July 2014, creator Noah Hawley revealed that the second season would take place in 1979 and focus on Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as referenced by Lou Solverson and others in the first season. The ten episodes are set in Luverne, Minnesota, Fargo, and Sioux Falls. Hawley agreed that this takes place before the events of the film, but he believes all the stories connect: "I like the idea that somewhere out there is a big, leather-bound book that's the history of true crime in the Midwest, and the movie was Chapter 4, Season 1 was Chapter 9 and this is Chapter 2," he said. "You can turn the pages of this book, and you just find this collection of stories. ... But I like the idea that these things are connected somehow, whether it's linearly or literally or thematically. That's what we play around with."[20] This book was realized in season 2, episode 9, "The Castle".[21] Production on the second season began in Calgary on January 19, 2015, and completed on May 20, 2015.[22] The first teaser for the second season was released on June 17, 2015.[23]

"This is a true story"

As with the original film, each episode begins with the superimposed text:

This is a true story. The events depicted took place in Minnesota in [year]. 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.

As with the film, this claim is completely untrue.[24] Showrunner Noah Hawley continued to use the Coens' device, saying it allowed him to "tell a story in a new way."[25] Hawley has played with the realism of the story further; responding to queries about the surviving character of Season 2, Charlie Gerhardt, he stated "If he’s out there, I’d like to get a letter from him someday, telling me how he turned out.”[26]


Critical response

Noah Hawley, Warren Littlefield and John Cameron at the 74th Annual Peabody Awards

Season 1

The first season received acclaim from television critics, and received a Metacritic score of 85 out of 100 based on 40 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim."[2] The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 97% "certified fresh" critics rating with an average rating of 8.6 out of 10 based on 54 reviews. The website consensus reads: "Based on the film of the same name in atmosphere, style, and location only, Fargo presents more quirky characters and a new storyline that is expertly executed with dark humor and odd twists."[27] IGN reviewer Roth Cornet gave the first season a 9.7 out of 10 score, praising the casting, its thematic ties to the movie, and the writing.[28] The A.V. Club named it the sixth best TV series of 2014.[29]

Season 2

The second season has been met with overwhelming acclaim from television critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, it received an average score of 96 based on 33 reviews, which indicates "universal acclaim".[30] Rotten Tomatoes reported a 100% "certified fresh" rating with an average rating of 9.2 out of 10 based on 59 reviews, with the site's consensus, "Season two of Fargo retains all the elements that made the series an award-winning hit, successfully delivering another stellar saga powered by fascinating characters, cheeky cynicism, and just a touch of the absurd."[31]


Fargo has won 32 of its 133 award nominations. The first season garnered 8 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, with the show itself winning the Outstanding Miniseries and director Colin Bucksey winning the Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special.[32] It received an additional 10 Creative Arts Emmy Award nominations, winning for Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie, or Special.[32] It has received eight Golden Globe Award nominations, with the show winning for Best Miniseries or Television Film, and Billy Bob Thornton winning for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film.[33] The series has also received one Screen Actors Guild Award nomination to Billy Bob Thornton for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie.[34] Additional accolades include: the American Film Institute Award for Top Ten Television Program in 2014[35] and 2015,[36] the Artios Award for Excellence in Casting,[37] a Peabody Award,[38] seven Critics' Choice Television Awards in which the show won twice for Best Miniseries and five times in acting for Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Jean Smart,[39][40] the Dorian Awards for TV Drama of the Year,[41] the Golden Reel Award for Best Music Score,[42] two Producers Guild of America Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television[43][44] and a Writers Guild of America Awards for Long Form – Adapted.[45]

International broadcast

On April 15, 2014, the series made its debut on FX and FXX in Canada; the remaining episodes were shown on FXX.[46][47] On April 19, 2014, it premiered in Israel on Hot 3.[48] The next day, it premiered in the UK on Channel 4.[49] On May 1, 2014, it premiered on SBS One in Australia,[50] on SoHo in New Zealand,[51] and on M-Net in South Africa.[52] In India, the first season premiered in August 2015 and the second season in October 2015 on Colors Infinity.[53]


  1. Goldberg, Lesley (January 14, 2014). "FX's 'Fargo' Cast, EPs on Film Comparisons, Anthology Format, Courting Billy Bob Thornton". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  2. 1 2 "Fargo: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  3. Ausiello, Michael (November 23, 2015). "Fargo Renewed for Season 3 at FX". TVLine. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  4. 1 2 Kickham, Dylan (December 15, 2015). "Season 3 of Fargo won't premiere until 2017". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  5. Macy, Seth G. (July 9, 2015). "Comic-Con: Here's Bruce Campbell as Ronald Reagan in FX's Fargo". IGN. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  6. Hibberd, James (December 3, 2015). "Fargo season 3 plan revealed: Characters may return". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  7. 1 2 Andreeva, Nellie (May 20, 2016). "'Fargo': Ewan McGregor Set As the Lead In Season 3 Of FX Limited Series In Dual Role". Deadline.com. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  8. 1 2 Ausiello, Michael (July 11, 2016). "Fargo Taps The Leftovers' Carrie Coon as Female Lead in Season 3". TVLine. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  9. 1 2 Hibberd, James (September 16, 2016). "Fargo casts 10 Cloverfield Lane star in major role". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  10. Mitovich, Matt Webb (September 18, 2016). "Fargo Season 3: Halt and Catch Fire's Scoot McNairy Lands Recurring Role". TVLine. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  11. Goldberg, Lesley (October 27, 2016). "'Fargo' Adds Jim Gaffigan to Season 3 Cast". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  12. Andreeva, Nellie (September 21, 2012). "FX Teams With Joel & Ethan Coen And Noah Hawley For Series Adaptation Of 'Fargo'". Deadline.com. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  13. Schwartz, Terri (March 28, 2013). "'Fargo' TV Series Gets 10 Episodes On FX". MTV. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  14. "Billy Bob Thornton to star in "Fargo" TV series". CBS News. August 2, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  15. Kenneally, Tim (October 2, 2013). "Colin Hanks Heading for FX's 'Fargo'". The Wrap. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  16. Rackl, Lori (August 2, 2013). "Billy Bob Thornton to star in 'Fargo' series on FX". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  17. Ray, Amber (May 7, 2014). "'Fargo' episode 4: The Easter egg that connects the series to the film". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  18. Nguyen, Hanh (May 6, 2014). "Fargo Boss Breaks Down That (Very Familiar) Money Shot". TV Guide. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  19. Ray, Amber (June 17, 2014). "'Fargo': Rounding up every Coen Brothers Easter egg". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  20. Porter, Rick (July 21, 2014). "'Fargo' Season 2: EP Noah Hawley details where, when and how it's connected to Season 1". Zap2it. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  21. Robinson, Joanna (December 8, 2015). "Fargo's Craziest Episode Is One We Really Should Have Seen Coming". Vanity Fair. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  22. "What's Shooting". ACTRA Alberta. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  23. Couch, Aaron (June 18, 2015). "'Fargo' Season 2 Teaser Highlights 1970s Winter". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
  24. Vincent, Alice (April 28, 2014). "The truth behind Fargo's 'true story'". The Telegraph. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  25. Gupta, Prachi (April 16, 2014). ""No Country for Old Fargo": The story behind FX's new adaptation of the classic movie". Salon. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  26. D'Arminio, Aubry (December 15, 2015). "Fargo Creator Noah Hawley Answers: What Happened to Charlie Gerhardt?". TV Insider. Retrieved May 30, 2016.
  27. "Fargo: Season 1 (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  28. Cornet, Roth (June 25, 2014). "Fargo: Season 1 Review". IGN. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
  29. McNutt, Myles (December 11, 2014). "The best TV shows of 2014 (part 2)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  30. "Fargo: Season 2". Metacritic. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  31. "Fargo: Season 2 (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  32. 1 2 Lowry, Brian (July 10, 2014). "2014 Emmy Awards: 'Game of Thrones,' 'Fargo' Lead Nominations". Variety. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  33. Swift, Andy (January 11, 2015). "Golden Globes 2015: Gina Rodriguez, Transparent, The Affair Win Big". TVLine. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  34. Mitovich, Matt Webb (December 10, 2014). "SAG Awards: Modern Family, Thrones, Homeland, Boardwalk, Cards Lead Noms; Mad Men Shut Out; HTGAWM, Maslany and Aduba Get Nods". TVLine. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  35. Poniewozik, James (December 8, 2014). "AFI Names Best TV of 2014, From The Americans to Transparent". Time. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  36. "Here Are the AFI AWARDS 2015 Official Selections". AFI. December 15, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  37. "30TH ARTIOS AWARDS WINNERS". Casting Society of America. January 22, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  38. "74th Annual Peabody Winners". Peabody Awards. April 16, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  39. Prudom, Laura (June 20, 2014). "Critics' Choice Awards: 'Breaking Bad,' 'OITNB,' 'Fargo,' 'Normal Heart' Among Top Winners". Variety. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  40. THR Staff (January 17, 2016). "Critics' Choice Awards: The Complete Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  41. TV News Desk (January 19, 2016). "CAROL Among Winners of Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association Dorian Awards". Broadway World. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  42. Pedersen, Erik (February 15, 2015). "'Birdman', 'American Sniper' Top Golden Reel Awards: MPSE Winners List". Deadline.com. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  43. Tapley, Kristopher (January 25, 2015). "'Birdman,' 'Breaking Bad,' 'Fargo' win 2015 PGA Awards". HitFix. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  44. Petski, Denise (January 23, 2016). "PGA Awards: 'The Big Short' Wins Top Film Prize; 'Game Of Thrones' Takes Drama; 'Transparent' Nabs Comedy". Deadline.com. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  45. Petski, Denise (February 13, 2016). "WGA Awards: 'Spotlight' & 'The Big Short' Take Marquee Film Honors; 'Mad Men', 'Veep' & 'Mr. Robot' Top TV – Full List". Deadline.com. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  46. Strachan, Alex (April 8, 2014). "New Fargo TV series is strange and remarkable". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  47. Oswald, Brad (April 15, 2014). "Fargo an excellent series... that we can't watch". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  48. Dekel, Ayelet (April 17, 2014). "Fargo – More Than a Remix". MidnightEast. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  49. Arnold, Ben (April 12, 2014). "Fargo comes to Channel 4: 'This is not a TV series, it's a 10-hour movie'". The Guardian. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
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  51. "Small town. Small tale.". SkyTV. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
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  53. "Five shows to watch out for on Colors Infinity". IndiaToday.in. July 31, 2015. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
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