Fargois finally back in all of its quirky, gory glory.
Following multiple Emmy and Golden Globe wins for its first season, the FX drama kicks off its second season (Monday, 10/9c) to high critical expectations. Fortunately, judging from the first four episodes screened for the press, it's clear that showrunner Noah Hawley's success at re-creating the Coen brothers' flavor of crime-meets-comedy the first time around was no fluke.
Enter Season 2, which is set in 1979 Luverne, Minn. A trio of murders at a local Waffle Hut -- which is as silly and horrifying as it sounds -- is the central mystery that young Minnesota state trooper Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) is trying to crack with the help of his father-in-law Sheriff Hank Larsson (Ted Danson).
They're far outnumbered by the bad guys, the proud and deadly Gerhardt crime family on one side and the Kansas City crime syndicate on the other. Caught in the middle, however, is the young couple Peggy and Ed Blumquist (Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons), good folks who find that making bad decisions can be very attractive.
Keep on reading for more Season 2 scoop:
"OK, then!" is the new black Now you can add another catchphrase to your Fargo repertoire besides, "Aw, jeez!" Check out this clip to get a feel for the proper inflection. Fun fact: Putting on a Minnesotan accent came naturally to Dunst, whose family owned a farm in Cambridge, Minn.
The Blumquists will get bloody Like Martin Freeman's character Lester last year, the regular Joe this year -- married couple Peggy the beautician and Ed the butcher -- will inevitably encounter violence. How they react hinges on their differing desires in life: Ed's wish for stability and a family, while Peggy yearns for something beyond domestic bliss. "Peggy has set goals for herself, and nothing is going to stop her," Dunst told reporters in August. "This wrench is thrown in the middle of this. That wakes her up to the possibility of not fulfilling any of those things." As previously reported, this will make her act out of desperation.
The Gipper is groovy! Ronald Reagan isn't just enjoying a revival among today's GOP candidates. On Fargo, the former president himself will appear, portrayed by Bruce Campbell, known best for starring in the "groovy" Evil Dead horror-comedy franchise. "I started thinking, 'Who occupies that space of this hugely charismatic actor who exists more in a B-movie world than the A-movie world?'" Hawley tells TVGuide.com. "And the age was right. Bruce is a little younger than Reagan was. He grew up in Michigan, just across the border. It's very similar accents and everything."
The Solversons will solve your crimes We met an adult Deputy Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) in the first season of Fargo, but this year, we've turned back the clock to see that law enforcement runs in the family. Molly is just 6, and her dad Lou is an upstanding patrolman who has served three tours of duty in Vietnam. He's married to the ailing but still vibrantly sharp-witted Betsy (Cristin Milioti), who's learned a thing or two about solving cases from her dad, Sheriff Larsson, a WWII vet.
The time isn't so groovy Although Fargo takes place in 1979, don't expect it to be all "flared pants and wide collars," Hawley says. Beyond the fun, pop-culture hallmarks of the era, he wanted to instead capture that feeling of uncertainty in the American experience.
"It's such a pivotal moment in American history... post-Vietnam where there was this feeling that they brought the war home with them and crime was rampant," Hawley says. "The conspiracy did go to the highest level, and nobody knew who to trust or what to trust; it seemed like everything was falling apart. Ronald Reagan shows up and says, 'It's not that complicated; we're Americans.' And everyone thought, 'Oh, we like that,' which is basically like, let's go back to the '50s."
The Gerhardts will get in your face The Gerhardt crime family is so cold-blooded, even the most unlikely members have a cutthroat, murderous streak. This makes the internal power struggle all the more nerve-wracking to watch when patriarch Otto Gerhardt is sidelined by a debilitating stroke. His business-minded wife Floyd (Jean Smart) and bloodthirsty eldest son Dodd (Burn Notice's Jeffrey Donovan) each want to be in charge, and this conflict could weaken them. Second son Bear (Angus Sampson) has allied himself with mom, and as for youngest son Rye (Kieran Culkin), he's not the sharpest pin in the cushion, but has a scheme that should net him some extra money.
Coens, Coens everywhere Fargo the series echoes more than just Fargo the movie, but also pays homage to many other films by the Coen brothers. For the first season, Hawley drew on No Country for Old Men and A Serious Man. In Season 2, he was influenced by Miller's Crossing (rival crime groups) and The Man Who Wasn't There, which includes "a lot of UFO imagery," Hawley says. That's right. UFOs. We won't reveal how exactly UFOs will appear in Fargo, but keep your eyes peeled.
Kansas City wants it all While the Gerhardts are divided, the Kansas City mafia will swoop in to try to take over their stranglehold on the area. Hawley says this represents "the family business versus the rise of corporate America," except, you know, with crime. Joe Bulo (Brad Garrett) is the spokesman for the group, while smiling Mike Milligan (Bokeem Woodbine) is the enforcer who has ambitions to sit at the operation's corporate table and make the real decisions. "He wears Western suits and bolo ties and he's a very iconoclastic character who doesn't really fit in anywhere in a way, which ... sort of isolates him in the story," Hawley says.
Big plans for Nick Offerman The Parks and Recreation alum plays town lawyer and drunk Karl Weathers, who never misses an opportunity to share his latest conspiracy theories. "He's definitely got the oratorical gift of gab," Hawley says. "In the first hour, he's basically local color, but I've got plans for him that are greater than just that... Karl seems like kind of a bully to poor Sonny (Dan Beirne), and he's obviously a very arrogant and erudite man who sees himself as an intellectual superior to a lot of people around him. But you know he's a good guy."
The Native Americans will get their day This season of Fargo takes place just a few years after 1973, when Native Americans activists occupied Wounded Knee, S.D., on the Pine Ridge reservation for 71 days. For actor Zahn McClarnon, who plays Dodd's dangerous sidekick Hanzee Dent, the timing made sense for his character's rising sense of identity. "When Hanzee Dent comes out of the Vietnam War, he's facing those struggles," he says. "He's facing the struggle with being adopted into the Gerhardt family, also the coming out of the PTSD, along with finding his new identity in the Midwest during the 1970s."
Fargo premieres Monday at 10/9c on FX.