‘Fargo’ returns with a new season of midwestern murder and mayhem on FX. Here’s a look at the new cast and characters.
Having visited 2006, 1979, 2010, and 1950 in its first four seasons, Fargo isn’t going too far back in year five. The new season is set in 2019, and the mood is…well, you probably remember what it was like. A predatory strain of freedom rings out over the golden valleys of the upper midwest. Rural sheriffs interpret and enforce laws according to their personal agendas. Debt collectors reap record profits from underpaid workers who can’t afford their student loans. Even good-hearted police feel impotent and baffled by the severity and brazenness of the violence.
If that description invokes the bleak world of No Country For Old Men than the quirky communities of Fargo, you’re primed for the outstanding fifth season of FX’s Emmy-winning anthology series. Mashing up a plot that replicates some of the specific events of the Coen Brothers’ 1996 original with the shocking violence and sustained tension that made No Country so anxiety-inducing, season 5 of Fargo feels like a fascinating remix of the Coen Brothers canon, as well as the first four seasons of the show.
Here’s your introduction to the new cast and characters in Fargo Year 5. The new season premieres with back-to-back episodes on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 10pm ET on FX. Not a DISH subscriber? Use this link to find the DISH package that’s right for you!
Juno Temple as Dorothy “Dot” Lyon
Official Description: “Depending on who you ask, Dot is a wife and mother, a member of the PTA, a fighter, survivor, or a tiger. She’s tenacious to almost a delusional fault, never giving up no matter how impossible the circumstances. Ultimately, she’s a mama bear with a lion’s heart.”
Don’t Cha Know: Juno Temple earned three Emmy nominations for her role as Keeley Jones on Apple TV’s Ted Lasso. Despite that character’s unmistakable Englishness, Temple quickly slips into her midwestern role, and her character’s odd vacillation between protectiveness, fear, and maternal sensitivity anchors the ensemble.
Jon Hamm as Sheriff Roy Tillman
Official Description: “One of those constitutional sheriffs, a rancher preacher, defender of the American gospel. A man who works from sunup to sundown shepherding God’s land. In Roy’s own reality, he is the law and therefore is above the law; he’s the judge, jury and too often the executioner.”
Don’t Cha Know: Hamm will forever be known as Don Draper on Mad Men. But with apologies to his perfect portrayal of the titular wisecracking P.I. in Confess, Fletch, this might be his best role since the end of that iconic AMC series. Roy Tillman is possessive and deranged, sure, but he’s also charming enough to see why women and the electorate keep falling for him.
Jennifer Jason Leigh as Lorraine Lyon
Official Description: “CEO of the largest debt collection agency in the country, with two billion dollars in annual revenue. Lorraine is poised, regal and opinionated. She’s also a huge donor to any candidate or cause that she believes in, regardless of political affiliation (read: anyone that can be helpful to her in the future).”
Don’t Cha Know: Jennifer Jason Leigh has reached the stage in her career where she can play overbearing, aristocratic, implacable mothers, and she sinks her teeth into this role like a stack of pancakes. Cold and skeptical toward her daughter-in-law Dot, Leigh’s character has an impeccable BS detector and very little patience for those who set it off.
David Rysdahl as Wayne Lyon
Official Description: “Wayne has the forced cheer of a man whose mother raised him with a thick brew of disappointment and guilt. Now he owns a car dealership and three quarters of a fishing boat. A sweet guy who doesn’t match up to society’s (or his mother’s) definition of masculinity, his ideal evening is playing sock hockey at home with his daughter, Scotty.”
Don’t Cha Know: Wayne’s demeanor and profession place him in the lineage of William H. Macy’s Jerry Lundegaard. But where Jerry’s insecurities curdled into violent resentment, Wayne’s placid, trusting personality presents a different kind of danger to his family.
Joe Keery as Gator Tillman
Official Description: “A handsome charmer, the way the snake in the garden was a charmer. He’s a sapling struggling to grow in the shadow of an oak, desperate to prove himself to his larger-than-life father in the absence of a mother’s love. With daddy issues up there with Oedipus Rex’s, Gator wants to be a winner but unfortunately doesn’t know what the word means.”
Don’t Cha Know: Keery is best-known as Steve on Netflix’s Stranger Things, where his puppy dog charm is put to good use. His role as Roy’s sadistic son Gator is a revelation; Keery still excels at playing insecure, but there’s a menacing quality to his neediness, an unearned cockiness that’s as unconvincing as it is dangerous.
Lamorne Morris as Deputy Witt Farr
Official Description: “The guy when you look up the word “reliable” in the dictionary, you see his picture. He splits the check down to the cent, not because he’s cheap but because he’s fair. He’s dogged, earnest and Minnesota nice.”
Don’t Cha Know: Although overall less cynical than its fourth season, there’s not as much humor in this season of Fargo as there was in the first three. However, Lamorne Morris gets to cook. He plays an earnest, well-intentioned Deputy who is struggling to understand the power dynamics of his suddenly violent stretch of North Dakota.
Richa Moorjani as Deputy Indira Olmstead
Official Description: “A practical woman – socks before shoes – and good at puzzles, which may have led to her career in law enforcement. She struggles to manage her finances while supporting her husband Lars and his delusional dream of winning the masters golf tournament.”
Don’t Cha Know: Fargo has introduced us to a number of good-hearted but overwhelmed police officers over its first four seasons. Deputy Olmstead is different. Although she too clings to decency in the face of evil, she’s crippled by the loans she took out both as a student and a spouse. It will be interesting to see how much leverage others can get based on these financial cracks.
Sam Spruell as Ole Munch
Official Description: “On any given day, he looks as though he could be 30-60. Some say he has always been here, blowing through the American landscape – the dark shadow waiting for us at the end of the hall. He’s carved from stone, relentless as the sea, the forces of physics don’t apply to him.”
Don’t Cha Know: As that description (and his haircut) suggests, Ole Munch is something like the surrogate of Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh in this season of the show. But like a lot of the obvious reference points from the Coen Brothers oeuvre, the expectations created by those associations will be both rewarded and subverted.
Dave Foley as Danish Graves
Official Description: “Lorraine Lyon’s in-house counsel and primary advisor. A country club type, who has never been in a real fight, but sees himself as a winner, when clearly Lorraine is the heavyweight champion and he just holds her spit bucket.”
Don’t Cha Know: The former Kid in the Hall wins this year’s “Nikki Swango” award for best character name. It’s a different role than we’re used to seeing from Foley, but similar to Chris Rock’s menacing lead turn in season 4, Foley slides into character with surprising ease.
Season 5 of Fargo premieres Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 10pm ET on FX.