Exclusive Interview: Noah Hawley on Fargo Season 2

Fargo season 2

The one year time jump was a bombshell in the first season. Now that you’ve used it, is that tool out of your toolbox?

Noah: Yeah, I think so. This season happens much more in real time, but then the key is how do you come up with other structural innovations that keep you from just falling into a linear trap. That becomes a challenge of part of the assessment of should we do this again becomes: all right, it’s not just do we have a good story to tell, but do we have a good way to tell it, these good twists structurally that keep it interesting?

1979 is a period piece, but was 2006 a period piece too?’

Noah: In a way, yeah. It was pre-crash. The economy was booming and it was a sort of bucolic America in a way that the last few years we’ve been trying to get back to that, I think. For us, because I say this is a true story, by definition it’s like when the book comes out about a famous true crime, it takes a few years to really figure out what actually happened. The idea is I could never set it last year because there just hasn’t been enough time to let the dust settle and figure that stuff out.

Fargo season 2

Is there an art to the violence on Fargo?

Noah: Well, you know, the violence in the Coen Brothers movies is always shocking and I don’t ever really want to put violence in for entertainment’s sake.

But it’s somehow beautiful in parts.

Noah: Yeah, and that’s disturbing and I think that that’s important for us to recognize too, that it should be unsettling. The other reason that I’m so committed to rounding out every character is so that there’s no death where you stand up and cheer. It’s really traumatic stuff and it should feel that way.


You said Fargo was a bad idea to begin with, but now you see lots of movies are becoming TV shows, only they’re doing direct sequels. Do you think Fargo had anything to do with that?

Noah: I don’t know. The last few years, I wouldn’t say we were the first attempt. I think The Firm was out the year before us.

Well, if we’re going back, MASH.

Noah: Yeah, all those things, so I think part of what we’re facing is a universe with 20, 60 providers of original scripted content and everyone’s like, “How do we cut through?” If you have a pre-branded title, it’s easier to sell.

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