Noah Hawley certainly had his work cut out for him when he decided to take on a TV adaption of the classic 1996 Cohen Bros movie Fargo, which transplanted dark characters and events to the seemingly benign setting of Fargo, N.D. But against all odds (and with essentially no help from the Cohens other than their sign-off on the series name), Hawley has managed to channel the movie’s darkly comic sensibility while expanding the world to include even more rich characters and in some ways even bigger stakes. Certainly the performances of Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman and Martin Freeman helped build buzz for this series, but it was really Hawley’s writing and meticulous attention to detail that created the illusion that the Cohens guided every frame. But they didn’t. This was Hawley’s creation, and he made it his own.

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