Review: ‘Fargo’ — Season Four

Posted 10/9/20

Chris Rock leads a great cast in season four of FX’s “Fargo,” a terrific and beautifully written drama.

“America loves a crime story because America is a crime …

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Review: ‘Fargo’ — Season Four

Posted

Chris Rock leads a great cast in season four of FX’s “Fargo,” a terrific and beautifully written drama.

“America loves a crime story because America is a crime story,” Josto Fadda (Jason Schwartzman) says about his crime family. Based on the film by the Coen Brothers, each season begins with “the names have been changed to protect the descendants, but everything else is exactly the way it happened to protect the deceased.” Set somewhere in the Midwest, the storyline always leads back to Fargo, North Dakota.

This season begins at the turn of the 20th Century in Northern Minnesota and charts the different immigrant mobster families and the successive immigrant group that overthrew them. The Jews were replaced by The Irish, who were replaced by the Italians. By 1950, the Italian Fadda family is battling the African American Cannon family, headed by Loy Cannon (Rock).

The fragile truce involves a decades long tradition where each family sends their youngest son to live with the other family to ensure the peace is kept. Loy’s youngest son lives with the Faddas, under the personal protection of “Rabbi” Milligan (Ben Whishaw), who as a child was given to the Faddas by his Irish family twice and ultimately turned on his own family.

Loy is smart and has vision beyond the current underworld activities. He meets with a bank president to propose the earliest version of a credit card. The bank president cannot grasp the concept. Loy’s confidant and adviser is Doctor Senator (Glynn Turman in an Emmy worthy performance), who is a trained lawyer with a doctorate in economics who served as counsel in post-World War II Germany, prosecuting Nazis during the Nuremberg Trials. Loy is at odds with his son, Lemuel, who has no interest in the business but wants to be a jazz saxophone player.

Thurman Smutney (Andrew Bird) and Ethelrida Pearl Smutny (E’myri Crutchfield) are a bi-racial couple who run the local funeral home and whose daughter, Dibrell (Anji White) is a genius. Oraetta Mayflower (Jessie Buckley), is an eccentric nurse who lives across the street and who has already injected herself into the drama in a series of plots that are constantly unfolding and slowly and fascinatingly intertwine.

Josto assumes power after his father dies from accidentally being shot with a pellet gun from children playing in the park while stopping for a red light. His reign is immediately challenged by his blood-thirsty brother, who recently came over from Italy.

Mr. Schwartzman’s Josto sits uneasily in the big chair vacated by his father, although the genre is in his blood. His mother, Talia Shire, was Connie Corleone, the troubled daughter in the iconic gangster film series, “The Godfather” and its sequels, and whose uncle, the legendary Francis Ford Coppola, wrote and directed. 

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