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MCN Review: FX's 'Fargo' Returns With New Storyline, Characters

Season three of FX’s anthology series Fargo continues to offer a nod and wink at the quirky Academy Award-winning movie on which it’s loosely based, given its crime-solving premise and its cold Minnesota environs.

But beyond that, anyone looking for a sequel to the movie — or for that matter, a continuation of the TV series’s first two seasons — will be somewhat disappointed in season three.

That’s not to say Fargo isn’t worth watching. On the contrary, the pilot episode of the series creates a number of storyline threads viewers will want to see through to conclusion.

Watch the 'Fargo' Season 3 Trailer

Set in 2010, the series stars Ewan McGregor deftly playing two roles — wealthy businessman Emmit Stussy, and Ray, his parole-officer brother. In the pilot, Ray approaches Emmit for money to buy an engagement ring for his sweetheart (and parolee) Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a competitive bridge player looking to land a big score. When Emmit — who has his own troubles dealing with a shadowy company he borrowed money from — rebuffs his younger brother’s request, Ray seeks to reclaim from Emmit a valuable stamp that he believes belongs to him.

His plan to steal it back, though, leads to unintended consequences — including a murder and subsequent investigation by local police chief Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon) — setting off a series of events that engulfs all involved.

As with the previous two seasons of Fargo, writer/director/showrunner Noah Hawley (Legion) weaves a complicated storyline with surprisingly interchangeable characters who leave the viewer guessing as to who’s important and who is potentially expendable.

While the pilot starts off slow — including a surreal opening scene that seemingly has nothing to do with show’s plot or characters — it’s worth tuning in to see how the story unravels.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.