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Fargo - Colin Hanks on Gus Grimly’s Good Intentions and a Possible Second Season



In the next all-new episode of FX’s awesomely dark and equally hilarious Fargo - airing Tuesday at 10/9c - Colin Hanks’ well-intentioned but in-over-his-head Minnesota cop Gus Grimly continues to struggle with the fact that his cowardice may have led to a guilty man walking free. While the last episode saw Grimly getting a second shot at serving justice, once again drifter Lorne Malvo - played to perfection by Billy Bob Thornton - managed to weasel free. Hanks says he can understand why his character, a single father raising a precocious daughter, made the choice to let Malvo go initially, though he doesn’t necessarily agree with it. “At times it could be pretty frustrating,” Hanks told SpoilerTV and other media outlets over a press call last week. “You try not to judge your characters too much, but there were definitely some moments where I was frustrated [with Gus].”

Hanks was the last of the series’ four main players to appear in the pilot episode of the series - in the closing moments of the episode, Grimly pulls Malvo over for speeding and recognizes quickly that something is not right. But he cracks under Malvo’s not-so-thinly-veiled threats, and his journey since then has largely been one of reckoning. In Tuesday’s episode we see Grimly seeking counsel from a man of God in the building across from his - he continues to wonder whether letting Malvo go in exchange for his and his daughters assured safety was the right thing to do, but a clear answer never comes. “I like the fact that now you can really spend time with these characters and get to know them and it’s not this, sort of, paint-by-numbers storytelling or paint-by-numbers acting. You really get to take your time as if it was a film, but you get to take nine more hours as opposed to one.”

Indeed, with every hour the series advances we get closer and closer to uncovering what’s really going on inside these characters psyches. Fargo the TV series feels very much like a film that you never want to end; this weeks episode, “The Six Ungraspables”, moves along as though it could be a season (or series) finale for much of the hour. By the end we’re once again left with a number of questions, but more than ever our characters seem to be closing in on their endgames. Which makes us wonder - will episode 10 really be these characters’ swan song? That’s certainly how the series was conceived. For his part, though, Hanks would be thrilled to return for a hypothetical second season. “I’m always open,” he said of the idea. “Anytime Noah [Hawley] calls I will always take the call and I will be there with bells on if he ever needs me.”

A pause. “And that’s all I’m going to say.”

Whether or not Fargo does return for a second season, it remains to be seen if it would continue to follow the current storylines, as the series has always been touted as an anthology (a trend that caught fire with “American Horror Story” and most recently HBO’s “True Detective”). Of the three, Fargo’s current first-season storylines are easily the most well-developed and show potential for future growth. Creatively, in terms of cast and writing, the series is pretty much untouchable (episode 5 is yet another creative high for a show that seems to be churning those out every week). It’s no wonder that Hanks remains optimistic about the possibility of returning - he’s been more than up-front about how fantastic the Calgary-set production was to be a part of. “As an actor I found this one to be very exhilarating and liberating because there wasn't this incessant cutting from one angle ... here's a show that really lets it lie, really lets you live with these characters and experience the moments that these characters are having."

While the series’ future remains to be seen, a few things are certain - we still have at least 5 episodes to go, and the next one is a doozy. As Gus continues to struggle to do what’s right and Molly closes in on Lester, Malvo continues to make big moves. As I said earlier, much of episode 5 feels like a finale, until the final few scenes burst open a whole new set of questions and opportunities.

“I sort of find that this show, Fargo, is really more about observing these characters and what they do as opposed to just watching the story and eventually the characters tell you what's going to happen,” Hanks said. “There's that ambiguity there that I really enjoy.”

Fargo airs Tuesday nights at 10/9c on FX.
Episode 5, “The Six Ungraspables” premieres this week. For more on Fargo - including upcoming chats with Oliver Platt and Allison Tolman - plus all my other SpoilerTV work, feel free to follow me on Twitter.

The full transcript from Colin Hanks' press call can be read below.

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