The skeleton of the story might be acquainted to Coen followers: A prim, modest Minnesotan housewife named Dot Lyon (Juno Temple) finds herself being chased by two masked intruders in her residence. But not like Jean Lundegaard, Dot proves herself to be extra resourceful than you’d assume: she places up a great struggle, slashing fools with ice skates and making flamethrowers out of hairspray. Her kidnapping is decidedly momentary, although, as she escapes to a close-by fuel station the primary likelihood she will get—killing one of many goons and saving the lifetime of Deputy Will Farr (Lamorne Morris). All this takes place within the present’s first thrilling hour, a magnum opus of pressure and launch that proves Hawley’s appreciable chops as a director of thrillers.
But right here’s the place issues take a good stranger flip: Once her escape is assured, she wanders proper again residence, begins making breakfast, and claims that she was by no means kidnapped in any respect—regardless of all proof on the contrary. It’s an excellent hook that instantly opens up all method of questions on Dot: Who is she? Where did she choose up all these expertise? And why, oh why, is she dedicated to the pretense that the whole lot is okay?
The solutions to these mysteries may lie with Sheriff Roy Tillman (Jon Hamm), Fargo, North Dakota’s deeply in style patriarchal lawman—a domineering, libertarian fundamentalist whose concept of retaining the peace means encouraging abused wives to please their man and keep submissive. He has a curious historical past with Dot and is dedicated to getting her again—with the assistance of his gung-ho cop son Gator (Joe Keery of “Stranger Things”) and an unpredictable foreigner named Ole Munch (Sam Spruell), who has a number of weird secrets and techniques of his personal. Meanwhile, Dot’s domineering mother-in-law Lorraine (a suitably reptilian Jennifer Jason Leigh), the rich head of a debt assortment conglomerate, smells one thing fishy within the current conduct of her daughter-in-law she by no means thought twice about and sics her eyepatch-wearing fixer (Dave Foley) on the case.