True Detective and Fargo are More Similar Than They Appear


Fargo kicked off its successful second season last Monday, this time without True Detective nipping at its heels. Unlike Nic Pizzolatto, Fargo’s showrunner, Noah Hawley, has been giving a fair share of interviews. There’s reason to bring up True Detective when it comes to Fargo, and not just because of past rivalry.

It’s because the shows are actually quite similar.

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There’s deep-rooted noir in FargoTrue Detective tends to wear its noir influences and intentions on its sleeve, and that could make it seem as if the two have little similarity outside of both technically being detective shows. Falling into that trap would be a mistake. Both series are cut from the same cloth, but they go about it in wildly different ways.

In its last season, True Detective attempted to romanticize the brooding, dark noir character. Whether that experiment worked or not is subjective, of course. What little we’ve seen of Fargo’s second season so far show us a twisted yarn that promises to be more complex than its first season while also having a darker heart.

Fargo’s noir focus has been more on the dark mysteries of the midwest while letting the characters flow more naturally. This is the opposite of what True Detective did in its last season. Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) in Fargo — father of first season’s Molly Solverson — is a man caught up in circumstances outside of his control. In that way, he is a more typical and more easily relatable character.

The characters of True Detective are not regular people, for the most part, caught up in dark plots. They are dark, damaged people who practically seek their own destruction. What ties the two shows together, though, is the dark veins that beat underneath. True Detective’s just happen to be a bit closer to the surface.

Neither show is an imitation of the other; they are jus treading similar ground in different ways. One of those paths just happen to be a little more palatable.

Next: This Week in True Detective: Fargo begins edition.

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