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Is Fargo A True Story? How The Movie & Show Tricks (& Mocks) You -BB

After the success of the film, which won two Oscars, FX and Noah Hawley took the film’s broad real-crime concept and turned Fargo into an anthology series. The three seasons of the show released so far follow different stories that all lead back to Fargo, Minnesota. In each instance, though, Fargo sells viewers on the events they’re witnessing being based on a true story. Season 1 used title cards that said the events were based on a true story from 2006, season 2 said the same about a story set in 1979, and season 3 also claimed its 2010 set narrative actually happened. However, this isn’t necessarily true.

In truth, the Fargo franchise is primarily made up of stories that use the „true story“ claim to trick viewers even more. The Coen Brothers‘ movie is the closest example of being „based on a true story“ within this series. The directors took inspiration from the true story of a General Motors Finance Corporation employee who committed fraud using vehicle serial numbers to create the character of Jerry Lundegaard (William H Macy). Meanwhile, there is also the murder of Connecticut resident Helle Crafts, whose husband killed her using a wood chipper, which was used as the inspiration for the wood chipper scene in Fargo. These two minor details, though, are the only „true“ parts of Fargo’s story, with the rest of the criminal activities and characters confirmed by Joel Coen in an interview with Huffington Post to be their creations.

When it comes to the Fargo TV show, though, there are no true story inspirations that Noah Hawley adapted. Hawley revealed in a prior interview with Bustle that he was not looking for true crime stories when it came to creating the anthology series. But, Fargo manages to do a great job at tricking viewers into believing that these stories are real. Beyond the grounded nature of them, having them set in a history that viewers are familiar with helps make the events more believable. Season 2 of Fargo even brought Bruce Campbell aboard the ensemble to play President Ronald Reagan.

For both the movie and TV show, saying any of these Fargo adventures are entirely true stories is disingenuous, and the repeated assertion that they are is a cheeky joke at the audience’s expense — in this way, the show is gently mocking its audience for be gullible. But, it is also part of the charade that makes audiences so invested in the events as they unfold. With another season of Fargo on the way, starring Chris Rock, the claims of true stories being explored will continue to trick audiences.

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