As the highly-acclaimed FX series Fargo returns for a second season tonight, rewinding the clock back to 1979, viewers will meet a new all-star cast that includes Kirsten Dunst as Peggy Blomquist, a small-town beautician with big dreams; Jesse Plemons as her husband Ed, an assistant butcher; Patrick Wilson as a younger version of Minnesota State Patrolman Lou Solverson (played in season one by Keith Carradine); Cristin Milioti as Betsy, his sweet cancer-stricken wife (and mother to young Molly Solverson); Ted Danson as Hank Larsson, the sheriff of Rock County, Minnesota and Betsy’s father; and Jeffrey Donovan as Dodd Gerhardt, a hot-tempered goon who wants to take over his family’s crime syndicate.
Rotten Tomatoes visited the season-two set of Fargo in Alberta, Canada this past April. And while we can’t tell you about the episode they were shooting for a few more weeks, we can share that the stars were very vocal about season one. Here’s what the new cast thought about the first season of Fargo. [Warning: Season one spoilers below.]
Season one of Fargo was just a binge-able to the new cast as it is to the rest of us.
“I hadn’t seen the first season of Fargo, but I loved the movie,” said Plemons. “I then watched the first season in one day.” Plemons, who was the first star to be cast in season two, also binge-read the first six episodes of season two before calling his agent and swiftly accepting the gig.
Dunst also tore through season one and felt like she was watching “an incredible movie” with each episode. From the series opening, when it opens with a foreword about being based on a true story, Dunst was hooked. “That was in the  movie, too,” she said. “They just set up such a feeling right away that it’s hard not to get immediately sucked into the show and into this world.”
“I just couldn’t believe how quickly you become hooked in that first episode.” said Milioti. “It’s because of how it plays into the gray aspect of life.”
“I was watching the first episode with a little doubt in my eye, you know?” confessed Donovan. “And then, when Martin Freeman takes that ball-peen hammer and hits his wife square in the head and she has this look of shock, you think for one second that she’s going to yell at him, right? You think it’s going to be, ‘How dare you hit me?’… and then there’s this little trickle of blood, and he sees it — and he doesn’t say it — but he’s like, ‘Holy f—,’ I just went, ‘Oh, they did it! They brought humor to a murder!’ All in one explosion of a moment in life. That is so hard to do. I am telling you, that is an impossible thing to do. That’s when I knew the series was going to be great.”
Danson explained how the funny bits bring a touch of humanity to the Fargo universe. “Humor is so human,” he said. “So if you find that in the midst of all this chaos and savagery, I think it’s your saving grace.”
“When Lorne [Billy Bob Thornton] says to Lester [Freeman], ‘Do you want me to kill him, yes or no?’ You’re sitting there and you’re like, “What would I do?'” Milioti recalled about the hospital scene. “He sort of says yes and he doesn’t know what’s happened… It’s all sort of confusing and happening so fast. He’s just gone through this horrible thing and he’s just been pummeled in front of these kids. Then you see how quickly it gets out of hand, and I think that that’s so well done. I know there are so many shows now with an anti-hero. I know that phrase is over-used, but I love that.”
Wilson loved watching Martin’s journey and caring about him even though he had done awful things. “He’s a liar; he murdered his wife,” he recalled. “I know she was bad, but, really? He hit her with a hammer! But I just think he was a really wonderful character.”
It’s safe to say that the new cast of Fargo was as taken with Billy Bob Thornton’s performance as the menacing bowl-cut hitman as the critics.
“I did a movie with Billy so I knew he would always bring it,” explained Wilson. “I think a defining moment for me in this series is when [Lester and Lorne] catch up in Vegas and Lorne is a dentist, and you’re like, ‘What is happening?’ You love that he will take you around this corner. You’re like, ‘I know it’s going to come back. I know we’re going to meet up with the story line. There we go… now we’re in the restaurant… okay…”
Danson had a colorful description of Thornton. “You could just tell that all the actors were having the time of their lives because the writing is so good [in season one]. Everyone,” he said. “Billy Bob was such a delicious crocodile.”