The third season of FX’s Fargo is bookended by one-on-one inquisitions. In Noah Hawley’s Emmy-nominated first episode “The Law of Vacant Places”—which he directed—a man in 1988 East Berlin is getting the third degree from Colonel Horst Lagerfeld (Sylvester Groth) who firmly believes that the accused is Yuri Gurka, a 20-year old Ukraine murderer who recently strangled his girlfriend Helga to death. But the man in question says he’s Jakob Ungerleider, a German citizen who is much older than 20, and happily married. It seems as though the state is mistaking Jakob for Yuri, since the former is living at the latter’s address which the murderer vacated some months ago.
“This is a problem, you understand?” Lagerfeld tells the accused. “Because for you to be right, the state would have to be wrong.”
While Hawley’s Fargo has continually been esteemed as a riveting crime noir series, the show with the “This Is a True Story” disclaimer took on a whole other meaning during Donald Trump’s U.S. presidency of alternative facts, which has been dodging an alleged Russian hack of the November election, one welcomed by Trump himself during his run. Every presidency yields a specific type of commercial art—raunchy comedies like Porky’s and war hero action movies like Rambo were popular during the Ronald Reagan years, Barry Levinson’s Wag the Dog presaged Bill Clinton’s Lewinsky affair, but during the first year of Trump’s reign, Orwellian-inspired dramas like Fargo have become de rigueur.
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