Fans of the TV version of Fargo, starring Billie Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman, were delighted by the unexpected inclusion of a scene which conclusively proved that the current series and the classic 1996 Cohen Brother film of the same name starring Francis McDormand, Steve Buscemi and William H. Macy, actually co-exist in the same continuity. Not only that, the ultimate Easter Egg revealed in the episode finally answered a long-asked question about the film…What happened to the money?
In the film version of Fargo, Steve Buscemi’s character Carl buried his bag of money in the snow, planning to retrieve it later, but he ended up on the unpleasant end of an ax and was disposed of in a wood-chipper, and so the money went unclaimed. Fans of the film have often asked, “What finally happened to the money?” It stood for years as the biggest unresolved plot point of the film.
On the latest episode of Fargo, however, that long dangling question has finally been answered; firmly connecting the film to the show. In the episode, “Eating the Blame”, we see a flashback to a younger version of the Stavros Milos character travelling to the town, poor and desperate for a break. When he runs out of gas, a stranded Milos his finds prayers answered, when he spots an ice scraper sticking out of the snow near a fence on the side of the road. We learn it’s the same ice scraper, in the same snowy middle-of-nowhere spot from the 1996 film where Carl buried his loot. Now fans know what happened to that money. Fast-forward to 2006, (when the series takes place) and an older Milos (Oliver Platt) has used his lucky discovery to become the supermarket king of the area.
Series show-runner Noah Hawley says he did not have the scene planned out when he began the Fargo TV series, and the idea came across organically while he was writing “Eating the Blame”. Hawley said in regard to the scene, “It was a really great opportunity four episodes in, just as the audience has really settled into the idea, ‘You know, the show really has nothing to do with the movie and it exists in its own right,’ to actually go, ‘You know, wait a minute, it is connected to the movie in a way you didn’t expect or see coming.’ My hope is that suddenly the show grows in size.”
Hawley says that its unlikely McDormand’s cop character Marge or any of the other film characters will actually appear in the TV version. He says, “I don’t have any plans right now to bring her back, but you know; I like the idea that that character is out there and that the audience has the excitement and anticipation in their hearts that she might come back. I don’t rule anything out.” He adds, “I like the idea that those characters are out there somewhere in the universe of the movie and our show. I’m a fiction writer, a novelist as well, and the great thing about reading a book is you’re forcing the reader to do half the work…. I like the idea that there’s something you’re not showing that the audience is filling in. I think that creates a real universe for the audience that they can live in between episodes and after the show is over.”