FX’s Fargo is one of the most exciting television shows of this decade, not only for the compelling stories it has told season to season, but also for the ways in which it’s showed how existing intellectual property can be massaged into original stories. In an era where barely anything can get made without being hitched to a familiar face, that’s a very, very good thing. Also a good thing? The reveal that Chris Rock will star in the series’ fourth season, which was announced today by FX Networks CEO John Landgraf at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.
Creator and showrunner Noah Hawley will again helm the season, which, for this installment, will take us back to 1950. Asked about how Rock became involved with the series, Landgraf said, “Noah really wanted to work with Chris, reached out to him, and sat down and had lunch with them.” In the course of their conversation, Hawley detailed where the series was headed, and per Landgraf, “Chris got really excited and signed on right away.”
A plot synopsis reads thusly:
“In 1950, at the end of two great American migrations — that of Southern Europeans from countries like Italy, who came to the US at the turn of the last century and settled in northern cities like New York, Chicago — and African Americans who left the south in great numbers to escape Jim Crow and moved to those same cities — you saw a collision of outsiders, all fighting for a piece of the American dream. In Kansas City, Missouri, two criminal syndicates have struck an uneasy peace. One Italian, one African American. Together they control an alternate economy — that of exploitation, graft and drugs. This too is the history of America. To cement their peace, the heads of both families have traded their eldest sons.
Chris Rock plays the head of one family, a man who — in order to prosper — has surrendered his oldest boy to his enemy, and who must in turn raise his son’s enemy as his own. It’s an uneasy peace, but profitable. And then the head of the Kansas City mafia goes into the hospital for routine surgery and dies. And everything changes. It’s a story of immigration and assimilation, and the things we do for money. And as always, a story of basically decent people who are probably in over their heads. You know, Fargo.”
This outing marks the biggest time jump for the series so far, as seasons one through three took place in 2006, 1979, and 2010, respectively. It’s unknown who will co-star alongside Rock, but the show has a history of scoring incredible talent, with Ewan McGregor, Carrie Coon, Kirsten Dunst, Ted Danson, and Martin Freeman among its alumni.
Rock recently wrapped up the Total Blackout Tour, his first comedy outing in nine years.