Dark drama brings violence to generations in troubled town.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's an ongoing search for truth and justice, but the overarching theme is that the world is bleak and treacherous and that bad guys can triumph.

Positive role models

There are a few hopeful characters who try to do the right thing when it counts, particularly Molly, a prominent female character who's a smart, persistent sheriff's deputy. But there are -- by far -- more characters with questionable moral compasses and/or a downright lack of any redeeming quality whatsoever.


Violence isn't constant, but when it happens it's very bloody and darkly realistic -- from shootings and stabbings to crude bludgeonings and throat slicings. Several characters are killers for hire who don't blink an eye at knocking off anyone who gets in their way; one in particular seems to delight in finding cruelly "creative" ways to kill and torture others. There's also an underlying sense of tension and menace that rarely eases.


Some simulated sex and crass descriptions of sexual acts. No graphic nudity. One supporting character used to be a stripper.


Swearing includes "s--t," "p---y," "t-ts," and "piss."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some characters drink socially and smoke cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Fargo paints a bleak portrait of a small town that blossoms into a hotbed of murderous activity. The second season is set 30 years in the past and features a new cast and new crimes to explore. Violence is a major theme, and depictions of it tend toward the bloody and realistic. There's also some simulated sex (but no nudity) and iffy language that ranges from "t-ts" to "p---y." Some characters drink and smoke cigarettes.

What's the story?

Adapted from Joel and Ethan Coen's Oscar-winning film of the same name, FARGO follows an assortment of characters whose stories collide in chilling ways. In Season 1, a brooding drifter (Billy Bob Thornton) stirs up passions among the locals, including a mild-mannered insurance salesman (Martin Freeman) who's pushed into foul play. A dogged deputy (Allison Tolman) is determined to unravel the mystery, but her boss (Bob Odenkirk) doesn't buy her theories. Season 2 travels back in time to explore a crime syndicate and the people who get tangled up in its web. 

Is it any good?


Hard-core Coen brothers fans were highly skeptical when FX announced plans for a miniseries based on one of the duo's best-known films, a movie known as much for its quotable dialogue as for its iconic performances. But breathe easy there, friends, because this stellar adaptation is a heck of a good one with ambitions that aim much higher than gimmicky "Oh, yahs!" and "You betchas!"

Of course, just because Fargo is quality television doesn't mean it's a good fit for every family, so parents of older teens should proceed with caution and be prepared to see some things that'll make everyone wince. More importantly, you should know your kid, know what he or she can handle, and know that at least there's an artful message lurking behind all that blood.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Fargo's characters and whom, if anyone, we're supposed to root for. Is violence ever justified? Can Lester be a victim as well as a killer? Is Lorne a cut-and-dried villain or more of an antihero -- and what's the difference?

  • How does Fargo compare to other TV crime dramas, particularly when it comes to the level of violence? How would the series be different if it aired on network television as opposed to cable?

  • How does Fargo the TV series compare to Fargo the film? How many references to the movie can you find in the series? What about references to other Coen brothers films, from The Big Lebowski to No Country for Old Men?

TV details

Cast:Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Colin Hanks
TV rating:TV-MA
Awards:Emmy, Golden Globe

This review of Fargo was written by

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Teen, 15 years old Written byManOfMidNights April 25, 2014

Violent and potentially disturbing . . . comedy?

So far, only two episodes have been released, but as of right now, I would not recommend it for anybody around my age if only that it's not intended for that age. The series is only starting (although it'll only be 10 episodes), but I hypothesize that being an FX night series rated TV-MA-SLV that airs in the middle of the night, the potential for something WAY beyond what it has thus far is destined to show up. SO FAR: Bloody violence is not frequent and stylized, but occasional and very realistic. The psychologically questionable character, the killer, is pretty disturbing but is disturbingly funny in the process. The comedy is very dark, but is quite funny in a creepy way. I didn't think I'd be laughing at a kid trying to kill his brother with a hockey stick, but I guess this show ended up making me. A definite watch for any adult. I would not recommend letting your child watch this; not because of the things that I have seen, but because of the potential this show holds. FX clearly states in the beginning that this show is rated for adults only and has nudity. Sure, there was a sex scene in the first scene, but it wasn't long, I don't remember seeing anything specific, and it wasn't unnecessary at all. I however, I would expect the show to change after it gets out of the exposition stage into a show that the first episodes will stand alone from. It's like Hellsing Ultimate. During the first 2-3, maybe 4 episodes, I might have said that I would think a 16 or so year old could watch it, but after the battle commenced and the exposition stage was ended by the meat of the story, the show turned from a 16+ with intense caution bloodbath into a show that will cause even some adults to feel like they're watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a teenager. So . . . I would say to keep your kids from getting into a weekly routine of watching this show until the full meat of the story materializes and you actually understand what they're in for. It is a great show, and pretty funny, but not for kids.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Parent Written bychadum96 April 21, 2014

Haven't Seen the Movie

Hey, this review is coming from the perspective of never seeing the movie that this mini-series is based off of. Start off, I loved the first episode. The characters were great. Now for the sexual stuff,First, there was a man giving description of the hands and boobs of a woman that gave him a hand job. Second, there were two kids in a factory playing with a sex doll. Thirdly, a man is in a strip club. Women are seen pole dancing. The man then takes a woman to the back. They are having sex for a few seconds, but they dont show his dick or any of her parts. They do show the man's butt a few minutes later. Violence: it was very realistic and cringing when it came to blood and violence. One scene in particular I cringed. It is not like Walking Dead bloody, it is much more real. Language: I don't remember much other than a kid saying T*ts and someone saying p***y later on. Drinking: If there was drinking, it wasn't enough for me to remember. This show resembles Breaking Bad, in that the protagonists is NOT someone you want to be or look up to. The protagonists in this show are murderers. The antagonists are police. So make sure your kid knows that just because these guys are main characters, that what they do is not okay. People in this make the wrong decisions to kill instead of forgiving someone. Billy Bob Thortin's character speaks of there being no rules in life. Final Thought: If you kid is mature enough, I would say 16+ Thanks for reading.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written byThe Uunforgettable May 15, 2014

not for children

don't see the movie, this is based on an R-rated 1996 movie starring, Willliam T. Macy
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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