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Minnesota Nice: The History of ‘Fargo’

The Emmy-winning FX limited series “Fargo” returns Tuesday with a new season, its fifth, that stars Juno Temple and Jon Hamm and goes back to the basics: Minnesota cops, North Dakota bad guys and plenty of snow-covered landscapes.

Created by Noah Hawley in 2014, “Fargo” is named after the Oscar-winning ’90s film by Joel and Ethan Coen and often repeats that film’s character archetypes: kind but determined police officers that echo Frances McDormand’s Marge Gunderson; greedy, conniving husbands like William H. Macy’s Jerry Lundegaard; and bumbling bad guys à la those played in the original film by Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare. But the series takes as its inspiration the whole of the Coenverse, referencing and remixing characters, themes and aesthetics from films like “Raising Arizona,” “Miller’s Crossing” and “No Country for Old Men” — as well as “Fargo,” of course — in original stories the tend to center on the evil deeds of stupid men.

It has been three years since the last season of “Fargo.” With the new one about to premiere and the other four available on Hulu, here is a look at the who, what, where and you betcha of “Fargo,” season by season.

Billy Bob Thornton was nominated for an Emmy for his role in the first season of “Fargo.”Credit…Chris Large/FX, via Associated Press

Season 1

(April–June 2014)

“Your problem is you spent your whole life thinking there are rules. There aren’t.” — Lorne Malvo

Set in 2006, Season 1 shifts the Jerry character into the form of Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman), an insurance salesman who crosses paths with a sociopathic hit man named Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton), shades of Javier Bardem’s terrifying Anton Chigurh in “No Country for Old Men.”

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