'Fargo' Stars Talk "Alternative Facts" and More Political Season 3

"I do think this season is more political than the last two seasons have been, particularly dealing with the concept of truth," said star Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
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From left: Carrie Coon, Olivia Sandoval, Ewan McGregor and Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Fargo may not be a show overtly about politics, but that doesn't mean its third season, currently airing on FX, isn't political.

"I do think this season is more political than the last two seasons have been, particularly dealing with the concept of truth — what is true and not true and how you can decide what the truth is to fit any given scenario," star Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who plays parolee Nikki Swango in Season 3 of the drama, told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet at a TV Academy screening Thursday night.

Winstead added: "I think several characters are playing around with that. I think Noah, this season, is playing with that in a way that is really interesting against the backdrop of what's going on politically right now."

Creator Noah Hawley said that he thought particularly hard this season about the "true story" conceit that opens every episode.

"I did this year want to look at the phrase 'this is a true story' that starts every episode and started the movie," said Hawley, "and to think about those words: 'true' and 'story.' So I wrote to that and then, of course, that became something that society as a whole started talking about — facts and alternative facts and that sort of thing."

The theme of truth begins with the first scene of the season, said star Ewan McGregor, who plays Minnesota brothers Emmit and Ray Stussy.

"The season starts with a scene set in East Germany in the '90s about truth, about facts, about what is truth — the state telling this man that he murdered his wife and the guy saying, 'No I didn't, my wife's alive. She was there when you picked me up,'" said McGregor. "It's commenting about now in a big, big way."

After a screening of May 17's episode, "The House of Special Purpose," in the TV Academy's Saban Media Center in North Hollywood, Lost creator Damon Lindelof — the creator and showrunner of season three star Carrie Coon's other star-making series, The Leftovers — moderated a discussion with the Fargo stars (McGregor, Coon, Winstead and Olivia Sandoval) and producers about whether Ray and Nikki are actually in love (they are), the friendship between Gloria and fellow female detective Winnie (Sandoval), and the depiction of violence on the series.

While Hawley joked to THR on the carpet that he would fight Lindelof for Coon's talent, the two men did not come to blows. In fact, The Leftovers was never mentioned by name — though spoken about several times.

"I think Damon and I are just going to wrestle on the stage tonight about who gets to keep her, because she's so astonishingly good," said Hawley of his season three leading lady. "She's a charmer. She could sell a goat to another goat, that woman."

Coon, who plays small-town police chief Gloria Burgle, said that she saw similarities between the two men and their portrayal of the world.

"What's wonderful about artists like Noah or Damon is that they are the alembics for the time they live in," she said. "They're filtering what's happening; and I think this is Noah's way of digesting the world that we're living in, the world of alternative facts. And of course Fargo's always dealt with that trope of whether or not it's a true story. But it seems a little too close to home these days, doesn't it?"

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