Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Lies and Alibis


We have been watching and greatly enjoying the new television series “Fargo,” which is not a remake of the Coen Brothers’ masterpiece but a new story that is sort of “inspired” by the movie. What’s the connection here? It was written by Noah Hawley, who also scribed this one. I’ve always had a soft spot for films about con games, and this is a good one. Steve Coogan is a con man who has retired into a business that is, more or less, legal, but not real savory. He runs a company that specializes in crafting unbreakable alibis for rich people, so they can say they were in one place while in fact they were in another, usually a hotel room with a lover they aren’t married to. He doesn’t do felonies, won’t cover up for a murder, for instance. But it is a job that can lay him wide open for trouble. Which, I think, he enjoys on some level.

To do this he sometimes creates phony ID and credit cards and so forth, and sometimes pretends he is the man he is actually covering for. Then one day he is impersonating the spoiled, cowardly son (James Marsden) of a rich man (James Brolin, in an unusual comic part for him). The son and his girlfriend are playing the dangerous game of erotic asphyxiation when it goes wrong and she ends up dead. And he has to somehow find a way out of this mess, while being pursued by Sam Elliot (as a gangster character called The Mormon) and several others. He is aided by the gorgeous and very bright Rebecca Romijn (who is maybe five inches taller than him, something you don’t see every day in the movies), whose loyalties we are invited to wonder about.

It’s all wonderfully complicated, and very sly and funny, and I believed much of it. More importantly, it all barreled along at such a breakneck pace I didn’t really have time to worry much about plot complications, which is always fine with me. I had a great time.