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Try to forget the accent - this is class; Review TV.

THERE was a major hurdle to overcome when I started watching Fargo (Channel 4, Sunday) - a new 10-part black comedy crime drama, adapted from the 1996 Coen brothers film, in which the brilliant Billy Bob Thornton plays psychopath Lorne Malvo.

And I bet I wasn't alone (I wasn't - I watched it with my wife, and it left her struggling, too).

It's not that Martin Freeman - who plays the initially meek and mild insurance salesman Lester Nygaard - hasn't done a good job in mastering and delivering an American accent.

It's just the fact that he has to do it all. And listening to the likes of Hugh Laurie in House and Freeman in Fargo, makes me ponder a serious America suffering from a shortage of good actors who can, er, speak in a convincing American accent? Thankfully, Fargo is so good and Freeman has so far made such a good fist of sounding like a bloke from Minnesota, that it was possible to get over that major hurdle (though I bet there are a few American actors, maybe even from in or around Minnesota, who will be saying 'Why didn't they audition me?') Freeman gave plenty of his usual puzzled looks, but this, again, was fair enough - for just as his character Watson is bound to be left scratching his head at some of the antics of Sherlock Holmes, Nygaard found his humdrum life in a small town suddenly turned on its head after he bumped into dangerous drifter Lorne Malvo.

This is a man who gives the impression of having only one mission in life - to kill people. And he was soon murdering someone in Nygaard's name, after the latter mentioned to him that he had had the misfortune of coming across the bloke who used to bully him at school.

Not that the poor, put-upon Lester had actually asked him to kill: "I never said 'yes'," he protested, to which the cool, composed and, above all, casual killer calmly replied: "You never said 'no'."

Before he could fully process what had happened, Lester the worm took an unexpected turn - by dispatching his wife with a hammer after she told him: "You're not even half a man!" And who did he then call? Yes, the psychopath who set off this trail of death and destruction!

Sadly, a police officer got to Lester's house first - cue the arrival of mad Malvo and another murder.

It wasn't Breaking Bad, but it was so engrossing I think I forgot about - you know, that thing I was going on about...


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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 26, 2014
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