Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley sat down with IGN at the ATX panel last week and while discussing the show, he talked about how Mary’s character seems to be cheating death and if her character really loved Ray.
IGN: First off, I want to tell you how much I love Nikki. With each episode this season, I’ve grown to love her more because she’s constantly showing me that she’s not what I assumed she was. Which was, initially, a femme fatale-type who was probably using Ray to get her hands on some cash. Was it always the plan to make her lean away from that archetype?
Noah Hawley: Yeah, I mean I went through, in the writing process and in the room – we gamed it out in different ways and I think there was a gravitational pull toward her running a con on him [Ray] and I just found that uninteresting, honestly. Everyone always says that conflict is drama and I agree but I also don’t think you need drama everywhere. Or conflict everywhere. Like with Patrick Wilson and Cristin Milioti last year. I mean, she had cancer but they never fought and there was never any conflict between them. I think with a story that has as much violence as we have you want to give the audience a place where they feel safe. And something they love. And the idea that she loves Ray, you know what I mean? She’s the first person in his life who thinks he’s the better brother. We love her for that.
IGN: I think I’ve thought that Nikki was done for probably two of three times on the season so far. I just thought “she’s dead.” Or “she’s going to die.” But she survives and now, with this last escape, it seemed like she was being protected by mystical forces. Was it always the plan to have this Eastern Block mysticism in Season 3? The Jewish folklore aspects?
Hawley: This season was a really serendipitous collision of things that I wanted to do with the moment that we’re in. The whole Cossack story was fueled by my grandmother’s story – my mother’s mom – and how she escaped from the Ukraine in the middle of the night with her parents and their ten kids being pursued by the Cossacks. And then them coming to America. So I was thinking of exploring that with the Yuri character. And then we also got into the whole Russia hacking and stuff like that. All that stuff was in the mix, the idea of really looking at how shielded we are here, on some level, from the real carnage that occurs in countries around the world. This idea that Stalin starved 20 million people. Or 20 million Russians died in World War II. So it was looking at all those elements and then using it with what I’ve read and the research I’ve done. And I came across the story of Rabbi Nachman and going to the mass graves and it all just sort of came together for me in a way. Obviously, we had a UFO last year and it just seemed like these people are in the wilderness and they’re so far away from everything and there’s a literal and metaphorical quality to it. But it does feel like something that fits into a Coen Brothers universe.