They made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Chris Rock has joined the cast of “Fargo” Season 4 — or “Year Four,” as creator Noah Hawley prefers. The stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and director will play the head of an African American crime syndicate who goes to war with the Italian mafia in Kansas City, Missouri during the 1950s.
“I’m a fan of ‘Fargo’ and I can’t wait to work with Noah,” Rock said in a statement.
John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions, announced the official renewal at the Television Critics Association press tour Friday morning. The release stated production on Season 4 will begin in 2019 and also provided the first synopsis for the new episodes:
In 1950, at the end of two great American migrations — that of Southern Europeans from countries like Italy, who came to the US at the turn of the last century and settled in northern cities like New York, Chicago — and African Americans who left the south in great numbers to escape Jim Crow and moved to those same cities — you saw a collision of outsiders, all fighting for a piece of the American dream. In Kansas City, Missouri, two criminal syndicates have struck an uneasy peace. One Italian, one African American. Together they control an alternate economy — that of exploitation, graft and drugs. This too is the history of America. To cement their peace, the heads of both families have traded their eldest sons.
Chris Rock plays the head of one family, a man who — in order to prosper — has surrendered his oldest boy to his enemy, and who must in turn raise his son’s enemy as his own. It’s an uneasy peace, but profitable. And then the head of the Kansas City mafia goes into the hospital for routine surgery and dies. And everything changes. It’s a story of immigration and assimilation, and the things we do for money. And as always, a story of basically decent people who are probably in over their heads. You know, Fargo.
Rock, who previously worked with FX as an executive producer on “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell,” follows in the footsteps of Billy Bob Thornton, Kirsten Dunst, and Carrie Coon (or Ewan McGregor, if you prefer to be wrong) as the “Fargo” leads. Though actors like Bokeem Woodbine, Keegan-Michael Key, and Jordan Peele have all left quite a mark on Hawley’s fictionalized Midwestern world, Rock is the first black lead of the series.
During Landgraf’s panel, he said Hawley reached out to Rock about the part because he “really wanted to work with Chris.”
Hawley, meanwhile, has been busy. The creator of “Fargo” and “Legion” is in the midst of shooting his feature directorial debut, “Pale Blue Dot,” with Natalie Portman, and he’s currently developing “Doctor Doom” as a Marvel film as well as his 2016 novel “Before the Fall.” Credited as the showrunner, writer, and director of “Fargo,” Hawley will, per the release, “lead the creative team” on “Fargo” Season 4.
That could be important considering the significance of Kansas City to “Fargo” lore. The western Missouri metropolis was the base of operations for Season 2’s interloping antagonists, simply titled “The Kansas City Mafia,” which employed none other than Mike Milligan, played by fan-favorite Woodbine. Could the new season tie into his origin story as well as others? Only time will tell.
“We think of crime as being Las Vegas or New York, but Kansas City was the center of power for organized crime during this time,” Landgraf said. “The tentacles of these organizations stretch out from Kansas City into the upper midwest, and we’ve seen [Hawley show that in past seasons]. Now he’s going more to the source.”
No other casting was announced. “Fargo” Season 4 has not been given a release date.