The first episode of FX's Fargo series begins with the disclaimer-

THIS IS A TRUE STORY. The events depicted took place in Minnesota in 2006. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of the respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.

However in case of Fargo, the movie which uses a similar disclaimer. According to Richard Deakins the director of photography the events were inspired by multiple incidents which took place in Minnesota and around. So how close is the TV series to the reality?

  • 3
    As close as you want it to be. Neither the TV show nor the movie have any basis in truth, and the Coen brothers have admitted as such. The "disclaimer" intro was marketing, nothing more.
    – JohnP
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 16:25
  • In my opinion they're taking the attitude of the police force towards Lester from the way Ed Gein was treated, but I'm sure it's just a wrapped up bunch of dramatization and mixed events with a date slapped on it. Still pretty good so far though.
    – user9264
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 5:46
  • buzzsugar.com/Fargo-True-Story-34660331 Idk, judge for yourself. This says the movie was based off a true story, and tells the basic story.
    – stlctan
    Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 2:20
  • 2
    @JohnP Actually it had nothing to do with marketing, and was never part of the movies marketing. It was a "joke" that was/is really commentary on the realism trend/claim in media. Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 21:42
  • 1
    Joel and Ethan have talked about this directly. A lot of viewers, when they are watching something fictional, will feel very clever when they deem something in it to be far-fetched or improbable. "I liked it, but I found X or Y hard to believe". Truth is stranger than fiction, in part because people are far less forgiving of improbability in fiction. Joel and Ethan thought the film would be more impactful with that disclaimer. And of course they made it tongue-in-cheek with the laying-it-on "exactly as it occurred" phrasing. Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 4:05

3 Answers 3


The TV show is just copying the disclaimer in the original movie, although the date has been changed to 2006. But, in the case of the movie, the Coen brothers just made that up as a joke:

See this link from Snopes.com for more info

So I think it's safe to assume that the events in the TV series are fictional as well.

  • 3
    This is late, but the TV show does include a disclaimer in the credits, although they flash it for a second (giving people no time to read it.) Here's a screencap.
    – user6533
    Commented May 30, 2014 at 18:01

Each episode of Fargo TV Series has the following included in the ending credits which states that:

The characters and incidents portrayed and the names used herein are fictitious, and any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unconditional.

AKA: not a true story

enter image description here

  • Don't some genuine adaptations or retellings of real-life events also have that disclaimer (presumably to forestall any lawsuits if they don't get quite close enough to the truth, or anyone takes offence)?
    – gidds
    Commented May 31 at 16:51

Hollyweird "true story" appears that both are total pulp fiction, the film and tv series. IMO good entertainment is all-for gullible viewers

  • 5
    Do you have any links or anything to back up this statement? Commented May 10, 2014 at 11:25

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