In Fargo Episode 5 of Season 1 ("The Six Ungraspables"), Grimly's strange neighbor catches Malvo sitting in his car before Grimly's house listening in on his daughter's conversation with a walky-talky.

The neighbor tells Malvo to get lost and that he is (allegedly) part of the neighborhood watch.

Malvo then does his usual thing and threatens him and his children with a story about how dangerous the world is, to which the neighbor replies with a strange expression I did not understand:

Neighbor: There it is, now the truth comes out.
Malvo: You know, some people think you don't need alarms on second-story windows. Think they can save a few bucks, you know, and still be safe. Another way they save money is they don't hook up the alarm to the phone line. So the bell rings, but the cops don't come. Or they come, but only after the neighbors call. Which, um, if this community's tight, as you say, you know... just might be quick enough to save your life... or your children's lives. Maybe.
Neighbor: (says something like "Seyirim")
Malvo: You're a nice guy. (rolls up his window and drives away)

What does the neighbor say and what meaning has it?

Bonus points if you can shine some light on the significance of the scene, i.e. why is the neighbor able to see Malvo for what he is (evil) and is the neighbor really part of a neighborhood watch or just making that part up to scare Malvo away?

3 Answers 3


According to multiple sources (here's one of them), the neighbor Ari Ziskind, an Orthodox Jew, says "Se'irim", a Hebrew word for Demon, probably in response to Malvo's malevolence and veiled threats. Ari also says that Malvo's black eyes spell trouble, so there might be a hint of mystical Jewish intuition going on there.

  • I really wonder if they will go in a supernatural direction with the show. There are a lot of hints for that, but they seem to be keeping it intentionally ambiguous. Personally I hope they don't, and keep it on the metaphor level instead.
    – magnattic
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 14:21
  • @atticae That's really more J. J. Abrahms style. The Coen Brothers understand structure, logic and how to tell a story. Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 21:27
  • A show can have slight supernatural overtones or a mystical ambiance without being full-on sci-fi. Many 'small town mystery' shows go down that road. And the Coens aren't strangers to fantastical elements either (e.g. the end of The Hudsucker Proxy).
    – Walt
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 11:19

I think it's more symbolic than anything, really. Malvo represents evil, and most people that had encounters with him describe him as being intimidating and malevolent. Gus's neighbor can just recognize that Lorne is a really really bad man.

The same way Molly's father sees through everything that Lorne says, and becomes suspicious of him almost immediately. I believe Lorne also says something like, "I haven't had a slice of apple pie like that since the Garden of Eden", when he departs from the diner.


I think you nailed it: the rabbi is answering the question many characters keep asking themselves throughout the show – who is Lorne Malvo, or rather, what is it. According to Jewish demonology, Se'irim ('shaggy ones') are neither 'the Devil' nor just any demons – they are feral, predatory demons that live in the wilderness. Since the rabbi's answer fits in very well with the whole predator–prey thread that also runs throughout the show, I think the Cohens are kind of giving away the solution of the whole riddle – except they only tell it to you in Hebrew, so if you are a goyim like myself you will probably miss it, like I did the first time I watched the show. («I'm 12 years old. I run into a Synagogue. I ask the Rabbi about the meaning of life. He tells me about the meaning of life... But, he tells it to me in Hebrew. I don't understand Hebrew. Then he wants to charge me six hundred dollars for Hebrew lessons» – Woody Allen)

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