Fargo‘s fifth installment is just days away from arriving, and as with many of the entries before it, the new chapter of Noah Hawley‘s FX anthology shines a light on law enforcement through the lens of some very different characters.
On one side of the spectrum, you have Jon Hamm‘s constitutional North Dakota Sheriff Roy Tillman and his sheriff’s deputy son, Gator (Joe Keery), and on the other side are Minnesota police deputy Indira Olmstead (Richa Moorjani) and North Dakota deputy Witt Farr (Lamorne Morris). While Roy and his men believe they are the law and therefore above it, Indira and Witt stand to prove that not all who wear a badge are going to abuse it… at least not with bad intentions.
Described by series creator Hawley as the season’s White Knights (or, according to Morris, “Black and Brown Knight”), there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Witt and Indira. Luckily, TV Insider was on set in Calgary to hear firsthand how these characters play a pivotal role in Year 5’s story.
“It’s a spectrum, you know what I mean? And so they all have their own goals and agendas,” Morris shares of the installment’s law enforcement representation. “They might not align. And a lot of times there’s collateral damage, there are people in the middle, and it happens to be Juno [Temple]’s character who’s right in the middle of it,” he teases.
When it comes to Witt and Indira, “we see things a little different than [Roy],” Morris says.
“It happens in this small town where Indira is a cop, Scandia,” Moorjani explains. The Minnesota town is quiet and sleepy, but when a parent-teacher meeting at the school of Dot Lyon’s (Temple) daughter goes sideways, it puts into motion a series of wild events that inextricably tie her to Indira and, later, to Witt.
“She’s very much driven by her innate calling to serve and protect, and that’s why she became a cop,” Moorjani explains. “But when we meet her, she’s a little disillusioned. She is not in a very good place professionally or personally. She has this loser husband who is extremely unsupportive and drains her financially and emotionally.”
Those personal problems blind Indira initially to the oddities in Dot’s behavior when she’s taken in for booking following the rowdy parent-teacher conference. “When she meets Dot for the first time, I don’t think she feels any sympathy for her. I think she just sees her as another annoying thorn in her foot that day. But as the season progresses, she gets to learn more about what she’s been through and develops a very strong instinct to protect her,” Moorjani reveals.
It comes to a point where Moorjani says, “I think [Indira]’s very much inspired by Dot and her survival instinct, her resilience. And that ignites a fire in Indira to take control of her own life.”
Dot has quite an impact on Witt as well when they meet in the first episode. “On the surface, he is a trooper. He’s an officer of the law doing his job. He’s a very by-the-book individual. He’s also extremely reliable. Noah likes to say that if you looked up the word reliable in a dictionary, Witt Farr would be there. But I think internally he’s dealing with a lot of other stuff,” Morris shares of his character.
While the actor says Witt “enjoys the peace and quiet” of his small North Dakota town, that doesn’t last for long once Dot shows up. “He’s doing his job. He sees something that looks strange, looks suspicious, and he has to figure it out.”
What begins as a “basic routine, pull over” thrusts Witt “into this world of chaos,” Morris teases. “He has no idea what’s going on. He finds himself trying to rescue Juno and, in turn, she kind of rescues him. So in a way, he has this sense of debt to her because of all this madness that’s going on.”
Although Indira and Witt are not initially connected, unwinding events eventually see the deputies cross paths. “We help each other out,” Morris notes. “We share information. We partner up on some things.” Working with Moorjani, Morris says, has “been incredible.”
When it comes to their run-ins with some of the installment’s meaner figures, Moorjani teases, “It’s not fun for Indira when she meets those characters because she’s trying to do good things in a chaotic and messy world. But for me, as the actor, it’s fun. And we have such an incredible ensemble cast, and everyone is so good and so perfectly cast in their character, and it’s so much fun.”
For Moorjani, it was an exciting challenge to follow in the footsteps of other prominent female law enforcers within the Fargo world. “I learned so much from the previous performances of these incredible actresses,” Moorjani says in reference to the film‘s Frances McDormand and Year 1’s Allison Tolman. “I even met with Allison Tolman before I came here, and she helped me so much just to understand the world of Fargo and what to expect when I got to Calgary.”
“That was really helpful,” she adds. “And I did learn a lot from those performances. And maybe somehow it got translated into what I do for Indira. But she’s also a totally different character. She has a really messy personal life and that informs how she is as a cop, too.”
Don’t miss Morris and Moorjani in action as Witt Farr and Indira Olmstead when Fargo Year 5 kicks off. And stay tuned for more coverage from the behind-the-scenes of Fargo‘s Year 5 set.
Fargo, Year 5 Premiere, Tuesday, November 21, 10pm ET/PT, FX (Next day on Hulu)