Ethelrida is just a child, but she becomes the investigator, the one who faces all crimes and threats. It’s different this time around, isn’t it? Usually you can trust the law in Fargo, but you took a different approach this time.
There is always this moral scale in Fargo where you have characters who are all good, which is Francis McDormand in the  movie, and characters who are evil, which is Pierre Stormare. And you got someone like [William H. Macy‘s] Jerry Lundegaard, who’s in the middle and it could go either way. In our first three seasons of the series, the really good character was always a cop. [Alison Tolman in Season One, Patrick Wilson in Season Two, and Carrie Coon in Season Three.] I thought, well, if I tell a story about black characters and immigrant characters, it’s not their experience with the police, mostly, you know?
So how do you work around this?
That’s where Ethelrida came in, who played the role of a cop on one level, but he wasn’t a real cop. That’s it Rear window scenario in which she distrusted this nurse [Jessie Buckley‘s Oraetta Mayflower] who lived across the street, who kept coming to his patients’ funerals. And that got her started on the path, which ultimately led to justice being done.
Police figures also need justice. The ruthless American marshal of Timothy Olyphant and Jack Huston as a local cop with PTSD.
It allowed me to say, okay, well, now I can have these law enforcement characters who are morally compromised, and really explore that. You had the character of Jack Huston that was clearly corrupt, right? He was taking money from the crime family. And then you had the character of Tim Olyphant, the American marshal, who very quickly realized that he was totally racist.
No good choices there.
Your empathy has to go with one or the other, so the audience must have worked on this idea of who’s a good guy in this car? The answer is neither on some level, but as an audience we are never objective. Stories that make you wonder, “Where is my morality?” Can be very powerful stories.