‘Fargo’ Interview: Colin Hanks Delves Into the Motivations of Gus Grimly, Teases A Reunion with Malvo and More

Fargo (FX) episode 4 Eating the Blame (8)

FX’s Fargo is teaming with fascinating characters from the moral black hole that is Billy Bob Thornton’s Malvo to Allison Tolman’s dedicated cop Molly. However, Colin Hanks has the honor of playing one of the series most conflicted characters, Gus Grimly. As a father and a policeman, Gus is forced to make a pivotal decision at the end of the pilot that arguably set the rest of the story in motion.

TV Equals joined in a conference call with Hanks recently, where he discussed how he got into Gus’ mindset, revealed his favorite scene and touched on a few spoilers for down the road. Check out the highlights below.

A new episode of Fargo airs tonight, Tuesday, May 6th at 10/9c on FX.

How Hanks Sees Gus

For many viewers Gus is one of the series’ heroes, and certainly one of its few decent guys, but Hanks is tougher on his character than we are. He revealed he doesn’t see Gus as a good cop, or even someone who wants to pursue Malvo. “I was frustrated at Gus’ inability to do things– do certain things, I guess I should say, but Gus is as well, and so, that was really something that I sort of leaned on and drew from,” Hanks said. “The thing I enjoyed most about Gus was the fact that there was an awareness to him. Oftentimes you see these characters and they know that they’re not good, but they’re just instantly beat down, but this is something that slowly eats at Gus. He makes this decision to let Malvo go and although technically he does the right thing, it’s the wrong thing.”

Hanks actually had to unlearn some of his training from past roles where he played cops in order to play Gus, who views being a cop as a “public service” rather than his driving force. Despite Gus’ faults or possibly because of them, Hanks was drawn to the character.

“I like the fact that here was a character that made this mistake and spends his time, even though he doesn’t necessarily want to, atoning for it and trying to fix it, and he fesses up, to a degree, as to what he did and he actively tries to right the wrong,” Hanks said. “That really appealed to me. That was the initial kernel when I read the pilot, and then, as the show progressed, I kept trying to come back to that regardless of my frustrations of Gus not being able to get his act together, so to speak.”

What makes Gus a decent and heroic character is that despite his fears for his daughter, he owns up to his mistake and sets out to rectify it. “He’s doing what he’s doing out of a sense of responsibility because it’s the right thing to do because he’s trying to set an example for his daughter and I think it’s fair for you to say that that’s heroic.”

On Gus and His Daughter Greta

Gus and Greta’s father/daughter relationship is quickly emerging as one of Fargo‘s most important dynamics. Hanks sees Greta as the guiding force in Gus’ life. She is the person he is thinking of when he lets Malvo go, but she is also the person who reminds him he has two jobs to do, spurring him on to confess his mistake to his boss. As the season progresses, Greta will continue to be the driving force of Gus’ story.

He noted his favorite scene (that has aired so far, at least) took place between Gus and Greta. “The scene that actually kind of surprised me was the scene between Gus and Greta at his desk where Gus is wrestling with trying to–how to initiate this, how do I go and tell a cop from another precinct that I’ve made this horrible mistake and let this guy go that could be responsible for some serious, serious, serious crimes. To see him wrestle with that and then to hear the simplicity from his daughter, there was a connection there between Gus and Greta that I was not aware that we had done, and I was really pleasantly surprised by that scene.”

Will Gus and Malvo’s Paths Cross Again?

Yes, but Hanks was careful not to reveal how or when. “Gus and Lorne’s paths do intersect again, and it’s not necessarily what you think is going to happen, I think is the best way to describe it. I’m trying to be really coy.”

At least we know Gus will get another chance to see the “dragon” he let slip away.

The Future of Gus and Molly

Last week’s episode of Fargo found Molly and Gus coming face to face for the first time and Hanks could not be happier about it. He noted he had been looking forward to working with Tolman and their first scene together was “a treat.”

“In regards to Gus and Molly, this is the beginning of a journey of them together trying to solve this case and they’ll probably be spending a lot of time together, yes, but that’s about as much as I will say.”

Fargo (FX) episode 4 Eating the Blame (7)

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