|from finance.yahoo.com, oddly enough|
Martin Freeman, with an amusing Minnesota accent, plays Lester Nygaard, the put-upon, oppressed and bullied insurance salesman who crosses paths with devilishly entertaining bad guy Lorne Malvo, played brilliantly by the incomparable Billy Bob Thornton, which sends Lester's life into a spiral of deception and danger. I came for Martin Freeman, but I'm staying for Billy Bob Thornton. He is unpredictable, diabolical, and amazing.
There are multiple mysteries and fantastic side characters, including Lester's brother, Chaz (Joshua Close), Policeman Gus Grimley (Colin Hanks) who might or might not have a love interest in Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman), a detective who is certain Lester knows more than he's admitting. My favorite of the secondary characters are the sign-language speaking hit men (played by Adam Goldberg and deaf actor Russell Harvard) sent down from Fargo to look into a murder and take care of the guilty party. Deadpan serious, their amusing signed banter juxtaposed with their effectiveness as killers makes them absolutely fascinating.
Here is an excellent summation, from the LA Times, for more info.
On the recommendation of my siblings, I decided to check out "Orphan Black", which is a BBC production, set in either the US or Canada (I'm thinking US). The show revolves around Sarah, a British orphan and grifter, who was raised in the US with her foster brother, Felix (played by Jordan Gavaris, who steals every scene he is in), by Mrs. S, their British foster mother. Sarah discovers that she is one of many clones and drama ensues. They are being hunted and killed by a crazy religious cult, as well as other factions who all seem to want something from Sarah, especially.
It's fascinating sci-fi- rich and layered and totally enthralling. The multiple clones are all played expertly by Tatiana Maslany. She is so good that I forget I'm not watching more than one actress in these roles. If she doesn't earn an Emmy or BAFTA or whatever, it will be an enormous injustice.
Well into its second season now, Orphan Black remains intense, dramatic, courageous and thrilling.
Sensitivity Warning: sexuality, violence
Another excellent LA Times review if you want to know more.