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Colin Hanks embraces his inner bad cop in 'Fargo'

Colin Hanks plays Gus Grimly on FX's Fargo" series.
Colin Hanks plays Gus Grimly on FX's Fargo" series.
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Colin Hanks has embraced his "bad cop" character on the FX series "Fargo," but if you're thinking of a real tough cop who's been corrupted by criminals, that's not quite the kind of bad cop we're talking about here. As Gus Grimly, Hanks plays the kind of police officer who lets bad guy Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) slip through his fingers in a pivotal scene early in the series, even though Malvo clearly tells him he is a bad guy. In other words, Grimly sort of bumbles through his job, which made preparation for the role that much easier -- other than adopting the local accent, no special police training was required.

“Gus is not necessarily -- well, he is not a good cop really," said Hanks in a recent media conference call interview. "He is sort of out of his depth, out of his element so there wasn’t really any police training that I had to do.

"In fact, I sort of specifically did things poorly. You train, if you play enough cops, eventually you say I know how to hold the weapon, I know how to do this, and I sort of undid all of that to make Gus look a little bit more out of his element, but the only real preparation I did was work with the dialect coach to try and get a little bit of his accent down."

At times the man playing the character found himself getting a bit aggravated with Gus' incompetence and indecision. Frustrated, even.

"You try not to judge your characters too much, but there were definitely some moments where I was frustrated," said Hanks "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 enjoyed playing the slow burn as his character comes to realize the gravity of his mistake in letting Malvo go and struggles with how to fix it.

"It obviously leads to very bad things, and so, 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. 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."

Having said all that, Hanks said he would love to continue with the show should it come back for another season, although it is currently listed as a limited run series. "Fargo" airs on FX Tuesday nights.

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