Fargo Wiki
A Muddy Road
Season 1, Episode 3
Episode Information
Air Date:

April 29, 2014

Written by:

Noah Hawley

Directed by:

Randall Einhorn

Episode Chronology
Previous Episode:

The Rooster Prince

Next Episode:

Eating the Blame


A Muddy Road is the third episode of Season 1 of Fargo. The episode premiered on April 29, 2014.


Malvo flips the script on the blackmail operation. Molly sets a trap, and Gus debates whether he should come clean. Lester's return to work has complicated repercussions.


Phil McCormick, an accountant in Saint Paul, is dragged out of his office by his tie by "Frank Peterson" for unpaid debt. He is forced to strip to his underwear and is shut in the trunk of a car, revealing him to be the man found frozen to death in "The Crocodile's Dilemma". In the present day, Molly Solverson visits McCormick's office in an effort to figure out the circumstances of his death, and is shown security camera footage of Peterson dragging McCormick out of an elevator.

Peterson goes to Don Chumph's gym with the knowledge that Chumph is blackmailing Stavros Milos. He finds that Chumph knows next to nothing about Milos and gets all his information from Milos' wife, and decides to use Chumph and continue the blackmail scheme. Gus Grimly checks the license plates of the car Peterson was driving when they crossed paths, and finds the car registered to Lester Nygaard. He sheepishly tells Ben Schmidt of his mistake and the new information uncovered, and Schmidt orders him to call Bemidji and identify Peterson.

Still thinking about the deaths of Vern Thurman and Pearl, Lester goes to work to clear his head. He visits Gina Hess with papers to sign, and finds that she is more interested in the money behind it than her late husband. She recognizes him as the survivor of the "break-in" at his house, and asks him if he liked his wife, knowing that she did not like her husband, and tries to seduce him. As her sons again get in a physical altercation, Lester notices Wes Wrench and Grady Numbers watching him from the trees.

Molly has lunch with Barbara, an old friend from high school, who laments her unsuccessful attempts at online dating, telling her a morbid story about a boyfriend who had eggs laid in his neck from a spider bite. Peterson switches Milos' back pain medication with Adderall and kills his beloved dog King, leaving a blackmail note next to the body demanding one million dollars. Lester unsuccessfully attempts to remove the shotgun pellet from his hand at work and is met by Wrench and Numbers just as he gets a call informing him that his stolen car has been found. Suspicious of him after seeing him with Gina, they prepare to move on him until Molly comes into the office, claiming she wants insurance for Lou. She "accidentally" drops a file folder with Peterson's security footage inside, making Lester visibly nervous when he recognize him.

Peterson notices the religious imagery in Milos' office while he waits to meet with him, as well as a framed red ice pick hung up one the wall. Furious at the upping of the blackmail, Milos rules out Helena as a suspect and Peterson offers to move onto the property to help guard him, which Milos agrees to as he takes his medication. When Gus expresses anxiety about having to tell the Bemidji police about letting Peterson go, Greta Grimly suggests he visit them in person. Bill Oswalt is impressed with Molly's findings relating to Peterson, but becomes irate when she mentions she talked to Lester again.

Greta tags along with Gus as he arrives in Bemidji, crossing paths with Molly when he mentions Lester's name. He tells her about letting Peterson go and identifies him on the security footage. Initially incredulous that Gus let him go, Molly softens when she sees Gus interacting with Greta. He explains that her mother died when she was two years old, and Molly takes them to dinner at her father's diner. Lou recognizes Gus' badge and asks after Schmidt, expressing distaste when he remembers their time in Sioux Falls together. Chazz takes Lester out to shoot his illegal machine gun, not before Lester pockets a taser from his brother's storage. Peterson recites Exodus 6:13, a verse that tells the story of Moses over top of the scene, and wires up Milos' pipes so pig's blood rains on him when he showers.


Main cast

Recurring cast




  • Pearl Nygaard (Kelly Holden Bashar) and Vern Thurman (Shawn Doyle) have been demoted to co-stars, only appearing in flashbacks.
  • Phil McCormick is finally named after being found dead two episodes ago.
  • The title refers to a Zen koan. Two monks are traveling together down a muddy road. They meet a beautiful young woman who is unable to cross the road. One monk lifts her across the road and the two monks return to the temple. The second monk then objects, saying that monks do not go near females, particularly if they are young and beautiful and asks why helped the girl. The first monk replies, "I left the girl by the road. Are you still carrying her?"
Season 1 episodes

01. "The Crocodile's Dilemma"
02. "The Rooster Prince"
03. "A Muddy Road"
04. "Eating the Blame"
05. "The Six Ungraspables"

06. "Buridan's Ass"
07. "Who Shaves the Barber?"
08. "The Heap"
09. "A Fox, A Rabbit, and A Cabbage"
10. "Morton's Fork"