Before the Law
Season 2, Episode 2
Fargo Season 2 Episode 2
Episode Information
Air Date:

October 19, 2015


0.96 million

Written by:

Noah Hawley

Directed by:

Noah Hawley

Episode Chronology
Previous Episode:

Waiting for Dutch

Next Episode:

The Myth of Sisyphus


Before the Law is the second episode of Season 2 of Fargo, as well as the twelfth episode overall. It premiered on October 19, 2015.


The Gerhardts get a surprising offer; two unlikely murderers do their best to clean up their mess.


The Gerhardts are visited by a few members of the Kansas City Mafia including Joe Bulo and his enforcer Mike Milligan, as well as the "Kitchen brothers" Gale and Wayne. Meanwhile inside the compound Charlie Gerhardt, Bear's son, reads letters aloud to Floyd and Otto from friends and family of the latter, wishing him to get well soon. A man tells Floyd that Kansas City has arrived, so Floyd sends Charlie to fetch his father and uncles. Dodd is in the barn with Hanzee presumably interrogating a man. However due to them cutting off his ears, he has bled out and died, much to Dodd's displeasure. On their way to the house, the two Gerhardt brothers and Kansas City Mafia members stare each other down as they pass by.

Once Kansas City leaves, Dodd asks Floyd who they were. She says they want to buy their operation, which Dodd sees as more of a war if anything else. For a price of $2 million, they'll let the Gerhardts continue running things on the ground, but they'll now have to report to the men in Kansas City.

Dodd protests, and decides to declare himself in charge on account of Otto no longer being capable of running the show. Bear protests, saying Floyd should be in charge, but Dodd retorts saying a woman can't be in charge. As things begin to get tense, Floyd has everyone exit the room except Dodd (and Hanzee on Dodd's orders). She asserts her dominance as a parent by having him sit down and eat some of the bread. She then says he will have control of the empire in the future, but until the conflict with Kansas City is handled she will be in charge. Floyd tells Hanzee to begin searching for Rye, whose whereabouts are unknown, not even to Simone, Dodd's daughter, who Rye talks to frequently.

Meanwhile Joe, Mike, and the Kitchen brothers are driving back to their hotel in Fargo. Joe thinks the Gerhardts will not be likely to surrender due to their Germanic heritage. Milligan suggests maybe intimidating Floyd into surrendering, but Joe sees it best to strike a deal with one of the sons, Rye.

At the police station in Luverne, Hank looks over the evidence gathered from the Waffle Hut shooting, which includes one of Rye's shoes. He then goes to visit Betsy and her family for breakfast. Molly asks Hank to tell her a story while he also discusses the case with Betsy. He learns one of the victims, Irma Mundt, was a Judge out of Fargo, North Dakota. Lou asks if this detail changes anything, whether or not she was just a random victim or she was the primary victim.

Sitting outside the garage, Ed reflects on the events from last night, while Peggy does the same thing in the basement. Peggy gets ready for work and insists Ed go as well in order to keep up appearances. Ed says he isn't due to the bloody mess in the garage that still needs cleaning. Back at the Gerhardt compound, Dodd exits the kitchen after eating and tells Hanzee that if he finds Rye, he reports directly to him rather than Floyd, believing he can use Rye as leverage to gain the throne.

Before going to work, Peggy stops at Bud's Meats to let Ed's boss know he won't be coming in today due to some bad clams. Peggy crosses the street and enters the salon to get started on a client, when Constance Heck asks her about the upcoming seminar. Constance has gotten the two of them a hotel room to stay at while there. Peggy protests that the seminar might be too expensive since they're saving up so Ed can buy the butcher shop. Constance sees this as her putting Ed's needs in front of her own, and tells Peggy to be more independent. Before starting on a client, she asks Peggy if she knows anything about a case of toilet paper that went missing, but she denies knowing about it.

In his office, Lou calls the Fargo Police Department to ask for assistance in investigating the triple homicide, seeing as it took place outside of their city. Elsewhere, Mike and the Kitchen brothers visit Skip Sprang at his shop to learn the whereabouts of Rye. After interrogating him for answers by pinning his necktie to the typewriter (and Mike writing a fake "message" to choke Skip), Skip confesses that he told Rye to go talk with Irma Mundt. Milligan and the brothers then exit, leaving Skip confused and still stuck to the typewriter.

Meanwhile, Ed cleans the blood off Peggy's car and the garage floor. He opens the cooler with Rye's corpse still inside and takes his clothes to burn them in the fireplace, as well as his own. It all burns up except for Rye's belt buckle, which Ed does not notice.

After receiving a chemotherapy treatment, Betsy is picked up by Lou and Molly. While out and about, Lou decides to stop at the Waffle Hut to continue investigating. Betsy and Molly stay outside to build a snowman while they wait for Lou. Inside the diner, Lou notices the bug spray Mundt used as well as a looted cash register. Outside, Molly finds an old "get well soon" balloon in the bushes. As Betsy walks over to take a look, out of the corner of her eye she spots a gun in the bushes. She picks it up and calls Lou over. Suddenly, the three of them see Milligan and the Kitchen brothers slowly drive past, watching them.

Lou calls in their car, and Hank stops them with a roadblock further down the road. He has them get out and show their IDs. He also asks for their shoe sizes (to try and find a match with the one in the tree), which Milligan sees as a truly odd question. Mike says they were only passing through for some waffles only to find the place closed. With nothing else to go on, Hank lets them go on the condition that they leave the state, or they will be arrested. Mike understands, and the three of them drive away.

That night, Ed goes to the butchery with Rye's corpse in tow. After waiting for the area to be cleared, he takes the body inside the shop. Meanwhile, Constance drives Peggy home from work. Constance stops in to use the bathroom, and in there she notices all the toilet paper that went missing is under the sink. Before leaving, Constance tries coming onto Peggy but fails, as Peggy hurries her out the door.

Lou is sitting outside the Waffle Hut tying knots in order to help him think. Hank arrives and sits down with him. Lou is trying to see if there are more clues he hasn't noticed yet, having missed the gun Betsy found. Hank tells him Milligan's crew were "fascinating" but there was nothing actionable. Lou tells him the reason he is still here is because the way the cook died was similar to an earlier case he had, which Hank says people call it a "convergence" where one thing reminds you of another.

It was in 1974 on a Naval ship on the Bồ Đề River, Vietnam. Lou was steering the boat when a young man gets onto the deck for a smoke. Right as he lit it, he was shot right through the cigar. The look on the young man's face when he died reminds Lou of the cook, pure bafflement. Hank tells him of a similar story where a German captain hung himself in 1945. His body was found in a bunker near the end of the war with his face purple, and eyes bugged out. Then in 1962, a report of a suicide reached Hank. The body was found in the bathroom hanging by en electric cord with a facial expression that reminded him of the captain.

Hank bemoans that things are different these days. According to him, Luverne went six years without a murder after World War II ended. Now with all the senseless violence, he wonders if Lou's generation brought the Vietnam war home with them.

At the butchery, Ed is cutting up Rye's corpse and feeding it into the meat grinder. Lou is driving by when he notices the light in the shop on and Ed's car parked. He gets out and knocks on the door. As Ed hears the knocking, he cuts off one of Rye's hands and disembodied fingers go flying everywhere, one of them rolling into the lobby and under a table. Ed reluctantly answers the door, Lou asks if he could get some bacon for tomorrow morning. He lets Lou in to get him the meat. As he is getting the meat for Lou, Ed notices the finger under the table. Ed motions to hide the finger as Lou takes out his wallet and drops a quarter near where the finger is. Ed tries to get the coin before Lou looks as the phone rings. The two pause for a brief moment and Ed answers the phone. Peggy is calling to wonder what is taking so long. Lou leaves his payment on the table, thanks Ed, and leaves with the bacon.

Ed finishes his phone call with Peggy, hangs up, and retrieves the finger. He then returns to grinding as a narration begins, and the camera pulls out of the shop and into the air.


Main cast

Recurring cast



  • One unnamed man


Season 2 episodes

01. "Waiting for Dutch"
02. "Before the Law"
03. "The Myth of Sisyphus"
04. "Fear and Trembling"
05. "The Gift of the Magi"

06. "Rhinoceros"
07. "Did You Do This? No, You Did It!"
08. "Loplop"
09. "The Castle"
10. "Palindrome"

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