Executive Sales Manager at Gustafson Motors (formerly)
Carl Showalter and Gaear Grimsrud (currently)
William H. Macy
|Jerry Lundegaard Gallery|
Jerry married Jean Gustafson and the two had a son named Scotty. Her father, Wade Gustafson, was a wealthy real estate developer who also owned Gustafson Motors, a car dealership in Minneapolis. Jerry is a fan of the Minnesota Gophers ice hockey team and was an avid golfer, proudly displaying several trophies and attire around his office. He was also a member of the Kiwanis Club and wore the organization's pin on his suit. Sometime during the early 1980s, Wade hired Jerry as the Executive Sales Manager at his dealership.
In December 1986, Jerry scammed GMAC by receiving a $320,000 loan (possibly for personal use, or to pay off more debts) for several nonexistent new vehicles by submitting order forms with unreadable VINs. At the same time, he was also trying to pitch a deal to Wade about a forty-acre lot for sale in Wayzata, Minnesota as another alternate way to get money. Later, GMAC asked Jerry to resubmit the forms in proper print. Afraid to get caught with fraud, and to receive more money, Jerry contacted his co-worker Shep Proudfoot to vouch for a hired criminal to kidnap and ransom his wife, Jean. In the meantime he did his best to keep Reilly Difenbach, the financial loan officer at GMAC, oblivious to the fact that the cars he had taken out the loans on were fake.
In late January 1987, Jerry stole a new Cutlass Ciera from the dealership and towed it to Fargo, North Dakota. At 8:30 PM, Jerry met with Carl Showalter and Gaear Grimsrud at King of Clubs to discuss his ransom plan with them due to Proudfoot not being very clear about the job. He hires them to kidnap his wife so that Wade will pay Jerry $1,000,000; Jerry initially lies to Carl and Gaear, telling them the ransom is just $80,000, which he will split with them.
The next morning, he receives a call from Wade about an investment opportunity. Seeing good profits from this, Jerry unsuccessfully tries to contact Showalter and Grimsrud to stop them from carrying out the deed. However, Wade and his accountant, Stan Grossman, scold Jerry for taking this not so seriously. Eventually, Showalter and Grimsrud abduct his wife minutes before he gets home. When he sees the struggle in the house, he practices making a sad phone call to Wade.
Unfortunately, Carl and Grimsrud were caught murdering a state trooper by two teenagers in a car. Therefore, Grimsrud was forced to murder them to prevent them from alerting the police. To get out of the state, the two order Jerry to give them the entire ransom. Later, the homicides were called in.
Knowing that the two murderers were driving in a dealership car, police chief Marge Gunderson arrived at the Gustafson Motors dealership and consulted Lundegaard because he was in charge of the selling of the dealership's cars. Jerry lied to Marge and manipulated her to leave his office. He tried to call Shep Proudfoot, but he already left to ambush Carl for almost putting him in jail.
After being viciously beaten up, an irritated and slightly insecure Carl calls Jerry and threatens him that he'll kill Jerry's entire family unless he gets the money. Wade confronts Carl at the parking garage and is subsequently shot, his money stolen. As Jerry pursues his father-in-law to the garage, Carl (having been shot in the jaw) speeds down the ramp in the parking garage and notices Jerry. When Jerry arrives at the top of the garage, he stuffs Wade's body into the trunk of his car.
Maintaining his job at the dealership, he is annoyed when Marge shows up again and interrogates him. Eventually he is extremely annoyed and forced to do a lot count as his dealership's car has apparently been stolen. However, he flees the dealership.
It is revealed that he abandoned his son and fled to a motel in North Dakota. The police arrive at the motel, but Jerry tries to escape through a window. However, the policemen restrain him onto a bed and arrest him. He is put in prison for a long sentence, given his role in the kidnapping.
It is unknown what has become of him by 2006.
Jerry is cunning and manipulative, although he expresses as being incompetent and somewhat dimwitted. He is also very selfish, willing to get his wife kidnapped for the required amount of money to pay off GMAC, and letting Wade get killed by not going to meet Carl by himself (although given his reaction after Wade left, it is implied that he still wanted to go).
He also has a kind and empathetic side to him, as evident from his call to Carl, as he wanted the kidnapping to go over smoothly and not evolve into a "no-rough-stuff type deal." He also loves his son, as he went to comfort him after the latter heard of his mother getting kidnapped.
Connected to Jerry
- Jean Lundegaard - Kidnapped by Gaear and Carl on Jerry's orders and then killed by Gaear.
- Technically, Jerry Lundegaard is responsible for the deaths in the film (Jean, Wade, Carl Showalter, the parking lot attendant, the state trooper, and the two teenagers)
- Jerry is similar to Lester Nygaard from the series.
- They are both salespeople
- Both are manipulative liars
- Both are shown to be nervous
- Both seek out criminal assistance which changes their life
- Both try to escape the police when their crimes are revealed (however, Lester died before he could be arrested)
- "Okay, real good then."
- "The heck ya mean?"
- "I'm cooperatin' here!"
- "Darn tootin'."
- "We've gotta play ball here! / We've gotta play ball with these guys."