CALGARY - One week ago, on the eve of the premiere of FX's "Fargo," most of the stories focused on Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton, the biggest names associated with the semi-adaptation of the Coen Brothers' Oscar-winning film.
Having already seen the pilot, I knew the secret of "Fargo," which is that while Thornton and Freeman have the showy parts -- and they're both terrific -- the actual hero of the twisted story of murder, blackmail and revenge is wet-behind-the-ears local cop Molly Solverson, played by Allison Tolman.
Of course, Thornton has an Oscar and Freeman is simultaneously Watson and Bilbo Baggins, while Tolman is a total newcomer, a Texas-born, Chicago-based actress who had been concentrating on writing and sketch comedy before "Fargo" came her way.
But now, after "Fargo" delivered a solid premiere for FX last week, it seems like the right time to shine the spotlight on Tolman.
I sat down with Tolman on a sunny March day on the "Fargo" set in Calgary shortly before she settled in to shoot a prickly scene opposite co-star Bob Odenkirk, who plays a less capable member of the Bemidji PD. The balminess of the weather that day -- temperatures perked up above freezing for the first time in months -- steered the initial conversation before we discussed the strange circumstances of her landing the role, Tolman's approach to Molly's investigative capabilities and finding the proper balance of comedy and drama for that "Fargo"-flavored tone.
Click through for the full Q&A and check out the second episode of "Fargo" on Tuesday (April 22) night on FX...