Dave Foley On Collaborating With Jennifer Jason Leigh


  • Fargo season 5 takes place in 2019 and returns to its Minnesota roots, featuring a mysterious housewife with a dangerous past.
  • Dot Lyons, played by Juno Temple, becomes connected to North Dakota Sheriff Roy Tillman, portrayed by Jon Hamm.
  • Dave Foley plays Danish Graves, Lorraine’s right-hand man, who is responsible for carrying out her dark whims and protecting the Lyons family.



Fargo season 5 premiered its first 2 episodes, setting the stage for another storyline about Midwestern murder and mayhem. Based on the Coen Brothers’ 1996 black comedy, the anthology series from Noah Hawley skips from location to location each year in pursuit of another investigation. Season 5 takes place in 2019, making it the closest to the present day thus far, and returns the show to its Minnesota roots with Ted Lasso‘s Juno Temple leading the cast as Dot Lyons.

While seemingly a harmless housewife, Fargo season 5 quickly reveals Dot to have a mysterious and dangerous past that connects her to Sheriff Roy Tillman (Jon Hamm) in North Dakota. After his attempt to kidnap her goes awry, her husband and his family are roped into the proceedings — including mother-in-law Lorraine, played by the iconic Jennifer Jason Leigh. Dave Foley, meanwhile, portrays her in-house counsel and primary advisor, Danish Graves. As Lorraine’s right-hand man, he seems himself as a prize fighter who will stop at nothing to ensure she gets her way.

Related: Fargo Season 6: Will It Happen? Everything We Know

Screen Rant interviewed Dave Foley about joining Fargo season 5, what he thinks about Danish Graves’ arc over the course of the season, working opposite Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Dave Foley Talks Fargo Season 5

Screen Rant: Any actor would want to be in Fargo, but how did you end up in metaphorical Minnesota?

Dave Foley: It was Warren Littlefield, who’s the executive producer of the show. I ran into Warren at an award show in Hollywood. The Hollywood Critics Awards, the first or second year they’re doing, I can’t remember. But Warren was there and I was there representing The Kids in the Hall. And we wound up chatting after the awards because I hadn’t seen him in a very long time.

But I worked with him when I was doing NewsRadio and he was very, very supportive of us when he was running NBC. And I always really liked Warren, so it was great to see him again. And then I guess, that kind of put me in his head when they were casting this character. So a few weeks after that, I got a call from my manager and agent saying, “They want you to do Fargo.” And I just blurted out, “Yes, say yes. Hang up on me and say yes.”

Speaking of your character, aside from having an amazing name, Danish Graves has a really powerful position as the Lyon lawyer. What is his feeling towards this family, and does it evolve over the course of the season?

Dave Foley: I think for Danish, the Lyons are the closest thing he has to a family. Without them kind of like he’s never married, doesn’t have kids, no parents, relatives, very solitary guy. But he gets his whole sense of identity from executing the dark whims of Lorraine and protecting the family, basically whatever terrible things Lorraine wants to happen to someone, Danish is responsible for making sure it happens. But he’s also responsible for defending the family and protecting the family in any way necessary. So he’s indebted to Lorraine for his career, but also indebted for a sense of identity and a sense of belonging. The closest thing he has to a place that he belongs is with the Lyons family.

jennifer jason leigh & dave foley in fargo 502

That’s a very intense dynamic right there, and Jennifer Jason Leigh is such a commanding presence on screen. What is it like to share that screen with her, go back and forth as essentially her second in command?

Dave Foley: It could be terrifying, except for the fact that Jennifer is so nice and kind and generous as an actor, because she’s such a brilliant actor. So it was one of the things when I first came in it all I kept thinking is, “Oh, I just hope I don’t ruin anything. Just please don’t let me ruin any of the scenes in this great show. Because I love the script so much, and please let me seem like I belong in a shot with Jennifer.” And because I admire her so much. I didn’t want to let her down either.

Noah Hawley is clearly a genius from where I’m sitting. But you get to be up close and personal collaborating with him to bring this character and the story to life. What is that experience like?

Dave Foley: It took a little getting used to it because as I said, I was a huge fan. I’d never met Noah, but I was a huge fan of Legion and Fargo, and also really enjoyed his movie Lucy in the Sky too, which was great. And it took a little getting used to it because he’s not very effusive, he doesn’t say much on set. In fact, a lot of times we do the scene and then we do a few passes of things, and then Noah would sort of walk onto the set and go, “Okay, let’s move over here.” And that’s the only way you knew we were moving on, that he was happy with the scene. We knew he was happy with the scene that we had done because he was setting up the next one.

That’s the only way you knew. It was like, actually, “I hope Noah likes what I’m doing. But I didn’t really get a strong sense of it.” And the other actors have said, “Yeah, I get that too.” But then once I went out to dinner with Noah and a few of the other cast later, and he gave me that very nice compliment of saying, they said, “With you, I felt like I never really had to give you any notes.” And he’s like, he said his attitude was, “You cast the people you want and you let him do it.” And I was like, “Oh, that’s very kind of you.” And that’s not entirely true, he did have to give me some notes. There were times when I went, “No, I don’t think I’m on the right track here.”

Even though it’s an anthology, there are still markers that make it Fargo. What do you think that fans of the series and even the original movie will be most excited about this season?

Dave Foley: One thing I think people are going to like is that it’s a return to Minnesota and I guess, it’s the most current in terms of timeframe. It’s set in 2019. And as usual, I think you’re going to get incredibly strange and complex characters. You’re going to get one of, I think one of Noah’s greatest villains. I don’t want to say too much about it, but you’ll definitely get one of his most terrifying villains and one of his most complex heroines. Juno’s character, Dot is a very, very constantly surprising character.

About Fargo Season 5

Collage of Joe Keery, Jon Hamm, and Juno Temple in Fargo season 5

The latest installment of Fargo is set in Minnesota and North Dakota, 2019. After an unexpected series of events lands “Dorothy ‘Dot’ Lyon” (Juno Temple) in hot water with the authorities, this seemingly typical Midwestern housewife is suddenly plunged back into a life she thought she had left behind. North Dakota Sheriff “Roy Tillman” (Jon Hamm) has been searching for Dot for a long time. A rancher, preacher and a constitutional lawman, Roy believes that he is the law and therefore is above the law. At his side is his loyal but feckless son, “Gator” (Joe Keery), who is desperate to prove himself to his larger-than-life father. Too bad he’s hopeless. So, when it comes to hunting Dot, Roy enlists “Ole Munch” (Sam Spruell), a shadowy drifter of mysterious origin.

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The first two episodes of Fargo season 5 premiere November 21 on FX at 10pm ET, with new episodes airing every Tuesday. Each will be available to stream the next day on Hulu.

  • Fargo Season 5 Poster Cropped


    Release Date:

    Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Martin Freeman, Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson, Jesse Plemons, Ewan McGregor, Carrie Coon, Chris Rock, Jessie Buckley, Jason Schwartzman, Juno Temple, Jon Hamm

    Anthology, Crime, Drama, Comedy, Thriller



    Story By:
    Joel and Ethan Coen

    Noah Hawley


    Streaming Service(s):


    Noah Hawley


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