Before Sunday’s premiere, you can take a road trip through the past three seasons, all of which can be found on Hulu. First-timers are in for the ultimate joy ride.
Season one (2014)
Setting: Minnesota and North Dakota, 2006.
Cast: Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman.
What we said then: “This just may be one of the most engaging, brilliantly acted, unpredictable products ever seen on TV. It should be the model for more programs: a limited series with a tidy ending that doesn’t leave us hanging. One writer responsible for almost every line of dialogue. Great actors who don’t feel bogged down by a series that could have them handcuffed for five years.”
Season two (2015)
Setting: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, 1979.
Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Patrick Wilson.
What we said: “Creator Noah Hawley has managed to sustain a quirky sense of humor, Midwest moodiness and nervous tension. The chase is not nearly as fascinating as the characters, most notably officer Hank Larsson (Ted Danson, whose demeanor and accent are so Minnesotan you’d swear the actor spent his childhood summers fishing on Leech Lake) and hit man Mike Milligan (Bokeem Woodbine, cool as a cucumber soaked in a Bloody Mary).
Season three (2017)
Setting: Minnesota, 2010-11.
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Carrie Coon, Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
What we said: “Viewers who are mainly drawn to the show for its Minnesota connections may grumble at some of the broad swipes taken at the state. But while the residents may not know how to google and still listen to Heart on their car radio, that doesn’t mean they’re not crafty, charismatic and even cool. Winstead’s character could leave any Sharon Stone femme fatale shivering in a snowbank, while Coon should break out as one of 2017’s most likable new faces, just as Tolman did in the first season.”
Season four (2020)
Setting: Kansas City, 1950.
Cast: Chris Rock, Jessie Buckley, Jason Schwartzman.
What we say: These 11 new episodes owe a lot to the Coen brothers’ “Miller’s Crossing,” but the season also pays homage to “The Godfather,” with a stellar cast taking full advantage of putting their own spin on members of the Corleone family. No one has more fun than 73-year-old Glynn Turman, who turns his version of Robert Duvall’s consigliere into an Emmy-worthy role. Buckley’s angel of death doesn’t really fit in, but I dare you to disinvite her from the party. In all, it’s another offer you can’t refuse.