The fifth season of Noah Hawley’s ‘Fargo,’ which largely deals with the theme of debt in all its forms, equips Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character, Lorraine Lyon, to deliver the clearest manifestation of the same. Lorraine is not simply a debt collector but has established herself as the “Queen of Debt” and has accumulated great wealth and influence. As a result, the woman swiftly accepts a new enemy when Sheriff Roy Tillman barges into her daughter-in-law, Dorothy “Dot” Lyons’ life, seeking to unbury hatchets. Despite having a complex relationship with Dot, Lorraine refuses to bow down to Tillman and allow him to hurt her family and abuse her son, Wayne’s wife, again.
As such, Lorraine’s left-hand man, Danish Graves, the Lyon family’s counsel and advisor in legal matters, finds himself carrying out his boss’ wishes as she moves against Tillman. However, given the sheriff’s volatile nature and tendency to play by his own rules, one can’t help but fear for the lives of those who move against him, including Graves. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Fargo Season 5 Episode 8, Blanket: Danish Graves Confronts Roy Tillman
Danish Graves, the white-haired lawyer in a fitted suit and a mysterious eyepatch establishes himself as an intriguing character since his introduction. The man lives in Lorraine’s perpetual shadow, a place where he perhaps thrives the best, wielding her borrowed power and carrying out her wishes with it. He’s Lorraine’s attorney— and, by association, represents the other Lyons. As such, he’s often privy to the Lyons’ affairs and remains a fixture in Dot and Wayne’s lives, even if at a distance.
Once Dot manages to appear back on her abusive ex-husband, Roy Tillman’s radar, the constitutional sheriff inevitably becomes a problem for Lorraine. Even before the woman knows the truth about Dot’s past, she and Danish try to internally deal with the aftermath of her daughter-in-law’s initial disappearance and the house break-in that follows. However, after Tillman meets Lorraine and makes it clear that he intends to take Dot back with him, the two enter into a more obvious battle.
While Tillman attacks first, attempting to foil Lorraine’s business plan, the latter is quick to deal with its fallout, with Danish carrying out her dealings. As a result, the time arrives for Lorraine to strike back. Even though the battle may be Lorraine’s, Danish remains the face of it. Asserting Lorraine’s power, Danish creates trouble for Tillman by thwarting his re-election debate by planting decoy candidates. They all have the same name as Tillman, a strategy that effectively humiliates the Sheriff and will confuse his cult following during the election.
Thus, Danish effectively makes an unpleasant impression on Tillman by remaining in the front row as the event unfolds, with a gloating smile on his face. Therefore, riding on the high of a win, Danish rushes to action when he gets news of Dot’s abduction through Will Farr, the State Trooper. As a result, the man ends up arriving at Tillman’s Ranch doors without any backup to negotiate a deal with the man.
Danish has been a negotiator for the better part of his life. He may be Lorraine’s attorney, but he’s nothing short of a corporate hitman trained to navigate business deals. For the same reason, he pitches a deal to Tillman when he confronts him: Dorothy’s life in exchange for the election. As Lorraine’s attorney, Danish is used to having the upper hand. The woman exudes power. She never enters a situation she isn’t in command of.
Consequently, Danish is used to the same reality. Nevertheless, Tillman is no businessman, and his Ranch is no place to conduct business dealings. Tillman believes himself to be above the law. Therefore, Tillman doesn’t stop to see reason when confronted with the man he equates to be the reason behind his recent humiliation. Instead, he pulls his gun on Danish and kills the man on the spot.
Despite his stellar career, in the end, Danish Graves failed to recognize a threat for what it was and overestimated his own power, which always trickled down from Lorraine in the first place. As such, he dies in Tillman’s Ranch, where he’s covertly buried.
Is Dave Foley Leaving Fargo?
With Danish Graves’ fatal demise comes the question of Dave Foley’s future in ‘Fargo.’ In season 5, Dave Foley was a series regular, with his character Danish Graves remaining a formidable presence so far. However, as the eighth episode of the season brings Graves’ abrupt but impactful death, the actor’s journey seems to be coming to an end within the series.
Following the episode’s release, Foley had a conversation with Vulture, wherein he discussed his character, Danish Graves, and his predicament. “The power Danish thinks he has is illusory. All his power stems from Lorraine. He doesn’t have any power that’s vested in him, but he thinks he does.” Specifying Episode Eight’s events and their effect on Graves, the actor shared, “When he [Danish] sees Roy’s gun, in my mind, Danish is just disbelieving because usually people are afraid of him. He’s like, no, people are afraid of me! This isn’t gonna happen! He’s not gonna do this. Right up until the moment the shots are fired, he still believes he has a fearsome presence.”
Thus, now that Graves’ chapter has closed within ‘Fargo,’ Dave Foley will likely also take his departure from the series, with only two episodes left to go in Season 5. Since the story doesn’t particularly rely on flashbacks as a storytelling medium, the chances of his character’s reappearance remain slim to none. Yet, even though Tillman may be a master at burying bodies, Danish’s death is unlikely to go unnoticed, given his invaluable service to Lorraine. Ultimately, we can expect Foley’s character to leave an imprint on the show’s conclusion, even in Graves’ in-universe absence.
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