Fargo’s Jean Smart says Floyd is “a smart woman in a man’s world”

Chris Large/FX
Chris Large/FX

One element Noah Hawley’s Fargo has proved over its two seasons on FX is that there will always be a strong female character for audiences to embrace. While Season 1’s Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) was a more traditional character to get behind, Season 2’s Floyd Gerhardt (Jean Smart) has viewers rooting for her despite the fact that she’s the matriarch of the Gerhardt crime family. Many are already calling for the three time Emmy Award winner Smart to be nominated once again for her role as the woman who “has seen it all.”

“I’m happy people have responded to her because you don’t get to see women’s roles usually where the person is that complicated,” Smart told reporters on a conference call. “She’s very strong and she wouldn’t refer to herself as liberated, but I suppose that would be a word to describe her,” the veteran actress of the big and small screen said. That independence is something that’s been key in Floyd’s reaction to taking charge of the family now that her husband Otto (Michael Hogan) is incapacitated.

“She does what she needs to do,” said Smart. The actress elaborated that Floyd “always felt like an equal to her husband. For better or worse I think they were probably a very good team. She probably grew up doing all the things a young boy would’ve learned how to do–to hunt and farm and ranch and shoot. She was not afraid of hard work.”

The Gerhardts certainly have a lot of hard work in front of them if they are going to stand up to the Kansas City mafia that keeps coming after them. Now that her family has went to war with the KC syndicate there’s sure to be some conflict ahead for Floyd. “When you see someone like Floyd who is a very practical person, very pragmatic–business is business and family is family–but obviously there’s going to be a conflict between the two,” Smart predicted.

Chris Large/FX
Chris Large/FX

In fact, that’s the exact thing that Joe Bulo (Brad Garrett) pointed out to Floyd in a recent episode. “Obviously her instinct as a mother is to not lose any more kids. That’s going to be in conflict with the empire. That’s why she doesn’t want to go to war, but she’s perfectly willing to and she’s not afraid to die,” explained Smart before adding that, “there isn’t anything that can scare her or phase her, but she knows if war is declared, she knows what’s going to come and that it’s not going to be a happy time.”

Standing up to men is nothing new for Floyd said Smart. “She’s a strong woman in a man’s world. She’s always been surrounded by strong men. Probably her father was not widely dissimilar from her father-in-law and husband. Her boys for the most part were very strong men, but she’s not cowed by anything,” she explained. However, “I think she has to make some really difficult decisions,” the actress previewed.

Some of those hard decisions may have to deal with son Dodd (Jeffrey Donovan) who didn’t take kindly to his mother exerting her power over the family. Smart said that Floyd certainly “knows he’s damaged in a way,” but that he “gained more significance in the family,” after she lost her first born to the Korean War.

“If she wasn’t as strong a woman and had the experiences she’s had in her life, I think she might be a little afraid of him,” said Smart. However, the actress made sure to emphasize that “she’s not afraid of him, even though she knows he’s capable of a lot of dark things. He’s a very troubled young man, but he’s still her boy. Bottom line, he’s her boy.”
What do you think of Floyd Gerhardt? Will we see her lose any more boys before the end of the season? Sound off with your thoughts below!

Fargo airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on FX and FX Canada.