'Fargo': Is Fargo Based on a Real Murder Case?

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At the beginning of each "Fargo" episode, dramatic text messages remind the viewers that the events depicted in the show have been derived from a true story.  Coen brothers' movie "Fargo" also has similar text messages. However, both the T.V. adaptation and the movie are only pretending to be true, and are not based on a single incident that happened in Minnesota. It is said that several incidents have provided the ideas for the story of "Fargo."

Here is an incident that may be close to "Fargo" story: The Wood Chipper Murder Case in Connecticut: Helle Crafts, a Danish flight attendant, was murdered by her husband, Richard Crafts, in Newtown, Connecticut, in the year 1986. He reportedly killed her and chopped her body with a chainsaw. Afterwards, he fed her dismembered body through a wood chipper and scattered the pieces in the river. Helle had begun divorce proceedings with her husband because of his affairs. When Helle's friends started calling, Richard told a few that Helle has gone to Denmark to visit her mother, and to others he said that he does not know where Helle has gone and why. Her friends grew suspicious, as she had told them a month before her sudden disappearance that: "If you ever hear that I've been in an accident or I'm missing - don't believe it."

According to a New York Times' report, in the first trial, the prosecution had presented as evidence -- believed to be Crafts's only remains -- "a piece of a gold-capped tooth, a few strands of blond hair, the tip of a thumb and less than an ounce of bone fragments, the largest piece of which is only an inch and a half long."

In 1990, Richard was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

The text messages that appear at the beginning of FX Network's "Fargo":

"THIS IS A TRUE STORY. The events depicted took place in Minnesota in 2006. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of the respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred." The movie makes the same claim though the year is 1987.

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