But she's not a one-dimensional cartoon
The moral landscape of the Coen universe is complex, filled with punishment and chaos, and Marge is perhaps their most complex creation. In her role as a police officer, it's her job to dole out justice, but she has her own struggles and doubts. She's not perfect. There's one other character in the film that underlines just how vividly crafted she is: Mike Yanagita.
For Fargo fans, the Mike Yanagita scene, where Marge meets up with a troubled high school classmate who tells her an elaborate lie, is either the one mistake in an otherwise perfect cross-stitch of a movie or the secret key to unlocking the whole thing. There are detailed discussion board threads and brilliant blog posts about it. For many, it's the "Is Tony Soprano dead?" of the Coens' work.
Does the scene show that Marge has doubts about her marriage? Does it reveal she's too trusting of people? Is it what makes her go back to the car dealership and crack the case? There's no definitive answer. Like all the best characters, and like real people, she retains a bit of mystery. That, more than the accent or the hat, is why we're still talking about her 20 years later.
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Dan Jackson is a staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment and, like Fargo, he's based on a true story. He's on Twitter: @danielvjackson.