‘Fargo’ star Salvatore Esposito dishes on Gaetano’s ‘poetic’ reckoning

Warning: This story contains spoilers from the Sunday, Nov. 22, episode of “Fargo.”

And so ends the saga of brutish “Fargo” thug Gaetano Fadda.

The hulking, trigger-happy brother of diminutive Kansas City mob boss Josto Fadda (Jason Schwartzman) was killed in Sunday night’s episode when, after dispatching crooked cop Odis Weff (Jack Huston), he tripped and fell — shooting himself in the head in typically twisted “Fargo” fashion.

“I think there’s something poetic in the fact that only Gaetano can kill Gaetano,” says Salvatore Esposito, 34, the Italian actor who played the hot-headed Gaetano, brought over from Italy to help Josto in his ongoing turf war with Loy Cannon (Chris Rock).

“It’s funny; there’s this dialogue between Gaetano and Josto where you understand what happened to him, why he’s in that way and is always crazy and like a bull because he fought in the war and grew up during World War II so he lost a lot of his friends.

“He lived in a jungle,” he says. “In that moment you understand him. It’s a very beautiful arc that [series creator] Noah Hawley and the writers gave to me.”

Over the course of his “Fargo” run (the Season 4 finale airs Nov. 29 on FX on Hulu), Gaetano, who spoke in a mix of guttural Italian and English, journeyed from wanting to replace Josto as head of the family to his brother’s unswerving, protector — won over, in fact, by Josto’s strategic attempt to have him killed.

Hey, it happens.

Esposito, who stars in the Italian crime drama “Gomorrah,” entering its fifth and final season on Sky Atlantic, said he had no idea, at first, that Gaetano would be killed off.

“They gave me the first three episodes [to read] at the beginning but then they were writing,” he says. “When they said, ‘Look, we have to tell you something [about Gaetano shooting himself],’ it was the perfect arc for my character. If you watch the scene where he shoots [Odis Weff] … in that moment you understand him, why he’s smiling.

“It’s the perfect fate for him,” says Esposito, born in Naples. “I grew up with all these amazing [crime] movies and TV shows and I’m Italian — I probably know that situation better than anyone and I come from ‘Gomorrah’ so I know that world.”

Esposito says he put on about 20 pounds to bulk up for Gaetano; “Fargo” marks his first English-speaking role and his first part in an American series.

‘Gaetano is like a bull … I really liked to play Gaetano in this way.’

“I’m the only character that speaks in half-Italian half-English in every scene,” he says. “It’s not easy …but I talked with Noah and he wanted only Gaetano to speak fluently in two languages. There are a lot of small pieces that built Gaetano. There’s a scene where Loy Cannon says that Gaetano is ‘big.’

“At the beginning, I talked to Noah and he said that in ‘Fargo’ he wanted to show the difference, physically, between me and Jason. So I put some weight on and showed him my look.

“Gaetano is like a bull,” he says. “People watch the show and he does something big in every scene and you don’t know what he’s going to do. “I really liked to play Gaetano in this way.”

Esposito says he hasn’t yet seen the finale.

“We started shooting last October then we stopped because of COVID in March,” he says. “I went back to Italy and came back here at the end of July until August, then went back to Italy at the beginning of September.

“I have cousins in Slidell [Louisiana] and I have cousins in Texas, too,” he says. “I love the US.”

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