Kansas City Crime Syndicate
A large corporation involved in both legal and illegal enterprises based out of Kansas City, Missouri. They are interested in expanding into the Gerhardt Crime Family's territory in the Dakotas and Minnesota. They are successful, and rule the region from 1979 until they are pushed out by Moses Tripoli's Fargo-based mob sometime prior to 2006.
- Always a Bigger Fish: They are this to the Gerhardts and, retrospectively, to the rest of the characters.
- Ambiguously Jewish: It's implied but never made clear that they are Kosher Nostra.
- Bob from Accounting: Broker mentions a Dale from H.R. to really hammer home the mundanity of Mike's new station in life.
- Evil, Inc.: They have evolved from a mob to a corporation, but are still evil.
- Evil Power Vacuum: Based on facts and intel, they conclude that the Gerhardts' power in the Dakotas is diminishing, which gives Kansas City the perfect opportunity to overpower and take control of their domain and assets.
- Greater-Scope Villain: The main conflict is between the Gerhardt Family and law enforcement, whereas Kansas City is the wave of the future and ultimately wins.
- Greed: The only thing they care about is increasing their profits.
- Kosher Nostra: The corporation seems to be run predominantly by Jews. Hamish Broker and Joe Bulo are both played by Jewish actors, and the latter uses Yiddish expressions and is prejudiced against Germans. Furthermore, the Kitchen brothers wear wide-brimmed hats and beards, making them resemble rabbis.
- Mob War: They engage in one with the Gerhardt Crime Family over the latter's turf, and ultimately emerge victorious.
- No One Sees the Boss: The highest-ranking member of the Kansas City Syndicate we see is Hamish Broker, and even he is only middle management. No members of upper management appear.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: The glass ceiling is very much in place, and the organization displays prejudice against women and African-Americans.
- Pragmatic Villainy: They make no distinctions between legal and illegal in their pursuit of profit, and will even reward employees for the acquisition of profits through perfectly legitimate means.
- Predatory Business: Through negotiation or liquidation, they aim to expand into the northern midwest.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: They bribe their way through officials at the state and local levels.
- The Syndicate: They are a massive corporate criminal enterprise.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: They take over the Fargo underworld in 1979 and presumably flourish during Reaganomics, but, by 2006, the region is controlled by Moses Tripoli's mob, and it is unknown what became of them.
A mid-level manager in the Kansas City crime syndicate, and the highest ranking member of the organization who appears.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Season 2 starts with him sending out men to acquire some territory, and by season's end they acquire that territory. Ultimately Broker's the one villain who came out on top. Though to him, it's a minor victory, all things considered.
- Bald of Evil: He's a shiny-headed jerk.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Once his expectations are reached and his motives cleared, Broker is shown to consider all the mayhem and takeover of the Gerhardt territory a minor victory in comparison to the bigger goals ahead; just another step in the future of organized crime.
- Composite Character/Expy: As a bald, glasses-wearing, business-savvy criminal, he is similar to Mr. Carlyle, a minor member of the Fargo Syndicate in Season 1. He is also similar to The Man Who Hires Wells in No Country for Old Men, in that he is a corporate middle manager who gets involved in faraway criminal activies and dispatches an assassin (Carson Wells/The Undertaker) who is quickly killed by their target.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Completely amoral in his pursuit of profit.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Invoked. As he mentions and applies to the business itself, the bread and butter of crime has to adapt in order to survive rather than continue living through outlaw means, and as such, it needs to change gears to more legal waters that may allow a certain comfort without having to resort to old-day violence.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Hamish Broker is openly racist against African-Americans, but is willing to employ them as long as they get results.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: He wears a pair of thick glasses that make him look like a gag comedian.
- Greater-Scope Villain: He's the highest-ranking member of the Kansas City Crime Syndicate that we see. Joe is the one who proposes and leads the operation to acquire the Gerhardt Family's territory, but not without Broker's approval.
- Jerkass: An impatient, vile racist.
- Meaningful Name: A broker is a person who buys and sells assets, which is his business. Used as a verb, it means to negotiate a deal, which is what Kansas City attempts to do with the Gerhardts.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Though he works for a criminal syndicate, Broker never leaves the safety of the office, dispensing orders and doing the calculations.
- Pet the Dog: Broker may be an asshole, but he is grateful for Mike's success and promotes him. To Broker, the monotonous life of a stuffed suit is a good thing, and he's happy to have Mike aboard.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: He has a particular distaste for Mike because of his skin, casually referring to black people as 'darkies' and mentioning that Mike only advanced through his organization because a colleague vouched for him as not being like 'the other darkies'.
- Pragmatic Villainy: In the brave new world of crime Broker envisions, there's little room for petty squabbles, just do what it takes to net a profit. He's forgiving of Mike's screw-ups leading to the death of several managers because Mike comes out on top at the end and gets Kansas City fresh new resources. Hell, sometimes the mob doesn't even need to do anything illegal to get ahead.
A middle-manager with the Kansas City crime syndicate.
- All There in the Manual: His name is revealed in the credits.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: He's a corporate manager who has no qualms about drug dealing or prostitution.
- Decomposite Character: While his coworker Hamish Broker fills some aspects of The Man Who Hires Wells from No Country for Old Men, Washington is the one who takes his death, being gunned down in his office far from the scene of the mob war.
- In the Back: Blasted from behind by Bear Gerhardt and Ricky G.
- Red Shirt: Killed in his high-rise office in the heavily-guarded syndicate headquarters almost 600 miles from Fargo, his only role is to show the intensification of the war between the Gerhardts and Kansas City.
A lower-level manager for the Kansas City mafia, Joe Bulo travels to Fargo, North Dakota to acquire the Gerhardt Family's territory by any means necessary. He is a foot soldier for a new kind of corporate crime syndicate, one who believes that the era of the family business is over.
- Affably Evil: He's not very friendly, but respectful enough and with a sense of pragmatism and business.
- Ambiguously Jewish: His surname sounds vaguely Eastern European, he uses the Yiddish word "fakakta," and he has a strong dislike of Germans.
- Decapitation Presentation: His head is removed and wrapped in a box to be delivered to Mike as a warning and mocking statement.
- Even Evil Has Standards: When he extends a professional courtesy, like a ceasefire, he expects that to be returned in kind. When Dodd violates that, he chastises him and views it as a failure on Floyd's part for not being able to properly control her organization.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Bulo has an intimidating baritone.
- The Face: For the Kansas City syndicate.
- Just Following Orders: He's just the spokesman for the Kansas City mafia.
- Large and in Charge: Bulo is 6'8".
- Killed Offscreen: By Hanzee Dent.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Joe is Mike's Evil Mentor and his death motivates Mike to try and destroy the Gerhardts.
- Mook Lieutenant: The organization is ultimately so large that this is what his role amounts to.
- Mouth of Sauron: He talks to Floyd about a possible agreement about the Gerhardts' current situation, which comes from his superiors.
- Non-Action Big Bad: He prefers to leave the dirty work for Mike.
- Not So Stoic: He usually acts calm and collected, but he panics and flees for his life when the Gerhardts ambush him and his soldiers.
- Nothing Personal: Admits that he has nothing against Floyd and he would gladly share the empire if he had any say on it.
- Off with His Head!: Hanzee does this to Bulo off-screen and then actually gift wraps and mails it to Mike.
- Old Master: Bulo has a certain old-fashioned way when it comes to dealing with assignments from the Kansas City Mafia, even if he's trying as hard as he can to catch up while remaining professional in the discussions for assessment of territory. In a way, he tries to impart all this knowledge to his protege Mike, whom is quite willing to listen.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: He feels that Floyd, being a woman, would be easy to scare into giving his organization control of her operation. He also has a dislike of Germans, derisively referring to the Gerhardts as a bunch of Krauts.
- He is not racist against African-Americans, however, which is why he keeps Mike around as his Dragon.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Bulo is motivated by what nets the greatest profit, and that doesn't include personal offenses.
- Sacrificial Lion: The first major casualty of the Gerhardt/Kansas City war.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Though he's a Non-Action Big Bad, this is Downplayed. When the Gerhardt soldiers ambush him and his men during a hunting trip, Joe ends up taking cover and firing back at them, only running when it looks like the Kitchen Brothers are regaining control of the situation.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: He is always impeccably dressed, the three-piece suit and Waist Coat Of Style add to his whole businessman-like approach to crime. He also values grooming, even giving Mike a shampoo recommendation.
- Spock Speak: For the most part, especially in reunions and conferences, he shows a great vocabulary and neutral tone.
- Villainous Friendship: He seems to have one with Mike Milligan.
- Worthy Opponent: Despite his initial dismissal of Floyd because of her sex, he seems to become genuinely impressed with her and says that he would take her offer of partnership if it were solely up to him.
An enforcer for the Kansas City mafia, Milligan comes to Fargo with his boss Joe Bulo to acquire the Gerhardt territory. Milligan is something of an iconoclast, a man of great philosophical curiosity who dresses in western wear. He fits into neither the Caucasian nor African-American community. Over the course of our story, Milligan fights not only to complete his task, but also to get a seat at the corporate table.
- Alliterative Name: Mike Milligan.
- Affably Evil: Mike is a heck of a guy; highly intelligent, very witty, cheerful and well-read, always smiling, a pleasant conversationalist... and a cold-blooded killer to the very core.
- Ambition Is Evil: By series end, it becomes clear that Mike's driving force is his ambition, to spread the new age of crime throughout the US and rise in the ranks. Though unlike most examples, Mike Averts being The Starscream, as he is seeking his superiors's respect rather than their demises.
- Ass Shove: Courtesy of a rough sex session with Simone. He seriously wasn't expecting it.
- Big Bad Wannabe: For all his plans to wipe out the Gerhardts to avenge Joe, Hanzee's the one who ends up doing the deed. Doesn't stop him from taking the credit for it in order to regain favor with his boss, though.
- The Cake Is a Lie: Mike yearns to become a criminal king, but when he achieves all his goals, he discovers that the reward he desired is just a mundane office job. There was never any throne for him to sit on, just a chair at a desk.
- Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: To Lorne Malvo. Malvo was an older white man, Mike is a younger black man. Malvo wore dark and grey colors while Mike wears expensive and colorful suits. Malvo worked alone and betrayed almost everyone he had to partner with, while Mike works as part of a large organization and shows immense loyalty to them. Malvo was a sociopath who only pretended to be polite and friendly when it suited his goals and otherwise made no effort to hide his disdain for everyone he encountered, while Mike's personality is completely genuine and he is just as polite and charming to Lou and Hank. Malvo was a sadist who saw himself as more of an animal than a man and seemed to have no interest in anything but his acts of cruelty, while Mike takes no particular pleasure in his deeds and has high career ambitions. Malvo died at the end of Season 1, but does so satisfied about the all the pain he caused, while Mike survives but is doomed to be miserable at his new position.
- Cryptic Conversation: Very fond of this type of small talk, especially when someone is standing in his way or not getting the message he's giving him. Add Rule of Symbolism, Wicked Cultured, and Troll, and Mike is a master of the Breaking Speech and Mind Screw.
- Cultured Badass: Very. He is a calm, smart enforcer. Speaking with him can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the circumstances. You should pray that the circumstances are good, as he is a professional killer who took out The Undertaker and is full of philosophical quotes.
- Deadpan Snarker: On a show where almost everyone has a pretty sharp wit, Mike just might be the sharpest of them all. Every other line is a funny quip.
- The Dragon: Being Bulo's Number Two, he's second-in-command.
- Dragon Ascendant: After Bulo's death, Mike is the highest-ranking authority figure from Kansas present in Minnesota.
- Dragon Their Feet: He wasn't present in Joe's fatal hunting trip, and as such, is the last man standing of the representatives of the Kansas City Syndicate.
- Dirty Business: Whenever violence is involved or has to be, Joe leaves it in his efficient and very eager hands.
- Enigmatic Minion: While Bulo has clear ideas of expansion and is Just Following Orders, Mike's visions and goals are harder to distinguish.
- Hidden Depths: Mike has a keen grasp of politics, quoting Nixon even, as well as recognizing that you have to change with times.
- Hidden Weapons: Mike utilizes a small pistol that he can hide in his sleeve and deploy with a mechanism. He first demonstrates it to kill Otto's nurse when he and the Kitchen Brothers ambush Otto at a doctor's appointment, and later uses it to kill the Undertaker.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Bokeem Woodbine describes Mike and Joe's relationship as akin to a nephew and an uncle he really respects. They share interests in big business crime, even if Mike's willing to try new things while Joe sticks to the old ways.
- Ironic Hell: Mike does manage to work his way up and earn the respect of Management... who promote him to a desk job working 9 to 5, something antithetical to his aspirations of "sovereignty".
- Irony: Mike acknowledges the need to get with the times, but the adaptation does not necessarily mean that it's the best fit for that person. Like how his aspirations for criminal empire is snuffed out by a 9 to 5 desk job because Management deemed it to be "the future".
- It's Personal: Mike loses his trademark sense of humor for the first time upon receiving his boss and friend Joe Bulo's head in a box. It's pretty obvious he's going to make it his mission to wipe out every last Gerhardt.
- Kicked Upstairs: His ultimate fate at the end of Season 2. He succeeds at bringing in the Gerhardts' territory, and receives a promotion. Said promotion will just turn him into another corporate suit. He's ended up in a boring desk job trapped 9-5, because Broker and the other Kansas city heads feel that this is the future of corporate crime.
- Kick the Dog: It may be a case of Kick the Son of a Bitch, but his treatment of Ricky G still comes across as needlessly cruel. After Ricky is mortally wounded, Gale moves in to finish the job, but Mike halts him. Since he believes that a new king should begin his reign with an act of mercy (which he's already done by sparing the maid) and an act of cruelty so his subjects know he is capable of both, he sadistically allows Ricky to slowly and painfully die of his injuries.
- Klingon Promotion: To a degree, he seems to treat Bulo's death like one, as his quote above indicates.
- Let No Crisis Go to Waste: He takes this attitude toward the Sioux Falls massacre. He just shows up, sees the Gerhardts getting killed, and while Gale wants to join the fight, Mike opts to just let events play out. After the family's been exterminated, Mike takes the credit and moves up in the world.
- Nerves of Steel: It doesn't seem to matter how many guns are pointed at Mike, he never loses his disarming calm.
- Noble Top Enforcer: Mike is Joe's primary enforcer and the one he trusts the most. He's not a brute or a psychopath, and knows when to avoid bloodshed.
- Nothing Personal: This seems to be his attitude to Lou and Hank. He's as polite and friendly to them as he is to everyone else, as they're just doing their job, even though their job is to put him in prison.
- Nothing Up My Sleeve: Mike uses a small pistol in his sleeve to kill the Undertaker.
- Number Two: To Joe Bulo.
- Laser-Guided Karma: After everything he'd done to climb to the top of the Kansas City Crime Syndicate, he finds out the reward he'd coveted so much is his own personal version of hell. Mike had lusted for a position of power, to be a modern-day king in the style of Al Capone. But as he himself said, the future cannot be stopped and he's Kicked Upstairs to a tiny office and an accounting job. It's nicely ironic that he considered the Gerhardts to be 'the past' and was such a big believer in 'the future'...it's that future that dooms him to a life of mediocrity. No more tense showdowns, no shoot-outs with your enemies, no sleeping with Femme Fatales...just golf and a typewriter.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: He loses most of his wit and charm when Joe's head is delivered to him. As such, he also becomes more demanding and aggressive towards Simone, demanding she tells him everything she knows about future attacks from the Gerhardts.
- Pet the Dog: As noted in Kick the Dog, Mike compares himself to a sovereign ruler, and believes he needs to start his rule with an act of cruelty and kindness. His act of kindness comes when he finds the Gerhardts' elderly housekeeper and prevents Gale from killing her. Mike says that they will leave her alive, with the house, a working car, and the considerable wealth still within the house.
- Questionable Consent: The way he threatens Simone comes off a little "rapey" due to his sexually aggressive way of raising her skirt and being dangerously close to her.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Joe is killed, Mike forgoes any sense of diplomacy with the Gerhardts and swears to kill them all.
- Scary Black Man: He can be very intimidating when he wants to.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Mike takes one look at the aftermath of the Sioux Falls shootout and gets back in his car and drives away with Gale Kitchen.
- Social Climber: Judging by his desire to be at the top of the game as well as some of his stories regarding his childhood, Mike has tasted what poverty is and isn't going back there.
- Sugary Malice: Beneath his courteous demeanor, lie some really frightening implications.
- Villainous BSoD: Briefly, after Joe Bulo's head is sent to him.
- Villainous Friendship: Though a killer, Mike is capable of forming genuine bonds with people.
- Joe Bulo; they have some friendly conversations and get along rather well. It's clear that Mike respects Joe as a boss. When Joe is killed and his head is sent to Mike, he lapses into a Villainous BSoD.
- Gale Kitchen remains the only syndicate member consistently loyal to him throughout the series, aiding him in killing the Undertaker, and helping him get back into the Mob's good graces. For his part, Mike appreciates Gale's services.
- Villainous Underdog: In the grand scheme of things, Mike is a fairly low-level enforcer for the Kansas City Mob, hoping to make something of himself. As season 2 goes on, the Mob loses more and more faith in him. By the time the Mêlée à Trois between them, the Gerhardts, and the Police roll about, Kansas City has pulled out their support, and Mike is only left with Gale following him.
- Where Da White Women At?: Has a brief sexual relationship with Simone Gerhardt.
- Wicked Cultured: He might be a ruthless killer, but Mike is a very well-read individual.
- Would Hit a Girl: It's Mike who shoots Otto's female nurse when he's sent to ambush Otto and send a message to him.
Gale & Wayne Kitchen
Part of the Kansas City Crime Syndicate, twin brothers Wayne and Gale Kitchen are no-nonsense hired hands and men of few words. Its a kill or be killed world, and they know what side theyre on.
- Badass Longcoat: Both of them; they're silent, skilled killers.
- Beard of Evil: Both are bearded, both are violent criminals.
- Co-Dragons: They're the top enforcers of the Kansas City Mob, they're the pair that Mike relies on to off people when needed. After Wayne's death, Gale becomes a much more conventional version of The Dragon to coincide with Mike taking over the operation.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The best way to tell them apart is the color of their otherwise identical coats. Gale is the one in red, Wayne is the one in brown.
- The Dividual: Especially in contrast to the other henchmen duos. Wrench and Numbers were Those Two Bad Guys with their personalities contrasting enough for some back and forth, and Meemo and Yuri are very different characters, with Yuri receiving quite a lot of focus. Gale and Wayne are largely the same; both are identical silent enforcers who kill on demand. The only real difference between them are their appearances and Gale receiving slightly more character focus on account of surviving throughout the season.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Both of them have wives, in addition to loving each other. Gale is distraught by Wayne's death.
- Expy: They bear a strong resemblance to Johnny Casper's cousins◊ from Miller's Crossing.
- Hidden Weapons: Their shotguns have been sawed off for better concealment, and they're attached to the brothers' belts view a cord. The two can let the guns hang at their sides unnoticed under their trench coats, and draw them easily once the need arises.
- Identical Twin ID Tag: In addition to their trench coats, the two are also distinguishable by a grey streak that runs through their beards. Gale's is on the right, Wayne's is on the left.
- Karma Houdini: Though Wayne gets killed by Hanzee, Gale lives to the end of the season murdering more and more for his boss Mike, and he's never shown getting any onscreen comeuppance for his various murders — even Mike is shown getting an incredibly shallow reward for his action.
- Sawed-Off Shotgun: Their weapon of choice. Ricky G once commented on the design, wondering if Gale couldn't afford a real shotgun.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Both of them wield shotguns, and they know how to use 'em, too.
- Siblings in Crime: They're brothers and they are in the Kansas City syndicate.
- Slashed Throat: How Wayne is killed by Hanzee Dent.
- The Quiet One: They rarely speak unless spoken to.
- Tap on the Head: Hanzee manages to cold-clock Gale in "The Gift of the Magi." Two episodes later, Lou tries to do the same, though this time Gale stays conscious.
- Those Two Bad Guys: So far, they have never been seen apart. Now it's just one.
- Undying Loyalty: Gale reminds steadfastly behind Mike throughout the whole of season 2, even after management loses faith in him.
- Villainous Friendship: Gale appears to have one with Mike, helping him kill the hitmen the Kansas City syndicate sends after him rather than deferring to the syndicate.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Much like Mr. Wrench in season 1, Gale just disappears from the story. Like Mike, he was presumably rewarded for his services, but what happened to him after that is a mystery.
A hitman for the Kansas City syndicate.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Wears a tuxedo.
- Boom, Headshot!: How Mike Milligan kills him.
- The Dreaded: Seems to be utilized only under extreme circumstances.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Unceremoniously killed by Mike after being built up as a big threat.
- Flunky Boss: He is accompanied by two Asian henchmen.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: He's "The Undertaker."
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Again, he's "The Undertaker."
- Politically Incorrect Villain: In his only line, he calls Mike Milligan, who is black, an "eggplant."
- Professional Killer: For the Kansas City syndicate.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Unceremoniously killed by Mike Milligan after about a minute of screen time.