The Sherlock star told Entertainment Weekly that the last thing he had wanted to work on was a TV show in between The Hobbit and returning to his role as Dr John Watson alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, but he was won over by the TV remake of the Coen Brothers’ 1996 film about a hapless insurance salesman who arranges to have his wife kidnapped.
He said: “It’s not like a life choice where I just want to live in a part forever. That’s the joy of the job for me: In a little while, I’ll be playing somebody else with a different load of people.
“When I was sent the script for Fargo, Joe, my American agent, said, ‘I know it’s TV, but this is 10 episodes – it’s finite’.”
He continued: “The reason I’ve never gone for pilot season even as a younger actor, and wouldn’t entertain that sort of thing now, is the idea of signing a piece of paper that binds me for six or seven years.
“So [Fargo] was already interesting. I read the script and that was enough for me. A very good script that only lasts 10 episodes was like, ‘Great! That’s right up my street’.”
Martin also said that he found it easy to shrug off characters once filming had wrapped.
He explained: “As soon as a job finishes, I am done with it. When I’m really, really enjoying the job, I love the job, I want it to end because it’s supposed to.
“I think, after all, that’s what we all want to have: something in the bag. We all want to have the job done and go, ‘Look! Here’s the thing,’ and we show it to people.”
Fargo premieres on Channel 4 on Easter Sunday.