OCD Representation in Fargo: Odis

I’ve been watching and enjoying Fargo Season 4 (even if arguably it’s not the best season) and after a few episodes I realized that one of the main characters had OCD. I wasn’t sure what to think of it at first. Was Odis going to be a figure of fun and mockery? Were they going to make it a character trait? Stand in for character development? Even worse would it be tied to villainy? (I’m looking at you Criminal Minds).

To my relief, when Odis talks about it,  he doesn’t say it was triggered by PTSD (I was a bit worried that that was the direction the show was taking when they referenced his veteran status, especially his experience with the bomb unit). Instead, they explain that he was appointed to the bomb disposal unit because he was so meticulous and compulsive that it was a good job for him (probably did not help him avoid his compulsions though!).

He clearly needs to perform repeated compulsions like shutting a door and clicking a car door lock multiple times. He also has “just right” compulsions and needs to order things in rows and make sure they are aligned just so.

As a cop he comes into contact with other cops, law enforcement officers, and organized criminals. They all seem aware of what they call his “twitchiness” but other than rolling their eyes they don’t seem to really care. You feel the disrespect but he’s not a source of general mockery and he gets to have his say. He has a tragic and developed back story. He’s not a good guy. He double crosses a bunch of people. He pushes back when he’s derided.

He explains that control makes him feel better, even if that control does not make him a good guy and his dubious, the general sentiment is something I can sympathize with.

However, the major question, honestly, I have, is how would he get this far in his life and not have figured out how to hide his compulsions better? I learned quite early on how to hide my compulsions, to do them discreetly, to be private about it, to make it so no one except maybe my closed loved ones would ever notice. It’s probably why I took so long to get help and a diagnosis because I could do many of them without getting noticed. I realize this isn’t true of everyone’s experience but I do believe many with OCD probably do get creative.

For example, when I was a teenager I believed that if I didn’t knock on wood, something bad would happen. It was too hard and noticeable to always be looking for wood so I carried a piece of wood in my pocket.

Unhealthy? Definitely. Discreet? Absolutely.

What others experience with hiding their compulsions?

Also, do you like Odis’ characterization?

2 thoughts on “OCD Representation in Fargo: Odis

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