With just over a week to go until True Detective Season 2 premieres in the UK, it’s time to set aside the rumours and speculation and serve up some cold, hard truth nuggets.
We’ll have a spoiler-free review of Episode 1 in the coming days, but for now, let’s take a look at what to expect from the second season of Nic Pizzolatto’s crime anthology. From its relationship to the first season to the opening titles, here are eight things we know about True Detective Season 2.
It has nothing to do with Season 1
Vince Vaughn as Frank Semyon
With a new location and a new bunch of people, say goodbye once and for all to any last remaining hopes that the Yellow King or any other links might exist between these two seasons.
“There’s no relationship between the stories or characters, which was the result of fully committing to something new,” creator Nic Pizzolatto told Medium, “but I do think that the seasons have a deep, close bond in sensibility and vision, a similar soul, though this is a more complex world and field of characters.”
California is corrupt
A strong sense of location has always been at the heart of True Detective. If you thought Season 1’s snapshot of a deceptively dark civilisation was bad, the fictional city of Vinci, California, makes Louisiana look like Trumpton. Here, everything in the town seems bent, from big town planning projects to the police force. With its sprawling industrial landscape and dimly lit bars, the place’s seedy corruption is reflected by its residents, including Vince Vaughn’s powerful businessman, Frank, and Colin Farrell’s drunken Sheriff, Ray.
Grisly murders are on the cards
Taylor Kitsch as Paul Woodrugh
In a place where motorway junctions loop over each other with complex, winding paths, and cliffs hide benches from the sunny horizon, it’s no surprise that our story is kickstarted by a grisly murder, which drives through the city of lies to bring our characters together.
For those whose ears pricked up when Nic once said that Season 2 would explore the “secret occult history of the US transportation system”, though, don’t expect the darkness to extend quite that far: “That was a comment from very early in the process, and something I ended up discarding in favour of closer character work and a more grounded crime story,” Nic has since confirmed.
It has a stellar – and bigger – cast…
Speaking of which, Season 2 has one heck of a talented line-up: as well as Farrell and Vaughn manning it up as the top money man and loser cop, there’s Taylor Kitsch as highway patrol officer Woodrugh, who has his own macho problems to deal with. Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey may no longer be present, but the testosterone levels are as high as ever, while the larger tapestry of characters confirms creator Nic Pizzolatto’s ambitions to tell an epic crime saga.
…and real female characters
Rachel McAdams is Ani Bezzerides
The biggest change to the cast, though, is the addition of Rachel McAdams as detective Ani Bezzerides. Like Vaughn, rom-com veteran McAdams is playing against type, with enough questionable behaviour traits to make her as troubled as her male counterparts. Compared to the first season, which saw Michelle Monaghan making the most of her role as a girlfriend, it’s a promising step up. Even Vaughn is supported by a woman who appears to be his equal: Kelly Reilly’s Jordan Semyon.
Everyone is miserable
If you thought McConaughey’s apocalyptic detective had the blues last time around, this bunch are really miserable. Everyone has at least one crippling flaw, be it booze or violence. Don’t expect the whodunnit story to get solved immediately: our messed up ensemble have more than enough troubles to be getting on with. And that’s before they start unsettling big wigs further up the power chain.
“By episode three, you don’t give a fuck who killed who,” Farrell told Glamour in a recent interview. “It’s just a hook, a canvas, for everything else.”
Don’t believe him? Just look at his moustache. The thing is practically drooping under the weight of the world.
The opening credits are gorgeous
Colin Farrell is Ray Velcoro
Created by Elastic – the company behind the titles sequences to Halt and Catch Fire, Game of Thrones, Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle and Marvel’s Daredevil – and directed by Patrick Clair, True Detective Season 1 ‘s opening credits swiftly established themselves as some of the best around. They even won the Emmy for Outstanding Main Title Design.
We’ve now seen the titles for Season 2 and, while we’re awaiting the finalised credits to confirm it, it looks an awful lot like the same people are at it again: the Season 2 credits are an immediately familiar portrait of Season 2’s characters through location, all set to Leonard Cohen’s brooding Nevermind, from his 2014 album, Popular Problems (highlight to see the music used). If they’re not directed by Clair, we’ll buy a hat so we can eat it. Either way, they’re as gorgeous as you’d expect. (Read our interview with Patrick Clair, covering Daredevil, True Detective and more.)
You can watch it the day after the US broadcast
While we had to wait many weeks to see the first season of True Detective over here in the UK, HBO and Sky have smartened up for the second run: the show premieres on Sky Atlantic on Monday 22nd May, within 24 hours of its US debut.
True Detective Season 1 and 2 are available on Sky Box Sets. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream it on NOW TV, for £7.99 a month (until 9th October 2019, when the price rises to £8.99), with no contract and a 7-day free trial.
Where can I watch True Detective online on pay-per-view VOD?