‘True Detective Season 2’: Review of the 1st Episode and Analysis of Main Characters

The following article contains spoilers:

TV shows have undergone huge improvements over the last few years. The storyline and the budget with which these shows are being made can be compared with a multi-starrer film. One of the channels among many which has always provided us with epic TV shows is Home Box Office (HBO). From The Wire to The Newsroom, from True Blood to Game of Thrones, HBO keeps hitting at the right spot every time.

‘True Detective’ premiered with its second season this Sunday with a new cast, a new story and an entirely new thrill. Though many of us would be comparing this with the Matthew McConaughey/Woody Harrelson season one, but it’s better we start with a clean slate. And it’s time we cope up with Velcoros and Semyons, leaving behind the history of the Yellow King and Rust Cohle forever etched in our memories.

Given the new season comes from the same man, Nick Pizzolatto, season two also retains the existential darkness which was brooding over the first season. This time it gives us three equally troubled detectives (Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch) and a gangster (Vince Vaughn).

Ray Velcoro: The Man With Broken Past and Drinking Present

Collin Farrell TD2

The episode starts with Ray Velcoro (Collin Farrell), a drunk and divorced policeman, with a big moustache, adding to the air of his character. We get his story in the first few minutes: His wife was raped, he doesn’t know if his son is really his and the name of the rapist is given to him by Vaughn’s Frank Semyon. True Detective holds the competition for who is the messiest of the lot. And Velcoro tops the list. Just an episode has been aired and we see Velcoro day-drinking, falling asleep in bars, threatening his child and beating up the father of his boy’s bully with a knuckle duster (Just for destroying his son’s Nike shoes). So, without any doubt, he is our man.

But on duty, he is a true policeman. As soon as a local newspaper publishes a corruption scheme of the city and the city manager (Sexually deviant) goes missing, Velcoro jumps on the case, investigating the missing report and beating up a journalist for Frank.

Worth repeating, what a magnificent moustache!


Ani Bezzerides: The Toughest Nut to Crack

Rachael McAdams TD2

The best addition to season 2: Ani Bezzerides played by Rachel McAdams. After many accused the first season to be sexist, the makers, it seems, decided to answer that by bringing in a strong female character. McAdams as a tough sheriff does an excellent job of giving the rawness and the guile that her characters requires.

As far as her backstory goes: her mother left her when she was young, her father is now a religious ‘prick’ (quoted from the episode) and her sister is a troubled woman, taking drugs and doing pornography. She expresses dissatisfaction when her partner lacks the sexual moves that she wants; she stutters when she finds her hippie sister in a brothel-like place with hookers and strippers; and she also gets drunk and kicked out of a casino.

Yeah, she is messed up. But then, who isn’t in ‘True Detective’ ?


Paul Woodrugh: The Angry Young Cop Who Rides a Bike


The more, the better. The new season brings us a new third character, with his own fair share of problems. Officer Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) is an honest highway patrol officer; but everything goes awry when he is charged by a woman of asking for sexual favour in exchange of dropping of traffic-ticket. We are not made clear what happens really, but Paul is given an administrative leave.

Paul has a hyper-sexual girlfriend and  an uncontrollable urge to  ride his bike. Yup, and he is also the man who brings the entire cast together. High five, Paul!


Frank Semyon: The Wannabe-Saint Gangster

Vince Vaughn TD2

Finally, we have an ex-gangster, Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn), who comes into play along with detectives. Despite his tag as a gangster, he seems to be the least troubled person among the lot. He has a wife, Jordan Semyon (Kelly Reilly), and is not shown to be sleeping around (Just, inverses our idea of policemen and gangsters, huh?), boringly chatters about deals and breaks a wine glass violently because the city manager is missing (So, can we cross him off the suspect list for the murder? Not so fast, maybe!). Frank seems good for now with Kelly Reilly portraying a supporting wife of a criminal.


The episode ends during the wee-hour of the night when we see all of the detectives coming together before the deceased city manager, Ben Caspere. Velcoro is jeered by Ani’s partner for belonging to the Vinci PD (Not a good first step. Remember the knuckle duster!). The men and women look at each other’s eyes with a carrying sense of doubt and disrespect as the camera goes far from the crowd. Now the question is, how these messed-up kids get along with each other, with several dark secrets unravelling, which time will tell.

Till then, stay tuned to The Cinemaholic and tell us what do you think about the first episode.