True Detective (season 2)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||8|
|Original release||June 21 –|
August 9, 2015
The second season of True Detective, an American anthology crime drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto, began airing on June 21, 2015, on the premium cable network HBO. With a principal cast of Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, Kelly Reilly, and Vince Vaughn, the season comprises eight episodes and concluded its initial airing on August 9, 2015.
The season's story takes place in California and follows the interweaving stories of officers from three cooperating police departments; when California Highway Patrol officer and war veteran Paul Woodrugh (Kitsch) discovers the body of corrupt city manager Ben Caspere on the side of a highway, Vinci Police Department detective Raymond "Ray" Velcoro (Farrell) and Ventura County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division Sergeant Antigone "Ani" Bezzerides (McAdams) are called to assist in the following investigation. Career criminal Francis "Frank" Semyon (Vaughn) attempts to legitimize his business with his wife Jordan (Reilly) by investing in a rail project overseen by Caspere, but loses his money when Caspere is killed, prompting him to start his own investigation.
This section's plot summaries may be too long or excessively detailed. (October 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers|
|9||1||"The Western Book of the Dead"||Justin Lin||Nic Pizzolatto||June 21, 2015||3.17|
|In the fictional industrial town of Vinci, California, city manager Ben Caspere disappears shortly before he is to present plans for real estate development near a new high-speed rail line. His corrupt business partner, Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn), is forced to make the presentation on his own, in the presence of his mob connections. Vinci Police detective Raymond "Ray" Velcoro (Colin Farrell) is seeking custody of his son, who may be a product of his ex-wife's (Abigail Spencer) rape, years before. Through flashback, Velcoro is shown meeting Semyon at a bar, where Semyon gives him the name of his wife's rapist. Velcoro is now burned out and unhinged, and also works as an enforcer for Semyon. Ventura County detective Antigone "Ani" Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) conducts a raid on a suspected illegal brothel, which turns out to be a legal porn studio, where she finds her sister Athena working as a cam girl. Later, the search for Vera Machiado, a missing woman, leads Bezzerides to the woman's last known place of employment, a spiritual retreat run by Bezzerides' estranged father, Eliot, leading to a tense confrontation. A third cop, Highway Patrol officer Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch), is put on paid leave after an actress, Lacey Lindel, tries to seduce him and later falsely accuses him of sexual misconduct when he refuses to look the other way after catching her speeding and violating her parole. While visiting his girlfriend, Emily, Woodrugh secretly takes Viagra and does not answer her questions about the scars on his body. Late at night, racing his motorcycle without headlights and with near-suicidal ferocity, Woodrugh discovers the corpse of Caspere propped up on a bench, with his eyes burned out. Velcoro and Bezzerides converge with Woodrugh at the crime scene.|
|10||2||"Night Finds You"||Justin Lin||Nic Pizzolatto||June 28, 2015||3.05|
|Led by State Attorney Richard Geldof and Katherine Davis, Velcoro and Bezzerides form a special investigation into Caspere's murder. Lamenting on the news of Caspere's death, Semyon wonders how he'll get out of his financial issues, as he discovers that the money he gave Caspere for the high-speed rail deal was embezzled and he has lost over $5 million – most of his fortune. Enraged, he begins to investigate Caspere's death in his own way. State investigators still want to push into the rumors of backdoor deals and corruption in Vinci, and recruit Woodrugh as a Special Investigator to gather evidence in exchange for quashing the Lindel solicitation scandal. Bezzerides is warned by her superiors that Velcoro is corrupt and to find a way to make him an informant, while Velcoro is asked by Austin Chessani, the mayor of Vinci, and his own superiors, Police Chief Holloway and Lieutenant Kevin Burris, that the investigation move where they want it. A fourth detective, Teague Dixon, is placed alongside them by the Vinci PD. An autopsy of Caspere's body shows that he was tortured for information and his genitals shot off with a shotgun before being placed at the rest stop. Drunk, Velcoro seeks time with his son and instead gets a cruel backlash from his ex-wife, Gena, who now seeks full custody of their son and threatens a paternity test to force him away. After an enigmatic visit to his mother, Cynthia, Woodrugh gets into an argument with Emily, who thinks he is cheating, and he leaves her on bad terms. While driving with Velcoro and discussing the case, Bezzerides questions just how compromised he is, a question he leaves unanswered. At the bar, Semyon informs Velcoro about Caspere's secret second house, information which he obtained from a prostitute. As Velcoro enters the home searching for clues, a person in a raven mask appears and shoots him twice with a shotgun, once at point blank range.|
|11||3||"Maybe Tomorrow"||Janus Metz||Nic Pizzolatto||July 5, 2015||2.62|
|Velcoro has a dream of a man, later revealed to be his father, in a bar. His father tells Velcoro of a vision of him running out of the woods and being shot to death as Velcoro sees wounds form on his own body. He awakens revealing the shot was non-lethal (the shotgun was loaded with rubber pelleted riot control rounds), and discovers that a hard drive containing footage of Caspere's sexual encounters has been stolen. Semyon begins suffering from erectile dysfunction for the first time as pressure builds against him while his wife, Jordan, gives him oral sex for in vitro fertilization which he considers unnatural. Bezzerides and Woodrugh investigate Mayor Chessani's possible connection to Caspere's death by going to his home. They discover his intoxicated young trophy wife, moody daughter and problematic son much to Chessani's dismay who threatens to have Bezzerides and Woodrugh fired. As he recovers, Velcoro meets his father who is also an alcoholic and delivers him cannabis indica to help his father sleep. Semyon meets an old business partner in the construction business who already paid his debts, but demands more capital in exchange for new favors. Semyon meets with Osip who hints he is bailing on the deal. Semyon's criminal associate, Blake, enters and reveals his other criminal associate, Stan, was just killed as well. Woodrugh meets an old friend from private security firm Black Mountain, Miguel Gilb, who reminds him of their homosexual encounter during the war. Woodrugh responds by cursing him out and pushing him to the ground. Later Woodrugh uses a gay escort to get into Danny Santos' club for further investigation, where he briefly bumps into Semyon. Semyon tells Santos and other gangsters to find who is murdering his associates. Santos, already having lost respect for Semyon, states he no longer works for him and tells Semyon to leave. Semyon responds by fighting and beating Santos, then removing Santos' golden front teeth with pliers. While Bezzerides and Velcoro share a drink at his house, Gena shows up at his door to inform him he is under investigation by the state for corruption and the prior assault on her rapist; Bezzerides hears the conversation behind the door. Gena attempts to give Velcoro $10,000 to drop the custody battle, which he refuses. A tip from Caspere's assistant Laura leads Bezzerides and Velcoro to investigate a movie set, where they learn that a car had been stolen in the weeks prior, presumably the same car which carried Caspere. As they interrogate a former movie production employee, who quit shortly before the car was stolen, a masked man sets fire to the car which transported Caspere's body right around the corner from the detectives, who chase him. Bezzerides is nearly hit by a truck during the pursuit before Velcoro pulls her out of the way. She thanks Velcoro, who tells her she can thank him by telling him what the state has against him. She says she does not know.|
|12||4||"Down Will Come"||Jeremy Podeswa||Nic Pizzolatto & Scott Lasser||July 12, 2015||2.36|
|Semyon starts to rebuild his empire, working his way back into the ownership of clubs and properties that he once owned, and negotiating deals with the city's drug suppliers in a bid to reclaim his lost money. Bezzerides and Velcoro follow Caspere's movements, tracking him to vast tracts of land contaminated by the heavy metals dumped in the tailings from decades of mining. A visit to the commune run by Bezzerides's father reveals that Chessani, Caspere and Caspere's psychiatrist Dr. Pitlor have been in business for decades, prompting Velcoro to admit that the State investigation into Vinci is little more than a shakedown. He warns Bezzerides that Chessani did not get to his position without having faced similar pressure in the past, and that he could not survive without powerful friends or amassing power of his own. Political forces—implied to be Chessani's influence—see Bezzerides suspended from her job after a co-worker files a sexual harassment complaint against her, though she is allowed to remain on the special task force. Woodrugh awakens from his investigation into the prostitutes to find that he has slept with Miguel. Refusing to address the issue, Woodrugh leaves to find his motorcycle gone and is later accosted by reporters asking questions about his time with a private military contractor in Iraq. Later meeting with his estranged girlfriend in a diner, where she informs him she is pregnant, Woodrugh desperately proposes marriage to her. Throwing himself back into the investigation, he and Dixon follow up on a lead at a pawn shop where he uncovers a prostitute named Irina had sold a watch owned by Caspere. Velcoro approaches Semyon with this, which Semyon dismisses as unlikely as Stan was killed under similar circumstances and there is no connection to his death. Under pressure from Vinci PD to close the case, Velcoro, Bezzerides and Woodrugh lead a raid against Irina's pimp, Ledo Amarilla, but are ambushed when the building is found to be a methamphetamine lab which promptly explodes when the police open fire. As Amarilla tries to escape, he crashes his SUV into a city bus during a demonstration against the rail project. He and his accomplices open fire on the crowd as the police move in, with Dixon among the dead, and while the gunmen are killed, Velcoro, Bezzerides and Woodrugh are left horrified at the mass civilian and police casualties.|
|13||5||"Other Lives"||John Crowley||Nic Pizzolatto||July 19, 2015||2.42|
|Two months after the shoot-out, the special investigation into Caspere's death has been shut down, with the State Attorney, Geldof, satisfied that Amarilla was responsible. Velcoro has since quit the Vinci PD and works private security for Semyon while fighting his ex-wife and her husband for custody of his son; Bezzerides has been demoted to the sheriff's office evidence lock-up, attending sexual harassment seminars, and has returned to investigating Vera's disappearance in her own time; and Woodrugh has been promoted to detective and investigating insurance fraud while fighting extortion attempts by Lindel. Semyon approaches McCandless, owner of Catalyst—the company holding the lands to be bought for the rail project—with information that the person he sold his waste disposal company to has died under suspicious circumstances. This, combined with McCandless' complicitness in having Semyon use said company prior to its sale to contaminate the lands around the rail project to lower its value before the federal government bought it back are used as blackmail by Semyon to get back into the rail project. McCandless instead gives him the chance to buy back into the project if he can recover the hard drive stolen from Caspere's apartment the night Velcoro was shot. Semyon also has Velcoro tail Blake, whom he no longer trusts. Velcoro spots him and Tony Chessani picking up three girls at Pitlor's clinic then bringing them to Semyon's rival, Osip. Meanwhile, Bezzerides makes a connection between Vera and the cache of blue diamonds found in Caspere's safe deposit box. This prompts Davis to re-open the investigation into Caspere's death under the pretext of finding Irina, bringing Velcoro, Bezzerides, and Woodrugh back together. Davis suspects Geldof colluded with Chessani, using the original investigation to establish an account to fund his campaign for governor and pin the corruption on Caspere. Velcoro is pensive but agrees when Davis offers to help him keep custody of his son. Davis also reveals to Velcoro that Gena's rapist had been arrested six weeks previously. After confirming this with Gena, Velcoro realizes that the tip Semyon gave him years ago was a set-up to corrupt him. Woodrugh follows up on the diamonds and discovers Dixon had been looking for them prior to their discovery but had kept that information to himself during the original investigation. This leads Woodrugh and Bezzerides to conclude that Vinci PD had been using Dixon to manipulate the investigation. Velcoro returns to Pitlor's clinic and beats Pitlor for information, confirming that Caspere and Chessani were in business together linking influential men with prostitutes at secret parties. They subsequently used pictures taken at the parties to blackmail men like McCandless who attend them. Bezzerides approaches her sister to try to get an invite to an upcoming party before she and Woodrugh, following a previous lead from her old partner, match Vera's last movements to an abandoned house in Guerneville. Deep in the woods behind the house they discover a blood stained shed with a torture chair inside. As Semyon and Jordan reconcile after being at odds over Semyon's return to his old business practices, Jordan's infertility, and their future, Velcoro arrives at their new home and tells Semyon they need to talk.|
|14||6||"Church in Ruins"||Miguel Sapochnik||Nic Pizzolatto & Scott Lasser||July 26, 2015||2.34|
|Velcoro and Semyon discuss the tip that led Velcoro to his wife's alleged rapist, with both men grasping their guns under the kitchen table. Semyon swears to Velcoro that he thought the information was genuine at the time. Satisfied that Semyon did not intentionally mislead him, Velcoro confronts the man arrested for the rape in prison, promising to kill him. After an awkward supervised visit with his son, Velcoro goes on a cocaine- and alcohol-fueled bender before calling his ex-wife and agreeing to drop the custody case on the condition that she never reveal her son's true parentage. Semyon later meets with Stan's widow and young son to comfort them and question them on possible suspects in his death, with Stan's widow citing Blake. Meanwhile, Woodrugh follows up on the missing diamonds to find that they were part of a cache stolen during a double homicide and robbery in the 1992 riots that orphaned two children, making the diamonds untraceable. Semyon starts searching for Irina, making an agreement with a Mexican cartel that will allow him to meet Irina provided the cartel are allowed to move drugs through his clubs. Irina calls Semyon and reveals that she had been given the items from Caspere's home by a police officer. Semyon arranges to meet her so that she can identify the man from a photo, but arriving at the meeting point finds her dead, having been killed by the Mexicans for dealing with police. Outnumbered and empty-handed, Semyon is forced to accept the deal with the Mexicans. Bezzerides goes undercover, posing as her sister to infiltrate one of the secret elite parties in Monterey. With no phone, transmitter or weapon, she is forced to rely on Woodrugh and Velcoro for support. At the party, she is drugged and taken to the guests with a busload of other girls. Her attempts to search the party are hampered by the male guests (Geldof, Holloway and Tony Chessani among them) and hallucinations of a strange man from her childhood, implying that she was sexually abused. As Woodrugh and Velcoro sneak in, they observe a meeting between McCandless and Osip where McCandless admits that Osip's investment in the rail project was far more lucrative than Semyon's. The two steal a set of contracts from McCandless' office. Bezzerides locates Vera at the party and attempts to get her out, but is forced to kill a guard in the process. She and Vera are found by Woodrugh who escorts them to Velcoro in a waiting car. As the four escape, Woodrugh goes over the stolen contracts and starts to realize the scale of what they are involved in.|
|15||7||"Black Maps and Motel Rooms"||Daniel Attias||Nic Pizzolatto||August 2, 2015||2.18|
|The task force regroups after the party to allow Vera and Bezzerides to recover from the drugs they were given while Velcoro and Woodrugh go over the documents that link Catalyst and McCandless to Osip. When morning comes, Woodrugh and Bezzerides move their families to safety while Velcoro reports to Semyon. Velcoro approaches Davis with their evidence but finds her shot dead in her car. Woodrugh discovers that Bezzerides is wanted for questioning over the death of the security guard she killed at the party while Velcoro has been named as a suspect in Davis' murder. Woodrugh is contacted by a third party blackmailing him with photos from his night with Gilb. Using information from Semyon, Vera and the police database, the three are able to formulate a theory on Caspere's death: that a group of corrupt police—Holloway, Burris, Dixon and Caspere—used the 1992 riots to steal the diamonds which they used to buy into the Vinci power structure; however, Laura, a child orphaned during the robbery, tracked them down and after posing as Caspere's assistant and killed him after confirming his involvement. Everything from their discovery of the diamonds through to the shoot-out with Ledo Amarilla has been manipulated from behind the scenes by Vinci PD to cover up their involvement in the original crime. Meanwhile, Semyon confronts Blake over his role in Osip's operation; Blake admits that Osip is trying to force Semyon out of business with the help of Chessani's son Tony, who Osip will install as mayor of Vinci to act as his puppet. When pushed further, Blake confesses to having killed Stan and staging the murder to imitate Caspere's death. Semyon kills him and arranges for Jordan to leave town. When approached by Osip, Semyon bows out gracefully and accepts a role as manager of Osip's clubs. However, having learned of a money drop (from Blake, prior to killing him) in which Osip will transfer $12 million to Tony Chessani, Semyon takes his cash reserves and burns the properties to hurt Osip's business. Faced with the realization of just how powerful their enemies are, Velcoro and Bezzerides sleep together. Meanwhile, Woodrugh is lured to a meeting with his blackmailer, Holloway, who demands the documents taken from the party. Woodrugh overpowers him and is drawn into a shootout with the Black Mountain private security accompanying Holloway on behalf of McCandless, killing all of them. As he makes his escape, he is shot twice and killed by Lieutenant Burris.|
|16||8||"Omega Station"||John Crowley||Nic Pizzolatto||August 9, 2015||2.73|
|After a night of sex, Velcoro and Bezzerides recount their respective traumas—Bezzerides' childhood molestation and Velcoro's murder of his wife's supposed rapist. Semyon convinces Jordan to leave the country for Venezuela with his lieutenant Nails, where he will rendezvous with her two weeks later or sooner. He then goes to Chessani's mansion, where he finds the mayor dead, and the mayor's wife Veronica, while high, implicates his son Tony as his murderer. Meanwhile Velcoro and Bezzerides learn of Woodrugh's death and resolve to close the case. They identify Laura, Caspere's secretary, and Lenny, a photographer from the movie set of the stolen prop car, as the Osterman siblings. Visiting Lenny's home they find the bird's head mask from the earlier episodes, identifying him as both the murderer of Caspere and the man who shot Velcoro. They also find Laura handcuffed to the fireplace; she confirms that Lenny murdered Caspere and plans to kill Holloway under the pretense of a public meeting at a train station in Anaheim to trade Caspere's hard drive for money as the hard drive had been erased. Bezzerides puts Laura on a bus to Seattle while Velcoro intercepts Lenny at the train station and convinces him to entrap Holloway. Velcoro takes Lenny's place, leading Holloway into a discussion of the blue diamond conspiracy with him, while Lenny sits behind them. Holloway reveals that Caspere fathered Laura illegitimately and that their mother was pregnant with Caspere's second child at the time of her murder. This revelation sends Lenny into a rage and he attacks Holloway, thereby starting a shootout between Velcoro, Bezzerides, Burris, and Lenny. Holloway shoots Lenny before both are shot by transit police as the rest make their escape amidst the confusion. Velcoro and Bezzerides meet Semyon at a secret bunker in the Black Rose bar where Velcoro convinces Bezzerides to head to Venezuela while he and Semyon plot a revenge attack on Osip. They then carry out the two-man assault on the money drop at a secret cabin, killing McCandless and Osip. On their way back, both men are ambushed—Semyon is apprehended and driven out to the desert by the cartel members who invested in the clubs he burned, while Velcoro visits his son at school in Laurel Canyon and is spotted by Vinci PD who were searching for him. They place a transponder on his vehicle that Velcoro spots but does not remove, choosing to drive off anyway knowing his fate is sealed. Semyon cooperates with the cartel members and pays them off, but refuses to give one of the men his suit when ordered to, refusing to surrender his dignity, and has the last of his money liquidated into diamonds in his pocket. Semyon is stabbed and attempts to walk back to civilization, but succumbs to his wounds and dies in the middle of the desert after a series of four hallucinations. Velcoro is still being tailed by Vinci police, and bids Bezzerides goodbye on the phone before making a last stand in the woods. Velcoro accepts his fate, confronting Burris and a tactical team who kill him. In an epilogue, Tony Chessani becomes mayor of Vinci; Geldof is elected governor; the rail project goes ahead as scheduled; Velcoro is remembered as a cop killer; Gena learns from Chad's paternity test that Velcoro is his father; a newly constructed highway is named after Paul Woodrugh, and his girlfriend has given birth to his child. In Venezuela, Bezzerides is revealed to have given birth to Velcoro's second son and is living with Jordan Semyon. She meets with the journalist Velcoro assaulted in Episode 1 and passes all the incriminating evidence, including the Caspere case files, on to him to start a crusade against the corruption in Vinci before she, Jordan and Nails disappear in a crowd.|
- Colin Farrell as Detective Raymond "Ray" Velcoro, a mob-affiliated detective from the Vinci Police Department, struggling with his allegiance to his corrupt superiors and the mobster who owns him.
- Rachel McAdams as Detective Sergeant Antigone "Ani" Bezzerides, a Ventura County Sheriff's Office CID agent who struggles with personal issues within her family and habits such as gambling and drinking.
- Taylor Kitsch as Officer Paul Woodrugh, a California Highway Patrol officer and war veteran, who worked for a private military contractor implied to have involvement with war crimes.
- Kelly Reilly as Jordan Semyon, the wife of Frank Semyon, who must not only struggle with Frank's choices, but her own as well.
- Vince Vaughn as Francis "Frank" Semyon, a career criminal and entrepreneur, who is in jeopardy of losing his life's work after his partner's corpse is discovered on the side of a highway.
- Ritchie Coster as Mayor Austin Chessani
- Christopher James Baker as Blake Churchman
- Afemo Omilami as Police Chief Holloway
- Michael Irby as Detective Elvis Ilinca
- Leven Rambin as Athena Bezzerides
- Abigail Spencer as Gena Brune
- Lolita Davidovich as Cynthia Woodrugh
- James Frain as Lieutenant Kevin Burris
- Riley Smith as Steve Mercer
- Adria Arjona as Emily
- Michael Hyatt as Katherine Davis
- Yara Martinez as Felicia
- Christian Campbell as Richard Brune
- Jon Lindstrom as Jacob McCandless
- Emily Rios as Betty Chessani
- Vinicius Machado as Tony Chessani
- Ronnie Gene Blevins as Stan
- Timothy V. Murphy as Osip Agranov
- C. S. Lee as Richard Geldof, the California Attorney General
- Chris Kerson as Nails
- Rick Springfield as Dr. Irving Pitlor
- Ashley Hinshaw as Lacey Lindel
- W. Earl Brown as Detective Teague Dixon
- David Morse as Eliot Bezzerides, Ani's estranged father
- Gabriel Luna as Miguel Gilb
- Fred Ward as Eddie Velcoro
In January 2014, Pizzolatto signed a two-year contract extension with HBO, effectively renewing the series for two additional seasons. Much like its predecessor, season two of True Detective consists of eight episodes, all written by Pizzolatto. However, the responsibility of directing was assigned to several people; Justin Lin directed the first two episodes, and, in July 2014, William Friedkin was being considered as a director of later episodes. Fukunaga, who directed all of season one, did not return as director; he remains, however, an executive producer, as do McConaughey and Harrelson. Pizzolatto hired fellow novelist Scott Lasser to help break stories for the second half of the season.
The success of True Detective, and its subsequent renewal, fueled casting rumors in the press. At one point, early media reports named Cate Blanchett, Josh Brolin, Joaquin Phoenix, Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Jessica Chastain, Christian Bale, Elisabeth Moss and Brad Pitt to be among a raft of potential candidates for the leads. The season's first significant casting was Colin Farrell as Ray Velcoro, which he revealed in his September 2014 interview with the Sunday World. Vince Vaughn, playing the role of Frank Semyon, became HBO's next important signing toward the end of the month. By November, True Detective's principal cast expanded to include Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, and Kelly Reilly.
California was selected as the setting for the second season. Producers were urged to avoid filming in Los Angeles and, instead, focus on the other regions of the state to "capture a certain psycho-sphere ambiance". Production began in November 2014.
T Bone Burnett returned as composer for the second season, and the score for the season is more electronic-influenced than the previous season. Burnett noted that the change in landscape, to California, also changed how he wrote the music. Leonard Cohen's "Nevermind," the season two opening theme, is a song off Cohen's 2014 album, Popular Problems. The theme song's lyrics change with every episode, incorporating different verses from Cohen's song. Lera Lynn's music is featured throughout the season, and the song "The Only Thing Worth Fighting For", which she composed with Burnett and Rosanne Cash, is used in the season two trailer. Lynn collaborated with Burnett on writing several original songs for the series, with cues from creator Nic Pizzolatto regarding lyrics and content. Lynn also portrays a bar singer in the season, where several of her songs are used, including "My Least Favorite Life", which was written by Cash.
Themes and influences
Vox's Emily VanDerWerff stated, "...above all else, True Detective wants to explore the role of men in society." "Yet if season one was already interested in the topic, then season two has nearly jumped off the cliff with its obsessions, to the degree that Rachel McAdams's Ani is defined largely by her rejection of the more open and traditionally "feminine" New Age philosophy of her father and her embrace of the hardened, traditionally "masculine" life of the emotionally closed-off police officer," she continued. VanDerWerff also noted that season two's three male leads are all dealing with their own issues of masculinity; "Ray seems tortured by having to exist as a man in this world that doesn't share his ideals," "Frank is trying to walk a very noble, masculine path by taking his dark, dirty enterprise legitimate," and "[Paul] is mostly playing out a very typical story of a deeply repressed gay man who's trying to fight back his own impulses."
The second season received mixed reviews. Positive reviews praised the performances of Farrell, McAdams and Kitsch, its cinematography, and action sequences. The season was named one of the worst television programs of 2015, from many major news outlets such as Variety, The New York Post, Newsday, and TV Guide.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a rating of 65%, based on 72 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "True Detective's second season stands on its own as a solid police drama, with memorable moments and resonant relationships outweighing predictable plot twists." On Metacritic, the season has a score of 61 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
David Hinckley of the New York Daily News gave it a very positive review, and wrote "It's still the kind of show that makes TV viewers reach for phrases like 'golden age of television drama'" and that "the second installment of True Detective goes out of the way not to echo the first." Hank Stuever of The Washington Post gave it a generally positive review, praising the performances, and wrote, "There is something still lugubrious and overwrought about True Detective, but there's also a mesmerizing style to it — it's imperfect, but well made."
A more mixed review came from Brian Lowry of Variety, who wrote "Although generally watchable, the inspiration that turned the first [season] into an obsession for many seems to have drained out of writer Nic Pizzolatto's prose."
The second season of True Detective was released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 5, 2016. In addition to the eight episodes, both formats contain bonus content including a making-of featurette of "The Vinci Massacre", interviews with cast and crew, audio commentary for "Down Will Come" by Nic Pizzolatto, Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Taylor Kitsch and Rachel McAdams, and an audio commentary for "Omega Station" by Nic Pizzolatto, Scott Stephens, Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn.
- Bibel, Sara (June 23, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'True Detective' Wins Night, 'Ballers', 'Naked and Afraid', 'The Last Ship' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (June 30, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: BET Awards Tops Night + 'True Detective', 'Ballers', 'Naked and Afraid' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
- Bibel, Sara (July 8, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: Shark Week Wins Night, 'True Detective', ' Ballers', 'The Last Ship', 'Botched', 'Falling Skies' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
- Bibel, Sara (July 14, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Naked and Afraid XL' Wins Night, 'True Detective', 'Basketball Wives', 'Ballers', 'The Strain' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
- Bibel, Sara (July 21, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Naked and Afraid XL' Wins Night, 'True Detective', 'Ballers', 'The Strain', 'The Last Ship', 'Tut' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (July 28, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'I am Cait' Tops Night + 'Naked & Afraid XL', 'Rick & Morty', 'True Detective', NASCAR, 'Ballers' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
- Bibel, Sara (August 4, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Rick and Morty' & 'Naked and Afraid XL', Win Night, 'True Detective', 'The Last Ship', 'Ballers', 'The Strain', 'Ray Donovan' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (August 11, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'True Detective' Tops Night + 'Naked and Afraid XL', 'Rick & Morty', 'Ballers', & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
- "Wynn Everett Joins TNT Pilot 'Lumen'; 'True Detective' Adds 2". Deadline Hollywood. December 5, 2014. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
- Andreeva, Nellie (October 30, 2014). "'True Detective': Kelly Reilly, Michael Irby, Abigail Spencer, Leven Rambin Eye Roles". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
- Bernard, Katherine (June 22, 2015). "Actress Leven Rambin talks Texas, True Detective & her Cinderella style". Yahoo!. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
- Andreeva, Nellie (November 14, 2014). "'True Detective' Adds Lolita Davidovich & James Frain For Season 2". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
- Bibel, Sara (June 9, 2015). "HBO Releases Episode Descriptions for First 2 Episodes of 'True Detective' Season 2". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
- Andreeva, Nellie (November 18, 2014). "'True Detective' Adds Riley Smith For Season 2". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
- Andreeva, Nellie (November 19, 2014). "'True Detective' Adds Adria Arjona For Season 2". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
- Andreeva, Nellie (November 19, 2014). "'True Detective' Adds Michael Hyatt & Yara Martinez As Recurring In Season 2". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
- Porter, Rick (June 29, 2015). "'True Detective' episode 2: That really Was Rick Springfield". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
- Andreeva, Nellie (November 21, 2014). "Nora Arnezeder To Co-Star In 'Zoo'; Christian Campbell Joins 'True Detective'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
- "Jon Lindstrom Joins 'True Detective'; Dan Buran Boards TNT's Drug-Trade Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. November 26, 2014. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
- Andreeva, Nellie (December 5, 2014). "'True Detective' Adds Ronnie Gene Blevins, Emily Rios & Timothy V. Murphy; TBS Vacation Pilot Adds 2". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
- Goldberg, Lesley (December 4, 2014). "'True Detective' Enlists 'Dexter' Alum for Season 2 (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
- Rife, Katie (December 11, 2014). "Rick Springfield joins True Detective season two". The A.V. Club. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "Ashley Hinshaw Joins 'True Detective'; Winston Duke In 'The Messengers'". Deadline Hollywood. December 11, 2014. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
- Fitz-Gerald, Sean (June 6, 2015). "Here's a Description of the True Detective 2 Premiere". Vulture. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
- Widner, Cindy (June 19, 2015). "Austin native Gabriel Luna spills (a little) on season 2 of HBO's True Detective". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
- Andreeva, Nellie (January 24, 2014). "'True Detective' Creator Nic Pizzolatto Signs New Overall Deal With HBO, Paving Way For Season 2 Of Breakout Drama". Deadline Hollywood. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
- Hibberd, James (May 27, 2014). "'True Detective' season 2 scoop: Trio of leads, California setting". Entertainment Weekly. New York City: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
- Hibberd, James (September 23, 2014). "HBO confirms 'True Detective' season 2 cast: Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell to star". Entertainment Weekly. New York City: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
- Rife, Katie (July 10, 2014). "William Friedkin says he's had meetings about directing True Detective". The A.V. Club. Chicago, Illinois: Onion, Inc. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- Rose, Lacey (August 6, 2014). "'True Detective's' Nic Pizzolatto on Season 2, 'Stupid Criticism' and Rumors of On-Set Drama". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles, California: Eldridge Industries. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
- Vincent, Alice (January 12, 2015). "True Detective, season 2: news & cast rumours". The Daily Telegraph. London, England: Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
- Whitney, Erin (September 24, 2014). "The Crazy And Not-So-Brief History Of Every 'True Detective' Season 2 Rumor". The Huffington Post. New York City: Huffington Post Media Group. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
- Coleman, Miriam (September 21, 2014). "Colin Farrell Confirms That He's Joining the Cast of 'True Detective'". Rolling Stone. New York City: Wenner Media LLC. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
- Fowler, Matt (October 27, 2014). "Taylor Kitsch Confirms True Detective Season 2 Role". IGN. New York City: News Corp. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- Hibberd, James (November 24, 2014). "'True Detective' confirms 3 more cast members". Entertainment Weekly. New York City: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
- "Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch and Kelly Reilly Join Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn in HBO's "True Detective"" (Press release). HBO. November 24, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- O'Donnell, Kevin (June 10, 2015). "T Bone Burnett reveals the title of the True Detective season 2 trailer song". Entertainment Weekly. New York City: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
- Zoladz, Lindsay (June 21, 2015). "A History of True Detective's New Theme Song, 'Nevermind'". Vulture.com. New York City: New York Media. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
- Tach, Dave (July 7, 2015). "True Detective season two watchthrough: episodes two and three". Polygon. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
- Pehanick, Maggie (July 6, 2015). "Have You Noticed That True Detective's Theme Song Changes Every Week?". PopSugar. San Francisco, California: PopSugar, Inc. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
- Jones, Nate (June 28, 2015). "True Detective's Lera Lynn Wants You to Know That She Is Nothing Like the Sad Singer She Plays". Vulture.com. New York City: New York Media. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
- VanDerWerff, Emily (July 6, 2015). "True Detective season 2 is all penis problems, all the time". Vox. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
- Sheffield, Rob (June 17, 2015). "Is 'True Detective''s New Season Truly Defective?". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
- Cornet, Roth (June 28, 2015). "True Detective: "Night Finds You" Review". IGN. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
- Ryan, Chris (July 13, 2015). "'True Detective,' Season 2, Episode 4: 'Down Will Come'". Grantland. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
- Lowry, Brian (December 11, 2015). "The Worst TV Shows of 2015". Variety. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- Rorke, Robert (December 28, 2015). "The 10 worst TV shows of 2015". New York Post. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- Gay, Verne (December 22, 2015). "Worst TV shows of 2015: 'True Detective 2,' 'Sex Box,' more fails". Newsday. Archived from the original on January 1, 2016. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- "The Worst of 2015". TV Guide. December 8, 2015. Archived from the original on December 12, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- "True Detective: Season 2 (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
- "True Detective: Season 2 reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
- Hinckley, David (June 12, 2015). "'True Detective' review: Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn head new team at HBO including Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch". New York Dally News. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
- Stuever, Hank (June 16, 2015). "'True Detective' Season 2: New cast, setting, same grim self-seriousness". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
- Lowry, Brian (June 12, 2015). "TV Review: 'True Detective,' Season 2". Variety. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
- Mitovich, Matt Webb (January 17, 2016). "Critics' Choice Awards: TV Winners Include Fargo, Mr. Robot, Master of None, Rachel Bloom and Carrie Coon". TVLine. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
- Kauffman, Jeffrey (January 8, 2016). "True Detective: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved January 9, 2016.