Last year, HBO’s True Detective was arguably the drama that replaced Breaking Bad in people’s must-watch queue. Actors who normally stuck to film, Matthew McConaughey, and Woody Harrelson, gave the new show a positive buzz before the first episode even aired, and the critical praise continued throughout its eight episode run. Now, showrunner, Nic Pizzolatto is working on season two of the anthology style show, which will follow a whole new cast of characters through a completely different series of events. Rumours have been swirling about the direction of season two ever since HBO announced they had renewed the show for another season. We might have to wait until summer 2015 to see the finished product, but here is what we know so far.
As of right now, the only confirmed cast members are Colin Farrell, as “compromised detective” Ray Velcoro, and Vince Vaughan as “career criminal” Frank Seymon. The success of the first season continues to attract top Hollywood talent, and the casting of Vaughan especially has fans and critics skeptical. He is well known for his comedic roles, but he hasn’t done much of note lately. But maybe True Detective could do for Vaughan what it did for Matthew McConaughey. At the very least, he may be able to show what he is capable of beyond mediocre romantic comedies, and oddball cameos. While no other casting has been confirmed, talk about Elisabeth Moss (of Mad Men fame), and Rachel McAdams (of Ryan Gosling’s ex fame) has been circulating for female leads. Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) is also in talks for a role, but until HBO issues an official confirmation, we won’t be able to put a face to character descriptions.
Not much has been revealed about the plot for season two. In short, Nic Pizzolatto described the season as about “hard women, bad men and the secret occult history of the United States transportation system.” Three detectives (two male and one female) from different backgrounds, and with different agendas, will come together to uncover a long history of corruption revolving around transportation. None of the three detectives is without their own flaws and personal demons, which will inform the way they investigate the murder of a city manager. Cary Fukunaga, who directed all eight episodes in season one, will be back as executive producer, but won’t be directing. As is typical in anthology style shows, a different director will take on each episode. How that will affect the continuity of the overall style is a point of debate, and will probably come up frequently as the season progresses.
Season one was set in the small town, backwoods of Louisiana, revealing the dark possibilities that can hide away from the scrutiny of the big cities. Season two will be set in California, but will ignore the glamour of L.A completely. True Detective has established itself as a show that treats setting and atmosphere almost like another character that adds to the overall tone of the unfolding events. The neo-noir detective genre requires a certain ominous energy that extends from the characters themselves, all the way to the background views in every shot. Unknown locations are ideal to create the subtly unsettling vibe that is True Detective’s signature.
One of the main criticisms for True Detective is its lack of strong female characters. The female lead (played by Michelle Monaghan), was the only significant female character in season one, and her main purpose was to emphasize Detective Hart’s rocky personal life. Many critics and fans are hoping for a female detective in season two, and it looks like that is going to happen, but it remains to be seen if people will be satisfied with the result. The lack of racial diversity is another aspect of casting that has often been discussed, but there aren’t many shows on TV that don’t take a little flack for their casting decisions. It is impossible to make everyone happy, and the comparisons to the very popular first season are bound to keep critics talking about True Detective all the way up to its premiere, and through its eight episode run.