Review – True Detective S2
As the police anthology series continues, a man with serious power winds up dead and it is down to an unlikely bunch of heroes to track down who did it.
When a big figure of the LA underworld is found dead on the side of the highway, the job of catching and bringing his killers to justice falls upon Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell), Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) and Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch). They are a trio of detectives you would never even dream of meeting in the same place, but after drawing unwanted attention to themselves from their individual departments, they are thrown together so the state police can keep an eye on them more easily. They and casino boss Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn) are eager to find who killed Ben Caspere and why, due to the fact it could uncover forces altogether more sinister.
Well, it finally arrived! Season two of True Detective – the highly anticipated follow-up to the show launched with Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey last year – returned eight weeks ago to somewhat mixed reactions. After the first episode was shown, viewers took to the Internet to express their thoughts and there was no real overruling majority either side. Lovers on the first season were disgusted, and those who didn’t enjoy the first season too much loved this first episode. Myself, personally? I wasn’t overly impressed with the first episode and knew immediately it wouldn’t be a patch on season one. However, it seems I was wrong with that assumption. The longer this one went on, the more I warmed to it, and I’m not afraid to say that, whilst I don’t think it quite reached the same standards as last year, it wasn’t as far off the mark as I originally thought it would be.
There were, of course, the strong performances that seem to be making themselves a trademark of the show, and the same dark characters being portrayed. Farrell as Velcoro was excellent. He played the cop who everyone thought was bent, when in fact he wasn’t, but due to things that had happened a long time ago, Velcoro’s reputation was heavily tarnished and many people struggled to see past this. He never let it show at work though, and in all fairness, Velcoro played his cards very close to his chest throughout the whole series, although from Farrell’s expression and body language it was clear the man had the weight of the world on his shoulders, and that he just wanted everyone to realise that, deep down, he was a good person.
Kitsch as Paul Woodrugh was every bit the match to Farrell’s character. Even now that the whole thing has finished, I’m still not entirely sure quite what to make of Woodrugh. Not an awful lot was ever revealed about him, but he was a very tormented character, and that sort of let my imagination run wild about where he had come from and some of the things that had happened to him. Kitsch played him very well, and never gave too much away about him, but he did give just enough to start you wondering…
McAdams as Ani Bezzerides was my favourite character. It was nice to see a strong female lead, especially after all the male roles in season one. Like Woodrugh, Bezzerides was full of mystery, but each week more was revealed about her allowing you to empathise with her more and more. The perspective of a female police officer also gave an insight into the sexism that is rife and the challenges this can pose. McAdams was wonderful and gave the woman’s touch that this show has required for a while.
Finally, there was Vaughn as Frank Semyon. I’ll be honest with you here, I didn’t think initially that he was the man for such a large role in a gritty show such as this, and I genuinely thought that he might have been the show’s undoing. HOW WRONG WAS I? He was tremendous as the casino owner balls-deep in God knows what. The feeling he brought to the program was unreal. I do believe this could help rejuvenate his career a great deal, and help him get into many more serious roles.
Okay, so I’m going to state the obvious here and say that the story was awesome again this year. The nice thing about it was the fact that it seemed to attract a lot of non-believers and reach an even further audience this time round. Nic Pizzolatto did a fantastic job yet again, and I think that is partly down to the fact he took the story to a totally different part of the country and didn’t try to recreate what had been done before.
All in all, may I first say to all other fans of show: you are my people! And to those of you yet to see any of True Detective, sort yourselves out and get watching – you don’t know what’s good for you.
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