Though the anthology format of True Detective could allow the second series to go pretty much anywhere at all, the audience seem to have a pretty clear format in mind. From the off, conjecture about the second story line has been focused on what variant of the first series’ odd couple team-up we should expect. Most fans had assumed that there would again be two characters at the centre of the story, echoing the Matthew McConnaughey and Woody Harrelson pairing of the first.
I don’t know where that assumption came from, to be honest, and I’m actually relieved that creator and showrunner Nic Pizzolatto‘s plans haven’t been so predictable.
There was always a lot of interest and enthusiasm centred around there being a pair of female leads this time, both because this would stand as a statement, but also because there’s a lot of talented actors just waiting to be fan-cast into such roles. At the same time, a second vein of rumour kept Brad Pitt associated with the series, and while I never found any solid basis to those claims at all, they did keep alive the notion that this is a show that can attract well-known, popular and even well-paid actors.
The first solid information on the new season’s detectives came along a week ago or so with the revelation that Colin Farrell had been offered a role. We heard at the same time that there was another young male part also under discussion, and the program makers had apparently considered Taylor Kitsch for that role.
I can tell you now that these would make up two corners of the series’ central triangle of investigators, two men and a woman from different Californian cities and their own distinct branches of the State’s law enforcement bodies, coming together to uncover a whole mess of corruption.
The third corner will be a woman, a character in her 30s. She’s a Monterey Sherrif with – as you might well expect – trouble in her past and problems in her day-to-day.
Her issues are with alcohol and gambling. Farrell’s character has terrible problems with cocaine and anger management. The young guy, a member of the California Highway Patrol, has been suspended for sexually exploiting a young woman he pulled over. Nobody is clean. It’s still True Detective.
Farrell will have a partner, an older detective, though he’s not one of the central players and when Pizzolatto said there are four characters at the centre of this story, I expect he meant the three main investigators and a nefarious entrepreneur
The new mystery is to be kickstarted by the murder of Ray Caspar, City Manager of a fictional Californian city. From what I can gather, the new, partly invented map that Pizzolatto is drawing will be essential to his new story. As he teased, some months ago, part of the mystery will involve California’s transportation systems. This plot will involve a corrupt scheme to link North and South California with a high speed train, all in pursuit of profitable land ownership and lucrative federal grants.
I can’t help but think of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and the way it swapped out Chinatown‘s irrigation MacGuffin for a tram line conspiracy. But as with Chinatown, this may not be the real heart of the mystery.
The occult is definitely going to come back into play, at least around the edges of the picture. One early murder victim is marked with satanic etchings in his flesh, giving Pizzolatto a way back to the undercurrents of supernatural allusion that flavoured the first story. Of course, it’s not that anything supernatural actually occurred last time around, nor should you expect it to this time either.
I think it’s also worth pointing out that while some reports have placed this story in the 80s, the internet comes into play as a plot device and so we should expect something a whole lot more contemporary. I wouldn’t be surprised if it isn’t just located in the California of ‘today,’ even while several of the plot threads have long, deep roots.
Pizzolatto and company have been meeting with some interesting talent for the show, from Farell and Kitsch to directors like William Friedkin. Things should start getting firm pretty quickly, and I’d expect we’ll be hearing a lot more as the next few months pass by. What I’d really like to know, however, is when it’s going to hit our screens, and I know I’m certainly not alone in that.