Where Is 'True Detective' Season 2 Set? Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, & Rachel McAdams Show The Dark Side Of California
In Season 1 of True Detective, the haunting setting of Louisiana was almost a character onto itself. But with a whole new cast for Season 2, a new setting is also in order, and California will be one of the stars since it's the setting of True Detective Season 2. HBO defines the locale of the second season of Nic Pizzolatto's show as the "scorched landscapes of California." Although there's a brand new setting, a brand new set of stars (peace out, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson), and a brand new storyline, True Detective is still written and created by Pizzolatto, so expect the same level of darkness that surrounded Louisiana to be ingrained in the Golden State.
While McConaughey and Harrelson investigated ritualistic religious murders in the backwoods and bayous of Louisiana, the new cast of Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, and Taylor Kitsch will be taking on the Greater Los Angeles area in southern California. This time, the True Detective case revolves around the murder of a corrupt city manager when Season 2 premieres at 9 p.m. on Sunday, June 21. (Oh, I see what you did there, HBO. Trying to numb the pain of that Game of Thrones season finale from June 14 with new True Detective. It's not going to work in taking my mind off of that crazy finale, but it's still very much appreciated.)
In the Season 2 trailer above, Farrell's character Ray Velcoro says, "My strong suspicion is we get the world we deserve." And the world these new characters deserve is that of an ominous, gritty Los Angeles area with sprawling highways and skylines. Instead of a pair of cops like with Season 1, Season 2 will have Farrell, McAdams, and Kitsch all involved as police in the investigation, with Vaughn as a man on the other side of law.
Farrell's Ray is a detective in the "all-industrial City of Vinci, LA County." If you've never heard of Vinci or feel the need to Google it, don't worry about it. Vinci is actually a fictional city that is portrayed as being close to downtown Los Angeles, which was convenient since the show filmed in LA. But the reason the fictional Vinci is so close to Los Angeles is because it seems to be inspired by a real city in California — Vernon. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Pizzolatto "suggested [the writer] look into the history of Vernon," which Rich Cohen described as follows.
...a tiny industrial city a few miles south of downtown Los Angeles. Vernon, which, as of 2013, had just 114 inhabitants, is home to factories of the polluting variety, slaughter houses, and chemical plants. Used as a dodge and a tax haven, it’s been controlled by just two families for most of the last century and recently came under intense scrutiny, with press and prosecutorial interest in public officials who seemed never to stand for election.
But according to the Los Angeles Times, "Vernon has moved passed the scandals," as a representative for the city, Frederic MacFarlane, told the newspaper, "That's where it is now...It operates like any other city, and, in the past, it didn't operate like that." MacFarlane said that City Hall even gave True Detective permission to film there, so sometimes, visually, Vinci and Vernon are one and the same.
However in the fictional city of Vinci, corruption still runs rampant, and I have a feeling that Vaughn's criminal character Frank Semyon will have something to do with that.
Besides Vinci, another location in True Detective Season 2 is Ventura County, which is also considered a part of the Greater Los Angeles area. McAdams character Ani Bezzerides is a Ventura County Sheriff's detective. The real-life county contains the cities Santa Paula, Ojai, and Ventura. (And no, the Ventura Boulevard that Sheryl Crow sang about is not in the city of Ventura, but in Los Angeles.) Rounding out the jurisdiction that the police officer characters have in California in Season 2 is Kitsch's character Paul Woodrugh. He's a motorcycle cop for the California Highway Patrol and will also be part of the case.
While California may typically be seen as a sunny and fun place, don't expect Pizzolatto's grim series to make you feel optimistic. Just like with Season 1, the landscape will add to the unearthly nature of the tormented characters and the disturbing crimes that will take place.
Yet even with that description of Los Angeles, the Season 2 premiere of True Detective has got to be less depressing than the Season 5 finale of Game of Thrones. Right, HBO? Right?!?!
Images: Lacey Terrell/HBO; Giphy (3)