The 'True Detective' Season 2 Cast May Be Completely New, But They'll Get You Hooked On The Show All Over Again

The McConaisance is over — on HBO, at least. You won't be seeing Matthew McConaughey's face among the cast of True Detective Season 2, even though he was the first season's main draw and racked up a boatload of awards nominations to prove it. Given that the crime drama is an anthology series, neither he nor co-star Woody Harrelson returned for another go 'round... and they left two pretty large pairs of cowboy boots to fill.

In fact, the hole the two movie stars left was so big, it took four big-name stars for HBO to fill it! So before you dive into the existential murk of another season of True Detective this Sunday night, take a moment to meet your new group of dysfunctional protagonists — and a few supporting players whose faces you'll undoubtedly recognize.

Image: Lacey Terrell/HBO

Vince Vaughn (Frank Semyon)

Although a gritty HBO crime drama may feel like a departure for the popular funnyman, it’s actually a return to form. He started in comedy with his breakout role in 1996’s Swingers, but then he made a name for himself in thrillers like The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Return To Paradise, Psycho, and The Cell before being initiated into Will Ferrell’s “Brat Pack” with an uncredited role in Zoolander. Of course, now you know him from the likes of Dodgeball, Wedding Crashers, The Break-Up, The Internship, and more.

Image: Lacey Terrell/HBO

Colin Farrell (Detective Ray Velcoro)

Considered one of Ireland’s biggest Hollywood stars, Farrell actually got his start more recently than you might remember: he was discovered by Joel Schumacher in 2000, and was cast in the lead of the director’s war drama Tigerland. He then spent the next half-decade starring in a series of action films, some great, some very not-great: Minority Report, Phone Booth, Daredevil, S.W.A.T., Alexander. In the mid-aughts, he finally started branching out, tackling a series of projects from acclaimed directors like Terrence Malick (The New World), Michael Mann (Miami Vice), and Martin McDonagh (In Bruges). Of course, every now and then he still turns in a performance in a sub-par action flick. (*cough* Total Recall *cough*)

Image: Lacey Terrell/HBO

Rachel McAdams (Detective Ani Bezzerides)

McAdams appears to be following in the footsteps of Emily Blunt: both actresses who became famous for now-classic comedies (Mean Girls and The Devil Wears Prada, respectively), languished for a bit in rom-com territory (The Notebook and The Vow for McAdams, The Jane Austen Book Club and Salmon Fishing In The Yemen for Blunt), and are now breaking out of their boxes with juicy roles in gritty dramas (True Detective and Sicario, respectively).

Image: Lacey Terrell/HBO

Taylor Kitsch (Officer Paul Woodrugh)

Kitsch’s is not an original story: a budding young actor gets his start on television, creates a memorable fan-favorite character on a critically-acclaimed show, and then leapfrogs off the momentum onto the big screen. I may as well be describing George Clooney’s career. But few actors’ careers involve one of Hollywood’s most embarrassing flops in recent memory. Sadly, this is exactly what happened to Kitsch, who left the success of Friday Night Lights for the disaster of John Carter. Now the actor has returned home to the small screen — but an award-winning HBO drama is much more than a consolation prize. Despite some bad luck, Kitsch has still got it, and hopefully True Detective will give him the second chance so few actors get.

Image: Lacey Terrell/HBO

Kelly Reilly (Jordan Semyon)

So we’ve met all four of our big-name stars — but Season 2’s “main cast” is rounded out by a fifth cast member who you may recognize, even if she’s not as world-famous as her cohorts (yet). The English actress has been working across the pond for a couple of decades now, but she recently came to American audiences’ attention as Dr. Watson’s wife Mary in the two Robert Downey, Jr. Sherlock Holmes films. She has also played supporting roles in low-key dramas like Flight, A Single Shot, and Calvary. She even briefly headlined her own TV show this season, the ABC midseason drama Black Box, although it wasn’t renewed for a second season.

Image: Lacey Terrell/HBO

James Frain (Lieutenant Kevin Burris)


James Frain is basically a human mad lib. “Oh, he’s that creepy ___ from ___!” You’ve probably said to yourself on numerous occasions: “He’s that creepy earl from The Tudors!” “He’s that creepy vampire from True Blood!” “He’s that creepy Royal from Grimm!” “He’s that creepy assassin from Intruders!” He’s that creepy ‘cleaner’ from Orphan Black!” Etc., etc., etc.

Leven Rambin (Athena Bezzerides)

Angela Weiss/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Yes, yes, she played Glimmer in The Hunger Games. (”NOT THE BEES!”) But this 25-year-old is so much more than one minor supporting role in the world’s hottest YA franchise. She’s also appeared in 162 episodes of All My Children. She’s had recurring arcs on the likes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill, and The Tomorrow People. She’s even appeared in another (less) popular YA franchise, the 2013 sequel Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters.

Afemo Omilami (Police Chief Holloway)


Oh, look! Another Hunger Games actor. Omilami cameoed in Catching Fire as “District 11 Mayor.” That’s pretty much in keeping with the rest of his resumé, which is filled with characters named after titles like “Servant” (John Adams), “Archivist” (Ghost Whisperer), “CPS Caseworker” (The Blind Side), and “Chairman Joint Chief of Staff” (G.I. Joe: Retaliation). Now he gets to add “Police Chief” to his qualifications.

W. Earl Brown (Teague Dixon)

Cindy Ord/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Brown is diving into True Detective having just wrapped up a stint on another critically-acclaimed crime anthology series: ABC’s American Crime. He’s been acting in Hollywood for a quarter of a century, stretching back to his role as a “Paramedic” in 1991’s Backdraft. Since then, he’s worked his way through supporting roles in movies like Scream, Deep Impact, There’s Something About Mary, Being John Malkovich, Vanilla Sky, A Single Shot (with co-star Reilly), and last year’s Oscar-nominated Wild. He also has parts in two other upcoming TV shows: ABC’s midseason drama Wicked City and AMC’s comic book adaptation Preacher.

Riley Smith (Steve Mercier)

Chris Weeks/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Smith’s latest endeavor, The CW’s angel-themed series The Messengers, never quite got off the ground, getting axed before the first season was done. But that wasn’t the actor’s first time on the network, having previously recurred on both 90210 and Beauty And The Beast. Like his True Detective co-star Frain, Smith played a vampire on True Blood (Arlene’s crush Keith in the final season). He also played important roles in Freaks And Geeks (as basketball star Todd) and 24 (as an unsuspecting teen who smuggled a pulmonary-immuno virus into the United States).

Abigail Spencer (Alicia)


33-year-old Spencer already has an admirably diverse resumé. Over the past 15 years, she has alternated between roles in comedies (Children’s Hospital, Burning Love, How I Met Your Mother, This Is Where I Leave You), blockbuster action films (Cowboys & Aliens, This Means War, Oz The Great And Powerful), and serious dramas (Mad Men, Rectify, True Detective).

David Morse (Eliot Bezzerides)

John W. Ferguson/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Morse just has one of those faces where you go — “Oh yeah! That guy!” — but then you can’t name a single movie he’s been in off the top of your head. Well, that’s what I’m here for. You probably know him from (*deep breath*) St. Elsewhere, 12 Monkeys, The Rock, Contact, The Green Mile, Dancer In The Dark, Proof Of Life, Hearts In Atlantis, House, Disturbia, John Adams, The Hurt Locker, World War Z, Horns, or Treme. Phew!

Rick Springfield (Doctor Pitlor)

Mike Lawrie/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Yes, THAT Rick Springfield. As in “Jessie’s Girl.” This isn’t the musician’s first time as a thespian, either. Springfield actually has 38 acting credits on his IMDb page, mostly guest starring roles on TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, The Incredible Hulk, Human Target, Suddenly Susan, Californication, Hawaii Five-0, and Hot In Cleveland. He’ll also appear in Meryl Streep’s upcoming rock & roll film Ricki And The Flash, directed by Jonathan Demme (The Silence Of The Lambs) and written by Diablo Cody (Juno). He’ll be playing, wait for it, a guitarist in Ricki’s band. #plottwist