With four main characters in Season 2 of True Detective, I didn't expect that creator and writer Nic Pizzolatto was going to bring them all together within the first episode. So I was delightfully surprised when the death of city manager Ben Caspere connected the main characters on True Detective during the Season 2 premiere, "The Western Book of the Dead." No, I wasn't "delighted" to see the dead city manager propped on a picnic table with his eyes burned out by hydrochloric acid, but I was happy to see the interesting ensemble of actors — Taylor Kitsch, Rachel McAdams, Colin Farrell, and Vince Vaughn — join forces when the first episode of the new season wrapped up on HBO.
While most of the characters hadn't met before the episode, Vaughn's Frank Semyon and Farrell's Ray Velcoro have a long history. In a flashback scene, Ray, who was working for the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department at the time, went to crime boss Frank to get information on the man who raped his wife. In present day, Ray is now a detective in Vinci, fighting for custody of his son and Frank is trying to go legitimate with a business plan for a high-speed rail to run through central California. The two have remained pals throughout the years, so if it wasn't enough that Ray has a drinking problem and threatens young children, he also is a corrupt police officer helping out his friend Frank. Even with Frank being a crime boss, he definitely has the moral high ground compared to Ray.
But Caspere is the key to connecting all of the characters since McAdams' Ani Bezzerides and Kitsch's Paul Woodrugh are loners who don't have a background story like Frank and Ray — yet. Here's how the death of Caspere has brought these four main characters together.
Kitsch's Woodrugh is a highway patrol office for California who has been forced to go on leave after a woman he pulled over accused him of soliciting oral sex from her. A military veteran, he makes it abundantly clear that he needs to be on the motorcycle since riding the roads on the bike suits him. A scene with his girlfriend highlighted how he struggles to connect emotionally or physically, as he left her in bed to go on a dangerous motorcycle ride in the dark — going at intense speeds and turning off his headlights. As he sailed through the California highways in pitch black, he eventually turned on his headlights. He spun out and he landed with his motorcycle right where Caspere's body had been creepily left at a rest stop. (If that's not some sort of sign, I don't know what it.) Since he's the officer who found Caspere's dead body, it appears he'll be part of the investigation even though he is technically on leave.
McAdams' Ani Bezzerides is shown as a hard woman who struggles with her sister being in the porn industry and her father being some kind of religious guru. She works as a detective for Ventura County and since that's where Woodrugh found Caspere's body, she has been brought in on the case. I can't wait to see what she thinks when she sees Caspere's extremely sexually deviant home.
Frank has the most to lose due to Caspere's death. Caspere was business partners with Frank in this speed line endeavor and without the city manager, it looks like Frank is not being taken as seriously as he'd like to be (based on a group of Russian investors being indecisive without Caspere being present). With the corrupt Caspere dead, Frank's multi-million dollar deal will definitely be in trouble. And since we don't know who killed Caspere, Frank could be on the chopping block too.
Ray is Frank's buddy, so he is about to get in a whole mess of trouble now that he's working on Caspere's murder. Ray had already investigated the missing Casper and found out that he leads a seriously kinky private life. But now that Caspere has been found dead, Ray has been called in as a Vinci detective since that's where Caspere went missing. Considering that Frank tasks his police officer friend with shady dealings ever since he helped him find his wife's rapist, this is surely going to be a conflict of interest for the already conflicted Ray.
As the three police officers work to uncover what led to Caspere's death, Frank's name is sure to come up — and Ray is going to have to hide his friend's involvement from Bezzerides and Woodrugh. Ahh, isn't that what being a True Detective is all about?
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