Releasing from HBO today on both Blu-Ray and DVD is the sophomore season of the intense Nic Pizzolatto written and created police drama. The critics and viewers were divided on this one, you either loved it or hated it, but I think that was partly because everyone thought they would be getting more of season 1, or a rehash of it in a new way.
Having said that, I was a little take it or leave it as it aired week to week on HBO, but watching it as a whole, it’s only 8 episodes, it made a more cohesive whole and was much more enjoyable this time around.
The casting still is top-notch, as both Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey continue to serve as executive producers, the show is led by Rachel McAdams, Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch, Vince Vaughn and Kelly Reilly.
When the murder of a high profile name is discovered that crosses three different jurisdictions, three different police officers, with a variety of styles, personal secrets and pains are thrown together to investigate it.
Leading the unit is Detective Ani Bezzerides (McAdams), who has some dark secrets in her past, and some daddy issues with her new-ager father (David Morse). Working with her is Detective Ray Velcoro (Farrell), who has anger issues, a bit of a drinking problem, and is in the pocket of a local gangster, Frank Semyon (Vaughn), and CHP officer Paul Woodrugh (Kitsch) who is trying to get used to life after serving in the Middle East, and dealing with his own personal demons.
With an expansive story that runs from the intimately personal to grandiose plans for the state of California, the investigators have to deal with high-profile sex parties, vendettas, betrayals, and personal pain.
This one rewards the viewer for staying with it, as the characters are well-developed and performed, and the minutiae of the plot and they way all the threads intertwine is much more apparent when watched as a whole. While most fans simply wanted more of the style of the first season, season two had its work cut out for it, and instead of confronting it, went in a completely different direction, which to me, was a great idea, and obviously HBO agrees considering the deal they have inked with Pizzolatto.
Character and dialogue driven, the show is a thinker, but there are still some standout action beats, the most harrowing of which is the action sequence at the mid-season point… stunning, brutal, and realistic.
I found the show engrossing on Blu-Ray, and as always, the discs are packed with commentaries, interviews and featurettes, and a nice little doc on the shooting of the mid-season shoot out.
So if you gave it a miss first time around, or didn’t finish it, give it another shot now that it’s available on home video, it works much better as a marathon, and of course, it looks gorgeous on Blu-Ray.
True Detective: Season 2 is available now from HBO.