The first episode of HBO’s dark crime series True Detective’s sophomore season aired on Sunday. The show began by introducing the series’ main characters and the tragic backstories that have turned them into assholes. Here is the character breakdown and introduction of the central crime under investigation this season:
Ray Velcoro (Collin Farrell) – The Drunk Asshole
True Detective begins Ray’s story on a sympathetic note as we witness a heart-to-heart with his son…but that compassion all but disappears by the end of the episode. His parenting style is fueled by alcoholic rage. Instead of opting for a time-out for his son after his Nikes were stolen, he threatens to spank his 12-year-old butt in front of the cheerleading squad. He even takes it upon himself to punish a bully at his son’s school by beating the crap out of the kid’s dad then threatening to kill the boy’s father and butt-f*ck him with his mother’s corpse. Ray’s backstory becomes bleaker as we learn that he transformed from a good (we assume) cop to a corrupt one after seeking Frank Semyon’s help in avenging his wife’s rape…a relationship that continues today.
Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn) — The Criminal Asshole
The lesser of the many evils on True Detective lies with the first criminal element introduced on the show: Frank Semyon. Semyon’s backstory is shrouded in mystery right now, but one thing is apparent: he’s not a good guy. While working on a high-speed rail deal that would improve his casino’s prospects, he hires corrupt cop Velcoro to rough up a local reporter and steal his files regarding corruption in their fictional city, Vinci.
Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) – The Man-Hating Asshole
Named after Antigone, the tragic daughter of Greek figure Oedipus, Ani’s rage runs deep – with good reason. Her mother committed suicide, her father is a faux-religious guru, and her sister is currently working as a webcam porn star. A wall full of knives and guns in her home, penchant for adventurous sex and all-black wardrobe only emphasize the Ani’s ire.
Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) – The Loner Asshole
The very attractive Woodrugh is a highway patrol officer who is accused (falsely?) of soliciting a blowjob to a woman to avoid arrest. Woodrugh also has a very attractive girlfriend who loves giving blowjobs, and he does everything he can to avoid her…even riding his motorcycle on a dark highway with no headlights. The patrolman chickens out at the last moment, turning his headlight back on only to discover a body positioned at a picnic table, just taking in the breathtaking view. Which leads us to…
Ben Caspere – The Dead Asshole
The disappearance of Caspere, Vinci city manager, was under investigation by Velcoro. While searching his home, Velcoro and his partner uncover some very kinky and very unnerving sexual depictions and toys. Caspere was supposed to appear at a meeting at Semyon’s casino to introduce the high-speed rail deal to potential investors, but never showed. Throughout the first episode, we see Caspere being toted around town in the front seat of a car…the driver is never shown. When Woodrugh discovers the victim, his eyes have been removed and his pelvis badly damaged.
The death of Caspere will inevitably bring this group of damaged people together, as evidenced by the closing scene: Woodrugh, Bezzerides and Velcoro surrounding Caspere’s body on the side of a deserted highway.