True Detective: What To Expect From The Second Season
HBO’s hit crime drama True Detective has only been gone for a little over a week, but there’s already rampant speculation as to what will occur, who will star, and where the story will take place in the shows’ second season. It must be noted that while the series has garnered both critical acclaim and a high viewership, it has yet to be formally renewed by HBO, so as it stands there is technically no guarantee that the show will return. But the uncertainty of the show’s future has not hindered anyone (including Niz Pizzolatto, the show’s creator) from talking about what nightmares may be in store for us next year.
When the first episode of True Detective premiered on January 12th, it appeared as though it was immediately destined for greatness. And by season’s end, it was a sure thing that the show had carved a place for itself in the annals of the greatest TV series. Every facet of the show has since been lauded by both critics and the public; the writing and directing from Nic Pizzollato and Cary Joji Fukunaga, the lead performances from Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson (as well as the support provided by Michelle Monaghan, Michael Potts, and Tory Kittles), and the cinematography which transformed the backwoods of Louisiana into a classic Southern Gothic Hell, with elements of Faulkner and McCarthy. Moreover, by making the show an anthology series, the show-runners ensured that their show could tell a new story every season which will undoubtedly benefit the show by providing it a fresh-but-familiar feel.
As with the first season, the focus will be entirely on one case, though it is unknown at this time whether or not it will jump between timelines. One thing is for sure though; McConaughey and Harrelson will not be reprising their roles as the now immortal television duo of Rust Cohle and Marty Hart. Producers are on the prowl for new faces and it has been rumored that Brad Pitt is being eyed for one of the lead roles. Pitt is no stranger at all to the detective role (he stared alongside Morgan Freeman in David Fincher’s Se7en) so should he be cast, there will be a measure of dramatic weight to his character. An interesting point that has to be made; Pizzolatto has stated that the second season will revolve around, “Hard women and bad men…” so who’s to say that one of the partners won’t be a woman? It would be very interesting to see the chemistry between a male and female detective which may or may not be platonic.
As for the setting and the case, it has been speculated that the second season will take place in Southern California and deal with what Pizzolatto calls, “The secret occult history of the U.S. transportation system.” This brief synopsis could include any number of crimes. It could be a smuggling ring, a drug cartel, or perhaps, going back to the idea of hard women fighting injustices, the case could revolve around human trafficking. Whatever it may be, it goes without saying that Pizzolatto is certainly working on something big and mean. The only difference is that he won’t be alone this time around; there will be more directors involved in the filming as well as additional writers.
While there is a lot of talk concerning about what the second season should have, it’s probably worth taking a minute to think about what it should not have. Perhaps the biggest problem facing the show-runners is the dilemma between wanting to tell something new while maintaining the brooding atmosphere that was so popular in the first season. Pizzolatto has already said that he intends to keep the series strange, but that doesn’t by any means imply that we will see exactly the same archetypes that were established the first time around.
There will undoubtedly be detractors who will say that the second season is too different from the first and that the show should have just ended, but it will probably be a lot worse if the show-runners decide to recreate what happened in the first season, point by point. If the two leads end up being another pessimist and relative optimist, then the show will show definite signs of extreme rehashing, or what is commonly known in the cinematic world as Hangover Syndrome. There is so much that could be done with an anthology series that should it go the same stuff, different day route, it would be a huge waste of talent and potential storytelling. What if both of the cops are rookies who still have romantic notions of being a detective? What if one of the cops dies? Or better yet, what if one of the cops is a bad guy? There were tons of rumors that said that Rust was the killer in the first season, but what it’d be fascinating to see one of the cops actually be in cahoots with the bad guys. He doesn’t have to murder anyone, but just have him be an ambivalent person who will turn a blind eye for the right price. That would add heaps of dramatic weight and make the show feel all the fresher. The only thing that Pizzolatto could do that would completely torpedo the show is to choose familiarity over novelty.
Though it isn’t a 100% guarantee that the show will get a second season, all signs point to the contrary. The cast and crew have all expressed their joviality and passion for the first season so it’s highly unlikely that HBO would choose to squander future greatness by canceling the show. With actors already being lined up and a potential storyline already in the works, it seems as though we are in for another trip into the foulest depths of humanity. The darkness is still there, and we are ready to face it.
What do you think? Leave a comment.