Everyone is askin me/To judge these cops’ veracity/Does Taylor Kitsch have a clear heart/Or is it all opacity?/I can’t say, and I tell them so/Without more clips from HBO/How can we name detective true/When you just give us teasers two?
Over the weekend, HBO released two new teasers for the second season of True Detective, a popular television thriller about tired men. Ever since the release of the new season’s first trailer, we’ve been working hard to suss out the identity of the true detective—a mystery that had fans glued to their sets all through season one. I’m distressed to report that the new clips don’t reveal much.
Let’s take a look.
Like the first trailer, both new teasers prominently feature overhead shots of highway interchanges—one during the day, and one at night. Perhaps these represent the duality of the human soul, or the long and winding road between man and his salvation. “Life is a highway, and I want to ride it all night long,” — Tom Cochrane, 1991.
Beyond that, what’s here? Very little. All told, there are five lines of dialogue—the second teaser, dubbed “Stand,” doesn’t have any talking at all. We’ll do our best to divine what that means for each of the show’s four principal characters.
McAdams delivers the pivotal line here: “Tell me, how compromised are you?” Who’s she asking? What’s being compromised? Integrity? Law enforcement oath of honor? The brake pad performance on a ruggedly beautiful ‘78 Triumph after an eternal cruise down the dusty highway to Hades? Whoever’s on the business end of this inquiry has answers—answers that may lead to the true detective him- or herself. But since McAdams is doing the asking, we can assume it isn’t her.
Odds of becoming the true detective: 5:2
A recurring image in these trailers shows Colin Farrell in a mustache wearing a bolo tie sitting at one end of a table in some sort of office or library, looking like he’s being interrogated or interviewed. The whole thing, mustache especially, feels like a callback to Rust Cohle’s famous Lone Star-fueled rap session in the first season. And just like Rust, Farrell’s facial hair aesthetic seems to morph over time—in at least one scene, he’s not sporting a ‘stache at all. Is HBO setting him up as successor to the truest detective television has ever seen? Time will tell.
Odds of becoming the true detective: 11:10
“I need a direction to turn, or I may just start pulling down walls.” With 14 simple words, Vince baby redeems himself after a piss-poor performance in trailer two. That sentence has everything: the confusion of a man at the end of his rope, the blind rage of a man at the end of his rope, the dropped prepositions of a man at the end of his rope. We also get a few shots of Vaughn inflicting violence on people and inanimate objects alike, and as we’ve argued before, nothing is truer than a violent man.
Odds of becoming the true detective: 11:8
As little as the new teasers reveal about True Detective as a whole, they reveal even less about the identity of the shadowy Taylor Kitsch—who I can only assume is the sexy lady seen here with the drink in her hand, or maybe one of the guys in the paintings. In the past, we’ve been quick to paint Kitsch’s ambiguous identity as a hinderance to his or her truth as a detective, but perhaps it’s in fact an advantage. After all: What’s more mysterious than a good old-fashioned mystery?
Odds of becoming the true detective: 13:8