In January 2014, Pizzolatto signed a two-year contract extension with HBO, effectively renewing the series for True Detective Season 2. Much like its predecessor, True Detective Season 2 consists of eight episodes, all written by Pizzolatto. However, the responsibility of directing was assigned to several people. Justin Lin directed the first two episodes. Fukunaga, who directed all of season one, did not return as director; he remains, however, an executive producer, as do McConaughey and Harrelson. Pizzolatto hired fellow novelist Scott Lasser to help develop and write stories for the second half of the season.
The season’s first significant casting was Colin Farrell as Detective Ray Velcoro. Vince Vaughn, playing the role of criminal and entrepreneur Frank Semyon, was officially cast toward the end of the month. By November, True Detective Season 2 principal cast expanded to include Rachel McAdams as Detective Ani Bezzerides, Taylor Kitsch as California Highway Patrol Officer Paul Woodrugh, and Kelly Reilly as Jordan Semyon, Frank’s wife.
True Detective’s second season received mixed reviews. Praise was given to the performances of Farrell, McAdams, and Kitsch, cinematography, and action sequences. However, many critics felt it was weaker than the first season. Most criticism focused on the convoluted plot and dialogue. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a rating of 64%, based on 72 reviews, with an average rating of 6.6/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “True Detective’s second season stands on its own as a solid police drama, with memorable moments and resonant relationships outweighing predictable plot twists.” On Metacritic, the season has a score of 61 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.
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