True Detective: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 6-Jan-2016

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime Drama Audio Commentary-x 2
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Making “The Vinci Massacre” (29:28)
Featurette-Making Of-A Look Inside True Detective (10:16)
Featurette-True Detective’s California (3:56)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 504:32 (Case: 503)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Janus Metz
John Crowley
Justin Lin
Jeremy Podeswa

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Colin Farrell
Rachel McAdams
Taylor Kitsch
Vince Vaughn
Kelly Reilly
Ritchie Coster
Case ?
RPI ? Music T Bone Burnett

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
French dts 5.1
Spanish dts 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

"We get the world we deserve"

     True Detective was a massive hit for HBO with huge numbers watching each episode. It featured fabulous performances from Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, flawed characters, a complex plot with different timelines and atmospheric Louisiana landscapes. True Detective Season 2 was always going to struggle to maintain the standard especially as it only shares the writer, Nic Pizzolatto, and composer, T Bone Burnett, from the earlier series: the directors, cast and location in season 2 are all new. Perhaps if the True Detective name had not been used, expectations may have been less.

     True Detective Season 2 focuses on three police officers from three different jurisdictions and a career criminal. The three Police officers are thrown together when a City of Vinci municipal manager with links to a billion dollar land development and crime figure Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn) is found tortured and murdered. The three are Vinci detective Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell), a violent man who is having custody issues with his ex-wife and who has unhealthy links to Frank Semyon, County Sheriff’s Detective Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams), a woman who has problems with men, including her alternate lifestyle guru father, and motorcycle Officer Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch), an army veteran with a dark past and repressed homophobic tendencies.

     Each of the police officers also have agendas dictated by their respective agencies; the corrupt Vinci Mayor Chessani (Ritchie Coster) wants Velcoro to guide the investigation away from any real probe, not caring if the crime is solved, the County want to Bezzerides to expose city corruption and Velcoro, while Woodrugh is tasked by the State Attorney General’s office with gathering evidence against the Vinci Police Department. Frank Semyon, who is desperate to have a child with his wife Jordan (Kelly Reilly), discovers that the murdered man had stolen $5 million from him and that his business partners are reneging on the land deals; he wants to know who is muscling in on his business and undermining his development and he uses Velcoro to keep a track of the police investigation.

     As the mismatched Police officers investigate they uncover a labyrinthine web of vice, sex, corruption, chicanery, double-dealing and murder that permeates the city and state authorities, where everyone is tainted and everyone has something to hide. As well, the three police officers discover that they are both expendable and in way over their heads. Running parallel to the investigation is Frank’s attempt to raise enough cash to remain a player in the land deals.

     While True Detective had a condensed plot which focussed on the relationship between the two detectives and their identifying and stopping a serial killer, True Detective Season 2 opens out the canvass to encompass four people, the three police officers and Frank Semyon, and a much broader storyline involving ever elaborate webs of city, county and state corruption where the investigation of the crime is almost an afterthought. The result is a series that is complex but quite uneven. Of the new characters Colin Farrell’s Ray Velcoro is the best; Velcoro is a flawed man dealing with his inner demons and shadowy loyalties and a dishevelled Farrell has charisma to burn. Rachel McAdams is watchable as Ani Bezzerides but the plotline involving Taylor Kitsch’s Officer Paul Woodrugh feels almost tacked on. Also good is Kelly Reilly as Jordan; she is probably the most decent person in the series and Reilly makes the most of her scenes with Vince Vaughn who does seem stiff and wooden although he is certainly not helped by having to deliver some very chunky dialogue.

     Indeed, many episodes of True Detective Season 2 feature a lot of dialogue dealing with backstories that are gradually revealed, including relationships between parents and children, so much so that the story sometimes slows to a crawl. As well, there are a great many aerial wide shots of freeways and city scapes (both night and day) and run down industrial areas that try to make the urban settings around Los Angeles a character in the story, just as Louisiana was a character in True Detective, but with less success. In a number of episodes, in fact, nothing much seems to be happening until, in the way of the old serials, there is a shock / revelation right at the end of the episode.

     True Detective Season 2 is overwritten and suffers from slow moving storytelling, too much backstory and too many layers of corruption which are confusing. It is slicker than season one and includes some impressive action sequences, including the chaotic and well-staged Vinci Massacre sequence, and it does build pace as it heads towards the resolution in episode 8 which, however, seemingly drags on forever. Season 2 is also, surprisingly given that the serial killing of young people was at the core of True Detective, more bleak and nihilistic than that first season due to the fact that Ray, Ani, Paul and Frank are in most senses little people who are expendable, vulnerable to higher level, and more corrupt, venal and brutal, politicians and businessmen who are involved in labyrinthine deals. Our main characters are swimming with sharks and the result is sad, but inevitable.

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Transfer Quality


     True Detective Season 2 is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original broadcast ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG 4 AVC code.

     Filmed using digital cameras, detail throughout the series is sharp. This is a show with a lot of very dark scenes at night or in darkened rooms and in some shadow detail can be indistinct although the night time helicopter shots of the city, freeways and lights are beautifully detailed. The colours have that digital glossy richness while the yellow digital tinge under lights was prevalent, effecting skin tones. Brightness and contrast is consistent.

     I noticed no marks or artefacts.

     Subtitles available are English for the Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Czech, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Audio is a choice of English DTS HD-MA 5.1, French DTS 5.1 or Spanish DTS 2.0.

     This is a very good audio track where the music by T Bone Burnett is definitely a character in the series. The song over the opening credits, Nevermind, which uses Leonard Cohen’s lyrics, gets into your head and sets the bleak mood, while most of the flyovers of freeways, cityscapes and industrial areas are accompanied by mechanical / industrial music. Most episodes also feature downbeat songs performed by Lera Lynn in the bar where Frank and Ray meet. Dialogue is mostly easy to hear and understand and, as well as the music, the surrounds and rears provided an enveloping audio during gunfights, with shots, hits, ricochets, breaking glass, etc., and crowd noise during the casino and club and at the racetrack. The sub-woofer added resonance to the music and depth when needed to gunfights and crowds.

     I did not notice any lip synchronization problems.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Audio Commentary: Episode 4

     Writer Nic Pizzolatto and cast Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Taylor Kitsch and Rachel McAdams sit together. There are lots of silences, despite the number of people involved. They seem unprepared, laugh and make inane comments about nothing in particular providing almost no insight into the episode. Anything and everything was great. Forgettable.

Audio Commentary: Episode 8

     Writer Nic Pizzolatto, executive producer Scott Stephens and cast Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn sit for this commentary, but there are again many long silences when nothing is said and lots of comments like “I like this scene” or “I love this moment”. However some comments about character motivations, plot points and locations and less laughing makes this a marginally better commentary than the other, which is not really saying a lot. In either commentary it would have been nice to have some discussion by Pizzolatto about the reasons behind the differences between the two seasons.

Making “The Vinci Massacre” (29:28)

     In depth look at the preparation and filming of the action sequence in episode 4 which was filmed over 5 days. This includes the intentions of the filmmakers, the search for realism and how the shoot-out impacts upon the main characters. Made up of on set footage plus voiceovers and interviews with writer Nic Pizzolatto, episode director Jeremy Podeswa, DP Nigel Bluck, cast Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch and Rachel McAdams plus the location manager, stunt supervisor, production designer, prop master, VFX explosion supervisor, the stunt driver and some Navy SEALs who were technical advisors. Interesting and informative and well worth a look.

A Look Inside True Detective (10:16)

     An EPK type feature covering plot, characters, locations and the music with on set footage and sound bites from Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Taylor Kitsch, Rachel McAdams and executive producer Scott Stephens.

True Detective’s California (3:56)

     Montage of Californian landscapes set to a song by Lera Lynn.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region Free US Blu-ray of True Detective Season 2 is identical to our release. Buy local.


     True Detective Season 2 is overwritten and can get bogged down with too many characters and a complex, labyrinthine plot, but it is still a strong, bleak and compelling HBO series and Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams especially are worth watching.

     The video and audio are good. The extras are varied, with poor commentaries but a worthwhile featurette, but are the same as is available in other regions.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, April 01, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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