Who’s who in True Detective season 2

As the pitch-black crime drama returns to Sky Atlantic, here's everything you need to know about the new cast and their troubled characters...

“We get the world we deserve”, goes the ominous tagline of True Detective series two. And you, RadioTimes.com readers, deserve a world in which you’re up to speed on the new instalment of the HBO series.


The first season of Nic Pizzolatto‘s drama saw Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson go on a manhunt for a serial killer while drinking a whole lot of whiskey. It was gruelling, powerful and seriously dark. Although series two shares its brooding atmosphere, it’s a completely separate story, with a whole new cast, plot and location.

This time the story is set in LA where Paul Woodrugh (played by Taylor Kitsch), a war veteran and motorcycle cop for the California Highway Patrol, discovers a crime scene that begins an investigation involving three law enforcement groups, multiple criminal collusions, and billions of dollars.

So here’s who’s playing who…

Actor: Colin Farrell (Phone Booth, In Bruges)

Character: Ray Velcoro

What’s his deal? He’s a troubled detective (very troubled) whose constant boozing has got him into trouble. He’s now fallen so far he works for the city of Vinci, near Los Angeles, which houses dodgy manufacturing companies. An important thing to remember is that Ray’s wife was beaten and raped several years ago. The couple had a child nine months later but never had a paternity test so it’s unclear whether this is Ray’s child. When it happened, Ray vowed revenge on the rapist and turned to mobster Frank Semyon.

Actor: Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls, The Notebook)

Character: Ani Bezzerides

What’s her deal? McAdams plays a tough-talking, knife-carrying detective with a lot of psychological baggage who is “at odds with the system she serves”. When the body is found, Ani is brought in along with the sheriff’s department to inspect the body. She becomes part of a special task force with Ray (Farrell) and they are now partners.

Actor: Vince Vaughn (Wedding Crashers, Forgetting Sarah Marshall)

Character: Frank Semyon

What’s his deal? Frank’s a thug turned businessman. He’s a high-stakes city slicker masterminding a multimillion-dollar scam, but while he may believe he’s doing legitimate business, it looks like things are dodgier than he thought. When a business partner is murdered, he’s in danger of losing his whole empire.

Actor: Taylor Kitsch (X Men Origins: Wolverine)

Character: Paul Woodrugh

What’s his deal? Paul is a brooding highway patrol motorcycle officer and a war veteran. He finds the dead body that sparks the whole investigation. Quiet and intense, he doesn’t reveal much but we know he’s got a dark past that he’s desperately trying to run from.

Other important players include:

Kelly Reilly (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) as Jordan Semyon, Frank’s wife, a former D-list actress who is a full partner in his enterprises and ambitions.

Lolita Davidovich (Blaze) will play ex-showgirl Nancy Simpson, the mother of Taylor Kitsch’s character Paul Woodrugh.

James Frain (True Blood) will play a bad lieutenant named Jeff Hunt.

C.S Lee (Dexter) will play Richard Geldof, a state attorney general with political ambitions.


True Detective will air on Sky Atlantic on Monday 22nd June

Read more:

Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams and Colin Farrell in haunting new True Detective trailer

Why Vince Vaughn is actually a brilliant choice for True Detective season 2