Get Ready to Explore Creepy California in Second Season of ‘True Detective’

By  · Published on May 28th, 2014


Jonesing for your True Detective fix before the beloved and HBOGO-killing HBO hit comes back for its second season? We might have something that can help you with that. We’ve long known that the Nick Pizzolatto-created series would essentially reboot with each season, with a new cast and a fresh location, which means that fans of the show (conspiracy theorists, all) would have plenty to mull over and pick apart before the show returned to them. Pizzolatto knows this, which is probably why he’s been doling out little bits of tantalizing information for months now.

No, the creator isn’t cruel, but he is wily. In the latest batch of True Detective news, Pizzolatto has let on a couple of interesting details: that the show will now have three leads and that it will take place in California. Who will play those leads is not yet known (besides the fact that Jessica Chastain will not be playing any of them, sadly), and we still don’t know when the show will take place, what kind of crazy source material it may pull from, what sort of evil we might encounter or pretty much anything else. But that doesn’t mean we can’t analyze the things we do know. Pizzolatto recently took to the radio show “To the Best of Our Knowledge” (via Variety) to chat it up, and during the show, he revealed two pieces of information about True Detective’s second season: “we’re working with three leads. It takes place in California – not Los Angeles, but some of the much lesser known venues of California – and we’re going to try to capture a certain psychosphere ambiance of the place, much like we did in season one.” Moreover, “the characters are all new, but I’m deeply in love with each of them. We’ve got the entire series broken out with a couple of scripts, and we’ll probably start casting in earnest in the coming months.” Again, three leads, set in California.

As Variety reminds us, Pizzolatto previously told HitFix that this season would be about “hard women, bad men and the secret occult history of the United States transportation system.” Theories as to what that could mean have already begun flourishing around the web (amusingly enough, if you Google “transportation system,” “occult history” will instantly autofill alongside it – you cute True Detective fans, you), but Grantland’s own Tess Lynch has already begun ringing the bell on my favorite mini-theory: that it will have something to do with Route 66. (Even better, Lynch’s ruminations also include talk about a faux-Bohemian Grove group, which would tie in pretty perfectly with the bad dudes from the first season – all those trees and creepy rich male bonding!)

The historic Route 66 may end in Los Angeles – and it’s interesting that Pizzolatto felt the need to say this chapter of the story will not take place in LA – but it snakes through the bottom half of California, from the Arizona state line, before it gets there. Along the way, the route goes through Barstow, Victorville, San Bernardino, Ontario and Pasadena. As someone who has driven that route many, many times before (going to college in Los Angeles and having parents who live in Las Vegas will do that for you), I can personally testify that, even now, that’s a desolate stretch of hellroad.

All sorts of stuff could be going on out there right now, and while we don’t know when Pizzolatto’s show intends to take place, it seems a safe bet that at least part of it will take place in the past. Getting your kicks on Route 66 may have sounded like fun back in the day, but the truth is, it’s not all pretty out there, and there’s no wonder that the highway had to end in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, simply because there had to be something good after all that nothing-land travel. Do some of the big stops along Route 66 constitute “lesser-known venues”? Well, have you ever heard of Victorville?

Still, it’s a big state, and its northern half boasts plenty of lesser-known areas where all kinds of weird stuff can play out, too (hell, we could even take this thing to Yolo County). And, as fun as theorizing can be, isn’t it more fun when we just let True Detective be what it wants to be? We will, however, put this out there: Route 66 is called “The Mother Road,” and that sounds like the sort of thing that Pizzolatto could deliciously twist. Want to check it out for yourself? Hit the road, Jack.