True Detective, season two: where is it set?

BY Richard Mellor

1st Jan 2015 Travel

True Detective, season two: where is it set?

Complete with Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Taylor Kitsch and Rachel McAdams in the lead roles, the hugely-anticipated second season of True Detective kicks off on 22 June. But with Louisiana’s devil worshippers and swamp life playing such a sensual, starring role last time round, where will this this new series be set?

The Golden State

Series two is set entirely in California, but don’t go expecting the sun-dappled mansions and polished sheen of shows like The O.C., Beverly Hills, 90210 or even Californication. No: writer Nic Pizzolatto has instead pledged to depict "the places that don't get much press, where you wouldn't normally set a television show.” Sounding suitably menacing, he also promises that True Detective will feature locations evoking the "psychosphere ambience of the place." Accordingly, the trailer features strip clubs, cheap-looking motel complexes, empty warehouse plants and scorched, graffiti-covered lots.


Why So Urban?

Early spoilers have series two partly focused on murky transportation politics and rights with thuggish mobster Frank Semyon (Vaughn) supposedly trying to force through a dodgy high-speed rail scheme. After a bent city manager’s body is discovered beside the Pacific Coast Highway, three law-enforcement officers – terse detective Ray Velcoro (Farrell), single-minded sheriff Ani Bezzerides (McAdams) and young patrolman Paul Woodrugh (Kitsch) – soon begin to unearth complex layers of bureaucratic misdeeds rooted in collusion and corruption. Throw in orgies (“California knows how to party”, as Tupac once sang) and occultist worship, liberal, wealthy California makes an obvious urbanised setting – and one that’s a notable opposite to the wild, eerie expanses trodden by Rust and Marty.


So Where Exactly?

While Pizzolatto has specified (kind of) that True Detective’s new season is set in the 400 miles between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the bulk of its action takes place in L.A. itself, including its various suburban cities. Among the central L.A. locations are the gritty Fashion District, Malibu’s iconic beach and the Civic Center, close to the Hall of Justice. The Normandie Casino in Gardena, southern California’s only-surviving original cardroom, has been used, as has Anaheim’s ARTIC rail and bus station, linking to the transportation theme. And Robinson House, a fabulous mansion in Pasadena, hosted an already-infamous bacchanal scene. 


L.A. Location Tours?

Season 1’s success quickly saw True Detective tour opportunities spring up across Louisiana, with self-drive tours and themed packages available to take in key and memorable locations from the inaugural episodes. Expect the same offerings to quickly become available around Los Angeles should season 2 have anything like the same kind of success. The L.A. tourist board’s website will be a good place to locate the best.

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