• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 12, 2014
Season #: 3, 2, 1
Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 41
  2. Negative: 0 out of 41

Where To Watch

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Vicki Hyman
    Jun 19, 2015
    91
    There's a lot of backstory, and there's a lot of plot that makes the first couple of episodes a bit difficult to ease into, but at the end of the second episode, Pizzolato's penchant for abrupt violence with a side of freakiness will leave you with panting for more.
  2. Reviewed by: Alee Karim
    Jun 22, 2015
    85
    It's punchy, violent, and darkly funny.
  3. Reviewed by: Kristi Turnquist
    Jun 19, 2015
    80
    True Detective Season 2 may not be subtle ("this is my least favorite life," a performer mournfully sings at the Vinci bar.) But the actors provide enough light to make it worth navigating the gloom.
  4. Reviewed by: Sarah Rodman
    Jun 18, 2015
    80
    It may be impossible for it to strike TV lightning twice, but True Detective in its second iteration definitely has a charge.
  5. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Jun 18, 2015
    80
    It is a rock-solid crime drama with film caliber production values, intriguing plotting and great performances.
  6. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Jun 12, 2015
    80
    It’s still the kind of show that makes TV viewers reach for phrases like “golden age of television drama.”
  7. Reviewed by: Jeff Korbelik
    Jun 22, 2015
    75
    It’s difficult to like or root for any of the four, making this one difficult watch. Still, creator and writer Nic Pizzolatto has a knack for storytelling and character development. Especially intriguing is Farrell.
  8. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Jun 19, 2015
    75
    Pizzolatto's writing is not without its irritations, particularly his dialogue.... Ultimately, the characters are too fascinating to turn loose of–particularly Farrell's explosive Velcoro and his political godfather Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn).
  9. All of the lead actors dig deeply into their roles, with Farrell playing the wary, weary burnout to perfection, and Vaughn shifting into full-throttle intensity. The story is dark and atmospheric--just the way fans like it. Meanwhile, the first three episodes hint at enough buried secrets and fresh angles to indicate that the story still has a lot to give.
  10. Reviewed by: Melissa Maerz
    Jun 12, 2015
    75
    For now, my expectations are still high—probably too high for this show. But maybe you can’t truly hate True Detective unless you love it enough to let it disappoint you.
  11. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Jun 19, 2015
    70
    As the fine but far more dutiful early episodes of Season 2 suggest, if we're not careful, we'll get only the television we deserve.
  12. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Jun 18, 2015
    70
    True Detective is monochromatic and self-serious, but it builds suspense with finesse and has a keen appreciation for the poetry of political corruption and urban decay. That makes it intriguing, just not enthralling.
  13. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Jun 18, 2015
    70
    The new season of True Detective is, especially given the burden of expectations, remarkably solid. It’s not a belly flop. It lacks the obvious hook of its predecessor, but I still am eager to see how it develops.
  14. 70
    You’ll probably miss the humor of the first True Detective but the brooding sourness of this one is fascinating in a different way, though it loses points for showing us a world that feels far more familiar than the one showcased in season one. When Ani, Ray, and Paul are drawn together as a unit, it takes a while to establish any kind of chemistry between them, because they’re all variations of the Mann-style, soul-sick badass.
  15. Reviewed by: Tom Long
    Jun 19, 2015
    67
    Just about everything that made the first season of True Detective entrancing is missing from the second, wholly re-imagined second season. In truth, only the worst, most clichéd parts remain. And yet.... If you make it to the third episode, chances are you'll keep going.
  16. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Jun 18, 2015
    67
    "Potential," in fact, is the key word. It's definitely here, but "2" may also need all eight episodes to realize it.
  17. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Jun 17, 2015
    67
    These are all excellent actors, most of them trying to push themselves out of their comfort zone in the same way McConaughey and Harrelson did, but with more mixed results.... The second season has [Pizzolatto] at times contorting himself into doing things that don't play as well to his strengths, and at others cranking up his specialties.
  18. Reviewed by: Ben Travers
    Jun 12, 2015
    67
    The plot [in season one] was a means to an end, and that takeaway had much more to do with the characters than the crime. Season 2 keeps that crucial tradition alive, even as the plot gets in the way more often than it should.
  19. Reviewed by: Robert Rorke
    Jun 19, 2015
    63
    If True Detective is going to be more than a vehicle for eclipsed stars trying to reignite their careers, Pizzolatto & Co. will have to dig deeper for a story that entertains--and impresses us as definitively as its predecessor.
  20. Reviewed by: Gail Pennington
    Jun 17, 2015
    63
    Season 2 of True Detective is as slow as molasses, and just as dark, in its first hours.
  21. Reviewed by: Sara Smith
    Jun 22, 2015
    60
    Although it was wise not to try to repeat the double interrogation format of the first season, there are clever nods to those closed-room confessionals, and the show eventually eases into rewarding drive-and-talks between Farrell and McAdams.... What keeps this Detective from being quite as compelling as the first is the lack of early focus.
  22. Reviewed by: Marlow Stern
    Jun 19, 2015
    60
    Season 2 of HBO's True Detective is almost entirely devoid of the lyrical dialogue, nonlinear storytelling, and treasure trove of literary references that crashed servers and launched a thousand subreddits (for the former, you’ll have to turn to the Lincoln commercials). It’s a straightforward pulpy neo-noir.... The performances are all top-notch and the pacing is brisk.
  23. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Jun 16, 2015
    60
    There is something still lugubrious and overwrought about True Detective, but there’s also a mesmerizing style to it--it’s imperfect, but well made.
  24. Reviewed by: Bruce Miller
    Jun 15, 2015
    60
    The sharpness of Season One gives way to the moodiness of Season Two. And, thus far (three episodes were made available), it’s hard to get a bead on where this is headed.
  25. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Jun 18, 2015
    58
    Even though it’s been a heady year since the first thrilling installment and the season runs but eight episodes, something feels undercooked about this production.
  26. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Jun 17, 2015
    58
    The overriding problem with True Detective 2 is its neck-deep wallow in debasement and self-pity.
  27. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Jun 23, 2015
    50
    True Deetective is both underwritten and over-plotted.
  28. Reviewed by: Molly Eichel
    Jun 22, 2015
    50
    The second season's central mystery is enough to keep you watching, but you can say the same thing about Law & Order. The ordinariness is a quality that weighs heavily on True Detective because its cop-show genre is all over TV.
  29. Reviewed by: Mark Dawidziak
    Jun 19, 2015
    50
    Whatever the reason, or the combination of reasons, the second season of True Detective drags disappointingly along as wearisome second-tier stuff. That doesn't mean it's without merit. It doesn't mean there aren't dazzlingly surprising stretches.
  30. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Jun 19, 2015
    50
    There's an intermittently engaging trashiness to this season of True Detective, but the overall production feels overbearingly self-serious, though not in any self-aware way that would excuse the entire death-drunk schematics Pizzolatto has designed here.
  31. Reviewed by: Todd VanDerWerff
    Jun 19, 2015
    50
    It's an okay cop drama, to be sure, but it's definitely a cop drama you have seen many, many times before.
  32. TV Guide Magazine
    Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Jun 18, 2015
    50
    True Detective has its moments as a character study. [22-28 Jun 2015, p.10]
  33. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Jun 18, 2015
    50
    Three episodes in, the murder mystery is fairly intriguing, but the characters are not. And while improvement is always possible, that's a hard flaw to fix, in a show that (for now) counts as a miss.
  34. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Jun 18, 2015
    50
    Season 2 loses the novelty of the show’s first outing and highlights the weaknesses.
  35. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Jun 18, 2015
    50
    [Nic Pizzolatto's] chosen the hardboiled-detective genre as his main menu, and given us three eggs so overdone, you couldn’t even stick a fork in them.... Each of the lead actors is doing superb work: Farrell, McAdams, and Kitsch find distinctive ways of expressing their troubled pasts and difficult present-day situations.
  36. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Jun 12, 2015
    50
    On paper, the set-up and the plot may seem workable, but in reality, the characters are both over-written and under-thought. The writers seem to have gone overboard finding layers and layers of trumped up psychology to make the characters more interesting. In so doing, they’ve also made them less credible.
  37. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Jun 12, 2015
    50
    True Detective is trying so hard here it hurts. ... Pizzolatto has inexplicably made every character in this season spout clipped and elliptical phrases. They begin to pile up so quickly that you soon realize there’s no flow to the characters, no realism to them.
  38. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Jun 12, 2015
    50
    Although generally watchable, the inspiration that turned the first [season] into an obsession for many seems to have drained out of writer Nic Pizzolatto’s prose.
  39. Reviewed by: Brandon Nowalk
    Jun 18, 2015
    42
    The result is monotony. Season one spiced up its mood with a pungent mix of buddy-cop comedy, surreal horror, and mystery. Season two is serious people doing serious things all the time. None of these characters have ever found anything funny in their lives, and none of them have anything interesting to offer one another (or us) beyond solving the case.
  40. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Jun 19, 2015
    40
    The new season’s more-is-more approach feels forced. Even the pretentiousness seems turned up a notch.
  41. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Jun 18, 2015
    40
    I'm more bothered by the dialogue, which doesn't always ring true. Sunny California or not, there's nothing in the first three episodes to approach the sheer joy of Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey in a car together.
User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 817 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Jun 21, 2015
    4
    Let me start out by saying I had high hopes for this after season 1. I really was a fan. But season 2 is a let down. Pure and simple. NothingLet me start out by saying I had high hopes for this after season 1. I really was a fan. But season 2 is a let down. Pure and simple. Nothing terrible, just not interesting or entertaining, and simply not worth the time and effort to follow.

    The story is not particularly cohesive, the acting is truly down a notch (or several). There don't really appear to be many themes, and the ones that exist aren't particularly interesting. I think that the series has turned away from being character driven to being plot driven. This is a mistake.

    A significant part of the series seems to have been a response to feminist criticism of what was a brilliant first season. I guess this is the difference between a TV series that unashamedly wants to create something brilliant and a TV series that is so scared of critics that it panders to them at the expense of engaging with anything interesting.

    All I can say to the writers is: challenge me with something, don't give me a bunch of people with problems circling each other. To the directors: bring back the eerie suspense of season 1 and the darkness that all characters go through, the appeal of season 1 was that both lead characters went through a very dark shared experience and their worldviews determined what they got out of it as well as what they shared with each other. Don't give me a bunch of alcoholics with anger problems and daddy issues.
    Full Review »
  2. Jul 7, 2015
    4
    Season 1 was perfection. Season 2 is boring. After three episodes, I figured out why I don't care about this story. It's because the murderSeason 1 was perfection. Season 2 is boring. After three episodes, I figured out why I don't care about this story. It's because the murder victim is a dirty old corrupt politician. I don't feel bad for him, so I don't even care if these detectives solve the crime. On top of that, we have really boring characters, and too many of them. The first season kept it simple. Two detectives trying to find a murderer killing innocent girls. Yes, the detectives had demons of their own, but we could over look that and still cheer for them because the killer in the show was way more heinous. We wanted justice while also watching two amazing characters (and actors) clash in the process. The second season is way more complex. We have three detectives, each with their own group behind them trying to push their agendas. Too much. I would say the only interesting story in this show is the piece where the crime lord is trying to figure out who screwed him out of his multi-million dollar deal, causing him to abandon his white-collar criminal approach and return to his gangster roots to find some answers. The acting is mediocre, and the dialogue is flat. This season is probably a lost cause, and hopefully the showmakers will learn from their mistakes and go back to what works when it comes to story telling. Full Review »
  3. Jun 25, 2015
    10
    Come on! You know it's going to get good! We have Crazy dad, Crazy sister and Tiger Woods. Nothing simple can come out of this. I'm excited toCome on! You know it's going to get good! We have Crazy dad, Crazy sister and Tiger Woods. Nothing simple can come out of this. I'm excited to see how the players fit and how they become True Detectives. Full Review »