Description of “True Detective” episodes that were first released on HBO June 21, 2015 – August 9, 2015; ganre – crime, mystery.
True Detective overview of episodes (season 1)
1(9) episode True Detective description
“The Western Book of the Dead”
Vinci, California city manager Ben Caspere disappears the day before he was supposed to present plans for a new light rail. His corrupt business partner, Frank Semyon, is forced to make the presentation on his own, in the presence of his mob connections. Detective Ray Velcoro of the Vinci police department confronts his son’s bully, while fighting for custody of the boy with his ex-wife. Flashbacks reveal that the boy is actually a product of rape, and Velcoro is in Frank Semyon’s pocket after Semyon sold out his wife’s rapist to him. Velcoro is now burnt-out and unhinged, and works as an enforcer for Semyon. Ventura County detective Antigone Bezzerides raids a suspected prostitution ring, only to find it is a legal business for camgirls, one of whom is her sister Athena. Later, the pursuit of a missing young woman leads Bezzerides to the woman’s last known place of employment, a spiritual retreat run by Bezzerides’ father. A third cop, Highway Patrol officer Paul Woodrugh, is put on paid leave after a driver ticketed for speeding falsely accuses him of trying to solicit oral sex. It is later revealed that Woodrugh suffers from erectile dysfunction, a fact he keeps secret. Late at night, racing his motorcycle with nearly suicidal ferocity, Woodrugh discovers the corpse of Ben Caspere propped up on a bench, with his eyes burnt out. Velcoro and Bezzerides converge with Woodrugh at the crime scene.
2(10) episode True Detective description
“Night Finds You”
Led by State Attorney Richard Geldof and Katherine Davis, Velcoro and Bezzerides form a special investigation into Caspere’s murder. Lamenting on the news of Caspere’s death, Semyon wonders how he’ll get out of his financial issues. Semyon discovers that the money he gave Caspere for the high-speed rail deal was embezzled and he has lost over $5 million – most of his fortune. Enraged, he begins to investigate Caspere’s death in his own way. State investigators still want to push into the rumors of backdoor deals and corruption in Vinci, and recruit Woodrugh as a Special Investigator to gather evidence in exchange for quashing the Lindel solicitation scandal. Bezzerides is warned by her superiors that Velcoro is corrupt and to find a way to make him an informant, while Velcoro is asked by Chessani, the mayor of Vinci, and his own superiors, Holloway and Burris, that the investigation move where they want it. A fourth detective, Teague Dixon, is placed alongside them by the Vinci PD. An autopsy of Caspere’s body shows that he was tortured for information and his genitals shot off with a shotgun before being placed at the rest stop. Drunk, Velcoro seeks time with his son and instead gets a cruel backlash from his ex-wife who now seeks full custody of their son and threatens a paternity test to force him away. After an enigmatic visit to his mother, Woodrugh gets into an argument with his girlfriend, who thinks he is cheating, and he leaves her on bad terms. While driving with Velcoro and discussing the case, Bezzerides questions just how compromised he is, a question he leaves unanswered. At the bar, Semyon informs Velcoro about Caspere’s secret second house, information which he obtained from a prostitute. As Velcoro enters the home searching for clues, a person in a raven mask appears and shoots him twice in the gut with a shotgun, once at point blank range.
3(11) episode True Detective description
Velcoro has a dream of a man, later revealed to be his father, in a bar. His father tells Velcoro of a vision of him running out of the woods and being shot to death as Velcoro sees wounds form on his own body. He awakens revealing the gunshots were non-lethal buckshots, and discovers that a hard drive containing footage of Caspere’s sexual encounters has been stolen. As he recovers, Velcoro meets his father who is also an alcoholic and delivers him cannabis indica to help his father sleep. Semyon begins suffering from erectile dysfunction for the first time as pressure builds against him while his wife, Jordan, gives him oral sex for in vitro fertilization which he considers unnatural. Bezzerides and Woodrugh investigate Mayor Chessani’s possible connection to Caspere’s death by going to his home. They discover his intoxicated young trophy wife, moody daughter and problematic son much to Chessani’s dismay who threatens to have Bezzerides and Woodrugh fired. Semyon meets an old business partner in the construction business who already paid his debts, but demands more capital in exchange for new favors. Semyon meets with Osip who hints he is bailing on the deal. Semyon’s criminal associate, Blake, enters and reveals his other criminal associate, Stan, was just killed as well. Woodrugh meets an old friend from private security firm Black Mountain, Miguel Gilb, who reminds him of their homosexual encounter during the war. Woodrugh responds by pushing him to the ground. Later Woodrugh uses a gay escort to get into Danny Santos’ club for further investigation where he briefly bumps into Semyon. Semyon tells Santos and other gangsters to find who is murdering his associates. Santos who loses respect for Semyon states he no longer works for him and tells Semyon to get out. Semyon responds by fighting and beating Santos, then taking out Santos’ golden front teeth with pliers. While Bezzerides and Velcoro share a drink at his house, Velcoro’s ex-wife Gena Brune shows up at his door to inform him he is under investigation by the state for corruption and the prior assault on her rapist; Bezzerides hears the conversation behind the door. Brune attempts to give Velcoro $10,000 to drop the custody battle, which he refuses. A tip from Caspere’s assistant Laura leads Bezzerides and Velcoro investigate a movie set learning that a car had been stolen in the weeks prior, presumably the same car which carried Caspere. As they interrogate a boy with a history of auto theft, around the corner a masked man sets fire to the car which transported Caspere’s body. Bezzerides is nearly hit by a truck during the pursuit as she and Velcoro chase the masked man before Velcoro pulls her out of the way. She thanks Velcoro, who tells her she can thank him by telling him what the state has against him. She says she does not know.
4(12) episode True Detective description
“Down Will Come”
Semyon starts to rebuild his empire, working his way back into the ownership of clubs and properties that he once owned, and negotiating deals with the city’s drug suppliers in a bid to reclaim his lost money. Bezzerides and Velcoro follow Caspere’s movements, tracking him to vast tracts of land contaminated by the heavy metals dumped in the tailings from decades of mining. A visit to the commune run by Bezzerides’s father reveals that Chessani, Caspere and Caspere’s psychiatrist Dr. Pitlor have been in business for decades, prompting Velcoro to admit that the State investigation into Vinci is little more than a shakedown. He warns Bezzerides that Chessani did not get to his position without having faced similar pressure in the past, and that he could not survive without powerful friends or amassing power of his own. Political forces—implied to be Chessani’s influence—see Bezzerides suspended from her job after a co-worker files a sexual harassment complaint against her, though she is allowed to remain on the special task force. Woodrugh awakens from his investigation into the prostitutes to find that he has slept with Miguel. Refusing to address the issue, Woodrugh leaves to find his motorcycle gone and is later accosted by reporters asking questions about his time with a private military contractor in Iraq. Later meeting with his estranged girlfriend in a diner, where she informs him she is pregnant, Woodrugh desperately proposes marriage to her. Throwing himself back into the investigation, he and Dixon follow up on a lead at a pawn shop where he uncovers a prostitute named Irina selling a watch owned by Caspere. Velcoro approaches Semyon with this, which Semyon dismisses as unlikely as Stan was killed under similar circumstances and there is no connection to his death. Under pressure from Vinci PD to close the case, Velcoro, Bezzerides and Woodrugh lead a raid against Irina’s pimp, Ledo Amarilla, but are ambushed when the building is found to be a methamphetamine lab which promptly explodes when the police open fire. As Amarilla tries to escape, he crashes his SUV into a city bus during a demonstration against the rail project. He and his accomplices open fire on the crowd as the police move in, with Dixon among the dead, and while the gunmen are killed, Velcoro, Bezzerides and Woodrugh are left horrified at the mass civilian and police casualties.
5(13) episode True Detective description
Two months after the shoot-out, the special investigation into Caspere’s death has been shut down, with the State Attorney, Geldof, satisfied that Amarilla was responsible. Velcoro has since quit the Vinci PD and works private security for Semyon while fighting his ex-wife and her husband for custody of his son; Bezzerides has been demoted to the sheriff’s office evidence lock-up, attending sexual harassment seminars, and has returned to investigating Vera’s disappearance in her own time; and Woodrugh has been promoted to detective and investigating insurance fraud while fighting extortion attempts by Lindel. Semyon approaches McCandless, owner of Catalyst—the company holding the lands to be bought for the rail project—with information that the person he sold his waste disposal company to has died under suspicious circumstances. This, combined with McCandless’ complicitness in having Semyon use said company prior to its sale to contaminate the lands around the rail project to lower its value before the federal government bought it back are used as blackmail by Semyon to get back into the rail project. McCandless instead gives him the chance to buy back into the project if he can recover the hard drive stolen from Caspere’s apartment the night Velcoro was shot. Semyon also has Velcoro tail Blake, whom he no longer trusts. Velcoro spots him and Tony Chessani picking up three girls at Pitlor’s clinic then bringing them to Semyon’s rival, Osip. Meanwhile, Bezzerides makes a connection between Vera and the cache of blue diamonds found in Caspere’s safe deposit box. This prompts Davis to re-open the investigation into Caspere’s death under the pretext of finding Irina, bringing Velcoro, Bezzerides, and Woodrugh back together. Davis suspects Geldof colluded with Chessani, using the original investigation to establish an account to fund his campaign for governor and pin the corruption on Caspere. Velcoro is pensive but agrees when Davis offers to help him keep custody of his son. Davis also reveals to Velcoro that Gena’s rapist had been arrested six weeks previously. After confirming this with Gena, Velcoro realizes that the tip Semyon gave him years ago was a set-up to corrupt him. Woodrugh follows up on the diamonds and discovers Dixon had been looking for them prior to their discovery but had kept that information to himself during the original investigation. This leads Woodrugh and Bezzerides to conclude that Vinci PD had been using Dixon to manipulate the investigation. Velcoro returns to Pitlor’s clinic and beats Pitlor for information, confirming that Caspere and Chessani were in business together linking influential men with prostitutes at secret parties. They subsequently used pictures taken at the parties to blackmail men like McCandless who attend them. Bezzerides approaches Athena to try and get an invite to an upcoming party before she and Woodrugh, following a previous lead from her old partner, match Vera’s last movements to an abandoned house in Guernville. Deep in the woods behind the house they discover a blood stained shed with a torture chair inside. As Semyon and Jordan reconcile after being at odds over Semyon’s return to his old business practices, Jordan’s infertility, and their future, Velcoro arrives at their new home and tells Semyon they need to talk.
6(14) episode True Detective description
“Church in Ruins”
Velcoro and Semyon discuss the tip that led Velcoro to his wife’s alleged rapist, with both men grasping their guns under the coffee table. Semyon swears to Velcoro that he thought the information was genuine at the time. Satisfied that Semyon did not intentionally mislead him, Velcoro confronts the man arrested for the rape in prison, promising to kill him. After an awkward supervised visit with his son, Velcoro goes on a cocaine- and alcohol-fueled bender before calling his ex-wife and agreeing to drop the custody case on the condition that she never reveal her son’s true parentage. Semyon later meets with Stan’s widow and young son to comfort them and question them on possible suspects in his death, with Stan’s widow citing Blake. Meanwhile, Woodrugh follows up on the missing diamonds to find that they were part of a cache stolen during a double homicide and robbery in the 1992 riots that orphaned two children, making the diamonds untraceable. Semyon starts searching for Irina, making an agreement with a Mexican cartel that will allow them to move drugs through his clubs. Irina calls Semyon and reveals that she had been given the items from Caspere’s home by a police officer. Semyon arranges to meet her so that she can identify the man from a photo, but when he arrives at the site, he finds her dead, having been killed by the Mexicans for dealing with police. Outnumbered and empty-handed, Semyon is forced to accept the deal with the Mexicans. Bezzerides goes undercover, posing as Athena to infiltrate one of the secret elite parties. With no phone, transmitter or weapon, she is forced to rely on Woodrugh and Velcoro for support. At the party, she is drugged and taken to the guests with a busload of other girls. Her attempts to search the party are hampered by the male guests (one of whom is Geldof) and hallucinations of a strange man from her childhood, implying that she was sexually abused. As Woodrugh and Velcoro sneak in, they observe a meeting between McCandless and Osip where McCandless admits that Osip’s investment in the rail project was far more lucrative than Semyon’s. The two steal a set of contracts from McCandless’ office. Bezzerides locates Vera at the party and attempts to get her out, but is forced to kill a guard in the process. She and Vera are found by Woodrugh who escorts them to Velcoro in a waiting car. As the four escape, Woodrugh goes over the stolen contracts and starts to realize the scale of what they are involved in.
7(15) episode True Detective description
“Black Maps and Motel Rooms“
The task force regroups after the party to allow Vera and Bezzerides to recover from the drugs they were given while Velcoro and Woodrugh go over the documents that link Catalyst and McCandless to Osip. When morning comes, Woodrugh and Bezzerides move their families to safety while Velcoro reports to Semyon. Velcoro approaches Davis with their evidence but finds her shot dead in her car. Woodrugh discovers that Bezzerides is wanted for questioning over the death of the security guard she killed at the party while Velcoro has been named as a suspect in Davis’ murder. Woodrugh is contacted by a third party blackmailing him with photos from his night with Gilb. Using information from Semyon, Vera and the police database, the three are able to formulate a theory on Caspere’s death: that a group of corrupt police—Holloway, Burris, Dixon and Caspere—used the 1992 riots to steal the diamonds which they used to buy into the Vinci power structure; however, Laura, a child orphaned during the robbery, tracked them down and after posing as Caspere’s assistant, killed him after confirming his involvement. Everything from their discovery of the diamonds through to the shoot-out with Ledo Amarilla has been manipulated from behind the scenes by Vinci PD to cover up their involvement in the original crime. Meanwhile, Semyon confronts Blake over his role in Osip’s operation; Blake admits that Osip is trying to force Semyon out of business with the help of Chessani’s son Tony, who Osip will install as mayor of Vinci to act as his puppet. When pushed further, Blake confesses to having killed Stan and staging the murder to imitate Caspere’s death. Semyon kills him and arranges for Jordan to leave town. When approached by Osip, Semyon bows out gracefully and accepts a role as manager of Osip’s clubs. However, having learned of a money drop in which Osip will transfer $12 million to Tony Chessani, Semyon takes his cash reserves and burns the properties to hurt Osip’s business. Faced with the realization of just how powerful their enemies are, Velcoro and Bezzerides sleep together. Meanwhile, Woodrugh is lured to a meeting with his blackmailer, Holloway, who demands the documents taken from the party. Woodrugh overpowers him and is drawn into a shootout with the Black Mountain private security accompanying Holloway on behalf of McCandless, but as he makes his escape, he is shot twice by Lieutenant Burris and left bleeding on the pavement.
8(16) episode True Detective description
After a night of sex, Velcoro and Bezzerides recount their respective traumas—Bezzerides’ childhood molestation and Velcoro’s murder of his wife’s supposed rapist. Semyon convinces Jordan to leave the country for Venezuela with his lieutenant Nails, where he will rendezvous with her two weeks later. He then goes to Chessani’s mansion, where he finds the mayor dead, and the mayor’s wife Veronica, while high, implicates his son Tony as his murderer. Meanwhile Velcoro and Bezzerides learn of Woodrugh’s death and resolve to close the case. They identify Laura, Caspere’s secretary, and Lenny, a photographer from the movie set of the stolen prop car, as the Osterman siblings. Visiting Lenny’s home they find Laura handcuffed to the fireplace, and the bird’s head mask from the earlier episodes that belongs to Lenny identifying him as the murderer of Caspere, and the man who shot Velcoro. Laura confirms that Lenny murdered Caspere, and plans to kill Holloway under the pretense of a public meeting at a train station in Anaheim to trade Caspere’s tapes for money as the tapes have been erased. Bezzerides puts Laura on a bus to Seattle while Velcoro intercepts Lenny at the train station and convinces him to entrap Holloway. Velcoro takes Lenny’s place, leading Holloway into a discussion of the blue diamond conspiracy with him, while Lenny sits behind them. Holloway reveals that Caspere fathered Laura illegitimately and that their mother was pregnant with Caspere’s second child at the time of her murder. This revelation sends Lenny into a rage and he attacks Holloway, thereby starting a shootout between Velcoro, Bezzerides, Burris, and Lenny. Holloway shoots Lenny before both are shot by transit police as the rest make their escape amidst the confusion. Velcoro and Bezzerides meet Semyon at a secret bunker in the Black Rose bar where Velcoro convinces Bezzerides to head to Venezuela while he and Semyon plot a revenge attack on Osip. They then carry out the two-man assault on the money drop at a secret cabin, killing McCandless and Osip. On their way back, both men are ambushed—Semyon is apprehended and driven out to the desert by the cartel members who invested in the clubs he burned, while Velcoro visits his son at school in Laurel Canyon and is spotted by Vinci PD searching for him and they place a transponder on his vehicle that Velcoro spots but is unable to remove, and drives off anyway knowing his fate is sealed. Semyon cooperates with the cartel members and pays them off, but refuses to give one of the men his suit when the man demands it, as he has the last of his money liquidated into diamonds in his pocket. Semyon is stabbed and attempts to walk back to civilization, but succumbs to his wounds in the middle of the desert after a series of four hallucinations and dies. Velcoro is still being tailed by Vinci police, and bids Chad goodbye on the phone before making a last stand in the woods. Velcoro accepts his fate, confronting Burris and a tactical team who shoot him to death, mirroring the conversation he had with his father in the dream sequence from episode three. In an epilogue sequence, Tony Chessani becomes mayor of Vinci, Geldof is elected governor, the rail project goes ahead as scheduled, Velcoro is remembered as a cop killer, Gena learns from Chad’s paternity test that Velcoro is 99.9% most likely his father, a newly constructed highway is named in Paul Woodrugh’s memory and Woodrugh’s girlfriend has given birth to his child. In Venezuela, Bezzerides is revealed to have given birth to Velcoro’s second son and is living with Jordan Semyon. She meets with the journalist Velcoro assaulted in episode one, and passes all the incriminating evidence, including the Caspere case files, on to him to start a crusade against the corruption in Vinci before she, Jordan and Nails disappear in a crowd.