I offered a fairly grim assessment of season two of True Detective in my review last week. Obviously, there doesn’t appear to be a significantly stronger presence where it concerns females this season, but I will admit that once I rewatched the episode a second and third time and began building my yarn wall, the series began to get far more intriguing.
I love a good mystery, and I love even more trying to figure it out. I will break down the episode in its entirety on Uproxx each Monday morning, but here is where I will build the True Detective yarn wall throughout the season, adding and subtracting as the season progresses.
In this space, I’m going to keep a running list of clues as to the identity of the killer in True Detective season two, who I will call the Bird Killer, until he is given a more official nickname.
Here’s where we are after two episodes.
The Players: Detective Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams), the Venture detective running point on the murder of Ben Casepere; Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch), the special investigator collecting evidence for the state’s corruption case against the city of Vinci; Ray Velcoro (Colin Farell), the bent Vinci detective who is compromised by both his relationship to the city and to career criminal Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn), who has his own reasons for wanting to find out who murdered Ben Casepere.
The Victim Ben Caspere.
Caspere was the city manager of Vinci. He was also corrupt, acting as the “bank” for Frank Semyon, holding $5 million that was meant to go to a company called Catalyst for the purchase of parcels of land involved in a high-speed railway project. He is also heavily involved with prostitutes, spending about $4,000 once a month on them. In fact, he owned a second house in Hollywood, where he would spend time with prostitutes once a month. He was last seen with a woman, possibly by the name of Tasha. Caspere was tortured and murdered by an unknown killer.
Forensics Killed between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m. The killer burned out his eyes using hydrochloric acid, using a dropper. Caspere had alcohol in his system. He also had gonorrhea.
This is his car and license plate.
He wears a bird mask, possibly that of a crow.
You can barely make him out, but this appears to be a picture of the killer’s arms and torso, as he’s carrying the body of Ben Caspere. He waddles while carrying the body.
He may have also killed Ray (he totally didn’t kill Ray).
It’s also worth noting that the killer may also be responsible for the death of another missing woman, who is being investigated by Ani.
Osip, a Russian mobster.
Motive: He seemed to want to back out of his end of the railroad project deal with Semyon. Killing Caspere would effectuate that.
Motive: He’s always being underestimated by Frank. Maybe he’s sleeping with Frank’s wife?
Jacob McCandless, a Catalyist Executive
Motive: He was supposed to collect $5 million from Caspere and hand over the dead to parcels of land to Semyon. He could’ve collected the $5 million and had Caspere killed, thereby forcing Semyon to pay a second time for the parcels. Alternatively, he could’ve had Caspere killed so that Catalyst could keep the land for himself.
Motive: To put Frank on ice. Caspere’s death puts Frank in debt to him, and he doesn’t give a shit that Frank once helped him cover up his son’s crime.
The Shrink (played by RICK SPRINGFIELD.
Motive: He’s creepy, therefore he’s inherently suspicious. Plus, check out the bird in the painting in his office.
Lady with the Scar
Motive: Red herring.
Motive: Besides the grill, he also runs the poker room for Frank. Maybe if Frank loses the poker room after going bankrupt, Danny inherits it in full. But mostly, it’s the grill.
Motive: Unknown, so far. He is vaguely connected to Caspere through Caspere’s shrink, who used to associate with Eliot. Eliot also has a totem that “watches over the dead.” Does that totem contain a bird? Is that a clue?
The series’ opening shot of the survey stakes (in a contaminated area) contains this symbol. What it means, I have no idea. I could be nothing. It could be an occult symbol.
This geode, which Ani gave a long glance at in the shrink’s office.