Martin Hart and "Rust" Cohle are two detectives and former partners who worked in Louisiana's Criminal Investigation Division in the mid-1990s. In 2012, for reasons not immediately revealed, the two are interviewed separately by investigators about their most notorious case: the macabre 1995 murder of a prostitute by a possible serial killer with disturbing occult leanings. As they look back on the case, Hart and Cohle's personal backstories and often-strained relationship become a major focal point. Hart, an outgoing native Louisianan and family man whose marriage is being frayed by work stress and infidelity, is (at least on the surface) the polar opposite of Cohle, a lone-wolf pessimist and former narcotics detective from Texas. While the plot is moved forward by their shared obsession to hunt down the ritual killer, the true drama centers around the mercurial nature of Hart and Cohle's relationship and personalities, and how they affect each other as detectives, friends, and men.
A bizarre murder brings together three law-enforcement officers and a career criminal, each of whom must navigate a web of conspiracy and betrayal in the scorched landscapes of California. Colin Farrell is Ray Velcoro, a compromised detective in the all-industrial City of Vinci, LA County. Vince Vaughn plays Frank Semyon, a criminal and entrepreneur in danger of losing his life’s work, while his wife and closest ally, struggles with his choices and her own. Rachel McAdams is Ani Bezzerides, a Ventura County Sheriff’s detective often at odds with the system she serves, while Taylor Kitsch plays Paul Woodrugh, a war veteran and motorcycle cop for the California Highway Patrol who discovers a crime scene which triggers an investigation involving three law enforcement groups, multiple criminal collusions, and billions of dollars.
Mahershala Ali stars as Wayne Hays, a retired detective who has been tormented for 35 years by a case involving the 1980 disappearance of a 12-year-old boy and his 10-year-old sister in the town of West Finger, Arkansas. As the aging Hays, his memory failing, ruminates on details of his investigation with the producer of a truecrime documentary, we learn about the case, and Hays’ past, tracking stories in 1980, when the crime took place, and 1990, when a shocking discovery reignited interest in the case. Through these flashbacks, we get to know key characters like Roland West (Stephen Dorff), Wayne’s partner at the time of the murder; Amelia Reardon (Carmen Ejogo), a schoolteacher and writer; as well as county officials, FBI agents, family members and suspects. Each of the eight episodes adds a new piece to the puzzle of what happened on that fateful night in 1980 – and how that one event shaped the lives of so many people for so many years.
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