Episode two of the second season, entitled “Night Finds You” picks up where the last episode left off, with all three police officers gathered around the body of city manager Ben Caspere. Caspere’s significance is finally explained as it is revealed that Caspere was supposed to buy 12 parcels of land for Frank Semyon (Vaughn) from the Catalast Group. Semyon had liquidated all of his criminal assets to come up with the necessary five million dollars for the land deal, with the understanding that his investment would be multiplied a hundredfold with the construction of a high speed rail line. Unfortunately for Semyon, Caspere never bought the land, and somehow lost all of Semyon’s money, leaving Semyon broke and without assets.
A joint investigation begins, with Officer Bezzerides (McAdams) taking the lead, with Velcoro (Farrell) as her second, and Woodrugh (Kitsch) working under both of them. The Ventura Country Sherriff’s Department and the State Police, Bezzerides and Woodrugh’s respective employers, order them to secretly monitor Velcoro and other officers of the Vinci Police Department, due to a pending state corruption probe. These secret orders create a silent tension between Bezzerides and Velcoro, who partner up and visit crime scenes while Woodugh runs down files.
Watching Bezzerides and Velcoro chat while cruising the streets of Vinci was entertaining, as the hard nosed Bezzerides tried to squeeze information out of Velcoro whilst Velcoro slyly avoided answering her questions. Woodrugh remains my least favorite character in the series as he quite clearly lacks a personality and a purpose in the investigation, and sullenly refuses to talk about his past. His shrouded past, most likely involving a contractor security firm called Black Mountain (similar to Blackwater in real life) will most likely come to light eventually, but right now his Bruce Wayne-esqe demeanor is infuriating. Colin Farrell once again shines as Velcoro, especially in a scene where his ex is threatening to claim sole custody of his son. With pleading eyes, he begs “Alright, I'm a piece of shit, but that boy is all I have in my entire shitty life.” Although I doubt that there will be a happy ending in this murky world of corruption, I do hope that Velcoro will be able to make peace with his son and ex by the end of the season.
Of course what made this episode great was the sense of a growing conspiracy, a “sprawl” or corruption and deceit surrounding all of the events in the first two episodes. There are unknown, unseen criminal forces who may be making a move on the high speed rail network, using Semyon’s money stolen from Caspere for their own game. There are implications that the state attorney’s office cares more about their corruption probe in Vinci than the success or failure of the Caspere homicide investigation. Moreover, there is a pervading tension between the three detectives, who don’t know each other and don’t quite trust each other. The pervading sense of corruption in Vinci, from the toxic waste processing plants to the countless paid off officials creates a murky atmosphere of corruption, similar to the bayou in season 1. In this atmosphere, Pizzolatto’s dark criminal conspiracy and take root and grow. This atmosphere plus an amazing cliffhanger at the end of the episode has me slavering for more.