'True Detective' Season 2: A Guide to Red Herrings, MacGuffins and Potential Loose Ends

True Detective Season 2 Screengrab - H 2015

Season two of True Detective is now three-quarters over, and there are still a lot of questions to be answered. Topping the list is "Who killed Ben Caspere, and why?" but there are others as well.

Like, "What's the deal with the blue diamonds?" And "Who was Stan again?" The following is a guide to some of the possible red herrings and dangling plot threads that might or might not pay off in the season's last two episodes.

The Blue Diamonds

They were in Caspere's safe deposit box when he died, but Ray's (Colin Farrell) late partner Teague Dixon was looking for them before that. In Sunday's episode, Paul (Taylor Kitsch) learned they were stolen from a jeweler in Hollywood during the 1992 L.A. riots.

Does that add up to anything? Given all that Caspere was involved in, including a lucrative land grab and using sex as a blackmail tool, having some stolen diamonds would seem like a relatively small thing. Still, this season is modeled on classic L.A. crime stories that have turned on much less.

Black Mountain

Something bad happened while Paul was in Afghanistan, possibly involving the killing of civilians. Whatever Black Mountain is still weighs on Paul's mind. Apart from filling in part of Paul's character, however, it's unclear whether the operation will have any larger impact on the story.


Frank (Vince Vaughn) has been broken up about the episode two murder of one of his guys, Stan. Based on his reaction, and his heartfelt words to Stan's widow and son in Sunday's episode, he had a lot of affection for the guy. That's all the audience has to go on — Stan was not much more than a background player before the character was killed.


For the first half of the season, True Detective centered on the fictional city of Vinci, a tiny, deeply corrupt industrial town where Caspere was the city manager and the mayor (Ritchie Coster) essentially ran the government like a crime boss. It's based on a real place and seemed like a fascinating setting for the season.

Since the big shootout that ended episode four, however, the show has turned its focus to other places. Vinci and its power structure are still elements of the story, but the widening of the case's scope has cost it some of the specificity that made the show feel somewhat different than other L.A.-set crime stories.

The Cabin

Ani (Rachel McAdams) and Paul discovered a small, blood-spattered shack in last week's episode and seemed excited that it could be the location of Caspere's murder. (Though why you'd kill someone in Northern California and then dump his body several hundred miles south is an open question.)

Instead, they find out that the blood on the walls came from a woman. Perhaps Vera, the missing young woman Ani has been trying to find? Nope — Ani finds Vera very much alive, though not exactly well, at the orgy where she's undercover.

Irena Rulfo

Frank, and to a lesser extent Ray and his fellow investigators, spent much of Sunday's show trying to track down Irena, who worked for Ledo Amarilla before he was killed and who pawned much of Caspere's stuff.  Frank, er, persuades a guy to give up where she's been living.

But when Frank tries to meet her, she's dead, her throat slashed by the Mexican drug dealers who tried to do business with Frank the week before. She had previously mentioned to Frank on the phone that a "thin, white" cop gave her Caspere's things to pawn — maybe Lt. Burris (James Frain)? Irena is taking that answer to the grave.

What do you think of True Detective season two? Share your theories in the comments section, below. True Detective airs Sundays on HBO.