True Detective Season 2 Explained: Closing the Case on This Mystery


Why does Leonard wear a bird mask?

true detective bird mask

It’s turns out to be a pretty small thing. It’s just a mask that Ben Caspere used to wear during some of his creepy sex shenanigans (remember all the other masks Ray sees in his house?). Leonard picks it up after killing Caspere, and uses it as part of his disguise.

What is up with Frank and Jordan’s baby troubles?

A major subplot in the season is Frank and Jordan’s difficulty in trying to have a baby. It’s heavily implied that Jordan is probably infertile, the result of operations that she had before they were together, most likely abortions. It’s also suggested that the movie producer that Frank meets with while trying to find new investors is the one who got Jordan pregnant before those operations.

What did Ani’s dad have to do with anything?

Elliot Bezzerides doesn’t have any direct ties to Season 2’s murder mystery, but like everything else on the show, he’s still connected to it all.

We find out that Elliot used to be a part of a commune called “Good People” in the 70s and 80s. It was there he raised his two daughters, Ani and Athena, following the death of his wife. During his time at Good People, Elliot came into contact with Doctor Irving Pitlor (then known as “Doc”), Austin Chessani, Tony Chessani, and Ben Caspere.

Pitlor, the Chessanis, and Caspere likely met each other here as well, forming working relationships that would carry on decades into the future. Elliot wasn’t a part of these criminal schemes, but he’s not entirely innocent either. He was close enough to them to at one point be a part of a group photo (the Chessani lodge), and during his time at Good People, it is implied that sexual abuse involving children occurred.


Ani’s experience is described in the show, but we also know that out of the other four children who grew up with Ani in the commune, two committed suicide and two ended up in prison. That seems to indicate that the abuse was widespread, perhaps foreshadowing the sexual activities that Ben Caspere and Tony Chessani would orchestrate later.

What did Paul do in Afghanistan that was so bad?

It’s left ambiguous. All we know for sure is that while employed by Black Mountain, Paul (along with a squad of men including Miguel) were involved with some shady business involving a village. The US government suspected them of committing war crimes, but they were never charged, although Paul came home with a large sum of money that he hid away (he calls it his “share,” implying other members of his squad did the same).

We’re left to draw our own conclusions about what went down in the Middle East, but it doesn’t look particularly nice.

Who were those people in Frank’s hallucinations?

The first was his father, who was a cruel alcoholic, once locking him in the basement for days. Then we see some kids bullying him, implying that Frank grew up in a rough neighborhood, possibly without any friends. Then there’s a scene of an execution of some kind. We don’t know who specifically this character is, only that it’s someone Frank killed during his time as a gangster. Perhaps he’s the first person Frank had to murder, which would explain why it’s a big deal to him.

Finally, he sees Jordan, wearing the white dress she said she would wear when they met in Venezuela. Frank isn’t wearing a white suit, but he does have a rose…

via BunyipPouch:

frank rose suit desert

What was up with that bar, the secret room, the sad singer, and the scarred bartender?

true detective season 2 bar

In practical terms, the bartender, Felicia, was attacked by a man some years before the beginning of the show. Ray was the one who arrested that man, and Frank helped Felicia out by buying the bar and giving it to her, without ever asking her to pay him back. That explains why she is so friendly to the two of them, and why they meet there so often.

In the back of the bar, Felicia has a secret room that she uses to smuggle illegal immigrants into the country. As for the sad guitar lady, it turns out she’s just a lady who likes to sing sad songs.

Who were the characters attending Tony’s mayoral inauguration?

I don’t know who the man to Tony’s right is (maybe the governor?), but everyone else is a character we’ve seen before.


1. Betty Chessani, Tony’s sister

2. Ernst Bodine, aka the Chinese man that Frank insulted. He used to work for Austin Chessani, now it looks like he works for his son (or maybe he always worked for Tony)

3, The Mexican gangsters

4. Tony Chessani, the new mayor of Vinci

5. Kevin Burris, now the police chief of Vinci

What was the point of the “dream” sequence with Ray’s father?

Aside from being creepy, it also foreshadows Ray’s eventual death (pretty much exactly). Here’s an awesome image series that detectiverogers on Imgur put together.

Ray’s premonition

Did you notice the weird old guy at the rail line opening? What’s his deal?

In one of the final scenes of the Season 2 finale, many fans noticed a strange old man in the background of the rail line opening. He’s framed separately from the group, and his body language does not match what everyone else is doing at all, making him stick out rather strangely.

Check him out on the left side of the frame:

old man true detective finale

The going theory right now is that it’s Theo Chessani, the former former mayor of Vinci (he can be seen briefly in an old photo of the Chessani lodge). He’s Austin Chessani’s father, which might explain why he looks so upset.


So there we have it, Season 2 is in the books. Are there any other lingering questions you had after the finale?

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