How Important is True Detective Season 2 Casting?


We’ve all been eagerly awaiting the cast announcements for season 2 since pretty much the first season ended. Now that the Emmy nominations are out there has been a slow, deliberate leak of information to help tide us over. It’s a smart move on HBO’s part to orchestrate the slip of details to coincide with the announcement that True Detective is up for Best Drama.

Why not take advantage  of the renewed excitement? Since last Thursday’s announcements came out we’ve actually learned quite a bit when it comes to casting — four leads, an unknown number of them female, and two strong possibilities. Those two possibilities are Collin Farrel and Taylor Kitsch. That’s two males right out of the gate.

These reports do not come from HBO, and they are not confirming them at the moment, but it’s highly unlikely that they did not at least partially anticipate a few casting leaks post-Emmy nominations. When it comes to female casting, Pizzolatto has been silent on the matter. Perhaps because there has been a minor controversy concerning the lack of strong women in the first season, so he and HBO both could be treading light on that matter.

But regardless of all that, does it really matter who is cast?

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True Detective is a strong enough series that it doesn’t have to rely on big names to get the point across, yet so far that still seems to be par for the course. It’s difficult not to think that the casting of well-known, or relatively well-known, actors isn’t part of some grander strategy.

It goes without saying that increased name recognition can dramatically increase viewership, and with a series as dark as True Detective — and as part of such a niche genre — big name recognition could go a long way. There is no way to know if that’s the reason Harrelson and McConaughey were originally cast in season one, but it’s something to consider.

Going into the second season it’s been expected all along that well-known actors would be cast in the lead roles, at least partially because the first season set such a high precedent for it. If the second season cast was announced without any major players, would it hurt viewership? Unfortunately, yes, it probably would. Now that Harrelson and McConaughey got the ball rolling it would be very difficult to switch things up, even though it would be exciting to see a cast of unknowns take on season 2, or even future seasons.

Do you know anyone that tuned into the first season just to see Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey? It’s a strong pull that shouldn’t be underestimated.