True Detective 2, Sky Atlantic, Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams

They’re mean, have unhealthy addictions and they’re scary – and that’s just the cops in the all-new True Detective

True Detective, Series 2, Sky Atlantic Key Art

True Detective, Series 2, Sky Atlantic

★★Sky Atlantic, starts Monday, 22 June, 9pm

SO, AS EXPECTED, it’s all change in True Detective. No more Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey or director Cary Joji Fukunaga framing his unsettling bayou backwaters.

Showrunner Nic Pizzolatto is back, however, and the big question for anyone who was transfixed and disturbed by series one is, how will the wholly made-over crime drama match-up?

The first episode is complex, introducing many new faces in a rush. We have Colin Farrell as cop-on-edge Ray Velcoro, who is in debt to criminal Frank Semyon, played by Vince Vaughn.

Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch

Rachel McAdams is Ani Bezzerides, a dedicated detective with screwed-up personal life. And the cop triumvirate is completed by Taylor Kitsch as highway patrolman Paul Woodrugh, whose problems range from erectile dysfunction to a suicidal motorcycling habit.

Oh, and Brit actress Kelly Reilly turns up as Frank Semyon’s wife, Jordan, no doubt relieved to have escaped ITV’s rather dull Above Suspicion.

The clever shifting time frames of series one are also gone, no doubt because so many characters need an overall linear storyline. This time it hangs on the construction of a new rail line and the incumbent corruption that goes with it.

A town called Vinci

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Colin Farrell as Velcoro

The gothic mood of series one is replaced by Californian sprawl centred on an ugly place called Vinci, an industrial hell of cement mixers and factories, the biggest polluter in the state. As one character says, ‘What the fuck is Vinci?’ To which Ray Velcoro replies, ‘City, supposedly.’

You could probably devote the whole series to Velcoro, Bezzerides or Woodrugh, such is the airport-carousel of baggage each one is carrying. We first encounter Velcoro, who, naturally, is separated from his wife, as he tries to cheer his chubby son outside the school gates. When he later learns that the boy has been bullied, the fallout for the bully and his father at the hands of the flaky cop is chilling to behold.

As Velcoro sees it, ‘Sometimes a beating promotes personal growth.’

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CrimeZapper – True Detective 2, Lewis 9, Prey 2

• The4260176028_720a752904_o trailer for True Detective 2 – below – tells us one thing we already knew – it’s going to be very different from the superb first season with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. But Colin Farrell is certainly up to playing Ray Velcoro, its compromised detective in the industrial city of Vinci, LA County. You may also spot Kelly Reilly in there, having escaped for the moment from the uninspiring ITV-Lynda La Plante series Above Suspicion. She’s playing the morally compromised wife of Vince Vaughn‘s character Frank Semyon, a criminal – which should be interesting casting. The good news is that novelist Nic Pizzolatto, who created and wrote the dense, gripping first series, is back, with Justin Lin (Star Trek 3) directing eps 1 and 2. Goes out on HBO in the US in June.

• Also returning, for some reason, is Lewis. It’s hard to get excited about this. ITV’s drama honcho Steve November says, ‘We are delighted that Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox are returning for a ninth series of LEWIS_THE_SOUL_OF_GENIUS_12Lewis. Each story is complex and intriguing and Detectives Robbie Lewis and James Hathaway are a formidable partnership much loved by ITV viewers.’ It’s true that viewers do still tune in, but the format is flat as discarded beer these days in the face of far more interesting dramas, from Happy Valley and Line of Duty to Better Call Saul and The Killing. Even Kevin Whately seems over it, telling Radio Times last September: ‘I would probably do one more. But everything has a life span and I think it’s gone on long enough. There were 33 Inspector Morse stories and we’ve now done 30 Lewis. I suppose it’s a sentimental thing but I wouldn’t want to do more Lewis than we did Morse because I do still think of it as an offshoot.’

Kitty• Some interesting predictions on which US series could be getting renewed, including my fave Better Call Saul and Wayward Pines, starring Matt Dillon and coming soon to Fox UK (preview coming right up). Check out 2015 TV – Which Shows Will Be Renewed? for a lively list, including some crime series that should make their way to Europe in coming months. American Crime got an interesting review on Den of Geek over the racial issues it raises, while CSI: Cyber, pictured, has been stirring interesting coverage Stateside about its take on the psychology of online crime.

Prey went out on ITV last year, starring John Simm as a cop on the run. It past most viewers by unnoticed, but apparently did well enough for ITV to commission a second outing of the show. No Simm this time, but Philip Glenister and Rosie Cavaliero will be starring. Glenister is a prison officer whose turn it is to go on the run…

• It’s a cracking cast for Midwinter of the Spirit, ITV’s newly ordered crime drama with a supernatural twist. Anna Maxwell-Martin plays Merrily Watkins, a vicar and exorcist, with David Threlfall – terrific in last week’s Code of a Killer – as the Rev Huw  Owen, her mentor. Based on books by Phil Rickman, Midwinter of the Spirit sees Merrily encountering the case of a horrifically murdered man, one that convinces her that satanists are behind it…

• It’s crime with a fantasy twist for Sky 1, which has allied with legendary comic-book writer Stan Lee – co-creator of the likes of Spider-Man, Hulk and many more – to produce Lucky Man. Starring James Nesbitt, Eve Best, Sienna Guillory and Darren Boyd, this is the story of DI Harry Clayton (Nesbitt), a cop from Central London’s notorious Murder Squad, who is given a charm that seems to confer upon the wearer the ability to control luck. It should be on our screens next year.

Arthur-&-George-DVD-3D• Interesting DVD releases include ITV’s Arthur & George, the fascinating story of Arthur Conan Doyle’s involvement in the case of the wrongly accused solicitor, George Edalji, who was jailed for killing farm livestock. Martin Clunes plays the creator of Sherlock Holmes in a fine adaptation of real events that were worthy of his fictional sleuth.  Also coming soon from ITV Global Entertainment will be the second series of The Doctor Blake Mysteries, the Aussie drama starring Craig McLachlan as the eponymous 1950s doc who solves mysteries. Finally, there’s a chance to step into the TV time machine and experience Saturday nights long before The X Factor. The 22nd and final series of Dixon of Dock Green is being released on DVD on 11 May. When Dixon shuffled off the schedules for the final time in 1976 the series was already a bit of an anachronism, blown away by grittier, more realistic series such as The Sweeney, and not helped by the fact that lead star Jack Warner was aged 80 when it concluded. True, Dixon by this stage was retired and working as a ‘collator’ at the East End nick, but the series was badly out of sync with the realities of policing by that time. Still, as a glimpse of a bygone era of cosy British television drama, it is captivating. Let’s just hope Kevin Whately isn’t still playing Lewis when he’s 80.

Dixon of Doc Green :Domino

Evening, all. Jack Warner, centre, and the jolly rozzers of Dock Green

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