Dear HBO: No. Love, Liss

[Content Note: Rape culture.]

So, I'm reading rumors about Season Two of True Detective, a show the first season of which I liked a lot, even though it wasn't perfect. And, if these are accurate, this is not promising:
I can tell you now that these [two male characters] would make up two corners of the series' central triangle of investigators, two men and a woman from different Californian cities and their own distinct branches of the State's law enforcement bodies, coming together to uncover a whole mess of corruption [involving a corrupt scheme to link North and South California with a high speed train, all in pursuit of profitable land ownership and lucrative federal grants].

The third corner will be a woman, a character in her 30s. She's a Monterey Sherrif with – as you might well expect – trouble in her past and problems in her day-to-day.

Her issues are with alcohol and gambling. [Colin] Farrell's character has terrible problems with cocaine and anger management. The young guy, a member of the California Highway Patrol, has been suspended for sexually exploiting a young woman he pulled over. Nobody is clean.
Um. One of these things is not like the others. Addiction, anger, rape.

One of the central pieces of True Detective is its exploration of complex characters who are flawed, who are capable of both harm and help, sometimes in successive breaths. And I like that about the show.

But the writers and network have to understand that asking viewers to find empathy with a cop who sexually assaults vulnerable people under his control is fundamentally different than asking viewers to find empathy with a cop who has an addiction, or even a cop who cheats on hir partner.

Humanizing people with addiction is a laudable enterprise, as there is an ocean of pop culture detritus that seeks to dehumanize people with addiction.

Humanizing people who trade on state power in order to sexually assault someone is not a laudable enterprise. It isn't rapists who need humanizing in this culture; it's their victims.

I realize that these details may not be accurate, but, given even the possibility that they are, I want to say plainly that this is a bad fucking idea, while I know creator and showrunner Nic Pizzolatto is still drawing the outlines of the second season.

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