Martin Hart and Rustin Cohle, former CID partners in Louisiana provide separate statements about the murder case they investigated of a teenage prostitute to 2 detectives. The case goes back 17 years when the first clues into Dora Lange's murder was the presence of a cult ceremony. We also see how volatile the relationship between Hart and Cohle was in the beginning.
The Handsome Family -- Far from Any Road, Bob Dylan
-- Rocks and Gravel, The McIntosh County Shouters -- Sign of the Judgement, The Black Angels
-- Young Men Dead
Hart finds respite away from his strained marriage to Maggie. Since no arrests have been made in Jessica Lange's murder case, Quesada has had pressure put on himself and warns the boys that he's been told they will be replaced on the case. Under pressure, Cohle and Hart start their search for clues in a cathouse and end up in an incinerated church.
Cuff the Duke -- If I Live or If I Die, Steve Earle
-- Meet Me In the Alleyway, John Lee Hooker
-- One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer, Vashti Bunyan
-- Train Song, John Lee Hooker
-- Unfriendly Woman, Reverend C.J. Johnson and Family -- You Better Run to the City of Refuge
While at the church a hidden image leads the detectives to Joel Theriot. Joel is a tent-revival minister and his congregation point their fingers towards a tall man with scars who they say was the person they last saw Dora with. As the investigation continues a sex offender matching the description is immediately dismissed by Cohle, even though they confess to the crime. Maggie sets Cohle up on a date, prompting Hart to get distracted. Cohle is desperate to prove that Dora's case has a pattern and finds a connection with a case in which a woman was assumed to have drowned.
Prime suspect Reggie Ledoux leads Cohle and Hart to a dangerous part of town, renowned for it's bike gangs. Hart's cheating on Maggie is exposed.
-- American Life, Lucinda Williams
-- Are You Alright?, Bo Diddley
-- Bring It to Jerome, Wu-Tang Clan
-- Clan In da Front, Grinderman -- Honey Bee (Let's Fly to Mars), Boogie Down Productions -- Illegal Business
Papania and Gilbrough have some disturbing new evidence and intelligence over the case that Hart and Cohle believe is solved.
Marty finds old habits die hard. Maggie reveals what she knows about what Cohle was up to in 2002 and what drove Hart to quitting the force. Five years on from the closure of the case Rust has growing suspicions that there was alot more to the murder.
A murky string of disappearances are now linking the symbology of the Dora Lange murder and the Tuttle family forcing Hart and Cohle to get over their falling out.
An overlooked detail provides Hart and Cohle with an important new lead in their 17-year-old case.
Songs: The Hat, Father John Misty & S. I. Istwa -- The Angry River