The world needs bad men. It also needs bad women, which is why HBO's acclaimed crime drama True Detective has made a point of casting a female lead for its next go-round. Granted, Sheriff Ani Bezzerides might end up serving as the moral center of season two's protagonist trio, while its male component - comprised of Colin Farrell and (probably) Taylor Kitsch - could supply the show with its trademark ethical ambiguity; the tough, local area sheriff may yet be one of the good guys after all.
But whether Bezzerides is pure of heart or willing to bend the rules to get the job done, it's looking more and more likely that she'll be played by Rachel McAdams. In the building race to secure the role, McAdams appears to have pulled ahead of her competition; for a moment that could be summed up pretty much with just Mad Men's Elizabeth Moss, but recently came to also include Rosario Dawson, Britt Marling, Jaimie Alexander, and Oona Chaplin, among others.
That shortlist cropped up online just over a week ago. Come this afternoon, though, McAdams has drawn HBO's eye and become their top choice for the part. So say the folks over at Variety, who cite resolution of scheduling conflicts as a possible reason behind the network's renewed interest in McAdams; it's her commitment to Spotlight, a production based on The Boston Globe's expose on the sex scandal in the Catholic church, that led to other names being thrown into the fray.
But McAdams shrewdly found a way to smooth out her slate, giving her all the room she needs to lend her talents to both that film and True Detective. Well played by McAdams; the series' first run earned a staggering amount of critical cachet just for its performances alone. Given that the Canadian actress has sought out weightier projects outside the bounds of romantic comedy - see Passion, To the Wonder, and A Most Wanted Man for proof - participating in True Detective's second offering seems like a natural choice.
The question remains, of course, as to just what kind of person Ani Bezzerides will be. Is McAdams a priority hire because of the image she's cultivated by starring in movies like Morning Glory and About Time? Or will True Detective yank her Mean Girls routine out of teenhood and into a decidedly more adult setting? We know that Farrell will be playing a detective who's in deep with the criminal element he's supposed to be fighting, and we know that Vince Vaughn is the season's heavy; we also know that the overarching plot here revolves around the murder of Vaughn's partner in "legitimate enterprise."
So what kind of cop will McAdams be in that narrative driving conflict? It'd be interesting to see her play a good law woman turned jaded by the events she experiences throughout True Detective's new story, but a turn similar to Matthew McConaughey's as Rust Cohle in season one would be tremendous; talk about playing against type. And McAdams could do it, too.
One parting caveat to keep in mind: all brouhaha aside, she hasn't been locked down for True Detective just yet. But HBO clearly wants her on board, and if she's willing to make room on her plate for them, then it's obvious that she wants in, too.
True Detective's second season is expected to premiere in Summer 2015.