Why Rachel McAdams Loved Her True Detective Season 2 Cop Character

Despite season 2’s mixed reception, Rachel McAdams’ True Detective character was a standout, and it’s unlike any of her previous roles. An anthology crime drama series, True Detective has been praised for its deep storytelling, complex characters, and dark thematic elements. Season 2 of True Detective takes a sharp turn from its predecessor, introducing viewers to a new storyline and a new set of characters entangled in the corrupt underbelly of Vinci, a fictional Californian city. The season delves into the lives of three police officers and a career criminal as they navigate a web of conspiracy after a murder.

Among the stellar cast of season 2, Rachel McAdams’ grizzled Detective Ani Bezzerides is very different from the characters she’s famously embodied in the past. Famous for her romantic dramas and rom-coms, McAdams’ best movies include The Notebook, Mean Girls, and About Time. However, she showcased even further range by stepping into the boots of a hard-edged, complex police detective. Her ability to switch between genres and characters underscores her versatility as an actress, making her one of the most respected figures in Hollywood, and Ani Bezzerides showcases exactly that.

Rachel McAdams Loved That Her True Detective Character Isn’t “A Girlfriend Or Wife”

The Actor Prepared For The Role Of Ani Bezzerides By Taking Part In Ridealongs

Rachel McAdams in her apartment in True Detective

Rachel McAdams’ True Detective character, Ani Bezzerides, is a significant departure from the archetypal female roles in crime dramas. Ani is a sharp, resilient detective with a troubled past, pushing McAdams to explore new depths as an actress. The character’s complexity appealed to McAdams, particularly because Ani isn’t confined to the roles of a girlfriend or a wife but is a fully realized professional grappling with her own demons and ethical dilemmas.

McAdams immersed herself in the role,undertaking ridealongs with the Ventura County Police Department and engaging in high-speed chases to understand the adrenaline and pressures of law enforcement. She even consulted with a former LAPD officer to learn the nuances of handling firearms, emphasizing the rigorous preparation she undertook to embody Ani authentically. The actor commented (via Marie Claire):

“We had a bit of a high-speed chase! I don’t know how they do it every day. I was like, ‘I’m going to get a hash brown from McDonald’s and go to bed…’ The research is so much fun.”

McAdams appreciated the research and preparation for the True Detective role, viewing it as an opportunity to take classes on being a detective. Her commitment to the character extended to studying crime investigation manuals and embracing the physicality and mindset of a police officer, despite the toll it took on her. McAdams’ enthusiasm for playing a character that wasn’t designed to be inherently likable or charming reflects her desire to break away from conventional leading lady expectations, leaning into the humanizing aspects and moral complexities of Ani Bezzerides.

True Detective’s Ani Bezzerides Is Different Than Any Character McAdams Has Played

The Character Is The Total Opposite Of Regina George Or Allie Hamilton

Ani (Rachel McAdams) in combat in True Detective

Rachel McAdams remarked on the distinctiveness of Ani Bezzerides, emphasizing how the role offered her an avenue to explore and understand a life vastly different from her own or any previous character she had ever played. Ani’s challenging background, her struggles with personal demons, and her relentless pursuit of justice provided McAdams with a unique perspective on human resilience and complexity.

This role’s departure from McAdams’ previous characters in romantic or comedic settings, like spirited romantic lead Allie Hamilton in The Notebook or high school queen bee Regina George in Mean Girls, allowed her to delve into the “weird and amazing” aspects of life, fostering deeper compassion and understanding through the process of embodying Ani. McAdams explained:

“I love that she’s not the girlfriend or the wife. She’s not trying to be charming, which isn’t always the case with a leading lady. There’s [usually] sort of a responsibility to be a little bit likeable… Not that you want to be a horrendous character, just a little more human. I prefer to be a villainess. There’s something a bit more delicious about their wickedness.”

The portrayal of Ani Bezzerides in True Detective stands as a testament to McAdams’ ability to transcend her established screen persona, demonstrating her capacity for depth and versatility. This role challenged McAdams to stretch her acting muscles in new directions, and as a result, Ani is one of the best True Detective characters. Through Ani, McAdams explored the nuances of a woman who is both flawed and formidable, showcasing a side of her acting prowess that fans and critics alike might not have previously appreciated.

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