Though True Detective is a work of fiction, creator Nic Pizzolatto has said that season two of the HBO drama is rooted in reality. The city of Vinci is based on a small industrial town south of Los Angeles called Vernon. With Vernon's history of corruption, we're thinking that Pizzolatto is taking more inspiration from the city than just its "V" name. Take a look below to find out what you need to know about the city — there could be some hints about the rest of the season hidden in here!
- Vernon has a long history of political corruption. According to the Los Angeles Times, politics in Vernon have been shady since the 1920s. John Baptiste Leonis founded the area as an exclusively industrial city in 1905, but in addition to industry, Leonis promoted drinking, gambling, and prizefighting. The government investigated Leonis, who had become mayor, for voter fraud in the '40s, but the charges against him were dropped. Four other high-ranking officials, however, were convicted.
- A series of recent scandals has plagued the city. John Baptiste Leonis's grandson, Leonis Malburg, became the longtime mayor of Vernon. In 2009, he was convicted of voter fraud for lying about actually living in Vernon, a town which only has about 100 residents. In 2011, Los Angeles Times launched an investigation into the city and found that a number of officials were using public money to pay for luxury flights and hotels, despite the city being nearly half a billion dollars in debt.
- One of Vernon's city administrators died under mysterious circumstances. In 2012, the body of former city administrator and attorney Eric T. Fresch was found floating near a state park in the Bay Area. The coroner's office maintained that his death was an accident, but he died just hours after a state audit was released that revealed severely questionable choices Fresch had made during his tenure as an administrator for Vernon.
Political corruption and the mysterious death of an official . . this sounds familiar, doesn't it? Though HBO did film part of the series in Vernon, Frederic MacFarlane, a spokesman for the city, maintains that the show isn't going to be explicitly about Vernon. We'll see about that.