In the end, it's just the ladies who get out alive as a grisly murder case is cracked but widespread government corruption continues – at least for now – on "Omega Station," the Season 2 finale of HBO's "True Detective."
Special investigators-turned fugitives-turned lovers Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) and Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) want to flee California and begin a new life in Venezuela, where they'll be immune from extradition.
But first they solve the homicide of Vinci City Manager Ben Caspere, who orchestrated a land scheme involving a multi-billion-dollar rail project, shady investors and high-ranking politicians.
SIGN UP for the free Essential Arts & Culture newsletter >>
Ben's torture-murder had nothing to do with the bullet train, however. It was payback for a 1992 jewelry store robbery in which the husband-and-wife owners were gunned down while their children watched in horror.
Who killed Ben? It was the orphaned son Leonard (Luke Edwards), a movie set photographer in Vinci. And his sister Laura (Courtney Halverson), a former prostitute, went by the alias of Erica while serving as Ben's secretary.
Ray and Ani learn the truth when they find Laura handcuffed inside Leonard's home. Her brother, she admits, is out for more revenge by meeting with slimy Vinci Police Chief Holloway (Afemo Omilami).
Leonard will supposedly hand over Ben's hard drive containing videos of power brokers cavorting with hookers. But Leonard is essentially on a suicide mission.
Ray intercepts Leonard at a train station before Holloway arrives. Leonard reluctantly agrees to sit nearby while Ray tricks the chief into discussing the robbery that occurred 23 years ago.
Leonard's mother was pregnant with Ben's child, Holloway explains. When Ben broke off their relationship, the mother threatened to expose the city official's misdeeds. That's why Ben executed the husband and wife and made it look like a violent robbery.
Holloway also says Laura is Ben's illegitimate daughter.
These revelations send Leonard into a rage as he jumps Holloway. Soon Leonard and the chief are dead. And Vinci Police Lieutenant Kevin Burris (James Frain), who's lurking in the shadows, is wounded by Ani before he can shoot Ray.
Meanwhile, mobster Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn) makes sure his wife Jordan (Kelly Reilly) departs for Venezuela with her bodyguard Nails (Chris Kerson). The plan is for Frank, Ray and Ani to travel down there later.
"I cannot do the things I have to do unless I know you're safe," Frank tells Jordan in what turns out to be their last encounter.
What he needs to do is kill Russian gangster Osip Agronov (Timothy V. Murphy), who wrested control of Frank's legal and illegal operations.
With Ray's help, Frank slaughters Osip and his cronies and grabs millions of dollars in cash. But the second part of the plan – escaping to South America – falls through.
Frank is kidnapped by some of his criminal associates. These gangbangers knife Frank and leave him dying in the desert.
And Ray makes the fatal mistake of stopping to see his son Chad (Trevor Larcom). This gives Burris and his crooked cops an opportunity to stick a transponder on Ray's car and track him into a redwood forest. Ray doesn't stand a chance.
As for Ani and Jordan, they find each other in Venezuela and plot some payback of their own.
First they turn over evidence to an investigative reporter that details "larceny, open murder and cascading betrayals" involving Vinci officials and state Atty. Gen. Richard Geldof (C.S. Lee).
Then Ani and Jordan arm themselves for a "long trip ahead." Looks like they're headed back to Vinci so they can avenge the deaths of Ray and Frank.
Maybe the unpunished will meet their rightful fates after all.