All the Easter Eggs We Noticed In 'True Detective: Night Country,' So Far

Here are all the clues 'Night Country' has dropped so far that reference all the previous 'True Detective' seasons.


This article was originally published on Jan. 18.

True Detective is going back to the beginning.

The newest season of HBO’s mystery series, subtitled Night Country, is underway, bringing with it a compelling return to form that also just so happens to be circling in on itself a bit. Seasons 2 and 3 have their defenders, especially when it comes to the performances of folks like Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, and Mahershala Ali. But overall, those seasons were a step back from the highs of the original. But Night Country features a lot of direct and indirect references to the hit show's first season, which made True Detective a household name.

As Night Country gets underway, we’re pulling out our best magnifying glass and searching for all the clues referencing True Detective seasons past. While most of them are nods toward the first season that featured Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, we can’t rule out that NIght Country may pull from all of the show’s storied history as it continues on. Either way, we’ll be updating this post throughout the season to ensure you don’t miss a thing. Here are our findings so far.

It’s Happening Again

Both Night Country and the first season of True Detective open in similarly striking fashion—time is a flat circle, after all. Season 1 begins with a group of figures setting fire to a body at night, while Night Country begins with caribou throwing themselves off a cliff. Both are shorthand to establish a general sense of unease in this universe, using the disruption of nature to signal a harrowing and impending doom.

Return of the Kings

Night Country begins with a quote from Hildred Castaigne that says, “For we do not know what beasts the night dreams when its hours grow too long for even God to be awake.” That might not initially feel like it means much, but there’s a deeper meaning to it. Castaigne is the lead of a short story in The King in Yellow, which plays a critical role in the first season of True Detective. You know, it was the book that a lot of viewers (and redditors) sought out when looking for clues about the first season.

Its inclusion here is a cheeky nod to Season 1 and works to establish the more supernatural tones that Night Country writer/director Issa López is bringing to this season.

Another king comes when viewers first meet Evangeline Navarro at the Blue King crab processing factory. There are layers to that, too, since the Alaskan king crab is a critical coveted crustation worldwide. 

The Thing

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A mysterious murder in a freezing cold climate? Well, that’s bound to draw comparisons to 1982’s The Thing. Directed by the legendary John Carpenter, the movie gets a special shoutout amongst the DVDs shelved inside the Tsalal Arctic Research Station, almost as if López is driving intentionally into the skid. A compelling horror director in her own right, López also gave a nod to The Thing in a recent interview, declaring it as one of her favorite movies

A Brewing Connection

McConaughey’s Rustin Cohle insisted on having Lone Star beer to sip on during his present-day deposition, and the beer returns in the first episode of Night Country in a few different places. It first shows up as the liquid companion to someone’s popcorn inside the station, and then it is the brew of choice for Prior (John Hawkes), Danvers, and Navarro. The factory worker who Navarro questions at his home also mentions that the beer is the last of his stash. Everyone loves that little taste of Texas, it seems. 

Spiraling Out

The famous spiral from the first season subtly reappears when Danvers spreads evidence toward the end of the first episode. But that brief glimpse won’t be the last, as that iconography is seen throughout some of the trailers for the season. How it will play into Night Country remains unclear, but know that it’s not going away anytime soon.

Bookish Connections

Detective Danvers (Jodie Foster) makes a particular note that Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian is being read by one of the scientists in the station. The 1985 novel is about a man known only as “the kid,” who joins up with a posse of gangsters who murder and massacre Indigenous Americans along the United States and Mexican border. 

Additionally, Tsalal Arctic Research Station is pulled from An Antarctic Mystery by Jules Verne. A portion of the novel occurs on the island of Tsalal, where Indigenous people attack colonists. Who doesn’t love a good thematic literary connection?

Familiar Faces

OK, these are big ones. Peter’s search into the holding company behind Tsalal is called NC Global Strategies, which is just a shell for another organization called Tuttle United. Yes, the very same Tuttle Family from Season 1 who was behind the assault and death of Dora Lange and others. 

Additionally, Fiona Shaw’s Rose knew (intimately) Travis Cohle, Rust Cohle’s father. For those who don’t remember, Rust stated he and his father lived in Alaska when he was growing up. While Rust eventually ditched the frozen tundra for the warmth of Texas, Travis remained behind — which is where he met Fiona before he ultimately passed from leukemia. The brilliance of this is having just enough wiggle room in Rust’s backstory to flesh this out accordingly while still making it a bit ambiguous as to what precisely happened to Travis. Either way, it’s nice to see another Cohle—even if it’s a ghost—in the mix of True Detective

Spirals Again

The cleaning woman at Tsalal asks if the spiral is a cult sign, which harkens back to its inclusion during Season 1, but Rose believes it to be something “older” and more menacing than a possible cult. We’ll see how it continues to play out throughout the season. 

An Old Friend

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Despite being played by the same actor, Clarice Starling and Liz Danvers are not all alike. However, there might be a slight nod to Silence of the Lambs in dialogue. When Danvers talks about sending the corp popsicle back to Anchorage, it’s perhaps a nod towards this line from Silence.


At the start of the third episode, as Captain Prior’s posse rolls in for a manhunt, one of the hunters drops a handful of oranges out of his bag, including one that Navarro eventually picks up. While an orange peel in the shape of a spiral appears in the opening credits, oranges were also a shorthand in The Godfather films to foreshadow an impending tragedy. Is something terrible headed for Navarro?

Ariana Grande

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While our detective skills didn’t turn up the exact piece of artwork, the Ariana Grande album that Danvers is referencing is none other than her third studio work, Dangerous Woman. That album features the singles “Side to Side,” “Everyday,” and the titular track “Dangerous Woman.” There’s not much thematic overlap other than the fact that Navarro and Danvers themselves are dangerous women who aren’t to be messed with. 

Chupacabras and Throwbacks

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Navarro and Danvers's conversation in the car on the way to find Captain Prior is very similar in tone to some of the talks Rust and Marty had about spirituality throughout the first season—with Rust playing an inherently nihilistic role. Here, Navarro is more open to the spiritual side of things, while Danvers is totally against it. 

Danvers also mentions a Chupacabra, a mythic creature in Latin culture and something López likely heard stories of when she was a child growing up in Mexico. The translation for Chupacabra is literally “goat-sucker” and is a creature that is said to attack and drink the blood of livestock.Here’s to You, Mrs. Robinson

Here’s to You, Mrs. Robinson

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You, too, might be wondering who “Mrs. Robinson” is if you haven’t seen the highest-grossing film of 1967, The Graduate. The Mike Nichols film, for which he won Best Director at the Oscars, features Dustin Hoffman in his first major role as Benjamin Braddock. He is an adrift college graduate who ends up having an affair with his much older next-door neighbor, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). The joke Captain Prior makes is to indicate that Peter (Finn Bennett) and Danvers are sleeping together, which is why she tosses her coffee on his face. The Graduate is a beautiful movie, and we highly recommend you watch it if you haven’t seen it yet. 


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The fourth episode arrives with a handful of references to modernist writer Virginia Woolf. When Julia, Navarro’s sister, dies by suicide by walking out onto the frozen water, it mirrors Woolf's death. The writer also walked out into the ocean with rocks in her overcoat to ensure she drowned. Both women suffered from extreme bouts of depression. The facility Julia enters is called The Lighthouse, which draws its name from Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, which deals with loss and perception (memorable themes in Night Country). Finally, Qavvik is sleeping with a copy of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf when Navarro comes to visit him. 

Return to Sender

Clapperboard held in front of an ice rink with crew members preparing a scene

The flight from which Hank waits is Norlandair, a company that hails from the country where Night Country shot its episodes. 

Time is a Flat Circle

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The Night Country finale mirrors Season 1’s conclusion in many ways. Firstly, Navarro and Danvers get caught in a maze of sorts under the ice, much like Rust and Marty, as they pursue their prey. Secondly, the end of the episode brings back a video deposition, much like the framing device used throughout Season 1 to tell Marty and Rust’s story. 

But the biggest Easter Egg, second only to that of Travis Colhe himself, is the direct utterance of the phrase, “Time is a flat circle.” Your mileage may vary on how viewers ultimately respond to this quote, but yours truly found it quite the surprise and may have fist-pumped in his chair when it happened.

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