Roland West on season three of True Detective, played by actor Stephen Dorff, is an Arkansas state investigator and partner of Detective Wayne Hays. West and Hays are on a mission to track down the suspect who kidnapped two children from the small, working-class town of West Finger in the 1980’s.
Detective Hays is consumed with the case involving 12-year-old Will Purcell and his 10-year-old sister Julie, who were last seen riding their bikes in the late afternoon. Hays is assigned to the case with West, who helps Hays delve deeper and deeper into the case, while exploring the professional and person relationship between the two men and how they work together in an effort to solve the case. Together, they deal with emotional, grieving parents Lucy and Tom Purcell, state politicians trying to wrap up the case quickly, and suspects who are easy scapegoats in which to pin the murder on.
Dorff is a film and television actor who is known for roles in films like Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere,” John G. Avildsen’s “The Power of One,” Tarsem Singh’s “Immortals,” and comic book adaptation “Blade.” Regarding his television roles, he recently appeared in the Fox music drama Star, and has made appearances on shows like Roseanne, Married with Children and Blossom early in his career. If you go even further back, you might even remember Dorff as the abusive boyfriend in Britney Spears’ “Everytime” video.
Dorff describes West as “the most solid guy I’ve ever played,” according to USA Today. “He doesn’t want to see people in pain. He has a softness, but he’s got muscle, too.”
In True Detective, he assists Hays with the case throughout the season, and in the process his life and career are turned upside down by the baffling crime. Further details on West are sparse at this time, with most of the official trailers focusing on Hays and his role on the show. Small glimpses of West are seen throughout, although they don’t give much insight into his character.
One scene that can be viewed in the trailer above shows West show up at what looks like a bar where Hays is having a drink. “Purple haze,” he says as Hays turns toward him. “How’ve you been killer?” Another short clip shows the two riding together in a car, with Hays mentioning how he feels like the “thing is staring right at us,” with West replying “I get that feeling myself.”
The third season is set in the Ozarks with a story that HBO describes as about a “macabre crime… and a mystery that deepens over decades and plays out in three separate time periods.”
Little else is revealed about the West from the trailers. The only thing that is clear is that he and Detective Wayne Hays continue to search for the Purcell children’s kidnapper and/or murderer.
To find out more about how West fits into the show, tune in on Sunday, January 13 at 9/8c on HBO to catch the season premiere of True Detective. If you miss the season premiere, fear not – the first two episodes will air back-to-back on January 13 followed by another showing on Monday, the 14. Single episodes will proceed Sunday at the same time on HBO, HBO NOW, and HBO GO.