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Det. Ray Velcoro works for the city of Vinci, California and has been on a downward spiral for years. He's divorced, drinks too much and has a violent temper. He's also in the pocket of local gangster Frank Semyon who years before provided the identity of the man who raped Velcoro's wife. He does odd jobs for Semyon, such as beating up a reporter who recently wrote a series on organized crime. Velcoro latest case is to locate City Manager Ben Caspere who hasn't been seen for several days. Sheriff's Det. Ani Bezzerides is good at her job but is estranged from her sister Athena - who does live cam porn - and her father who is now a new age guru of sorts. California Highway Patrolman Paul Woodrugh learns that he's been put on administrative leave after a young woman falsely claims he solicited sex to let her go free. These three police officers come together late one night when a man is found sitting on a park bench, dead.