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True Detective: What to read, watch, and listen to before season 2

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Lacey Terrell/HBO

After a season heavy on obscure references and nihilistic philosophy, True Detective fans will be keeping a close eye on every book cover flashed and song strummed in season 2. Here, a primer on the cultural artifacts to study before the new mystery begins.

Thieves’ Highway (1949)

Though creator Nic Pizzolatto has denied any connection between noir film writer A.I. Bezzerides and Rachel McAdams’ character, Antigone Bezzerides, the shared last name is reason enough to watch this California-set movie about a trucker avenging his father.

Detective Story (1951)

Kirk Douglas stars in this mystery as Jim McLeod, an investigator with a messy personal life and no qualms about police brutality. (Sound familiar?) The William ­Wyler-directed movie appears on a TV screen during the third ep.

Popular Problems (2014) by Leonard Cohen

This season’s credits theme, “Nevermind,” comes from the singer-songwriter’s most recent studio album. Moody and contemplative, the record is perfect for driving around and staring at stuff—with Cohen’s growly whisper guiding you through the flat circle.

The Avenues (2014) by Lera Lynn

In addition to providing vocals for the season 2 trailer, Lynn appears multiple times on screen as a barroom bard. Though we’ll have to wait for the series soundtrack to own her collaborations with T Bone Burnett and Rosanne Cash, her last record is a good start.

Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunsetoma

Being the blade-wielding badass that she is, of course Antigone keeps a copy of The Book of the Samurai at home. The centuries-old guide to the bushido code is about being ready to die at any moment and freeing yourself to fight. So if you’re looking for a beach read…