Note: The following discusses spoilers for “True Detective” Season 4 Episode 5.
As “True Detective: Night Country” barrels towards a resolution in the mysterious disappearance of the workers of the Tsalal Arctic Research Station, a break in Annie K.’s brutal murder leads to a pivotal moment between the detectives.
In the penultimate Episode 5, which was released early on Friday ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl, Hank Prior (John Hawkes) approaches Danvers (Jodie Foster) in her home as he attempts to intercept Otis (Klaus Tange), from sharing his maps of the ice caves that led to Tsalal with Danvers.
When Hank realizes Otis is at Danvers’ house, he shoots him on sight despite Danvers’ pleas and turns his gun on Danvers, which quickly draws the attention of his son, Peter (Finn Bennett), who heard the shots from Danvers’ shed and approaches the situation armed. Upon seeing Otis’ dead body, Peter faces requests from both his father, who asks him to help covering up the murder, and Danvers, who pleads Peter to think deeply about his next step.
“Danvers tries to appeal to Pete’s rationality and his moral compass while Hank is appealing to something more sentimental and emotional,” Bennett told TheWrap. “It’s a tug of war between the two. Danvers wins that tug of war, she appeals to his rationality more.”
As Peter repositions his gun to face his father, Hank, thinking his life will be ended within seconds, drops an explosive piece of information as he clarifies he had nothing to do with Annie K.’s murder, saying instead he “just moved her body.”
“Pete knows that Hank is a dark character, but I don’t think he could ever suspect that of him,” Bennett said. “It’s a really sad moment where Hank has decided that’s what Pete is going to do. He wants to come clean and shut down any doubt that it was him that killed Annie K.”
As Hank lifts his weapon to shoot Danvers, Peter shoots his gun at his father, striking him in the head and resulting in his death.
“People made strange choices all the time,” Bennett said of the decision. “And I don’t think forever on he will never not question that moment. He’ll always question that moment and if he did the right thing.”
After the dust settles and Navarro (Kali Reis) enters the scene, Danvers resolves to call the police station, though Navarro stops her to keep Peter out of prison and jumps into action to clean up the crime — a choice that Peter seconds.
“He sees what’s at stake — It would have all been for nothing if they all just go down for murder,” Bennett said. “I think it’s a choice he’ll always think about and wonder if he did the right thing.”
Navarro suggests she and Danvers head out to the ice caves right then and there with the protection of the storm to cover their tracks, and Peter insists they go, assuring the detectives he’ll clean the crime scene and get rid of his father and Otis’ dead bodies.
“There’s this whole supernatural element to ‘True Detective’ where everything just aligns, and everybody does what they need to do — that’s what’s happening in that moment,” Bennett said. “He knows this is his purpose, and he has to fulfill it. He has to let his eyes go blank, and he has to hold his nose and just do the job.”
Earlier in the episode, Danvers challenges Peter to connect the dots on whether she and Navarro acted past their official duties in the Wheeler case, which Bennett notes Peter had suspicions of for a while.
“What [Jodie and I] discussed when we were rehearsing that scene [was] how disappointing and heartbreaking it would be to see your hero is just another corruptible cop, just like your father, and just like so many other cops in that area,” Bennett said, adding that the revelation enhances Peter’s actions in the episode. “He goes from a very, very pure and sweet natured cop, to having done something dirty.”
After he initially auditioned for “Night Country” with creator and showrunner Issa López for a U.K. series, Bennett slipped into his role as a junior police officer under Danvers easily as he shared his admiration for Foster.
“There was an easy route into this for me, because where Pete has Chief Danvers, Finn Bennett has Jodie Foster — this figure that’s like a god in my eyes, or any young actor’s eyes,” Bennett said, adding that he was “constantly trying to impress” Foster on set in the same way that Peter does for Danvers.
As Bennett worked with Foster for a great majority of his scenes, he took away an understanding to take the work seriously but not to take himself too seriously.
“I asked [Foster], ‘what should I do to prepare?’ ‘what do you do?’ and she was like, ‘Oh, I read a book. I play fantasy football,'” Bennett recalled. “And I was like, ‘What should I do?’ She was like, ‘go dancing, go have a drink, go enjoy yourself.'”
Episodes 1-5 of “True Detective: Night Country” are available to stream on Max, with the finale dropping Sunday, Feb. 18 on HBO and Max.