The L.A. Guide to True Detective: Here Today, Pawn Tomorrow


The L.A. Guide to True Detective is a regular roundup of the neighborhoods seen on the HBO show—and what you’ll find if you go there

It’s only been a week in the real world, but in TD-time, 66 days have passed since last week’s episode—which, if you’ve somehow forgotten, ended with lots of people dying in the Red Wedding  the “Vinci Massacre.” My, how the mighty have fallen (warning: spoilers ahead).

In the first few minutes of Sunday’s episode we learn that detective Velcoro (Colin Farrell) has quit the force (and lost the stache—not mad about it). He’s now working security for his old pal Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn), who, like any respectable gangster (note: he doesn’t like that word, guys!), is pulling himself up by his bootstraps and running a prostitution ring out of the nightclub he now owns.

Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) has a job in insurance fraud and is proceeding with plans to marry his baby mama. He spends most of the episode putting on a brave face after discovering his weird mother has gambled away his life’s savings.

Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) has been demoted to running the evidence locker. She may no longer be allowed in the field, but she just can’t shake the disappearance of Vera, the missing girl we learned about in this season’s episode one. Good thing, though, because—surprise!—she is linked to Caspere’s murder. Vera’s sister, who we also met in episode one, gifts Ani with a packet of photographs linking Vera to the Eyes Wide Shut-esque sex parties Bezzerides’ sister was known to attend. One of those images shows two well-dressed ladies hanging off of a very alive Caspere. Another series shows several blue-black diamonds—the same ones missing from Caspere’s safe deposit box.

Which brings us to the midway point of this week’s episode, the end of our spoilers, and L.A.’s starring role: State Attorney Katherine Davis (Michael Hyatt) is not satisfied with the result of the Caspere case. She reopens an unofficial investigation and puts Velcoro, Bezzerides, and Woodrugh on it, using the search for Vera as a cover. Woodrugh begins by heading to several pawn shops to see if anyone has tried to sell off those diamonds from the photos.

We first catch a glimpse of Woodrugh walking out of what looks like a mall towards a busy street. He’s actually in DTLA’s pawn district at the intersection of 6th Street and Broadway. Said mall is the Broadway Jewelry Mart (556 S. Broadway), just across the street from Dave Tipp Pawn (561 S. Broadway). L.A. has no shortage of pawn shops, so why did Nic Pizzolatto & co. choose the ones downtown? We’re speculating, but DTLA’s pawn shops have something of a history when it comes to dealing in stolen goods.

Woodrugh heading out of the Broadway Jewelry Mart
Woodrugh heading out of the Broadway Jewelry Mart. Screen grab courtesy HBO Go.

Back in 2012, the LAPD was slammed with a string of robberies that they dubbed the “Knock Knock Burglaries,” wherein thieves politely knocked on Angelenos’ doors and then un-politely broke in and stole stuff if no one answered. Thefts occurred everywhere from West L.A. to Burbank; they were so frequent, in fact, the LAPD created a special “Knock Knock Task Force” to aid in the investigation. Over the course of a few months it’s estimated that the Knock Knock robbers (more than 55 at the end of the day) made off with 11,000-plus pieces of jewelry—much of which they sold for cash as quickly as they could.

In September of 2012, four DTLA pawn shops—Fine Silver Max Jewelry, Silver Max’s Fine Jewelry (yes, those are different), Max One Electronics, and Guadalajara’s Jewelry—were shuttered on account of exchanging the lifted loot for money, no questions asked.  The stores were all located within two blocks of the pawn shops Woodrugh visits this week. If indeed Pizzolatto is making a Knock Knock tie-in, we’ve got to hand it to him: the dude knows his L.A. crime.