Season 2 of HBO’s “True Detective” arrived Sunday with big expectations -- the first season became a cultural phenomenon. Topping the Matthew McConaughey-Woody Harrelson-led Deep South mystery of Season 1 would be difficult, but the show must go on! “True Detective” kicked things off in “The Western Book of the Dead” with a new cast, a new city and a new story.

Here’s how it all went down in episode 1:

Season 2 is a different show before the opening credits are done. The show’s famous title sequence has been a replaced by a similarly animated montage of the current episodes’ major characters and highway-filled Los Angeles setting. The big surprise is a new title song -- “Nevermind” by Leonard Cohen.

After the titles, the first character fans meet is Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell), a disgruntled Vinci City detective fighting for custody of his son as he drinks his way through a divorce. He is also in debt to local mob boss Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn). Nine years ago, Semyon gave Velcoro the identity of the man Semyon said was responsible for the beating and rape of Velcoro’s wife -- nine years before his suspiciously red-headed son’s birth.

Velcoro has been a lackey for Semyon ever since and in the premiere is tasked with tracking down missing City Manager Ben Caspere, who worked closely with Semyon on the trying-to-go-legitimate crime boss’ planned high-speed railroad. Without Caspere, the project is in danger of dying, a prospect that does not make Semyon very happy. Velcoro searches for Caspere, making the occasional pit stop to drink whiskey in his car or sport brass knuckles to beat up the father of a his son’s bully.

Elsewhere, Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) is a Sheriff’s Department detective with some serious anger issues. She is on the outs with her sister, Athena (Levin Rembin), who works as a cybercam porn star, and father (David Morse), a hippie spiritual guru, and the only outlet for her rebel-without-a-cause issues seems to be gambling. She begins the episode searching for a missing woman. When a body turns up on the side of the highway, she is called to the scene.

The cop who found the body is Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch), a highway patrolman whose girlfriend is frustrated by his obsession with work and who ends up on leave after refusing an intimate bribe from an actress on a DUI stop. The troubled veteran is on his motorcycle riding with his headlights off at death wish speeds when he comes to his senses, pulling over to find Caspere’s body propped up “Weekend at Bernie’s”-style on a bench.

Bezzerides and Woodrugh are joined at the crime scene by Velcoro, barely awake after a self-pitying bender during a meeting with Semyon. The motley law enforcement trio sizes each other up as they examine the disfigured body. The gang is all together. What will happen now?

What did you think of the premiere? Tweet your thoughts to @Ja9GarofaloTV.