"True Detective" The Hour and the Day (TV Episode 2019) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Wayne and Roland investigate possible connections between the local church and the Purcell crimes as tensions in West Finger reach boiling point.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • West and Hays visit a church where the priest is reading to a group of children. In the office they ask about Will Purcell and the communion photo. The priest takes the photos but doesn't know why Will's eyes were closed. He recalls Julie had mentioned a woman once. The priest identifies Patty Faber as the woman who made the straw dolls, then makes small talk about the cops' religious backgrounds. Later, in the car, West says he doesn't like the priest, or any celibate. Hays ponders and thinks Will was trying to protect Julie.

    They talk with Patty Faber, who tells them about a black man with a cataract who bought 10 of the straw dolls at the October Fall Fair. She thinks the man came from the black community over at Davis Junction. They thank her and depart.

    In 1990, Hays arrives home and announces he is on the special detail looking into Julie Purcell. Amelia is washing up in the kitchen and is sarcastic and bitter about the other night. They argue about their careers, the two go to the bedroom to talk more in private, tensions rise, then subside, they have hard make up sex against the wall while the kids watch TV. Hays and Amelia lie on the bed afterwards.

    Hays and West arrive at Davis Junction in 1980, a poor area. The liquor store owner directs them to a man with a dead eye. They go a trailer park and knock on a door. The older man, Whitehead, opens the door, showing a clouded right eye. He denies buying straw dolls then gets angry with the questioning. He rouses his neighbors playing the race card, taunting Hays. A mob gathers, rocks are thrown, the cops push the man into his trailer. Inside the man professes his innocence, Hays then brings him back outside with his gun drawn. Their car has a smashed window, West curses. In the car Hays asks his partner if he would have shot anyone. West jokes but said he would in self-defense.

    In 2015, Hays comes to see his son Henry, also a cop. Hays wants Henry to find some current addresses of people from his old files, hinting he wants to write a book. He also needs to find Roland West. Henry finally agrees.

    In 1990, Hays is in West's office, noting his many awards. Attorney General Kindt arrives with the State Police Major Blevins to discuss the case. They stress the original conviction for Will Purcell's murder must stand, and warn Hays to try and redeem his career. After the AG leaves West agrees with Hays to ignore the instructions.

    Back in 1980 the cops return to the church, the Priest is in his sermon, after he tells everyone to help with the police who will be setting up tables after the service. West chats up a single woman while Hays talks to the priest to keep an eye out for the man with the dead eye. The priest urges Hays to hear his confession.

    Hays and Amelia are on a date at a nice restaurant. They learn more about each other. She asks about the case. Hays reveals a bit about the woods and the toys, but then changes the subject. Hays has never had a long relationship. They touch hands and smile at each other.

    In the rain, West goes to a bar. Tom Purcell is drunk and made a scene and is now in the manager's office. The manager doesn't want to press charges, West takes him away, offers his couch for Purcell to sleep it off. Purcell is despondent and says he wants to die. At his apartment, West watches Purcell sleep, thinks and has a smoke.

    Jump to 1990, West briefs his new task force and introduces Hays. Julie is now 21 years old. Lucy Purcell died in Vegas in 1988, while the cousin, Dan O'Brien, is unaccounted for. They have to go over the original case again. Hays points out other people may also be looking for Julie.

    In 2015, Hays goes to see Elisa Montgomery at her suite. He wants to know more about the details she had, and to share info. He needs closure. Elisa shows a file, O'Brien was found as skeletal remains in Missouri through DNA. Montgomery won't show all her cards just yet. Hays asks her not the mention his visit if she talks to Henry.

    In 1980, West updates the task force. They are still missing something. The note is still a dead end, there are fingerprints on the toys and from the bicycle and the unknown man with the eye. They suspect the Church has something to do with it all. Later they watch Prosecutor Kindt on the The Donahue Show, then another cop says the bicycle fingerprints belong to Freddy Burns, one of the area teens.

    Amelia brings the kid's school stuff to Lucy Purcell, trying to be friendly and offers counsel. Lucy weeps at her ineptitude as a mother, admits she ran around on Tom, but then gets very angry as Amelia suggests trusting Detective Hays.

    Trashman Woodard approaches two girls drinking sodas by the road and he asks for the empty cans. The redneck father sees the interaction from his farmhouse, curses and gets on the phone.

    West and Hays visit the cop investigating the drug store robbery, then watch the in-store CCTV footage.

    In 2015, Hays in his study, recalls and talks into a dictaphone, imagining Viet Cong murmuring in the room with him. He struggles to recall even 1990 events. He looks out his window and sees a dark sedan is parked by the curb. Hays gets paranoid.

    West and Hays bring a terrified Burns in through the jailhouse. He admits taking Will's bike because the boy was a nerd. He says Will was looking for his sister, but they chased him off. Freddy claims he got lost in the woods also.

    In the dark office alone, Hays finds a video clip of a young woman running through the pharmacy. He gets a clear screen grab.

    Woodard notices the pickups and runs off across a field, a straight line shortcut to his house. He makes it there, recovers the green duffel bag and the AK-47 inside. He sets a tripwire and Claymore mine across his front door as the pickups arrive out front.

    The cops let Freddy weep in the interrogation room, wondering if he's guilty. A sergeant comes to say something big is going down at Woodard's. The rednecks are outside the house shouting and threaten to come in. One opens the front door as the cops also pull up by the driveway. Boom!

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