True Detective: Finn Bennett Unpacks Peter-Hank’s Fatal Showdown
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Finn Bennett, who plays Peter Prior in the HBO series True Detective: Night Country, recently spoke with Entertainment Weekly about his character’s fateful decision to shoot his own father, Hank Prior (played by John Hawkes).
The Fatal Choice
In the show’s penultimate episode, Peter is forced to make a difficult choice when Hank, a crooked cop, is assigned to kill a witness in Liz Danvers’ (Jodie Foster) and Evangeline Navarro’s (Kali Reis) investigation. Despite his initial reservations, Hank accepts the task and nearly kills the cops as well. Peter arrives on the scene and, after a tense moment, shoots and kills his own father to prevent him from killing Danvers.
The Decision’s Impact
Bennett discussed the emotional weight of the scene and how Peter’s decision will affect him moving forward.
“It’s a really good and hard question,” he said. “I don’t think there was a right decision to make here. He made the least bad decision.”
Bennett also noted that Peter’s decision was not a snap judgment but rather a reflex. “There’s something John [Hawkes] told me that I’ve remembered ever since; that he really dislikes when actors say, ‘Oh, my character would never do that.’ Because everybody in everyday life makes decisions and does things they would never expect from themselves.”
A Good Cop or a Dirty Cop?
In the series, Peter is often torn between his personal and professional lives. He wants to be a good cop, but he also wants to protect his family.
Bennett explained that Peter’s decision to shoot Hank was a way for him to prove himself as a good cop, even if it meant becoming a dirty cop in the process.
“That’s all he’s trying to do all through the series, be a good cop,” Bennett said. “I get asked questions like, ‘Why does he spend so much time away from his wife and kids? Is he a bad father?’ I don’t think so. He just wants to prove himself.”
Memories of Working with John Hawkes
Bennett also shared some fond memories of working with Hawkes, who he described as a kind and understanding man.
“He actually lent me a guitar, and I don’t even play,” Bennett said. “He’s just such a kind and understanding man.”
“There’s this intensity to the dynamic between Hank and Pete, less a battle of wits, and almost more of a grudge. They both hold onto the outside of it. John hosted us multiple times in his apartment, and he would play guitar, he would sing… we would have a glass of red wine, and there’s John Hawkes, playing music. You just have to imagine it.”
Reaction to the Series
Bennett expressed his satisfaction with the reception to True Detective: Night Country, despite some negative feedback.
“I’m really, really pleased with it,” he said. “The name True Detective carries a lot of weight and is a heavy cross to bear.”
Bennett also addressed the criticism from series creator Nic Pizzolatto, saying that he stands behind showrunner Issa López.
“I don’t want to talk about it too much,” he said. “He created a fantastic series. Season one is one of the best pieces of television ever made. His name is attached to it. But whatever happens, I stand behind Issa, and I take her line on it. He’s entitled to his view.”
Bennett teased the upcoming finale of True Detective: Night Country, describing it as “gut-wrenching” and “beautiful.”
“I was surprised in how the Mystery ties itself together,” he said. “Sometimes, endings can feel lazy, and this really didn’t feel that way. It stays true to the piece. I remember watching the finale for the first time and bursting into tears, because I was so proud of what we created, but also because the ending is just so beautiful. It’s my favorite episode by far. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”
The finale of True Detective: Night Country airs on HBO/Max on February 18th at 9 p.m.