Paul Woodrugh
Paul Woodrugh cropped
Name: Paul Woodrugh
Status: Deceased
Date of death: January 23, 2015
Place of death: Vinci, CA
Cause of death: Shot by Lt.Burris
Nationality: American
Residence(s): Vinci (currently)
Profession: California Highway Patrol
Rank: Detective (formerly Officer)
Mother: Cynthia Woodrugh
Significant other(s): Emily (girlfriend)
Children: 1
Played by: Taylor Kitsch
Season: 2
Seasons: 1
First episode: "The Western Book of the Dead"
Last episode: "Black Maps and Motel Rooms"
Appears in: 2 season, 7 episodes

Paul Woodrugh was a motorcycle cop for the California Highway Patrol and a war veteran. He was one of the main characters in the second season of True Detective.


Paul Woodrugh was born to a showgirl and dancer named Cynthia Woodrugh. Paul was the product of casual sex, possibly prostitution, as neither Paul or his mother know who his father is. Instead of aborting the fetus, Cynthia carried the baby to term, sacrificing her career in the process, a fact she is still bitter about decades later.

At an unspecified period in Paul's life, he presumably joined the United States Armed Forces, wherein he came into contact with a private security group known as Black Mountain. He served in the Middle East, namely in Iraq and Afghanistan, during which time he was suspected of having committed war crimes involving the death of innocent people. While deployed in Yemen, Paul had a sexual relationship with his squadmate, Miguel Gilb, something he is deeply ashamed about. He was discharged some time before the events of the series, possibly suffering from PTSD.

Events in California

Paul is introduced as being a motorcycle cop for the California Highway Patrol. During his beat, he witnesses a convertible veering dangerously onto the highway. He stops the car, and finds the owner - a young starlet, Lacey Lindel - visibly intoxicated. She tries to grasp for an excuse but, at the end of her rope, tries to bribe Paul with a blowjob. It is implied he declines the offer, resulting in an accusation of sexual misconduct.

As a result of the accusation, Paul is put on administrative leave with pay. Returning home to his girlfriend, Emily, he takes Viagra in order for her to perform a successful blowjob.


Memorable Quotes

"The highway, it suits me."

"This isn't me doing this. This isn't me."

"I mean, when you want to forget something, maybe sitting around and remembering it in every detail ain't the right way."

"I'm making a family! I know that don't mean shit to someone like you but it fucking matters to me!"

Behind the Scenes

Paul Woodrugh is portrayed by Taylor Kitsch in Season 2 of True Detective.


1. The butterfly imagery makes abundant presence at Woodrugh's shelter.


Season 2
"The Western Book of the Dead" "Night Finds You" "Maybe Tomorrow" "Down Will Come"
"Other Lives" "Church in Ruins" "Black Maps and Motel Rooms" "Omega Station"
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.