True Detective Knives: True or False?

Rachel McAdams’ character Ani Bezzerides uses knives with deadly speed and skill in Season 2 of HBO’s True Detective. After intensive training with a martial artist who specializes in close quarters prison knife fighting, McAdams told Time Magazine: “In order to be effective with [a knife], you have to get so close to your enemy. It’s just so much different than a firearm.”

Apparently, Rachel McAdams also had some exposure to knives before her True Detective role: “It was a little unfamiliar to me, although my brother actually collected knives. So we always had them around, in a weird way. He was very responsible with them. They were his little treasures: he would clean them and take really good care of them.”

Knife people with a keen eye might have recognized some of the knives McAdams used on the show including a Cold Steel Double Agent, Cold Steel Brave Heart, and a Benchmade 5300SBK Presidio.

Season 2 of HBO’s True Detective was set in the fictional city of Vinci, California, an industrial city in Southeast LA that according to the L.A. Times, is based on the real city of Vernon, California. It’s a dramatic setting for bloodshed in a gritty crime show like True Detective.

Now that the Season 2 has come to a conclusion, we wanted to find out what knives real police officers carried and what they used them for – so we asked the LAPD and some officers from around the country.

What do the cops use knives for?

“We’re using a knife for a lot of things, sometimes as a screwdriver, sometimes… well, the uses for it are sometimes surprising, but I don’t know a lot of officers who use a knife as a defense weapon,” said one officer we spoke with. “Anything requiring a blade from cutting seatbelts to opening that pesky bag of chips. You know the one – where if you try to just ‘pull’ it open chips fly everywhere,” joked another.

What knives do the police carry?

A few of the officers we talked to didn’t carry a knife at all. These officers choose to keep less-frequently used tools like a seat-belt cutter and glass-breaker in their squad cars instead: “Inside the back of our trunk we have a bag filled with different equipment; we already wear a lot of stuff on our belt, so a lot of people will carry their more specialized tools that don’t live in the pocket in that bag – that way they can be readily available.”

The Cold Steel Voyager was mentioned by one officer and a Benchmade Mel Pardue by another. While few knew the model of the knife they carried, the brands they named included Buck, Kershaw, CRKT, Spyderco, Benchmade, and Cold Steel.


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