True Detective Season 4: Who is Raymond Clark?

Chris Tilly
Prime suspect Raymond Clark in True Detective Season 4.

Raymond Clark is the prime suspect at the heart of True Detective Season 4, so here’s details of who the character is, and how his story plays out.

True Detective Season 4 stars Jodie Foster and Kali Reis as Detectives Danvers and Navarro, investigating the death of a group of scientists on the ice in Alaska.

That case is somehow linked to the murder of Annie K, who was previously murdered and mutilated in an unsolved case.

And in the series finale which aired last night, we found out exactly how the character of Raymond Clark connects both mysteries. So read on for the details, but beware of MASSIVE TRUE DETECTIVE SPOILERS ahead…

True Detective Season 4: Who is Raymond Clark?

Raymond Clark is one of the researchers working at the TSALA outpost, where scientists are searching for an organism that could stop cellular decay. Which means he’s working on wiping out cancer, genetic disorders, and autoimmune diseases.

Clark’s file pops up on a screen, where we learn that he is: “A Royal Society Wolford Fellow in Paleomicrobiology. His research career focussed on understanding the molecular basis of colonization and infection by Staphylococcus aureus. His Ph.D. training at Trinity College Dublin involved biochemical and biophysical characterization of staphylococcal fibrinogen-binding proteins.” And that’s where our access to Clark’s biography ends.

Episode 1 begins on December 17 – the third day of night until the sun returns to the area in January. Clark is acting strangely on the compound, shaking uncontrollably, and saying – somewhat mysteriously – “She’s awake.” That’s the last we see of the TSALA men until they are found frozen to death.

Clark’s connection to Annie K

Detective Liz Danvers investigates the case and finds footage of Clark wearing a coat that looks like one worn by Annie K, a Native American woman whose mutilated body was previously discovered on the edge of town.

Annie had been stabbed 32 times and had her tongue removed. So when a severed tongue is found at the research facility, the two cases become connected.

Danvers soon discovers that Clark had been dating Annie K, but keeping the tryst a secret from his co-workers, by meeting in a van. It’s one that has a spiral symbol on the roof – the same spiral symbol that Annie has tattooed on her body. Which, in turn, is the same tattoo that Clark gets four days after her death.

During her investigation, Danvers discovers papers on which Clark has written messages about feeling Annie’s presence after her murder. His puzzling behavior is corroborated by maids who visited the facility in the days before his disappearance and saw Clark talking to himself, and walking around the building naked.

Then – at much the same time Clark becomes the prime suspect in the Annie K murder – Episode 2 gives us the big twist: Clark might not be dead. As the ‘corpsicle’ thaws, it becomes clear that there are seven – rather than eight – bodies in the block of flesh. With Raymond Clark nowhere to be seen.

Did Raymond Clark kill Annie K?

Yes, Raymond Clark did kill Annie K. As the series progresses, it becomes clear that Raymond is still very much alive, and in the season finale, Danvers and Navarro catch him at the TSALA facility.

While tied to a chair, Clark reveals all, explaining that Annie discovered that the scientists were actively encouraging pollution of the local water, in order to aid their research.

She set about obliterating their work, and when the scientists discover her, they attack, ultimately stabbing Annie those 32 times. This doesn’t kill her however, and as she’s fighting for her life on the floor, Raymond Clark finishes the job, strangling the woman he loves until he chokes the life out of her.

And turns out this was pretty much a death-bed confession, as – whether Navarro facilitates it or he slips the bindings of his own accord – Raymond Clark ends up out on the ice, where he freezes to death.