Shot in Portland but set in Bellevue, Washington, the second season of Netflix’s true-crime mockumentary is just as clever and addictive as the first. This time, earnest high-schooler documentarians Peter Maldonado (Tyler Alvarez) and Sam Ecklund (Griffin Gluck) take their investigation skills to St. Bernadine’s Catholic School, where, ever since a tragedy dubbed “The Brownout,” the student body has been terrorized by a splattery series of “poop crimes” perpetrated by “The Turd Burglar.” The suspects and victims are numerous, from beloved basketball star DeMarcus (Melvin Gregg) to vest-wearing, tea-sipping Kevin “Shit Stain” McClain (Travis Tope); in their unflagging quest for the truth, Peter and Sam dig deep into teachers’ dubious alibis and students’ revealing emoji habits.
This season is a slower burn than the first, but over the course of its eight episodes, its perfectly played characters prove deeper and better, including “a theater kid who lives in the friend zone” and a man known only as “Hot Janitor.” While Peter and Sam are stymied by secrets, lies, and possible sabotage (Mrs. Wexler, St. Bernadine’s dean of students, repeatedly refuses their requests for an interview), the duo’s intrepid reporting and keen crime-scene analysis (“That is way too big for dogshit”) ensures the Turd Burglar’s identity will be discovered. Like the first, this season of American Vandal is consistently hilarious, but it’s also sneakily, subtly emotional—you’re going to end up caring about all these awkward teen weirdos, and, of course, very invested in who had the motive and the means to mastermind the Brownout.
Read more of the Mercury's award-winning* movie and TV coverage here!
*not actually award-winning