Back on November 7, 1980, the day Steve McQueen died, Tom Purcell (Scoot McNairy), a beer-guzzling, car-fixin’ dad, lets his kids Will, 12, and Julie, 10, ride to the playground.
We can already guess these kids are never to be heard from again, so it’s time to take note of all the possible suspects who saw them take their last bike ride: three teen boys in a purple Beetle, random kids setting off firecrackers in a park called Devil’s Den (where surely only wholesome things take place) and a Native American man driving around town in a go-cart, a trailer full of scrap hitched to it.
That evening, Wayne, himself, was doing a shift with partner Roland West (Stephen Dorff), the two of them blowing off steam at a landfill by trying to blow holes in rats (as retaliation for all the times rats nearly took out all of humankind).
Roland suggests they go visit a brothel, but Wayne says he can’t afford it. “You’re gonna pay for it one way or another,” says Roland, proving that dating was just as fruitful three decades ago as it is today. (This conversation exists to let the audience know both Wayne and Roland served in Vietnam, which permeates the entire series, and most likely all of early 1980s America.)
The two are interrupted by an alert that two kids have gone missing.
“Never occurred to you he might be lying?” Wayne is asked in 1990. “The general rule is everybody’s lying,” he responds and turns off the recorder. “Ya’ll know something I don’t?”