Formatted in tone and pace similar to AMC’s The Killing, True Detective is measured and methodical. The writing is clever and nearly every line is priceless. The characters are unique and vivid and, although the basic idea is unoriginal, the final product is new and fresh. Everything about this show is dark and foreboding. Even the humorous parts, however small, are filled with apprehension. Murder in and of itself is (without needing to say so) horrible, but when you add in bizarre elements such as seemingly satanic symbols and Blair Witch-looking stick figures, it adds an entirely new sickening but very fascinating spectrum to an already interesting premise.
The partners who are paired up, unwillingly, together and have completely different personalities has been done before, but in cases like this series when it is done right it can be so compelling to watch. Firstly there is Detective Rust Cohle, played brilliantly by Matthew McConaughey, who is the disconnected introvert who sees things no one else can perceive. He reads about dark subject matters that include murder, he lives alone in an apartment with next to no furniture, and yet when it comes to the job of homicide detective, it would seem he has no equal. Then there is Detective Martin Hart, played fiercely by Woody Harrelson, who is the well-liked and greatly respected officer among his peers. He has a down to earth way about him and his clashing with Detective Cohle, the very bizarre man that he is, is wonderful television. The action is not heavy and the dialogue is plentiful, but it’s so well written that despite its slow nature the tempo just goes along without a hitch at a rather brisk stride.
At about the midway point of the season, the pace certainly picks up at a blistering speed. The plot begins to thicken as a lead suspect is found for their murder case. Unfortunately for the two detectives getting to their suspect requires less than savory or wholesome means. It means Cohle heading back to a world that nearly slaughtered him. All Hart can do is wait patiently for Cohle’s signal to act. As the details become clearer the deeper down the rabbit hole they must go. Both men’s personal lives, specifically Hart’s, is down the metaphorical toilet and shows no signs of getting better. What was supposed to be two detectives searching for a killer turns into a 17 year period of loneliness and resentment with very little cathartic appeasement for anyone involved. It was believed that the case was solved but that may not be true and so as far as Detective Cohle is concerned, the case continues.
I’ve been reading reviews of this show saying that the conclusion to this season and thus the story of these two characters is rather disappointing. A lot have thoroughly enjoyed its finish but for the apparent minority, it wasn’t what they wanted. Due to the character of Cohle being so articulate and bizarre, and who is filled with so many opinions on life and its meaning and philosophy as a whole, certain people felt the ending should have been maybe a bit more ambiguous and less straight forward as it ends up being. In my opinion they missed the point of the show. The way I see this show, the focus is on the characters and what such a horrifying situation can do to them; how it changes their professional lives, personal lives and interactions with one another. Despite an eventual disdain that forms between many of the characters in this story, a bigger picture of justice brings them back together to make things right again. Their own lives are essentially ruined but that doesn’t mean they can’t right something about their past that was left undone. I like that, in spite of the fact that many of the actions these people take being immoral and devious they can still find the good in themselves to do the right thing. It’s a light among all the dark, which is a big theme throughout the season. There are two aspects to this theme of light vs. dark; the physical fight of two detectives fighting an evil, Satan worshipping serial murderer and the internal fight of doing right even when no one expects it. In the end, all we can do is hope they got it right and left no stone untouched.
This is an excellent freshman police drama with a phenomenal cast and pristine writing. I can’t wait to see what its sophomore year will bring with an all new cast of characters and a new story to drive them forward. It only stands to reason that for a new show that can pull in such dynamic, A-list actors, the sky is the limit here. Still wondering if you should watch True Detective? Well don’t, just watch it, you won’t regret it and if you have seen the show you already know what I mean.
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan
Creator: Nic Pizzolatto
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4.5/ Acting: 5/ Directing: 5/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 5 Nerdskulls