Air Date: 12/01/14
Writer: Nic Pizzolatto
Director: Cary Fukunaga
cast: Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan
True Detective deserves every bit of praise it’s ever received, it’s stylish, poetic and an absolute pleasure to watch from start to finish, the only bad part? That it’s only eight episodes long.
Season one of True Detective follows the lives of Rustin Chole (Matthew McConaughey) a smart profiler and Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) an old style cop; we’re shown their story over the course of a 17 year period, making use of flashbacks to cover this large timescale. Originally the pair were brought together to work on a high profile case which appeared to have occult underpinnings, their lives become intertwined as they attempt to uncover the culprit in the hot murky swamps of Louisiana which seems to get more complicated as the season continues.
As the season progresses the case becomes complicated, Rust believes it goes higher than they first imagined, possibly involving law enforcement and elite members of society. He eventually convinces his partner but nobody else is keen to agree, Rust later uncovers evidence that links a well-known and prominent family to cult murders which have been happening during this 17 year period; the Tuttles, but catching them is the hard part.
True Detective is a mini-series (also called an anthology), each is eight episodes long; seasons will move onto different detectives (season two is currently airing and stars Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams). The episodes are approximately one hour long, all written by nic Pizzolatto and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. Everyone involved seem to have a clear creative goal and it makes for a beautifully crafted series. Everything about this season fits perfectly, the style, the setting, the opening credits and the music all come together so well to craft this intriguing crime thriller which will have you on the end of your seat until the very last minutes.
Out of the two leads, McConaughy’s Cohle is certainly the more intriguing of the two lead characters, which is due partly of course to the writing of Nic Pizzolatto, as he created such a unique and layered character, Cohle is opinionated and has strange ideas about the world we live in, but, in some ways, he speaks the truth; this goes completely against the grain in this Louisiana setting, especially with his partner; Marty Hart. Cohle has a troubled past and a dark persona; which he himself is well aware of and practically revels in, but he’s not alone; his partner, Hart is also battling his own demons which is starting to take its toll on himself and those around him: mainly, his family.
True detective is slow paced, nothing is rushed, everyone gets their fair share of screen time, Pizzolatto has given the characters room to breathe, we spend enough time with them to almost feel as if we know them. Sometimes Cohle does seem rather ‘out there’ statements such as “I don’t sleep, I just dream” or his remarks on how an area scattered with broken down buildings reminds him of someone’s a faded memory. Harrelson’s Hart manages to bring the tone back down to earth, they’re well suited and the acting from both is phenomenal; they manage to bounce off one another well which in turn adds some much needed laughter into an otherwise serious programme, Harrelson and McConaughey real life friendship certainly helped on this part as they work together magnificently.
In some ways what we’re seeing is nothing new to the other cop shows on TV; what makes it stand out from the crowd is the acting of both Harrelson and McConnaughy alongside a terrific script paired with some beautiful direction by Fukunaga. All this combined makes season one of True Detective one to remember which also begs for multiple viewings.