TRUE DETECTIVE: Season 1 Review
TRUE DETECTIVE is an HBO Mini Series starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrellson as two cops investigating a cult murder in a Southern town in USA in the 1990’s that affects them all the way to the present day. The show initially features a flashback format, as the two main leads are interviewed in the present by another pair of police officers, regarding their old case. The show excels in showcasing a brutal murder mystery and uses existentialist angst and many philosophical debates through the character of Rusty Cohle played by McConaughey himself.
The Series opens with Present day interviews of Cohle and Harrelson’s Marty Hart as present day former Police Detectives recounting one of their cases. The questions seem skewed towards Cohle’s involvement and actions, something which both characters catch on to quick. There are references of a falling out, and the flashbacks switch back and forth, until we re all caught up. In the past, the Detective duo of Cohle & Hart caught a case by an occult killer, which pushed their boundaries both professionally and personally. The resolution of that case never really seemed effective enough, as some details emerge decades later, putting Cohle directly in the crosshairs of the police, suspecting him of being the killer all along.
TRUE DETECTIVE is revolutionary for its writing and performances by both lead actors. McConaughey gives a rebellious performance that digs deep underneath the perceptions of reality by Cohle, a troubled and tragic hero, unsure of reality himself. Harrellson on the other hand plays a down to earth and real cop, complete with flaws and underrated character arcs that show how a good man may not necessarily be moral or ethical. The two actors play off of each other’s hostile chemistry and give performances that can be called one a kind in the careers of both actors.
Unlike other episodic TV Series, TRUE DETECTIVE has one director during its entire run, and by doing so the series has a unified look and feel about it. Director Cary Fukunaga was able to tell he story uninterrupted, which definitely shows in the continuation of each episode. The subject matter of the Series is intense and not for the faint of heart. The ideologies and concepts presented truly boggle the mind and may invoke heart-wrenching emotions for a viewer. The extremely visceral dramatic nature of the show is further complimented by the pulse-pounding soundtrack provided by T Bone Burnett that never lets up or releases its hold over our consciousness. Haunting tunes and eerily appropriate background score that stays long after the end of each episode is what Burnett offers, and is very successful in doing so.
Series Creator Nic Pizzolatto comes up with a brilliant show in TRUE DETECTIVE that is able to give life to the settings and surrounding as much as the characters driving the story forward. The Writing is sharp and crisp, never once wasting any second of the runtime while Fukunaga doesn’t waste any space whether it be through the framing of his shots or the tempo of the scenes. The magic of McConaughey’s monologues combined with the hard truth of Harrellson’s flaws explodes on screen anytime the two are together. A story that has all the makings of a murder-mystery with ravishing amounts of social commentary and relationship drama along with hints of supernatural and devil worship, acted brilliantly by not only its leads, but even supporting actors like Michelle Monaghan.
TRUE DETECTIVE is an intense thriller that provokes a wide range of emotions while telling a story that mirrors reality, albeit with a very un-Hollywood twist.