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HBO premieres a new drama series, True Detective, this season focusing on Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) and "Rust" Cohle (Matthew McConaughey), two detectives and former partners who worked in Louisiana's Criminal Investigation Division in the mid-1990s.
In 2012, for reasons not immediately revealed, the two are interviewed separately by investigators about their most notorious case: the macabre 1995 murder of a prostitute by a possible serial killer with disturbing occult leanings. As they look back on the case, Hart and Cohle's personal backstories and often-strained relationship become a major focal point.
Hart, an outgoing native Louisianan and family man whose marriage is being frayed by work stress and infidelity, is (at least on the surface) the polar opposite of Cohle, a lone-wolf pessimist and former narcotics detective from Texas. While the plot is moved forward by their shared obsession to hunt down the ritual killer, the true drama centers around the mercurial nature of Hart and Cohle's relationship and personalities, and how they affect each other as detectives, friends, and men.
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8 episodes. 2 Hollywood actors. 1 director. 1 writer. 1 extraordinary show.
From the mind of Nic Pizzolatto comes True Detective, a dark, profound and masterful crime thriller set in the bayous of Louisiana. Written with a philosophical and sharp acuity, True Detective tells the story of two detectives (Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson) and their 17- year manhunt for a deranged serial killer.
This is not an ordinary cop show. It isn't about tidy cases, chasing perps or trailing leads. There isn't red tape, standard procedures or closure at the end of the day. What you will find is broken marriages, darkness inherent in the human soul, and philosophical notions on the meaning (or lack thereof) of life.
McConaughey and Harrelson as Rust Cohle and Martin Hart make an unlikely and surprisingly fascinating duo. Cohle is a dark, abstract individual, living alone, full of loss and discontentment with life. He has visions and hallucinations from his 4 years undercover in narcotics. However he is also very smart, rational and lucid, understanding who he is as a human being and his place in the universe. Hart is a seemingly responsible, everyday family man that takes his job seriously. He has a good heart, but through his need for control, manipulates people to his own selfish and destructive ends. They are both dark, bad men. But as Cohle says, "The world needs bad men. They keep the other bad men from the door." There is a yin/yang, religious/atheist, rational/irrational relationship that is both thoughtful and humorous to watch.
True Detective is a self-contained 8 episode anthology series. Each season will feature a new cast and story, completely unrelated to the previous one. This is the future of the story-telling medium. 8 episodes allows Hollywood actors to commit to the show without a huge time commitment. 1 writer keeps the story uniform as there's no writer's room or a panel of writers changing each season. 1 director and cinematographer keeps the vision clear and consistent.
Director Cary Fukunaga does a remarkable, Oscar-worthy job. The realism, tone and pacing are on par with anything I've seen on screen. The 6- minute tracking shot at the end of episode 4 is one of the best single shots in television history.
This is as good as it gets for modern television. After Breaking Bad I wasn't sure how long I'd have to wait for something this good. I didn't expect something this masterful to come along so fast. If you're an action fan, don't like to think too much, or want closure each episode, this show is not for you. But if you want to be challenged, to watch a show that makes you think, doesn't give you all the answers, and keeps you up at night, then you're in for a thrill ride.
Every time I watch this show, I pick up on dialog that I missed in previous viewings. In my opinion, that is the best part of this series. Matthew McConaughey's dialog is so well written and his portrayal of his character is spot on believable. There is such an interesting dynamic between the characters played by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. The acting is amazing and the story is so captivating. I bit my nails, laughed out loud, and hung on every word of every episode.
It is clear to see the time and effort put into this story by the writer. Unfortunately, the momentum didn't carry over into the second season of True Detective, but that is fine with me. This first season is such a fascinating story, such an interesting series, that it can be watched independently multiple times.
If for no other reason, you have to watch season of True Detective simply for Matthew McConaughey's monologues. His character has such a unique and realistic view on life and society and organized religion. At first glance, it might seem harsh, but then you quickly realize that it is what makes him so amazing at what he does. The balance between his character and Woody Harrelson's character is perfect.
There isn't a dull moment in this season. It will pull you in and have you begging for more!
The acting is excellent, the characters actually have depth and aren't token caricatures. While they're also certainly flawed, not in the ridiculous way that most procedure dramas overdo it.
My only complain was I thought the resolution was somewhat anti-climatic for how well the show built it up. Not that I thought it was bad at all, but didn't do much to resolve the criminal conspiracies discussed though out.
A very "smart" drama, much of the focus is on the well built and acted characters. Not one of the silly action procedural dramas so common on TV. More implied violence/horror than cheap gore and intriguing and suspenseful. There are some great "exciting" scenes but it's built up much more believably and not focused on action.
Definitely not a "family friendly" show, but that should be expected, there are plenty of egregious sex scenes. The violence of the crime that is the focus is well done, it's not overdone for cheap thrills like seems to be the trend for shows these days. The main characters aren't unrealistic bad asses. In general a much more cerebral show than most crime dramas which helps make it seem far less ridiculous than most crime shows.
It's much closer to Hannibal than Law and Order or Criminal Minds. The personal lives of Woody Harrelson and Matthew Mcconaughey characters are well explored in the interaction with the case and job and a prime focus of the show which largely depicts actual investigative work. I appreciated the lack of cheap, super-genius analysts that have become the hallmark of lazy network writers.
I can't say much without giving anything away. It's not as much of a mystery show but does a good job of keeping the viewer intrigued and building suspense. Season one was absolutely great, the subtle and intelligently played references were especially welcomed in the show (Kierkegaard/Schopenhauer. I was almost a philosophy major) but not so overt or excessive as to confuse or annoy my friends.