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on March 5, 2014
"You're not gonna win the Oscar, no matter how hard you try."

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.
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on June 22, 2016
I love this first season of True Detective! I have watched it through multiple times, made my friend watch it through, and finally had to purchase it for my very own, so I could watch it through whenever I wanted!
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!
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on October 2, 2015
Pretty much what all those terrible shows like Criminal Minds should have been.

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.
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VINE VOICEon June 12, 2014
First off, I'd just like to say that the show itself looks and sounds absolutely amazing on Blu-Ray. I remember watching the first episode when it originally aired and thinking to myself, "Yeah, I'm going to get this when it releases." I'm glad I did. The visuals are first class, flawless work. Seriously, the transfer is simply perfect. The DTS-MA track is equally impressive, enveloping you in the sounds of the bayou and the thick atmosphere of rural Louisiana. I have absolutely no complaints about how they handled the audio and video of the show itself in this set. It's literally pitch perfect and I'm so impressed with it that I simply can't help but gush over it repeatedly.

With that being said, the extras kind of left me a little disappointed. Most of what's here are fluff pieces that aired on HBO already, tidbits that really just cover the episodes in a way that doesn't add much more to what you've already seen. There are small synopses for each episode, a brief making-of, an interview with T-Bone Burnett and Nic Pizzolato that didn't cover the musical aspect of the show in as much detail as I would have liked, two episode commentaries, two deleted scenes (the deleted scene that comes out of episode 8 is actually my favorite extra on this set and one that I recommend you watch; it's really nothing more than just a moody montage of scenery and music but it's the one extra on the set that captures the heart and soul of True Detective), interviews with stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey and that's really about it.

Again, the audio/video portion of True Detective is nothing less than phenomenal. I was hoping for something a little more concise in terms of extras. That's not to say that what's here isn't worth watching but the show was so good that it just deserved a really nice, feature packed edition that delved even deeper into the dangerous world that Nic Pizzolato and Cary Fukunaga had created and bestowed upon its unsuspecting audience.

Very much worth picking up so long as you're not expecting a true special edition.
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on June 2, 2015
The acting is brilliant. They play off each other with perfect resonation. McConahy's character is played with riveting perfection. The story is filled with undercurrents of menace that keep you on edge. There is a sense of evil lurking in every corner. The atmosphere is filled with toxic exhalations of danger. There is a 'heart of darkness' feeling as they penetrate the swamp in search of the answer to unspeakable crimes against the innocent. In fact, 'searching' is the overwhelming theme. Sometimes it results in moments of spectacular enlightenment. Sometimes dead ends result in heartbreaking disappointment. But always there is the searching for an evil that must be dealt with and destroyed. Sometimes the searchers themselves become the prey on the brink of extinction. No one is safe. Nothing is sacrosanct. This is a masterpiece permeated with an almost metaphysical sense of menace.

Phil Rohlin
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VINE VOICEon June 21, 2014
1995. Detectives Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) are called in to investigate a murder. A girl's body has been found in the Louisiana cane fields, bound, with heavy religious and occult overtones. The two detectives don't necessarily get along; Cohle is a borderline suicidal nihilist, and Hart is arrogant and a hypocrite. But the two pair together to hunt their man. Seventeen years later, another body is found, and Cohle and Hart are forced to relive the case, and the tangled mess that was their partnership.

TRUE DETECTIVE is a truly brilliant show. It starts with the performances: McConaughey is a stunner (this performance is among the highlight reel of his career comeback), and Harrelson slow-burns his way through his characters complexities. Of the supporting cast, Michelle Monaghan shines as Hart's wife, and it's always nice to see Shea Whigham pop up (here as a revivalist). But the performances wouldn't mean much if not for the script and directing--both the same for all eight episodes, which helps the story seem complete and unstilted, even as we jump back and forth between through the years. Through it all, the setting of rural Louisiana comes through like a third leading man, helping this show cement itself in reality, even as the final couple of episodes pile the facts into a vaguely confusing bundle. This first season of TRUE DETECTIVE (which stands on its own; I like to think of it as an eight-hour movie) may go down as a classic television experience. Time will tell on that, but for now, it's safe to say that you aren't going to see a show this good every day.
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on August 30, 2016
My 27-year-old twin sons urged me to watch True Detective some time ago, but I didn't get around to it until just recently. What a mistake on my part! True Detective is one of the best, most intriguing, most well done series/films I've seen since Pulp Fiction. Everything about is top-notch: the acting, the script, the plot, the music, the cinematography, the completely accurate portrayal of backwater Louisiana (it's home for my father's side of the family) -- simply everything.
That said, this is not for those who prefer movies like Sleepless in Seattle or Legally Blonde. True Detective is dark and deep, troubled souls in a troubled world, trying to make sense of a sometimes senseless world. It's reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy's work and demands thought and attention. It's real when reality entertainment has reached a sad, sad state.
Bravo.I will watch it over and over again.
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on June 15, 2014
This is just one of those shows that comes along less often than it should; The cable dramas have certainly been getting better over the years, whether they are on HBO or AMC(Even NBC's 'Hannibal' is up there to me...); But this show takes something potentially average in terms of subject matter and character traits and turns it upside down, in a good way. Dark and philosophical, this show covers so much ground in it's 8 episodes(#4 is my favorite w/the housing project sequence...); you get a healthy dose of sex, odd characters, and beautiful scenery...all of which is mixed in w/something purely evil. And yes, Woody and Matthew CAN act, and this show is just one more example of how well they work in their craft, esp. when given material this. Even the opening credit sequence is amazing; it is honestly hard to find a flaw here, although I wish the last episode was a little stronger in terms of more explanation and connections to certain events and characters. But still the usual inspired writing and fantastic chemistry across the board, both in front of and in back of the camera. A very nice final confrontation sequence too, and it's done well as you are not sure how it's going to play out.

Also, the scene where Rust is interrogating the girl about her killing her baby, and then after listing a variety of reasons, tells her 'if she gets the chance she should kill herself' before walking out of the room, is pretty 'holy s***' writing and unlike anything I have heard said on any show in a long time; It is much like when he tells the 2 uncooperative men who won't give the detectives directions to a local brothel that 'they got off on the wrong foot' before Russ slams a toolbox against one of the men's heads before beating the other one down(and leaving w/very detailed directions...).

For a show that is so graphic, disturbing, and covers seemingly almost every 'immoral' activity we as a race participate in, it is equally--and to some surprisingly--rich in thought-provoking ideas and concepts about life that are both surprisingly fresh, but actually make a lot of sense at times; some of the theories actually seem to make the hardships in life a little easier to cope with, as off-kilter as they may seem at times.

I also love how the series has a little bit of a 'Bad Lieutenant' movies and a 'The Salton Sea' feel to it here and there; Russ driving while swigging cough syrup, and hallucinating as he does is what good police work is all about(and not unlike anything you would likely see in the aforementioned films...)

It make take 3 or 4 viewings to put it all together in your own way, but I suppose one of the great things about this show; There are several ways things can add up, and it's nice to have a show that gives you a little room to put your own brain to use as far as figuring out what you think is the logical or most viable explanation(s)for what you have just been though; And who knows...one of them may be right!

**MY FAVORITE WRITING EXAMPLE: When Matthew's character is talking about the death of his daughter in the interrogation room; he makes the comment(after a long and deep explanation...)that her death saved him from 'the sins of being a father'. When I heard his explanation why he feels this way and why he said what he said, it jaws most powerful; it was something i had never even thought of, and one of the most unique perspectives of anything I have seen on film. Writing like that doesn't come along too often, and there are dozens of moments in this show that will throw you for a loop, and in a good way...**

Brilliant show!!
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on June 13, 2014
I was absolutely blown away by Matthew McConaughey's performance. He MUST win an Emmy for this. Frankly, I wasn't really a fan before, and never paid him that much attention (except for being highly amused by his Dazed and Confused performance). But this puts him at the top of the A-list for sure. Several friends highly recommended the series to me and I had to wait until it was released on DVD (okay, Amazon streaming). At first, the series took a while to pique my interest, but after the third episode, I was completely hooked. I binged watched the series over the course of 3 nights. The last 10 minutes of Episode 4 are a must watch for any sort of film or cinematography buff - it's absolutely mind-blowing. I've already re-watched that clip several times. I was a bit put-off by the nudity, mainly because I found it completely unnecessary, but that's probably because I'm a heterosexual female and the nudity was almost all of the female variety. In the future, I do hope the series includes more female leads - while Michelle Monaghan's character was halfway interesting, she's about the only female with speaking lines.
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on December 1, 2017
This may well be the best series I have ever seen. I found no weaknesses in writing, acting, directing, or production values. It's a stunningly moving piece of art, and after having watched the whole series over the course of just a few days, I took two days to digest what I'd seen and watched it again. Powerful, disturbing, and moving, it's a series I will recommend (and already have) to anyone who's mature enough to handle it and appreciate it.
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