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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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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.
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.
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.